Making homemade hot cross buns is an accomplishment, one that you can do, easier than you think! These deliciously cinnamon spiced yeasted buns are buttery and plush, full of dried cherries and melty white chocolate. The perfect twist on an Easter treat.

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny two a penny hot cross buns! I’m sure you know the song – it always always gets stuck in my head around Easter. There’s a local bakery chain in town that specializes in hot cross buns and back in the day when samples were a thing, I would always choose the hot cross bun sample when we were buying bread. Their buns are so popular that they sell them year round and I love them so much.

Of course it’s super simple to head to the bakery to buy hot cross buns (or even order them online) but this year I thought I’d bake my own, based off of my favorite soft and fluffy dinner roll recipe. There’s something so satisfying about the smell of bread filling up the kitchen. The sweet sent of yeasted dough and cinnamon makes me feel super homey.

hot cross buns | www.iamafoodblog.com

What are hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are an Easter classic. Little yeasted sweet buns with crosses on top date back to the 12th century and they were considered a treat marking the end of Lent, eaten on Good Friday. Nowadays, they are available year round, but are especially enjoyed around Easter.

How do hot cross buns taste?

Classically, hot cross buns are a soft, sweet, spiced yeasted bun usually made with dried fruit like raisins, sultanas, or currents. They’re soft, squishy, and not too sweet. Think of a slightly sweeter dinner roll studded with dried fruit.

This particular bun is super soft and fluffy, scented with cinnamon and dotted with melty white chocolate and sweet dried cherries. The plush cinnamon buns remind me of cinnamon rolls, but not as sweet. They’re glazed with a bit of apricot jam for shine and finished with a melted white chocolate cross.

If you like sweet dried cherries, caramelized white chocolate, soft and fluffy buttery buns, and cinnamon, you’ll love these hot cross buns!

hot cross buns | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make hot cross buns

If you’ve made dinner rolls, you’re just one step away from making hot cross buns. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Sprinkle yeast on to warm water and let foam.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  3. Stir the yeast, along with egg, into the flour mix until everything comes together into a ball of dough.
  4. Add the butter to the dough and knead the dough until smooth.
  5. Add the dried cherries and chocolate then pop the dough into a lightly oiled bowl so it can proof for an hour.
  6. After the dough is puffy and proofed, tip it out onto a floured surface and divide into 9 balls, place in a pan, and let proof until doubled.
  7. Bake until golden then pipe on some chocolate crosses. Enjoy!

This recipe perfectly fits an 8×8 pan. This one is my favorite.

hot cross buns done | www.iamafoodblog.com

Hot cross buns ingredients

These buns have pretty standard pantry ingredients: yeast, bread flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, egg, butter, dried cherries, and white chocolate chips.

Bread flour

Bread flour is the key to fluffy, soft, and chewy buns. You might be tempted to just use all purpose, and well, you can do that, but if you use bread flour your rolls will be soft and fluffy with just the right amount of chew. Bread flour has a higher protein content than regular all purpose – the resulting dough has more gluten in it which helps the rolls stay soft and chewy.

Yeast

This recipe uses active dry yeast which needs to be dissolved in a bit of liquid before using – in this case we’ll sprinkle it on to some warm water. If you have instant yeast, you can use it too, there won’t be much of a difference; your rolls might rise a bit faster, depending how warm your kitchen is.

Dried cherries and white chocolate

Dried cherries add some sweet tartness that pairs exceptionally well with white chocolate and cinnamon. You can sub in your favorite dried fruits, more ideas below!

Variations

You can easily customize these buns with your favorite add-ins.

  • Classic: sultanas, raisins or currents
  • Orange cranberry: dried cranberries and orange zest
  • Blueberry dark chocolate: dried blueberries and dark chocolate
  • Triple chocolate: a mix of white, dark, and milk chocolate
  • Apple cinnamon: dried apples and extra cinnamon
  • Strawberry matcha: dried strawberries, switch out the cinnamon for matcha

If you love soft and fluffy bread, try these recipes:

 

hot cross buns recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns studded with plump dried cherries and luscious melty chunks of white chocolate are incredibly soft, fluffy, and delicious.
Serves 9
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Proof Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 120 g water warm, ~1/2 cup
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 250 g bread flour ~1 3/4 cups
  • 30 g sugar ~2 tbsp
  • 5 g cinnamon ~2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 large egg lightly beaten, see notes
  • 25 g butter room temp, ~2tbsp
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chopped, plus extra for crosses
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam

Special Equipment

  • 8x8 inch pan

Instructions

  • Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and let proof. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
    hot cross buns dry ingredients | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Whisk the egg into the foamy yeast mixture, then add the mix to the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir together until everything comes into a ball. Switch to a dough hook and knead on low until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides.
    hot cross buns dough | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the room temperature butter and continue to knead on medium-low, for about 10 minutes, until the dough reaches the windowpane stage – take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and stretch it out between your fingers and thumbs. If you can stretch it without the dough breaking and you can see through the stretched dough, you’re good to go. If the dough doesn’t windowpane, knead a bit longer. Knead in the cherries and white chocolate.
    hot cross buns dough | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours; dough that has mix-ins takes longer to rise.
    hot cross buns dough | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Take the dough and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down lightly then divide into 9 equal portions. If you want to be precise, use your kitchen scale to see how much your dough weighs, then divide by 9. Shape the portions of dough by bring the edges towards the center and tucking into balls. Lightly grease a 8×8 baking pan and evenly space the buns. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
    hot cross buns proofing in pan | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly. Stir the apricot jam with 2 teaspoons of hot water and gently brush on top of the buns. Pipe on crosses with melted white chocolate and enjoy!
    hot cross buns done | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

For 1/2 large egg, whisk a whole egg in a small bowl, then measure out half of the weight or just use 1 1/2 tablespoons of the whisked egg.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Hot Cross Buns
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 53
% Daily Value*
Fat 5.9g9%
Saturated Fat 3.4g21%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 74mg2%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 4.1g8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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