Homemade hot cross buns that are so soft, fluffy + slightly sweet. An absolute must for Easter – they’ll disappear so fast!
These buns are something I look forward to every single Easter. They’re so light, so soft, and so perfectly sweet.
Studded with orange-soaked raisins (to help plump them up), these rolls have the most perfect fluff to them with all the warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
It’s like a warm, cozy hug in a bun, and they are best served warm from the oven with a little bit of butter and a hot cup of tea. There’s nothing like it.
The most important thing here is to make sure your yeast is nice and active or else it will not rise. And a sticky, soft dough is key for the fluffiest rolls possible. A stand mixer will also be your best friend, and it won’t require any elbow grease. But if you do not have a mixer, you can absolutely knead the dough by hand.
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup whole milk, 105-110 degrees F
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
for the cross
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine raisins and orange juice until warmed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain the raisins from the orange juice, discarding the orange juice; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, orange zest, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; set aside.
Combine milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and raisins until well combined.
Using the dough hook, add flour mixture and yeast mixture until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl or coat with nonstick spray; place dough in bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Gently deflate dough by punching down. Roll into a 15-inch rope; cut into 15 1-inch pieces, pressing each piece into a disk, then shaping into a ball.
Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray. Place dough balls into the prepared baking dish. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
for the cross
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water until a smooth paste is formed. Transfer to a Ziploc bag, making a small cut in the corner of the bag. Pipe mixture over each dough ball, creating a thick cross.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes; brush tops with melted butter.