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apple and sultana hot cross buns on a cake stand.
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5 from 5 votes

Hot cross buns

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday these sweet, spicy buns have finely diced pieces of apple and plump sultanas, lightly spiced with cinnamon to make a delicious alternative to the classic hot cross buns. Hands-on preparation time is relatively short but do allow enough time for the dough and buns to rise.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Rising time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: afternoon tea, Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Easter, fruit bun, Good Friday
Servings: 12


  • baking sheet
  • piping bag or polythene bag
  • pastry brush


for the buns

  • 500 g (1lb2oz) strong bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 g (¼oz) sachet easy-blend yeast
  • 75 g (3oz) golden caster sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 50 g (50g) butter cut into cubes
  • 75 g (3oz) sultanas
  • 1 small eating apple peeled, cored and cut into small dice.
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100 ml (4floz) milk
  • 150 warm water You may ot need it all

for the crosses

  • 50 g (2oz) plain flour
  • cold water to mix water

for the glaze

  • 25 g (1oz) golden caster sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • ½ teaspoon cinamon


To make the dough

  • Place 500g (1lb2oz) flour and 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and stir in a 7g (¼ oz) sachet yeast, 75g (3oz) sugar and 1¼ teaspoon salt. Rub in 50g (2oz) butter with your fingertips, then stir in 75g (3oz) sultanas and the diced apple mixed.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and drop in the egg. Then add 100ml (4floz) milk and add most 150ml (¼ pt) warm water. Mix to a soft dough, adding the remaining water if required.
  • Turn out the dough and knead gently for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough in the oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Turn out, and lightly knead again. Divide the dough into 12 and roll each piece into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet about 2cm (1in) apart. Cover with a damp tea towel, or slip the tray inside a carrier bag, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size which should take about 50 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 190℃ (170℃ fan)/375°F/gas mark 5.

To make the crosses

  • Place 50g (2oz) flour into a small bowl and stir in enough cold water to mix to a soft paste. Spoon the mixture into a disposable piping bag and snip of the end. Pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until risen and golden.

To make the glaze

  • While the hot cross buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Place the sugar and water in a small pan and heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the buns are cooked transfer to a wire rack placed over a tray or baking sheet the brush the tops with the sugar glaze.



If you don't have a piping bag you can make a paper piping bag from baking parchment. Or use a small polythene bag and a snip off one corner.
To Store
Hot cross buns are best eaten warm and on the day they are made. However, they can be refreshed by popping them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm through. They are also delicious toasted.
Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven at 180℃/170℃ fan/gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.