close up of apple and carrot vegan hot cross buns on cooling rack

Apple and carrot healthy hot cross buns

A kid friendly, healthy hot cross buns recipe that has no added sugar and contains apple and carrot. Perfect for Easter or any time. Suitable for vegans.

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword healthy hot cross buns
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author Mandy Mazliah


  • 50 g dates pitted weight
  • 300 g strong white flour
  • 200 g spelt flour
  • 7 g sachet of dried instant yeast
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 medium apples grated
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 50 g coconut oil melted
  • 200 g sultanas or other dried fruit
  • 250 ml warm plant-based milk I used oat milk
  • 1.5 tbsp plain flour for the cross
  • Extra milk for brushing the tops
Metric - US Customary


  1. First make your date purée. You will need a food processor* or a good blender* to make this. Blend 50g dates with 1 tsp water until smooth. Set aside.

  2. Place 300g strong white flour, a 7g sachet of instant yeast, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp ground ginger into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Stir through 2 grated apples 1 grated carrot, 50g melted coconut oil, the date purée and 200g sultanas. Mix well so that the fruit is well distributed.

  3. Heat up 250ml milk - it should be warm rather than hot. Gradually stir it in to the flour and fruit mixture, mixing all the time.

  4. Scrape out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for ten minutes. It can be fairly sticky to work with so if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook by all means use that!

  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a slightly damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1.5 - 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  6. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Lightly oil your hands and tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knock it back - ie squash all the air out. Divide into 12 balls and place onto the baking trays. Cover again and leave for 45 minutes - 1 hour until doubled in size again.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan)/220°C/gas mark 7. Brush the tops of the buns with a little milk. For a stickier glaze you can make a sugar syrup (best added after baking) or use melted apricot jam.
  8. Mix 1.5 tbsp plain flour with 1.5 tbsp cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Use a piping bag to mark a cross on the top of each bun. You can do this with a spoon if you don't have a piping bag but it's harder to get the lines in the right place - alternatively use a freezer bag and snip one of the corners off.
  9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped.
  10. Allow to cool slightly then serve warm as they are or with spreads of your choice.