This easy hot cross buns recipe involves no yeast and no kneading. By making sweet, spiced soda bread rolls you can have delicious, fresh, homemade hot cross buns in a fraction of the time. This hot cross bun recipe is suitable for vegans.
The history of hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are a sweet, fruit-filled bun that is traditionally eaten at Easter time. They're really meant to be eaten on Good Friday but nowadays they seem to be available almost year round and certainly from Christmas onwards.
The cross on top of the hot cross buns is meant to represent the crucifixion of Jesus. It's possible that the spices signify those that were used to embalm Jesus at his burial.
As is so often the case with food history there are many different theories about the history of the hot cross bun. It is likely that they have their origins in the period of Lent, when Christians traditionally fasted before Easter.
There's another theory that they originated in St Albans, when a monk there in the 1300s began to distribute them to the poor. Fast forward a few hundred years and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I there was a ban on selling hot cross buns.
This didn't stop people however - and if you've ever tasted a hot cross bun you'll understand why!
Have you heard the children's rhyme "one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns"? That was recorded in 1733 and is the first definite mention of hot cross buns.
These days hot cross buns are everywhere
They're easy to buy and there are many different flavours available - think toffee or bramley apple flavour.
However, I reckon that you can't beat making your own and with my easy hot cross buns recipe you have no excuse not to!
What spices are used in hot cross buns?
Mixed spice, ground cinnamon and nutmeg are the most common spices to be used in hot cross buns.
For my easy no yeast hot cross buns I've suggested that you use either ground cinnamon or mixed spice. However, you could use both if you preferred.
I've also seen allspice used in hot cross buns recipes and cardamom, ginger and maybe even saffron would also be amazing.
How can you make hot cross buns with no yeast and no kneading?
It's so simple to make hot cross buns without any yeast or any need to wait for them to rise or knead the dough.
How do you do it?
Simple - make spiced soda bread rolls, decorate them with a cross and voila! Delicious and easy hot cross buns.
Soda bread is simply bread that has used bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to help it rise rather than yeast. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and it's ready to bake.
It's often made with buttermilk or yoghurt. If you don't have buttermilk you can use ordinary milk mixed with lemon juice as I have in this recipe. And if you use plant-based milk then your soda bread hot cross buns are vegan.
How to make soda bread easy hot cross buns
If you have made this recipe I would love it if you’d leave a comment and rating below. Thank you!
Soda bread hot cross buns
- 200 ml milk I used almond milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 300 g wholemeal plain flour or white if preferred
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice
- 150 g mixed dried fruit
For the cross
- 2 tablespoons plain white flour
- cold water
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Cover a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a jug with 200ml milk and set aside.
- Place 300g plain flour, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or mixed spice) into a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Slowly stir the milk mixture through the flour until combined. You may not need it all so pour slowly, mixing as you go until you have a rough dough.
- Stir in 150g mixed dried fruit.
- Lightly flour your hands, make eight* small rolls and place on the prepared baking tray. If your dough is very sticky you could use two spoons to make them into rolls or add a tiny bit more flour.
To make the crosses
- Put 2 tablespoons plain flour into a small bowl and slowly add cold water, stirring as you add it until you have a thick paste. If it's too watery add more flour.
- Use a piping bag or the back of a teaspoon to make cross shapes on the top of the buns.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Serve warm with your favourite spreads. These soda bread hot cross buns are best eaten fresh but will keep for a day in an airtight container. Can be cut in half and reheated under a grill.
- *Make six larger hot cross buns if you prefer. I keep mine small as they're a better size for my children.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.