A Simple Hot Cross Bun Recipe (in the bread maker)

Mar 29, 2024

A quick efficient way to make a batch of hot cross buns this Easter without all the fuss.

I love hot cross buns, although whenever I see a tradiotnal recipe I get intimidated by all the ingredients and steps!

Not with this recipe!
All you need is a bread maker and a large brownie tin.
I love to use my Whiltshire Enamel Oblong Baking Dish for this recipe.

What is the difference between active and sure bake yeast?

  1. Active Dry Yeast:
    • Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in warm water (usually around 105°F to 115°F or 40°C to 46°C) before using in a recipe. This step, called proofing, activates the yeast and allows it to ferment and produce carbon dioxide, which makes the dough rise.
    • Active dry yeast has larger granules and requires a longer rise time compared to rapid rise yeast.
    • It’s often recommended for traditional bread recipes that require longer rising times.
  2. Rapid Rise Yeast (like a Surebake Yeast)
    • Rapid rise yeast is designed to be mixed directly with the dry ingredients in a recipe without proofing in water first. This can save time in the baking process.
    • It typically produces a quicker rise than active dry yeast, which is why it’s called rapid rise or quick-rise yeast.
    • Rapid rise yeast granules are smaller and contain a higher concentration of active yeast cells, which contributes to its faster fermentation process.
    • It’s suitable for recipes where a shorter rise time is desired, such as for bread machines or when making quick breads.

The main difference between active dry yeast and rapid rise yeast lies in their activation process and their respective rise times. Active dry yeast requires proofing in warm water before use and has a longer rise time, while rapid rise yeast can be mixed directly into the dry ingredients and results in a quicker rise

Why do we eat warm spiced hot cross buns at Easter?

Hot cross buns are traditionally associated with Easter in the Christian culture for several reasons:

  1. Religious Symbolism: The cross on top of the bun symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which is central to the Easter story in Christianity. The spices inside the bun are said to represent the spices used to embalm Jesus’ body.
  2. Lenten Tradition: Hot cross buns were historically associated with Lent, the period of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter in many Christian denominations. Traditionally, during Lent, Christians would abstain from consuming certain foods like dairy, eggs, and fats. Hot cross buns, which don’t contain these ingredients, were a suitable treat for the Lenten season.
  3. Breaking the Lenten Fast: Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter season. Hot cross buns would be eaten on Easter Sunday to celebrate the end of the fasting period, symbolizing the breaking of the Lenten fast.
  4. Cultural Tradition: Over time, hot cross buns have become a cultural symbol of Easter in many countries, even among those who may not adhere strictly to Christian traditions. They are often enjoyed as a seasonal treat during the Easter holidays.

What shall I eat with my hot cross bun?

  1. Butter: Slathering a warm hot cross bun with butter is a classic choice. The butter melts into the bun, adding richness and enhancing its flavor.
  2. Jam or Marmalade: Adding a layer of fruity jam or tangy marmalade can complement the spiciness of the hot cross bun. Popular choices include strawberry, raspberry, or orange marmalade.
  3. Honey: Drizzling honey over a warm hot cross bun can add sweetness and a subtle floral flavor. It pairs well with the spices in the bun.
  4. Cream Cheese: For a creamy and slightly tangy option, spread some cream cheese on a warm hot cross bun. This adds a smooth texture and balances out the sweetness.
  5. Cheese: Some people enjoy topping hot cross buns with cheese, such as cheddar or brie, for a savory twist. The combination of sweet and savory flavors can be delightful.
  6. Cinnamon Sugar: Sprinkling a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top of a warm hot cross bun can enhance its sweetness and add a hint of spice.

Do you want a more traditional hot cross bun recipe? Try these instead.

My Friend Namoi at Whanau Kai
My Friend Laura at The Kiwi Country Girl

Want to try another bread recipe.

Try my family loaves of bread recipe.

Bread Maker Hot Cross Buns

Warm, fruity, spicy, hot cross buns without all the fuss of a traditional recipe.



  • 1 Tbsp surebake yeast (rapid rise yeast) (1½ Tbsp of active yeast)
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups high grade flour (450 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter (30 grams)
  • 320 ml water room temperature
  • 1 egg

To Add Next

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp mixed spice
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried fruit mix (or plain raisins if you don't like orange rind)

The Cross

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ¼ cup cold water

The Glaze

  • ¼ cup apricot jam (marmalade or honey are good alternatives)
  • 2 tbsp boiling hot water


The Dough

  • Place all of the dough ingredients into a bread maker in the order listed and set the 'dough function'.

What to 'Add Next'

  • Your bread maker may beep when it's time to put in additions, check your manual to see what time that is at and set a time. Alternatively set a timer for 30 minutes.
    After the beep or 30 minutes, add the “add next' ingredients to the dough. Let the bread maker finish the 'dough function' setting.
  • When the bread maker function finishes, remove the dough and punch down the dough. Tip onto a well-floured surface and shape into a long sausage shape.
  • Using a dough scraper or knife, cut 12 pieces of dough (try and get all similar sizes). Shape into balls and place in a 3×4 array in your tin. The dough balls should not be touching.
    Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Pre heat the oven to 200℃

The Cross

  • To make the crosses, place the flour, sugar and water in a small bowl and combine into a smooth paste. Place in a small piping bag and pipe crosses onto the surface of the buns.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.

The Glaze

  • Remove from the oven and brush the glaze over the hot cross buns.
    Cool on a wire rack.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool to your desired temperature.