Honey Bunnies

honey bunnies
Photo: Nico Schinco
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins

Hot cross buns are a sweet Good Friday custom, but these hot cross bunnies are cuter by leaps and bounds. After the brioche-style dough rises, you'll divide it into smaller pieces to form the heads and ears, then bake them and brush on a golden honey-butter glaze.



  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing

  • ½ cup whole milk, warmed to 110°F

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (a ¼-ounce packet)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons honey


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • Pink gel-paste food coloring, such as AmeriColor


  1. For the Buns: Brush a large bowl with butter; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, combine warm milk, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, citrus zests, eggs, and melted butter until sugar and yeast have dissolved.

  2. Add flour and beat on low speed until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is smooth and tacky, about 4 minutes more. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to bring together into a ball. Place dough ball in prepared bowl and turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 1-ounce pieces, then divide half of them in half to create 1/2-ounce pieces. Gently shape larger (1-ounce) portions of dough into tight balls to form bunny heads. Form smaller (1/2-ounce) pieces into 2-to-3-inch logs to resemble bunny ears.

  4. Arrange ears on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each pair 2 inches from next, angled in slightly toward bottom. Place a bunny head slightly overlapping bottom of each pair of ears. Loosely cover; let stand at room temperature until soft and pillowy, about 1 hour.

  5. Preheat oven to 350°F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake, rotating pans and rack positions halfway through, until buns are golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when gently tapped, 18 to 20 minutes.

  6. For the Glaze: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat butter and honey over medium-high, stirring, until smooth and melted. Brush glaze generously over tops of buns. Return to oven until glaze is no longer sticky, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  7. For the Icing: In a bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons water until smooth and thick enough to pipe (if too thick, add more water, a few drops at a time). Using a toothpick, add a few dots of food coloring to icing; mix to create a light-pink color. Transfer to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag with a very small hole snipped in one corner. Pipe ears, eyes, and noses onto bunnies. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes. Serve, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 day.

Related Articles