How to make traditional hot cross buns

Create perfectly soft hot cross buns, ready to tear open, with our helpful tips and step-by-step guide below. 

1. Give it a good stir

Hot cross bun dough needs yeast to help it rise and produce fluffy buns. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture until really well combined - this stirring action kickstarts the rising process.

Stir the yeast mixture in a large bowl

2. Knead the dough until elastic

A stretchy dough will rise better during baking. Knead the dough until very smooth and elastic. Don't rush - it should take at least 10 mins. The dough is ready if it springs back when lightly pressed. 

Kneading the dough and make it stretchy

3. Prove the dough

For super-fluffy buns, the dough needs to prove twice - first for an hour in the bowl, then again for 30 mins in the pan. This allows the dough to expand and aerate, which prevents dense buns. 

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap to prove the dough

4. Use a pan for precision

For tall, square buns, bake them pressed together in a square cake pan. This stops the buns expanding sideways and holds their shape. Baking on a tray works too - the buns will just be rounder in shape. 

Put buns into a square cake pan

5. Thick paste works best

Worried your flour paste is too thick? Don't be tempted to add extra water - just apply firm pressure as you pipe. Firm flour paste will hold its shape better on the buns and give that iconic cross. 

Give iconic cross on the buns

6. Add a glossy finish 

To give the buns their traditional shiny finish, cool the buns slightly before lightly brushing the glaze over the tops. Buns hot from the oven will soak up the gaze, making them soggy. 

Brush the glaze over the tops