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Bread Machine Hot Cross Buns

This Bread Machine Hot Cross Buns recipe is simple and delicious. The buns are soft and fluffy, flavourful with spices, and sweet with a sugar glaze and icing.

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy Hot Cross Buns recipe for Easter, it doesn’t get much easier than this bread machine method. Let your bread machine do most of the work for these flavourful buns!

A Classic Easter Recipe

Hot Cross Buns are a traditional recipe that appear on many tables at Easter, especially on Good Friday. I know we look forward to them every year. I used to buy them from the grocery store, but I’ve since stopped doing than now that I’ve got this easy and delicious recipe to make them. There is NOTHING like homemade bread. Nothing. The smell as they bake, and the homemade taste, just can’t be beat.

Make the dough in the bread machine.

Why make these hot cross buns in the bread machine? Because you can! And it’s SO easy. I’m not much of a bread baker in the sense that I don’t make bread the traditional way where I do all the work to knead and rise and knead and rise. I love being able to add all of the ingredients to the machine and have it do the hard work for me. But I don’t use the machine to bake the bread, instead I use it just to make the dough. Then I shape the dough and bake it myself. My bread machine gets a work out, I make dinner rolls, bread loaves, pull-apart bread, pizza dough, panettone, fruit and berry Bread, and these Hot Cross Buns.

Shape and Bake.

Once the dough has been made, I shape it into 12 buns and add them to a buttered 8×8 baking pan to rise for 1 hour before baking.

Add a Sugar Glaze

As soon as these hot cross buns come out of the oven, brush the tops with a sugar glaze. The glaze makes a nice shiny, sweet top that I love (they stay shiny too!). It’s such a nice way to finish off these delicious buns.

Don’t forget the icing!

And of course, the classic icing cross has to be added to these hot cross buns! For these buns, I haven’t added the traditional flour cross, instead I decided to keep things easy and only add an icing cross. The recipe below makes quite a bit of icing, so you can be generous with your decorating. Sometimes though, if there is still a bit of icing left in the piping bag, I just leave it with the buns and people can add more icing to theirs if they wish…and I wish haha.

How to Add the Icing Cross to Hot Cross Buns

Speaking of icing, I wanted to talk a bit about adding it to the buns. Don’t decorate each bun individually. Instead, using the piping bag (or a makeshift ziplock bag), run a continuous horizontal line across the middle of the buns, from one side to the other. For example, start at the top row of buns, and run a horizontal line through the middle of all of them. Then go down to the next row of buns, and run a line through them, and repeat for the next row. When that’s done, go back to the top row of buns and pipe the icing down vertically in the middle of the first row, then the next and repeat until done. And if you can, make sure to add the icing when the buns are completely cooled, because if they’re still too warm the icing may pool in the seams (you can see this in the pictures of my buns here, I don’t mind it though. They don’t have to be perfect).

Soft, moist and flavourful.

These hot cross buns are delicious. They’re sweet, cinnamony-y and SO so good. We like to enjoy them with butter and extra icing for snacking, or with different jams. But they’re really perfect for Easter brunch served alongside this Crustless Quiche and Fruit Salad! Yum.

Recipe Tips:

  • Milk and butter: Have the milk and butter at room temperature. Cold ingredients do not stimulate yeast growth, so the dough may not rise to its potential.
  • Raisins: You can use raisins or currants. If they are a bit dry, plump them up in some warm water. I just add them to a small bowl, cover them in warm water and let them sit for 15 minutes or so. Then drain.
  • Optional Add Ins: This recipe calls for 1/2 cup raisins or currants, but you can add chopped dried apricot or candied fruit, or mix it up, it’s up to you. The total amount just has to be 1/2 cup. You can even add orange zest to these buns, this is especially delicious (I sometimes will add ~ 2 tsp).
  • Spices: I use cinnamon and allspice. If you love nutmeg, feel free to add 1/4 tsp to the recipe.
  • What if I miss the ‘add ingredients’ signal on my bread machine? No worries! Once your dough cycle is complete, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the raisins in. Then cover with a tea towel and let rise 20 minutes before shaping into buns.
  • Shaping the buns. When shaping the dough into buns, make sure no raisins or currants are exposed or they will burn while baking. No one likes a burnt raisin in their bite! Just make sure to tuck them into the dough as you shape it into buns.
  • Pan Size: To make these buns like tray buns, use an 8 x 8 baking pan.
  • Storage: Keep the buns in an airtight container on your counter. They will stay most fresh if you keep the buns together, don’t tear them apart until you’re ready to serve them.
  • Make Ahead. These buns are best enjoyed the day they are made as they do tend to dry out fairly quickly. Next day buns are great if you zap one in the microwave for about 10 seconds. If you want to make them ahead of time, or the day before, just keep that in mind and make sure to store them in an airtight container or freeze them.
  • Freezing: These buns can be frozen (without the icing) for up to 3 months. The buns can be glazed, but you should ice them later, once they’ve defrosted.

Bread Machine Hot Cross Buns

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  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rising Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bread Machine



Hot Cross Buns:

  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Sugar Glaze:

  • 4 1/2 tsp icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 1 tbsp warm water


  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 2 tsp milk or cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Measure all of the bread ingredients above, in the order they are listed, into your bread machine, EXCEPT for the raisins.
  2. Choose the Dough Cycle.
  3. Add the raisins at the “add ingredient” signal. If you miss this signal, don’t worry, see my notes above in the ‘Recipe Tips’.
  4. Once the dough cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and cover with a clean tea towel.  Let rise for 15 minutes.
  5. After this time, divide the dough into 12 portions.
  6. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with butter. Or you can line it with parchment paper if you prefer.
  7. Now it’s time to shape the dough into buns.
  8. Make sure your hands are lightly floured.
  9. Shape each portion of dough into a ball.
  10. You want the tops of the buns to be taut, so while keeping the dough in a ball shape, you need to tuck the dough at the bottom of each bun, underneath as you roll.  You’ll get the hang of it as you roll them!
  11. Then place each bun into the baking pan, in 3 rows of 4, spacing them out evenly.
  12. Cover with a clean tea towel and let the buns rest and rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  13. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  14. Bake for 25 minutes. When the buns are done, the tops will be golden brown and will sound hollow when you tap on them.
  15. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, quickly make the sugar glaze (stir together 4 1/2 tsp icing sugar + 1 tbsp warm water), and brush the tops of the buns.
  16. Let the buns rest in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove to a plate
  17. While the buns are cooling, you can make the icing. 
  18. When the buns are completely cooled, you can pipe crosses on them (see above for tips). I like to do this by putting the icing into a small ziplock bag, then I cut off a small corner of the bag and use it to pipe the icing onto each bun.
  19. Enjoy!

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Have a delicious day!

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