Rocket’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Get ready to elevate your Easter baking game with our chef-approved hot cross buns recipe. These soft, spice-infused buns are a beloved tradition during the holiday season, cherished for their comforting warmth and irresistible aroma. Join Rocket’s pastry chef, Ruben Moreno, as he describes the simple steps to create these classic treats, perfect for sharing with family and friends or enjoying as a special indulgence all to yourself. Serve split with lots of butter, either warm from the oven or toasted.

Makes 15 buns. 


For the buns

  • 300ml + 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 80g sultanas
  • 40g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus a bit extra
For the glaze

  • 3tbsp apricot jam


Step 1: Crafting the Dough
Begin by bringing 300ml of full-fat milk to a gentle boil. Once heated, remove it from the stove and incorporate 50g of butter, allowing the mixture to cool until it reaches a comfortable hand temperature. In a mixing bowl, combine 500g of robust bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 75g of caster sugar, and a 7g sachet of fast-action or easy-blend yeast. Create a well in the center and pour in the warm milk-butter mixture, along with a beaten egg. Utilizing a wooden spoon initially, thoroughly mix the ingredients before transitioning to hand-kneading, ensuring a cohesive, slightly sticky dough is formed.

Step 2: Kneading and Rising
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface, kneading it by stretching and folding it repeatedly for approximately 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, covering it with oiled cling film. Allow it to rise in a warm environment for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size, indicated by a noticeable indentation when gently pressed.

Step 3: Infusing Flavors
While the dough rests in the bowl, incorporate 75g of sultanas, 50g of mixed peel, zest from 1 orange, finely chopped apple, ground cinnamon, and mixed spice. Knead these additions thoroughly into the dough to ensure even distribution. Allow the dough to rise once more for an additional hour, covered with oiled cling film to prevent it from forming a crust.

Step 4: Shaping the Buns
Divide the dough into 15 uniform pieces, each weighing around 75g, and shape them into smooth balls on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment paper, ensuring ample space for expansion. Cover them with oiled cling film or a clean tea towel and set aside to prove for another hour.

Step 5: Creating the Cross
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Prepare a paste for the cross by mixing 75g of plain flour with approximately 5 tablespoons of water until a thick consistency is achieved. Pipe the paste along each row of buns to form crosses. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 18-20 minutes until they turn golden brown.

Step 6: Glazing and Final Touches
Gently warm 3 tablespoons of apricot jam until melted, then strain it through a sieve for a smooth texture. While the jam is still warm, brush it over the tops of the freshly baked buns, allowing them to cool before serving.

Rocket’s Pastry Chef Ruben with a tray of doughnuts at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Preview Party 2023.

Celeste Good
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