Hot Cross Buns

Thought to have originated in Tudor times, these sweet, spicy buns were only allowed by law to be sold on Good Friday and Christmas.

Serves: 18Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 11 hours 50 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 18


  • 6 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 3⁄4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 cups dried currants
  • 1 3⁄4 cups milk
  • 1 3⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 1⁄8 tsp. coarse salt, divided
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


  • Combine orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, and currants. Set aside to plump overnight.
  • Combine milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add soaked currants and liquid, remaining sugar, 3 eggs, butter, mace, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface. Shape into a rope, about 3 inches thick. Slice 2-inch pieces off the rope, then roll each into a tight ball. Place balls on the prepared pan, seam-side down. Dust with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and proof 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Whisk together 1 egg, remaining 1⁄8 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon water; brush gently onto the top of the risen buns. With a serrated knife, slash a cross or X on the top of each roll. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool completely.
  • Beat together lemon zest, lemon juice, cream, and enough confectioners' sugar to make a smooth, thick icing. Pipe or drizzle icing into the cross cut in the top of each bun.