When you think about food, Easter is synonymous with chocolate eggs but also with Hot Cross Buns. This recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Hot Cross Buns is a great twist on a classic that you definitely should try.

If you’d like to try a twist on the classic, these Chocolate Hot Cross Buns are indulgent and delicious too and both are a great addition to a Breakfast Charcuterie Board.

A batch of 12 just baked hot cross buns

Every year once Christmas festivities are over, nearly immediately, Hot Cross Buns are on the supermarket shelves. And every year, I have to stop myself from buying a pack until the last moment. Why? Because I don’t want it to just become an all year thing.

I love the tradition behind foods and I love that to me, Hot Cross Buns still say Easter and not January and February too.

What are Hot Cross Buns?

Traditional they are a sweetened, spiced bun that includes dried fruit like currants, sultanas, raisins and fruit peel. With a cross made of flour and water across the top, they are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and mark the end of Lent. You can see more about the tradition surrounding them here.

While you could absolutely substitute the cranberries and white chocolate in this recipe with the traditional dried fruit and have the perfect hot cross bun recipe, I do love to give things a twist. Dried cranberries and white chocolate are an absolutely winning combo if ever there was one. Tart cranberries and sweet, creamy chocolate = total BFF’s.

2 hot cross buns, stacked one on top of the other. More in the background

Ingredients you’ll need

A combination of simple everyday ingredients, spices and dried fruit, you may have what you need right now in your pantry.

  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Egg
  • Dried fruit

How to make Hot Cross Buns

You’ll start by mixing dry ingredients in one bowl (photo 1) then wet ingredients in another (photo 2) – a little like making muffins. Simple right!

A bowl with dry baking ingredients and a bowl with wet baking ingredients

Next, combine the 2 (photo 3) and give them a good mix. At this point, you can add them to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (photo 4) or continue to mix and knead by hand.

A dough mixture being kneaded in a stand mixer

In a stand mixer, the dough will knead for about 6-7 minutes or by hand, it will take around 10 minutes.

Once it’s looking quite smooth and very elastic – make an indent with your finger and the dough should slowly bounce back – (photo 5), add the choc chips and cranberries (photo 6).

A sweet dough with cranberries and white chocolate chips being added.

Now place the dough into an oiled bowl (photo 7), cover and leave it for around 1 ½ hours to rise. Once it’s doubled in size, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 portions (photo 8).

Dough for hot cross buns, cut into 12 pieces

Gently roll each portion into a ball and place them on a lined baking tray. Leave them to rise for another ½ an hour (photo 9) then use a piping bag to pipe the cross over them (photo 10).

Hot cross buns before being baked, being piped with the crosses

Give the rolls a little egg wash then bake for around 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Substitutions

Want a more traditional version? Swap the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries for a mixture of currants, raisins and fruit peel.

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a batch of hot cross buns with one stacked on to of the rest

This recipe is a favourite in our house and I’ve made them at Easter every year for the last 3 years. It’s such an easy recipe. I know you’ll love them too.

OTHER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

A white plate filled with hot cross buns.

White Chocolate Cranberry Hot Cross Buns

5 from 4 votes
Surely nothing says Easter quite like Hot Cross Buns and they’re easier than you might think. This easy Hot Cross Buns recipe, filled with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries is the perfect thing for Easter brunch.
This recipe has rising time - plan ahead.

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 520 plain (all-purp) flour (1.2lb)
  • 100 white granulated sugar (½ cup / 3.5oz)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons  instant yeast (or active dry) (1 sachet / 7g)
  • 3 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 300  ml  whole milk (or full cream milk) (10 floz)
  • 57 unsalted butter (2oz / ½ stick)
  • teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • large egg
  • ¾ cup  white chocolate chips (150g / 5.5oz)
  • ¾ cup  dried cranberries

FOR THE TOP

  • 1 egg yolk
  • Dash of water
  • 75  plain (all-purp) flour (2.5oz)
  • cup  water

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand-mixer, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and salt.
  • In a small saucepan over low-med heat, heat just half the milk and the butter until the butter melts. Take it off the heat and add the remaining milk (this will cool it enough not to kill the yeast).
  • Add the milk mixture and vanilla to the dry ingredients and give a mix with a spatula to combine a little, then add the egg.
  • Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead the dough on low-medium speed for 6-7 minutes. When it's ready the dough will look fairly smooth and elastic but still sticky. (You can knead by hand but it may take around 10 minutes and resist the urge to add too much flour as it needs to remain a bit sticky).
  • Add the cranberries and chocolate chips and knead them through too.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and flip it over so it's covered in oil. Let it rise for about 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced. Line a 9x13 inch baking tray or casserole dish with baking paper.
  • Shape the dough into a disk and then cut it into 12 even wedges (notes). Roll each wedge into a smooth ball by first tucking the edges underneath until it's a circle shape, then roll to a ball.
  • Sit the balls of dough in the baking tray, evenly spaced and cover with a clean tea towel. Let them rise another 1/2 hour until almost doubled in size again.
  • Whisk together the egg yolk and the dash of water, then brush lightly over the buns.
  • Mix together the remaining flour and water until you have a smooth pipeable paste. Pour it into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off a tiny bit of the corner. Pipe a cross over each of the buns.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 25-27 minutes or until the top is nice and golden.

Notes

  1. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  2. Cutting into wedges: Start with the dough in a large disk shape. Cut it evenly in half down the centre. Now cut across the other direction to make it 4 even quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 even wedges.
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