Image showing home made hot cross bun split open and covered in butter

Hot Cross Bun Recipe

I love this Paul Hollywood Hot Cross Bun recipe, I have tried several, including my favourite chef, Delia Smith, but I do return to this one each time. I wouldn’t suggest it something you do every day as they do require a little bit of effort.  They are fun and easyish to make with children, and while they seem to like the making they don’t really like the eating bit! All the more for me then!

The photo is my very first attempt – I wish I had taken pictures of subsequent ones as they were much better. I may try again this year!


The Buns

  • 300ml whole milk
  • 500g  strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt (I reduce this to just over half a teaspoon)
  • 7g fast-action yeast, fresh is fine (follow the instructions)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150g sultanas or raisins if you prefer
  • 80g mixed peel although I don’t use it
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

The Cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

The Glaze

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam (although I used my home made plum jam)


  1. Boil the milk and  take it off the heat and let it cool to hand temperature
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl
  3. Gradually add the warm milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough – that’s the exciting bit!
  4. Add the sultanas /raisins and mixed peel (if you want it) orange zest and cinnamon.
  5. Tip it all onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If you have a bread machine you can at this stage put it into the bread machine, I have used the pizza dough setting to good effect.
  6. If you and making it yourself, put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, I used bag that I keep for breads and use if over again. Some people use a tea towel. You can use cling film but grease it first.
  7. Leave it to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size, or check it in the bread machine.
  8. Once risen divide the dough into 12 even pieces, if you want to be very precise, weigh it split into 2 and so on!
  9. Lightly flour the surface and roll each piece into a smooth ball
  10. Line a baking tray with parchment – I have tried without this and they can stick so use the paper! Make sure you are generous with the spacing as they will rise.
  11. Leave them to rise for another hour.
  12. Heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.
  13. To make the crosses mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl until it is a thick paste. In the end I didn’t use it all so you can reduce the amount of flour and water. Paul Hollywood pipes the paste onto the buns but I don’t have a piping bag so used a knife edge to put a cross on.
  14. Bake them for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.
  15. Slowly heat the jam until it melts, then brush it over the warm buns and leave them to cool. Remember melted jam gets very hot!

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