With Easter fast approaching, we have officially entered hot cross bun season. I adore these sweet, fruity, spiced buns. How about you? Are you a fan?
While the supermarket shelves are laden with hot cross buns this time of year, I prefer to bake my own. That way, I get to make them dairy free, cut back on the sugar and fat content, and pack them with fruits and spice. 🙂
Baking your own hot cross buns is not as difficult as you may think. While it seems like a long process, it only takes around 30 minutes hands on time. For the majority of the time the dough is resting!
As an added bonus, if you make your own, you will be rewarded with the most amazing scent of freshly baked buns with hints of fruit and cinnamon spice wafting through the house. Believe me, it is so good!
While hot cross buns are normally made with strong bread flour, I prefer to use plain (all purpose), which gives a more tender texture.
Here’s how I make the Hot Cross Buns…
Hands on time: 30 minutes Resting time: 1¾ hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes 15 medium or 12 large buns
250ml / 9 oz / 1 cup soya milk (or other non dairy milk)
1 tsp fast action / easy bake yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp neutral flavoured vegetable oil, such as rapeseed (canola)
500g / 17½ oz / 3½ cups plain (all purpose) flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp mixed spice
100g / 3½ oz / ½ packed cup sultanas or raisins
100g / 3½ oz / ½ cup Italian mixed peel
Finely grated zest of 1 organic/unwaxed orange
85ml / 3 fl oz / ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)
3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)
- Gently heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the yeast and sugar. After a couple of minutes the yeast will start to froth.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, spices. Stir in the sultanas, citrus peel and orange zest. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the oil, yeast milk mixture, and orange juice. Bring together the ingredients using your hands. The dough should be soft and sticky. Depending on the type of flour used, you may need to add a little more liquid.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or oiled cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. If your house is cool (like ours), cover with oiled foil and place in the oven at 40C / 100F for an hour.
- When the dough has risen, knead for a further 10 minutes then divide into 12 or 15 equal size balls. To ensure that the buns are exactly the same size and bake evenly, I weigh the dough. My dough tends to weigh about 1.125kg, so I tear off 75g for medium size buns. Roll the dough into smooth balls and evenly space out on a large baking tray (28 x 40cm / 10 x 15”) lined with non stick baking paper. Cover with the damp tea towel, oiled cling film (plastic wrap) or foil and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or so, until they have risen.
- Heat the oven to 200C (190C fan) / 400F.
- To make the crosses, mix 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour with 2 tbsp water to form a thick paste. Spoon into an icing bag with a thin nozzle (or a plastic freezer bag and snip the corner). Slowly pipe along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf, until golden brown.
- To make the glaze, gently boil the sugar and fruit juice in a small pan for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken into a syrup. Brush over the buns while they’re still hot. Allow to set before serving. These buns are most delicious served warm or toasted.
- The buns will last 2-3 days in an airtight container. They also freeze well. I tend to slice them in half before I freeze them so that they can be toasted without the need to defrost first.
UPDATE EASTER 2017
It’s been three years since I posted this recipe and it’s great to hear that people are still finding it useful! I’ve loved seeing all the pics you’ve been sharing on social media, so thank you so much for tagging me! Check out these beauties, that @jameesarah shared on Instagram (you can check out Jamee’s feedback in the comments section below this post).
MORE READER REMAKES ❤️
Back in 2013 when I shared this recipe, it was really difficult to find vegan hot cross buns in UK supermarkets, so I made them myself. Here we are in 2017, and vegan-friendly hot cross buns are available in practically every UK supermarket! Times sure are changing! 🙌🏻
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N.B. I’ve been a long-standing registered user of mySupermarket and would like to express my gratitude to them for sponsoring this post.
55 thoughts on “Vegan Hot Cross Buns (Dairy free, Egg free)”
Wow Sharon these look amazing – we love hot cross buns and have had orange and cinnamon flavoured buns with a little orange blossom water added in the mix and glaze to boost the orangyness (sp?). This flavour combo is inspired by Morocco where my favourite sweet dish is fine slices of orange arranged on a plate and sprinkled with a little sugar and lots of cinnamon – delish. PS the monkey bread was a huge success with the girls but mine was a little overbaked (or overworked) haven’t worked out which yet. X
Orange and cinnamon is such a beautiful combination isn’t it? The Moroccan orange slices sound so refreshing! I’ll definitely have to give them a try.
I’m pleased to hear that the girls liked the monkey bread. We should experiment with making an orange & cinnamon syrup for that dish too! xx
I can’t remember the last time I baked proper hot cross buns but these look so lovely I’m going to have to do so this year! Thanks for the top tip about chapatti flour being finer than regular wholemeal flour too; never baked with it before, so I’ll have to source some and try it out.
I’ve made 3 batches of hot cross buns in the past couple of weeks. I’ve frozen half of the them so they should last us the rest of Easter 😉
Chapatti flour is way finer than our regular wholemeal flour. As an added bonus, it’s super cheap 🙂 At Tesco, a 5kg costs just £3, and it’s currently on offer with 2 5kg bags for £4!
Such a brilliant tip! Have now ordered a couple of 5kg bags of Chapatti flour from Tesco – as well as the mixed spice and mixed peel needed for the hot cross buns. Looking forward to getting baking over the Easter weekend 🙂
I hope you enjoy the hot cross buns as much as we do! I highly recommend halving them before freezing. It’s so easy to pop them straight from the freezer into the toaster 😀
The chapatti flour is so versatile and I use it in all sorts of breads, cakes and cookies. The children I teach go crazy for the choc chip cookies I make and they have no clue that they’re wholemeal 😉
Ohmygoodness 3£ for 5kg?! You’re so lucky! I use chapatti flour for everything but in Ireland they only sell it in asian shops and it’s like 2€ per kg. Seriously considering a tour of supermarkets in Northern Ireland to stock up on those things! Anyway this flour makes an amazing pizza crust too 🙂
Wow that is expensive!!! I wonder why they charge so much in Ireland when it’s so cheap in England? Tesco is currently selling 10kg for £5! I usually go for the 5kg bags though as it’s pretty impossible to fit 10kg in the cupboard lol!
I always make my pizza crusts with chapatti flour too. Lately, I’ve been adding a little semolina into the dough as it seems to lighten up the crust and give the edge a nice crunch. I’ve amended my recipe here: http://bitofthegoodstuff.com/?p=8731 xx
Hot cross buns; too nice to just eat at Easter.
Never been a hot cross bun fan but yours look lovely!
Those look fantastic. I have never made these before but your directions are pretty clear so I might be able to swing this…breads are not my strong suit.
I hope you, M, and Lil’ L have a wonderful weekend. Here it is supposed to be quite warm so I anticipate spending quite a bit of time outdoors. Hopefully you all will have the same opportunity.
I absolutely love using the Atta flour, it really makes great baked products as well as the traditional roti’s. I’m going to try your recipe over the next week, as I have just run out of my chapatti flour so need to purchase some more. It’s one of the most versatile flours I use, and makes a great baked samosa.
Thanks for sharing
So nice to come across another Atta flour fan! I much prefer it to regular wholewheat flour… the texture is so much lighter and finer, plus it’s a fraction of the price too! I love using in pizza crusts too, mixed with a little semolina. It’s way tastier than white pizzas!
Hi Sharon – I’m from Australia and transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. Just now – I’ve sat in a work morning tea and watched people scoff hot cross buns and for the first time in my life – wondered how they were made (I’m not much of a cook :-)), and if they contain dairy or eggs So a quick search later I find out they do, so then I searched for a vegan version, and your recipe came up. Your hot cross buns look absolutley amazing and I think even I could manage the recipe (fingers crossed), so I’m going to try and see if I can get a batch up for Easter Sunday this year. I’m going to bookmark your site. Thank you!
I have just made these with a few adjustments (I didn’t put the mixed peel in as I am not a fan, used coconut milk and as I ferment all my dough, I am able to use less yeast and don’t have to knead it)!
I am pleased to say they came out great. Thanks once again for sharing such great recipes 🙂
These are the best. i kept finding duds out there, but this recipe is truly fantastic.
I am so thrilled that the recipe worked for you! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know. You’ve made my day! xx
Thank you. Tried these today with my 10 year old, we used fresh yeast, so we didn’t get the quantity right. Need to tweek and try again but the taste was great.
I tweeted but it won’t let me paste my link. @sploshy.
Hey there! I’m pleased to hear that the buns tasted good despite the yeast fail. Tasty buns is the most important thing 🙂 Hope you had a fab Easter xx
Am planing on trying to make these for my friend who is also GF..what flour would you recommend? I live in Australia. I do have GF plain flour…what about almond meal??
Hi Terri. I’m really sorry but GF flour doesn’t work with this recipe. I’ve tried before and the texture wasn’t good at all. I ended up throwing them out!
I’m still on the look out for a good GF vegan hot cross bun recipe (all the GF recipes I’ve found so far have egg in them). If you find one, please do let me know xx
Dear Sharon, Your Hot cross bun recipe looks so good, but I just want to point out to you as you are a Vegan that citrus fruits are sprayed and polished with none vegan products, ie, shellac (which comes from squashed bugs) or bees wax. This is common of most citrus fruits in supermarkets as my husband has done research on this and even contacted them. It is a shame, especially regarding oranges as we have not yet find an alternative. With Lemons Sainsburys do have unwaxed Lemons!
I look forward to making your Hotcross bun recipe, thanks for sharing! 😄
Hi Ruth. Yes, sadly it’s true that most oranges/lemons are coated in shellac or bees wax. I always use organic oranges and lemons as the supermarkets have confirmed these aren’t coated. (I buy mine in Tesco or Waitrose). I usually mention in my recipes to use organic/unwaxed citrus fruits so thanks for spotting the omission in this recipe. I’ll update it right away x
Help! Following your vegan hot cross buns recipe to the letter but yeast didn’t froth and dough not rising. What did I do wrong??
Thanks Sharon. Yeast was brand new but I used low fat soya milk. Would that make a difference? It definitely didn’t froth. Would water be better?
I used oat milk and mine didn’t froth either. Still came out ok though 😊
Hi again Debby! Low fat soya milk is fine to use. When using fast-action yeast, you don’t actually need to activate it in liquid & sugar, but I always do this step to make sure my yeast isn’t dud/hasn’t expired. If it froths, I know it’s good to go. If the liquid is too hot or too cold, this can an affect activation. It needs to be lukewarm. I never use a thermometer though; I just stick my finger in the milk to check the temperature. There’s some useful advice over here on trouble shooting yeast activation : http://www.chowhound.com/post/dissolving-yeast-milk-762189?page=2
My dough took a while to rise today as my house wasn’t warm. I ended up putting the radiator on low and sat the bowl on top. That did the trick! Other times I’ve popped the dough in the oven on low (40C). (Today my oven was busy cooking pizzas!)
Did you end up baking the hot cross buns? If so, did they rise at all as they cooked?
Thanks so much for this recipe. I used to make hot X buns years ago but haven’t attempted them for a while. I looked for a vegan recipe online and yours came up. Apart from using fresh yeast (12g) instead of the dried and coconut sugar instead of ordinary, I followed it faithfully. They are certainly the best hot X buns I’ve ever made.
Yay! So pleased they worked out for you 😀 I’ve never used fresh yeast before so I’d love to give it a try. Love the idea of using coconut sugar too (it’s my favourite!)
Just made these for my little boy who’s allergic to milk and egg. They’re lovely 😊 Turned out really well. I’ll have to make another batch to freeze.
Hi Katie. Thanks so much for stopping by to give your feedback. I’m thrilled to hear that they worked out well for you 😀
Happy Easter! xx
Hey, amazing recipe! Also instead of using the glazing you mentioned we use orange marmalade and it works fantastically!! 😊
Thanks Garry! I’m so happy to hear they worked out for you 😀 Great tip about the marmalade too. I’ll be sure to try that next time.
These turned out perfect. Thanks, great recipe. Simon
Hi Genna. Yes I do use the same quantities. All the best, Sharon xx
Hi Genna. I haven’t heard of the Fermipan brand but yes, instant yeast works in this recipe 🙂
Do you think Gluten free all purpose flour would work here?
Hi Emma. Sadly GF flour won’t work with this recipe. I tried it once and the buns came out rock hard 🙁 Sorry!
Just made hot cross buns for the first time ever using your recipe. They taste yummy but I have a couple of dilemmas. Firstly, a number of them split on the top and all of my crosses disappeared into the dough whilst baking. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve? The crosses were quite thick and looked good when I popped them into the oven. We are currently living in America where it is difficult to find a hot cross bun, so I’d like to improve them for next week. The glaze is excellent!
Hi Kari! Great to hear that the buns tasted yummy! I’m sorry you had a couple of technical issues with the buns. I’ve not experienced these issues myself but I had a quick look on google and a couple of people have mentioned that hot cross buns can crack if they are under-proved. So, if you do try them again, it might be worth leaving them to prove a little longer and see if this helps.
Hi Sharon! I just made these hot cross buns today and even though I think my yeast was a little old (the dough didn’t rise quite as much as it should have) they looked and tasted INSANELY good!! I’ve brought a new pack of yeast and will be making these again and again over the coming weeks, such a great recipe, thank you!! 🙂
Hi Jamee! I’m so pleased that the buns worked out well for you! And thank you so much for stopping by the blog to give feedback. I really appreciate it! 😊 I saw the photo you shared on Instagram and the buns look spectacular!!!
Hi Sharon, thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe! I just made it today. It’s so good! Beautiful texture. I especially like the extra orange flavour in the dough and the glaze. (I substituted some cranberries and reduced the mixed peel, as I like the flavour😊) Renee
Hi Renee! Thank you so much for your feedback! Sounds like the buns turned out just perfect for you 🙂 I love the idea of adding cranberries to the dough. I definitely need to give this a try next time I make them.
Have a wonderful Easter!
Love Sharon xx
i want to make these for easter I’m just trying to figure out if i should make them the day before or the day of. if i make them the day before whats the best way to heat them back up?
Hi Rachel! It should be fine to make the buns the day before and store them in an airtight container. Before serving, I slice them in half and pop them under the grill to lightly toast them on both sides. I then add a little vegetable spread/butter and they taste wonderful as it melts into the bun.
Have a great Easter!
Best wishes, Sharon xx
I just made your Hot cross buns and they turned out absolutely perfect! Thank you so much for the recipe, this will definitely be a yearly tradition from here on! Have a wonderful Easter!
Hi Amy. Apologies for the late reply but I was away on vacation for the past 2 weeks. I’m so delighted to hear that the hot cross bun recipe worked well for you and that your buns turned out perfect. Reading your lovely comment made me smile so much 😊
SUPERB recipe! Made them last week for easter, they came out just very slightly harder than I would have liked as the second proving was a bit too hot I think. They went down a treat anyway and were so popular I am having to make another batch! Second lot in the oven and looking much better than the first. Adore these, as do my family and friends. Very special is the orange glaze, these beat non-Vegan any day!
YAY! Vegan buns are the best aren’t they? So pleased that to hear how much you, your family and friends enjoyed them 😊 Thank you for stopping by the blog to let me know. I really appreciate it xx
Wow! These are so delicious, my vegan family of 5 can’t thank you enough, this will be a recipe that gets handed down the generations for sure. We put all dough ingredients into the bread maker on dough setting with double the yeast, then shaped buns and rose in a warm over for an hour, and they were huge! Fluffiest buns ever
Hey Lizzie! Thank you so much for your feedback on the hot cross buns. I’m so happy to hear your family enjoyed them! Love your tips about using a breadmaker too. I’m definitely going to try this next time I make buns 😀 xx
These are first ever attempt at vegan hot cross buns and they are they are absolutely fantastic and better than the ‘real thing’ (my husband’s words). I used Oat milk as the substitute.