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Remember learning how to play “Hot Cross Buns” on your recorder? (Apologies for the fact that the tune will likely be stuck in your head for awhile.) Well, these traditional Easter-season rolls prove almost as elementary, thanks to a store-bought yeast-dough mix, which drastically cuts down on prep time. Traditionally served on Good Friday, these sweet rolls, studded with raisins or currants, are now marked with an “X” in white icing or even chocolate, though in the pastry’s early days in England and across the globe, bakers simply depressed the dough to make the signature mark. Try the tradition on for size—any time of year—with this easy recipe.


Credit: Jen Causey

Recipe Summary

25 mins
2 hrs
Serves 12


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together the roll mix, raisins, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and yeast (included with the mix) in a large bowl. Add the butter, lightly beaten egg, and hot water and stir until a soft dough forms.

  • Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes, sprinkling additional flour over the dough as needed. Cover the dough with a bowl and let rest, 5 minutes.

  • Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch ball. Place the balls in a single layer in a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80°F to 85°F) until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Uncover and brush with the beaten egg white.

  • Bake until the buns are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, stir together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Spoon into a plastic freezer bag. Snip one corner to make a hole about ¼ inch in diameter. Pipe an X onto each bun. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts

240 calories; fat 4g; saturated fat 1.5g; cholesterol 20mg; sodium 370mg; protein 5g; sugars 20g; fiber 1g; iron 2mg; calcium 10mg.