Hot Cross Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

Hot Cross Buns in a glass pan.

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These Hot Cross Buns are soft, tender and filled with juicy raisins. The buns are lightly brushed with a sweet syrup and topped with a tangy cream cheese icing. They are perfect for Easter or anytime of year!


Units Scale

Hot Cross Buns

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins

Syrup Glaze

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp milk


  1. Add the milk, sugar and yeast to a small bowl. Let the yeast mixture rest for 10 minutes or until bubbles start forming.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 4 cups of flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the eggs and butter to the yeast mixture and stir together. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour. Mix using the dough hook attachment for 5 minutes. Add in the raisins and continue mixing the dough for another minute. The dough will be done once it stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if necessary. 
  4. Add around a tablespoon of oil to a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and roll it around until it is covered in the oil. This prevents the dough from getting dry during the rising process. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. You can let the dough rise on your counter for several hours or place it in the oven for quicker rising. Turn the oven on for a minute or two, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn the oven off. The dough will be doubled in size within an hour.
  5. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface. Place the dough on the surface and cut it into 15 equal pieces. Roll out each piece, and place them in the pan. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown. 
  7. While the buns are baking, make the syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and continue boiling until the syrup thickens. Once the buns are done, brush them with the syrup.
  8. For the icing, whisk all of the ingredients together. Pour them in a piping bag or a sandwich bag with the end snipped off. Add more milk or powdered sugar depending on the desired consistency.
  9. Once the buns have cooled, pipe the icing on top in the shape of a cross.


Adapted from Jo Cooks

  • Store buns in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze any un-iced buns for up to two months.
  • These buns can be prepared the day before. Simply cover the 9x13 inch pan with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, let the buns sit on the counter for a few minutes until they have warmed up a bit. Then pop them in the oven!



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