Easy Hot Cross Buns
Desserts,  Our Favorites,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Dried fruit is soaked in rum until plump before being incorporated into this holiday favorite.

This year, I finally tackled a classic Easter dessert recipe: hot cross buns.

They always look so pretty, and I assumed that they took a ton of work to prepare. So when I found this recipe from King Arthur Flour promising “easy” hot cross buns, I was excited to give it a shot!

Close up of a hot cross bun on a plate.

This recipe has you soak dried fruit in rum (or apple juice) before incorporating it into the dough.

I used a mix of dried currants, raisins, apricots and plums. It was a nice assortment and I liked that there were a few different colors inside the final buns.

Tray of hot cross buns with 2 served on plates.

I had a bit of trouble getting the fruit to incorporate well, and the dough was pretty sticky, which made it tricky to shape.

The recipe says that you can use a 10-inch square or 9×13 pan. I don’t see how they’d all fit into a 10-inch square, so I’d advise using a larger baking dish.

Tray of hot cross buns with 2 served on plates.

So they didn’t form perfectly beautiful spheres, but they were still totally gorgeous. They got a big reaction at the Easter dinner table!

I also may have made the icing a bit thin, so I’ll work on that next time as well.

Because OH YES, there most certainly will be a next time.

And I don’t think I’ll be waiting till Easter rolls around again!

Close up of a hot cross bun with dripping icing.

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Close up of a hot cross bun with dripping icing.

King Arthur Flour’s Easy Hot Cross Buns

  • Author: King Arthur Flour
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Dried fruit is soaked in rum until plump before being incorporated into this holiday favorite.


Units Scale


  • 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing


  1. Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.
  2. Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
  3. When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
  4. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
  5. Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
  6. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
  8. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  9. Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.


Recipe by King Arthur Flour


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 273
  • Sugar: 24.1 g
  • Sodium: 573.3 mg
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Protein: 8.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 62.3 mg

Keywords: hot cross buns, icing, dried fruit, raisins, Easter

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.

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