Honey butter hot cross buns

If you’ve been on a baking binge like the rest of the world, chances are you have a couple of loaves under your belt. These hot cross buns with honey butter should be next on your list. They’re basically a sweet bread enriched with butter and egg. I’ve made them extra spicy with orange peel and plenty fruit. Eaten warm from the oven or toasted with salted butter and honey, they’re an excellent start to the Easter weekend.

Honey butter hot cross buns

What flour is best to use for Hot cross buns with honey butter

Things being what they are, I used all-purpose cake flour for the buns (branded cake wheat flour in South Africa). If you’re lucky enough to have strong white bread flour in your pantry, I’d use that instead. Bread flour has more gluten than regular cake flour and is perhaps better suited here. As for the dried fruit and orange peel, you may want or need to substitute accordingly. For the raisin averse, swap out for free-hand measures of chocolate chips or finely chopped apple. This is isolation baking so most rules can be tossed out the window while we make do.

Honey butter hot cross buns

Once you’ve decided upon which flavourings and additions you’d like for your hot cross buns with honey butter, pretty straight forward. When making any bread, keep in mind that ambient room temperatures differ vastly, depending on the season and time of day. When proofing the buns, times are given as a guideline. Once risen, they should be plump with smooth, tight tops. As soon as they come out the oven, brush with warm honey butter. You can of course, gloss them over with thinned apricot jam or sugar syrup, if you prefer.

Honey butter hot cross buns

Honey butter hot cross buns

Honey butter hot cross buns

Hot cross buns with honey butter

Makes 15

  • 550g cake wheat flour (all-purpose)
  • 70g (1/3 cup) castor sugar
  • 2.5ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 12.5ml (2 1/2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) mixed spice
  • 1.25ml (1/4 teaspoon) nutmeg
  • 7g (2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 310ml (1 1/4 cups) full cream milk
  • 1 egg (xl)
  • 75g (1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon) salted butter, softened
  • zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 125g (3/4 cup) dried fruit (raisins and sultanas)
  • 50g (1/4 cup) candied orange peel
Hot cross bun piping
  • 75g cake wheat flour combined with 75ml (about 1/3 cup) cold water
Hot Cross Bun Glaze
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) honey


  1. Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. In a small jug, whisk together the milk and egg. Add the milk mixture and butter to the flour and mix to combine. Knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the citrus zest, dried fruit and peel. Mix together on a low speed until the fruit is evenly incorporated.
  3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and set aside to proof until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Divide into 15 equal portions. Roll into smooth-domed rounds. Arrange in a lined baking tin allowing a little space for spreading. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and set aside to proof until doubled in size, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200º C.
  6. For the crosses, transfer the paste into a piping bag fitted with a fine tip nozzle. Pipe crosses over the buns. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  7. Heat the butter and honey together until melted. Brush the honey butter over the hot buns. Rest the hot cross buns in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.


For more bread recipes, you might want to try your hand at these:

Floured milk bread buns

Easy yoghurt flatbreads

Walnut soda bread


13 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi there:)
    I want to make some HCBs this weekend but I’ve only got fresh bakers yeast from the bakery counter. Do you have a conversion for going from dry yeast to fresh?

  • This looks great!Thanks for the recipe! Say I want to bake these on Friday morning. Could I do the prep and resting and proving stages Thurs evening and them leave them until Fri morning to bake. If so, should I keep them in the fridge or on the kitchen counter on Thurs evening?

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 April 2020 9:09 am

    Hi Angelique. You can definitely do most of the prep work the day before. There’s two ways you can do this. First option – Mix and knead the dough, cover and chill overnight. Then, bring to room temp the next day and continue as per recipe step. Option 2 – Roll in balls, arrange in the tin, cover with cling film and a tea towel and place in the fridge immediately for a slow overnight proof. The next morning, bring to room temperature, pipe over the crosses and bake. Hope that helps. All the best Di

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 April 2020 9:41 am

    Hello Stacy. Sure. The conversion is 7g instant yeast to 20g fresh yeast. Wishing a wonderful Easter weekend. Kind Regards Di

  • Hello Di
    A quick note to say that having fractured my right wrist two days before lockdown baking is a no-no for me at present! However reading your recipes (and the photos) have lifted my spirits immensely! Thank you!
    Another Di

  • Hi Dianne. I just want to confirm, do we do 2 proofs … 1 with the dough for 1.5 hours and then we make them into the round domes and then proof again or do we bake here straight away? If we need to proof again after making them into domes, how long is this proof for? Thanks Jessica

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 April 2020 3:06 pm

    Gosh Di. There’s never a good time to be saddled with a handicap, especially when you could have some leisure time to bake? So frustrating. Thank you for your beautiful message. You’ve made my day infinitely brighter. If food and words can make even the smallest difference, then I’m absolutely happy! All the best to you and your family.

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 April 2020 3:14 pm

    Hi Jessica. Yes, there are two proofs. The first one is the bulk proof and the second proof is for the shaped buns. The second proof will take less time than the first, about 40-50 minutes until doubled in size. It always depends on the weather though. If it’s a cool day, it may take a little longer. Good luck. I’m sure they’re going to be fabulous.

  • What is mixed spice? Better yet what is the alternative and measurements for it? I see there is cinnomen already I can only imagine nutmeg but not sure what else.

  • Debi de Jager
    13 April 2020 12:13 pm

    Thank you so much for your amazing recipes. Just one question, is it possible to replace the yeast with 1tbs baking soda combined with 1 tbs vinegar if I use cake wheat flour (our local has run out of both yeast & baking powder)?

  • Dianne Bibby
    13 April 2020 3:31 pm

    You’re welcome Debi. You can do a replacement. The combination of baking soda and vinegar will encourage a good rise, but unfortunately won’t contribute to a sweet yeasted flavour.

  • Liesl Diesel
    17 April 2020 8:48 am

    The BEST Hot Cross Buns! The Honey Butter glaze just adds something extra! As for the smell thru the house when baking them – need to bottle it! Thanks dear Di for yet another winning recipe! New tradition started in our household.

  • Dianne Bibby
    17 April 2020 10:53 am

    These little honey butter buns are becoming famous! So glad they’ve found another happy home. Just think, every year around April, our homes will be smelling the same!

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