Hot Cross Buns

Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th-century monk, is widely credited as making the very first hot cross or Alban buns in 1361. A sweet, fruity bake bearing a cross on top, the buns were given to the local poor on Good Friday. This Easter treat so pleased the recipients that word soon spread, and efforts were made across the country to imitate these cakes. By the 19th century, hot cross buns were commonly eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent.  The buns were marked with a cross in honour of the crucifixion of Jesus. 

Those who share a hot cross bun are supposed to enjoy a strong friendship and bond for the next year. A line from an old rhyme captures this lore, “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.”


Makes 10 Hot Cross Buns

200mls milk, 50g unsalted butter, 1tsp Vanilla extract, 2 tsp dried yeast, 100g Caster Sugar, 500g White bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 4 tsp mixed spice, 2 tsp Cinnamon, 150g mixed dried fruits, 1 egg beaten and 1 extra for glazing

For the paste to make the cross – 3 tbsp plain flour & 3 tbsp caster sugar and water to combine into a thick paste


  1. Warm the milk, butter and vanilla in a pan on a low heat, check is only tepid, whisk in 1 tbsp sugar and add the yeast
  2. Mix the remaining sugar, flour, salt and spices into a mixing bowl
  3. Mix in the egg and milk mixture to form a dough
  4. Knead for 10 mins on a floured surface
  5. Press out dough into a rectangle and add the mixed dried fruit
  6. Knead briefly to combine
  7. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and place in a warm place to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size
  8. Turn out onto a floured surface and knock the dough back, divide into 10 balls
  9. Place balls on a lined baking sheet/s and cover with cling film
  10. Return for second rise, proving for 1-2 hours
  11. Preheat oven to 220 and brush the buns with egg wash
  12. Mix the plain flour and water to make a thick paste and then pipe this onto the buns to make the cross
  13. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  14. Remove and cool on a wire rack




BBC Good Food Hot Cross Buns Recipe