Holiday Hot Cross Buns

5 from 3 votes

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Tender dough is loaded with diced fruit, citrus zest, cinnamon and currants. A simple paste gets piped across the top of the dough before baking to form the perfect looking Holiday Hot Cross Buns that get glazed with apricot jam.

close up of hot cross bun

Holiday Hot Cross Buns are something I make occasionally around Easter or Christmas and I always end up asking myself why I don’t make them more often.

What are Hot Cross Buns?

A classic British breakfast bun, tender dough is loaded with diced apple, raisins, citrus zest, cinnamon and currants. After rising and formed into balls, it rises once more then a flour and water paste gets piped across the top of the dough before baking to form the perfect looking Hot Cross Buns. Once baked the buns are glazed with an apricot jam and are ready to eat.

These are real hot cross buns, not just buns with icing on top. No, no, the signature crosses are meant to be baked into the bread itself. Real deal baking here.

I got hooked on the Great British Baking Show while up in the Portland area visiting family. I came home and addictively finished watching the season and it lit the fire to bake more often. This is where I found Paul Hollywood, celebrated British baker and Mary Berry. I ordered his first cookbook, How To Bake, to learn more about classic British baked goods and fell in love with this recipe.

My only complaint is the book was all in metric measurements and I had a tough time converting. There are so many different pieces of info, conversion charts and online calculators to assist, but truth be told, so many gave different quantities. So I went to the basics and simply weighed the ingredients and took note.

cut dough to roll

So, needless to say, anyone having to convert to metric from US Customary measurement I applaud you and thanks for following along here! Since then I had a recipe conversion plugin added to the site to make it easier for everyone (if you’ve noticed for the past 2 years).

Why doesn’t the U.S. teach the metric system is beyond me, but that’s another matter…

rolled dough on baking sheet

US Customary and Metric Measurements

To convert each recipe you can click US or Metric, so I hope that’s helped many of you. You can also hover your mouse over the number of servings and move it left or right to change the number of servings and the ingredient list changes to the number you choose. Pretty cool!

overhead shot of sheet pan of Holiday Hot Cross Buns

I’ve always said cooking is forgiving and fun and baking is a science.

Measurements are key, as is sifting flour, when baking. Flour is tricky and sometimes you need a little more or less and sometimes a little more or less liquid. It’s just the nature of the beast. It comes down to texture and starting the know your dough and instincts.

close up of pan of Holiday Hot Cross Buns

Needless to say this is my version of Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns.

The dough is laced with cinnamon and studded with diced apple, golden raisins and tangy currants. The apple lends a bit of moisture and I love the flavor combination with cinnamon.

I serve them hot, with butter and some apricot jam. Enjoy!

Holiday Hot Cross Buns with jam and butter
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close up of hot cross bun

Holiday Hot Cross Buns

5 from 3 votes
Hot Cross Buns loaded with diced fruit, citrus zest and cinnamon. Signature piping across the top before baking then glazed with apricot jam.
Servings: 12
Prep: 4 hours
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 500 g bread flour
  • 10 g salt
  • 75 g sugar
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 40 g butter softened
  • 2 eggs medium
  • 120 ml warm milk
  • 120 ml water separated
  • 150 g golden raisins
  • 80 g currants
  • 2 orange zest only
  • 1 lemon zest only
  • 1 medium sweet apple (See Note 1) diced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

For the Crosses

For the Glaze

  • 75 g apricot jam


  • To a mixer with the dough hook attached, add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Turn it on for a few spins to mix and then turn off. Add the softened butter, eggs, milk and 1/4 cup of water. Mix and add more of the remaining water, a little at a time, until all the flour has been incorporated into the dough from sides of bowl. You don’t need to use all of the remaining water if you don’t have to. DOUGH SHOULD BE SOFT, NOT SOGGY.
  • Knead for 5 minutes on hook, OR if kneading by hand, turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead 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 5 mins until smooth and elastic.
  • Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film or light towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent (See Note 2).
  • With the dough still in the bowl, add the golden raisins, currants, citrus zest, diced apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  • Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface by cupping the dough piece with your hand and moving in a circular motion, working the dough into a ball.
  • Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with a silpat silicone mat or parchment paper, leaving a little space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, and set aside to proof for 1 more hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Mix the flour with the water to make the paste for the cross – it should be a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle, or plastic bag with an end tip cut off. Pipe a straight line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  • Heat the apricot jam plus 1 teaspoon of water in a microwave for 30 seconds to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks if needed. Brush over the top of the warm buns and allow to cool slightly. Serve with more jam and butter if desired.


  1. Apple varieties that are on the sweet side are Honey Crisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, Ambrosia™ and Red Delicious.
  2. Either turn empty oven on to heat to 200°F and heat. Turn off and then add bowl of dough to rise. OR turn your EMPTY dryer on for 2-3 minutes to heat it up. When stopped and heated up, carefully place the covered bowl of dough in and close the door. DO NOT turn the dryer on again!
  3. Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 433mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 0.9mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: English
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
sheet pan of hot crossed buns glazed


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns bake at 425 degrees. Perhaps your 475 degree is a typo? I will try these soon. I appreciate the conversions from metric. I just made the King Arthur Hot Cross Buns and they were good, but this recipe sounds even better with its citrus zests and apple.

      1. I’ve always made bread by hand and have no experience in a bread machine to answer that for you Marge. Sorry!

  2. 5 stars
    If only I had one (or 2) of these right now with my coffee smeared with lots of butter…..they look divine, Kevin!