Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cherries

Nutmeg-scented hot cross buns are studded with dried cherries and golden raisins. Traditionally served on Good Friday, these yeast-risen buns are delicious before an egg hunt or with a cup of hot tea.

  • Yield: Makes 30
Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cherries

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2009


  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 4 ounces (3/4 cup) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (3/4 cup) golden raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Heat 1 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it registers 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour milk into a mixer bowl, and fit mixer with a dough hook. With mixer on low speed, add granulated sugar, yeast, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and knead until mixture comes together in a soft, sticky dough. Continue kneading, scraping down hook as needed, until dough is smooth, about 4 minutes.

  2. Add cherries and raisins, and knead to incorporate. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead to distribute dried fruit. Coat a large bowl with butter. Shape dough into a ball, and place in prepared bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  3. Generously butter a rimmed baking sheet. Turn dough onto a surface, knead briefly, then divide into 3 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, divide each third into 10 pieces, and shape each into a tight ball. (Keep dough covered with plastic.) Place on prepared sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm spot until buns have doubled in size and are touching, about 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together egg white and water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg-white wash. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on sheet on wire rack for 30 minutes.

  5. Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch round tip, and pipe icing on buns in the shape of a cross. (Alternatively, spoon glaze on buns.) Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

These buns are best eaten the day they are made; if you make them the day before, don't pipe the icing across on the tops. Instead, warm the buns the next day in a 300-degree oven, let cool, and then decorate right before serving.


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