GAIL’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe

There’s nothing better than a warm, lightly spiced Hot Cross Bun with butter, of course. And, to celebrate Easter, GAIL’s have shared the recipe for their iconic Hot Cross Buns with us. The recipe below will make 20 buns, so there will be plenty to go around.

30 minutes (+ 2 hours resting) 20 minutes 20 Buns

Image: GAIL’s


For the Buns:
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 70g soft unsalted butter (cut the cold butter into 2cm cubes and leave at room temperature for an hour before using)
  • 40g sultanas
  • 40g dry currants
  • 40g dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 70g mixed peel
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
For the Cross Topping:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 230g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp milk
For the Syrup:
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 vanilla pod split in half lengthwise


  1. In a large mixing bowl melt the yeast with a tablespoon of whole milk and a teaspoon of caster sugar. Make sure the yeast has completely dissolved and leave for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you should notice mini bubbles on top of your yeast liquid: that means your yeast is alive.
  2. In a separate bowl, sieve the flour with the spices.
  3. Add the spiced flour to the yeast mixture. Keep adding the rest of the milk, the sugar and egg.
  4. Begin to bind the mixture together using your hands, for 4-5 minutes until it forms a rough dough, and then add the butter a chunk at a time whilst kneading the dough.
  5. After adding all the butter slowly, it should take around 2-3 minutes you will have a nice sticky dough. Continue kneading for 5 minutes more until you get a smooth, shiny dough.
  6. Add the salt and fruits and continue kneading for 3 minutes more.
  7. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 1.5 hours, until it grows to almost double in size.
  8. Pour your dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 20 pieces at 50g each. Roll the dough pieces into shape by rolling them on a surface against your palms to create smooth buns.
  9. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with a baking paper (all the buns onto one tray) and make sure you keep an even gap between them all. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature until almost double in size.
  10. When the buns are ready (the sides of each bun should be touching and you almost shouldn’t be able to see the tray) make an egg wash by whisking 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk and a teaspoon of milk. Brush the buns carefully with this egg wash and leave to dry out for 10 minutes. Brush again.
  11. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.


  1. Using a hand whisk, gently combine all the cross topping ingredients into a smooth paste.
  2. Fill a plastic piping bag with the topping mixture and cut a small hole using scissors. Always cut a smaller hole than you think you might need as you can cut it again to make a bigger hole – but you can’t make a big hole smaller!
  3. Pipe thin crosses on top of the buns on the tray and pop it into the hot oven.
  4. Immediately, reduce the oven temp to 180°C/gas mark 4 until thoroughly baked and golden (around 20-22 minutes).


  1. Put all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and over low heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, increase the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until you have a syrupy consistency.
  2. Remove from the heat and fish the spices out.
  3. Once the buns are ready, take them out of the oven and carefully brush them with the hot syrup.
  4. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
GAIL's Hot Cross Buns served with bacon

Recipe notes

To enjoy your day-old Hot Cross Buns, place the bun face down on top of the toaster, not inside, so it doesn’t get stuck. Butter the toasted hot cross bun and place the bacon inside.

About this recipe

This GAIL’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe is courtesy of GAIL’s


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