deliciously spiced hot cross buns

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These hot cross buns are typically an Easter tradition to celebrate Good Friday, but it’s also a favorite of mine to serve at Christmas Breakfast. These sweet buns are sweet and lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and studded with raisins. 

Back when I used to live in South Africa, we would get hot cross buns of all kinds of flavor popping up in bakeries and supermarkets everywhere, for months leading up to Easter. Our neighborhood supermarket made some of the softest and most incredible delicious hot cross buns; our family would end up fighting over the last one.

These sweet buns are filled with spices and various fruits such as currants, raisins, or candied citrus. They’re decorated with a white cross, either marked right into the dough or etched on top with icing. My hot cross buns are soft, yet a little dense with a deliciously spiced flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. You can play with the spices, even adding a little cardamom too. 

sweet + spiced hot cross buns recipe

  • serves makes twelve buns
  • prep time roughly two hours
  • total time ten to thirty minutes


  • five hundred grams of all purpose baking flour, plus extra for dusting
  • seventy five grams of brown sugar
  • two teaspoons of ground all spice
  • one teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • one tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • one teaspoon of sea salt
  • ten grams of fast-acting dried yeast
  • forty grams of butter, softened
  • twenty grams of cocoa butter, melted
  • three hundred milliliters of milk
  • one free-range egg, beaten
  • two hundred grams of raisins
  • oil, for greasing
  • seventy five grams of flour, for the topping
  • two tablespoons of honey, for glazing


  1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

  2. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the heated milk to the dry ingredients.

  3. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough.

  4. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the raisins into the dough.

  5. Lightly knead for ten minutes until a silky and elastic smooth ball is formed.

  6. Oil a bowl and place the dough in the bowl, cover with a kitchen tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for one to two hours or until doubled in size.

  7. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into twelve balls. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

  8. Cover the baking tray with the tea towel again, making sure the towel doesn’t touch the buns. Leave to rest for forty to sixty minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

  9. Preheat the oven to two hundred degrees Celsius.

  10. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with one hundred milliliters of water and combine together to make a paste.

  11. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag. When the buns have risen pipe a cross on each bun.

  12. Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes until golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

  13. Melt the honey in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

  14. Serve warm with salted butter.


These buns will keep in the freezer for up to one month.


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