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: 30 minutesTotal: 3 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 18


  • 6 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dried currants
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • 1¾ tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. kosher 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 8–10 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" thick. Slice 2" 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 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 20–30 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.