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Hot Cross Buns

In England, hot cross buns -- soft and slightly sweet little cakes with a cross cut into the tops -- are traditionally served on Good Friday.

  • Yield: Makes 24 buns
Hot Cross Buns

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April/May


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons plus one pinch salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose, flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/3 cups currants
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Generously butter a large bowl. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat 1 cup milk until it is warm to the touch.

  2. Pour warm milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. With mixer on low, add yeast, granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and beaten eggs.

  3. With mixer on low, add flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms around the dough hook, about 3 minutes. Continue kneading, scraping down hook and sides of bowl as necessary until smooth, about 4 minutes longer. Add currants, and knead until combined, about 30 seconds.

  4. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Knead by hand to evenly distribute currants, about 1 minute.

  5. Shape dough into a ball, and place in the buttered bowl; turn ball to coat with butter, and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour 20 minutes. For a richer flavor, let dough rise in a refrigerator overnight.

  6. Generously butter an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet. Turn dough out onto work surface, and knead briefly to redistribute the yeast. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 ounces each. Shape pieces into tight balls, and place on baking sheet, spaced 1/2 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until touching and doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  7. Heat oven to 375 degrees, with rack positioned in center. To make egg wash, whisk together egg white, 1 tablespoon water, and pinch of salt in a small bowl; brush tops of buns with egg wash. Using very sharp scissors or a buttered slicing knife, slice a cross into the top of each bun. Transfer pan to oven, and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.

  8. Make glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon milk, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. Pipe or ladle glaze over buns, and serve.

Reviews (10)

  • emptynester 2 Apr, 2010

    I have never eaten these or tried to make them before, but this year since I am not working I decided to try my hand at making these for Good Friday. I can't wait to see what they are like. I watched an old show of Martha's where her Mom, Big Martha, was making them and they looked yummy and easy to make.

  • guardianstudios 14 Apr, 2009

    SOOO tasty! Mine turned out soft and wonderful! All 24 are nearly gone with only 4 people eating them.

  • mateo179 5 Mar, 2009

    These are the best hot cross bun recipe that you will find. To make them Estonian or East Prussian style, omit the sugar glaze, dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

  • xina28ca 20 Apr, 2008

    What a waste of time and money. I made these to the letter, but they burned at 375F after only 12 minutes (only noticed when I rotated the pans). My oven is calibrated and I use an oven thermometer, so I know it's not that. I would suggest 350F and check frequently.

  • SUSIEQFREEMAN 23 Mar, 2008

    I thought these would be dense moist and gooy like the ones I get at the grocery store. I was disappointed. They were more the texture of bread.

  • MissPatty 22 Mar, 2008

    I love your mom so much and watch the segments in which she is featured more than once. Watching her mix dough on a stool reminds me of watching my own dear mom do the same thing every Saturday morning. I hope you will continue to feature her.

  • kaktuspige 21 Mar, 2008

    It was so nice to see your mom again Martha. Thank you so much for bringing back fond memories of her. She reminds me so much of my mother. Mom was a wonderful cook also. Thank you

  • katiemommy 21 Mar, 2008

    I just took these out of the oven 30 mins ago and they are delicious!!!! They were very easy to make - they are deifinately going to be a new Easter tradition in our family - the kids all loved them.

  • Freckld_Face 21 Mar, 2008

    They just came out of the oven an hour ago, and they are yummy! I omitted the currants and used 1/2Cup candied orange peel, 1Cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate instead. Oh so good!!!

  • lorndorff 21 Mar, 2008

    This recipe looks very good. I am going to make it with my daughter.


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