Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

You’ll be amazed at how fun and easy it is to make your own hot cross buns! These deliciously spiced, fruity Easter treats are much tastier than shop-bought and are made with more natural ingredients.

Just follow my simple step-by-step guide, which brings all the ingredients together. The dough only needs gentle kneading before it rises. Then, shape it into buns and pop them in the oven. As a bonus, the buns fill the kitchen with an incredible aroma when cooking! Once you’ve tried this home-made version, you’ll never return to shop-bought!

Suitable from 12 months plus.

See the Notes at the end for how to make these dairy-free or gluten-free.

Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Baking, Lunch Boxes & Picnics, Snacks & Treats
Servings 8 Hot cross buns
Suitable for Special Diet (or adaptable) Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Sensory, Vegetarian


For the dough

For the cross

For the glaze


  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil, then add the butter and leave to cool to hand temperature (the butter will melt). In a separate bowl, beat the egg and set aside too.
  • Put the spelt flour, coconut sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the milk mixture and the beaten egg. Stir well with a wooden spoon, then tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes (alternatively use a dough hook in a kitchen mixer). Place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, peel, core and chop the apple into small pieces. Add the apple to the dough along with the sultanas, mixed spice and cinnamon. Knead for around 5 minutes, until everything is well distributed. Divide the dough into 8 balls and arrange on the prepared baking tray, leaving space for the dough to rise. Cover with oiled clingfilm and put into a warm place to prove for one more hour.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (conventional)/180°C (fan).
  • Once the buns have risen, make the mixture for the crosses by mixing the spelt flour and water to make a thick paste. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe crosses on top of each bun.
  • Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  • Optional: glaze the buns with warmed apricot jam. Leave the buns to cool.


  • To make the hot cross buns dairy-free, swap the milk and butter for a dairy-free alternative such as a nut milk and a plant-based spread.
  • Swap the spelt flour for a gluten-free alternative such as Dove’s Farm Freee plain white flour or sorghum flour.
  • If you like your hot cross buns with extra dried fruit you can swap the fresh apple for 20g chopped apricots and 40g mixed peel.
  • The hot cross buns will store well in a sealed tin for up to 5 days.
  • You can freeze the buns once they are cooled. I like to split them before I freeze them – then just take out each half and pop in the toaster for a quick snack.
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