Hot cross buns recipe

A while back we invited master baker Dan Lepard into MNHQ for a webchat and bake day to show us how to make his hot cross buns. The results were legendarily brilliant, so we bring them out every year at about this time

Hot cross buns

Dan says: "The first thing I ever baked was hot cross buns, with my primary school teacher, and it started my interest in baking and led to my working life today. So if you can involve your children, it might encourage an interest in baking and cooking later in their lives!"

Dan's easy hot cross buns recipe

The plain flour gives the crumb a very tender texture. You can also use strong white or bread flour, but you will need a dash more water to keep the dough soft. Use a little flour, or lightly oil your hands and a spot to knead on if you like, but with this buttery dough I don't use either and find it usually doesn't stick much.


  • 175ml warm water
  • 1 sachet dry instant yeast
  • 550g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g sugar, any sort
  • 4 tsp mixed spice
  • 75ml milk
  • 75g butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 150g raisins or 100g currants
  • 150g chopped glacé ginger, or mixed peel
  • Finely grated zest of an orange or lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • Sunflower oil or extra flour for kneading


  • Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/390°F/gas 6.
  • Measure the water into a jug, stir in the yeast and leave it while you get everything else ready.
  • Bring the milk to the boil then remove from the heat and add the butter, stir until it melts, then add the dried fruit, ginger or peel, and beat in the egg.
  • Put the flour, salt, sugar, and spice in a large mixing bowl and give it a quick toss around to roughly combine it. Crumble any lumps of sugar finely with your fingers, but don't worry about any hard ones that won't break up.
  • Stir the fruit and yeast mixtures together then pour this in with the flour.
  • Stir everything together, or use your hands, and leave for 10 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft.
  • Lift the dough out of the bowl and onto the work-top then give it a good quick knead for 10-15 seconds. No, I don't mean minutes. By giving the dough a quick knead now and leaving it for 45 minutes it will be in perfect shape when we divide and shape the buns.
  • Next, divide the dough into about a dozen equal pieces, just under 100g each. Shape each piece into a smooth tight ball - that's the tricky bit - and place them evenly spaced on a tray lined with non-stick paper. Cover with a tea-towel and leave somewhere warm for about 90 minutes until risen by about half.
  • Mix extra flour with water to a paste and pipe crosses on each. Bake the buns for 25 minutes. Finally, mix a tablespoon each caster sugar and boiling water and brush over the buns while they're still hot.

Here are our pictures of Dan making hot cross buns

Thanks to everyone who baked along, swapped tips and ingredients with Dan and other Mumsnetters, and uploaded pictures of their finished result.

Dan Lepard making hot cross buns

Making hot cross buns

Making hot cross buns

Making hot cross buns

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Last updated: 7 months ago