Easy Brioche Hot Cross Buns With Glaze (VIDEO)

These brioche hot cross buns are fluffy and with a rich flavor. Soft and pillowy buns filled with dried fruit, brushed with sweet glaze, and topped with a cross! Perfect for Easter!

A glass tray of freshly baked brioche hot cross buns.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Perfect for Easter
  • Smells AMAZING
  • Can be eaten sweet or savory
  • Packed with cinnamon and spices
  • Buttery, soft bread topped with a sweet glaze
  • Brioche buns freeze well! Bake now then eat later
a dozen soft hot cross buns on parchment paper.

How Do Hot Cross Buns Taste Like?

Hot cross buns are sweet with a hint of spice from the added seasonings (cinnamon and nutmeg). The added raisins provide sweetness which pair well with the warmth and depth of the spices.

The added butter and eggs in the brioche dough make these buns pillowy soft and tender!

FAQ

What is the significance of hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are served on Easter and mark the end of the Christian season of Lent. Different parts of the buns have certain meaning. For instance, the cross pattern signifies the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices signify the spices used to embalm Jesus at his burial. 

What’s the difference between brioche and buns?

Brioche buns are different from regular rolls in that brioche rolls require more eggs and butter in the recipe. The higher fat content results in soft and flavorful bread.

Should hot cross buns be eaten hot?

You can enjoy these hot or cold and sweet or savory!

pull apart rolls with butter
Soft and fluffy!

Special Equipment

  • Stand Mixer: You don’t NEED one, but it will make your life a lot easier. Brioche dough takes a long time to knead. You can make this by hand. However, it will be quite the workout!
  • 9×13 Baking Dish: I used a glass 9×13-inch glass baking dish. You don’t need to use this if you don’t have one. You can bake these hot cross buns in a regular baking tray.
ingredients for brioche hot cross buns recipe on a table. flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, raisins, eggs, yeast, salt, butter.

Key Ingredients and Why

  • Milk: whole-fat milk that is warmed to about 110°F in the microwave. 
  • Yeast: (one packet). Active dry yeast or instant yeast. If you use instant yeast, there is no need to bloom it.
  • Sugar: For sweetness.
  • Unsalted Butter: This is a brioche dough, which means there’s a lot of butter! The butter should be at room temperature and soft to the touch. I cube them so that I can add them into the dough a bit at a time. It makes it easier to incorporate. 
  • Eggs: Brioche dough contains more eggs than regular bread dough.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The base. Bread flour can also work in this recipe.
  • Cinnamon and Ground Nutmeg: Spices. Traditional hot cross buns contain various spices that signify the spices used to embalm Jesus at his burial. 
  • Salt: Flavor enhancer. Everything needs salt!
  • Raisins: Or other dried fruits.
spiced pull apart rolls with raisins in a baking tray

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Milk: Plant-based milk works in this recipe. You can also use dried milk powder and water. 
  • Sugar: Brown sugar, coconut sugar.
  • Butter: Ghee is the only viable substitute for butter (since it technically IS butter). You can substitute it with oil. However, the buns won’t taste the same.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Bread flour. Whole wheat flour would pair well with the spices. However, I have yet to try this recipe with whole wheat flour.
  • Cinnamon and Ground Nutmeg: All Spice, ground cloves, and ground cardamom are good substitutes. If you don’t have any of these, then leave them out. You’ll still get delicious brioche buns (they just won’t be spiced).
  • Raisins: Any other type of dried fruit. Dried cranberries, golden raisins, chopped candied citrus, dried apricots. Even chopped walnuts would be a great addition. You can also add some milk chocolate or white chocolate chips. Make sure to keep the volume of the add-ins to one cup total.
Brushing sweet glaze on a freshly baked brioche hot cross bun
These spiced hot cross buns are SO delicious with glaze!

Notes On The Glaze

Traditionally, hot cross buns contain orange zest or some citrus. This citrus signifies the bitterness of the time Jesus spent on the cross. Now, I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound… appetizing to me. I’m sure Jesus would understand LOL. So, for this recipe, instead of the orange juice glaze, I chose a regular milk glaze.

You can make an orange juice glaze instead of the milk glaze if your heart desires.   

How To Make Spiced Brioche Hot Cross Buns

Scroll down for the printable recipe PDF

Prepare the dough: In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Cover and let sit for five minutes until it becomes foamy. (See notes if you do not own a stand mixer)

adding yeast and other ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer
Let the yeast foam before adding the dry ingredients.

Add the eggs, flour, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt into the mixer bowl. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for one minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Then, knead on high speed until you see no more patches of flour. 

kneading dough in a stand mixer and adding butter
Adding butter a bit at a time makes this dough easier to knead.

Now, add the butter a little at a time. Continue mixing on medium speed for about ten minutes. The dough should come together. If it does not, then add ¼ cup of flour and keep kneading until the dough comes together.

adding raisins into the hot cross buns dough

Drain the raisins (or other add-ins) and add it to the dough. Knead on low for about one minute until they are incorporated and evenly distributed. 

rolling out dough on a floured surface. then dividing the dough into 12 pieces

Shape: Let the dough double for one hour. Once the dough has doubled, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Take each piece and shape it into a ball. Then, place the shaped dough ball into a greased baking dish.

shaping a hot cross bun by hand
Shaping the hot cross bun. This doesn’t have to be perfect!

Second Rise: Cover the shaped dough balls and let rise in a warm spot for one hour until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

currant buns in a baking dish
Buns before the second rise.

Add The Cross: Whisk the cross ingredients together. You want a thick flour and water paste that will pipe easily. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.

Close up of the flour paste to make the crosses on top of the buns
The flour paste should be thick enough to hold shape while also be easy to pipe.

Place the paste into a small piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off). Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then pipe it in the other direction to create crosses.

piping crosses on the hot cross buns before baking

Bake: Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If the tops are browning too quickly, loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to prevent tops of the buns from getting too dark. Let them cool on a cooling rack.

adding glaze on top of a brioche hot cross bun

Icing: While the buns are cooling down, whisk the icing ingredients together. Then, brush the icing on the buns once they are ready to serve.

Tips For Success

1. Use Room Temperature Soft Butter

The butter for brioche dough needs to be at the correct temperature and texture. If it is too cold, it will remain in hard chunks and won’t be easy to knead into the dough. 

On the other hand, if the dough is too warm, then the dough can become too greasy and difficult to knead.

A hot cross bun with butter

2. Be Patient When Kneading

This is a brioche dough, which is high in fat content due to the butter and eggs. Brioche takes a long time to knead! You need to be patient when kneading this. If you are using a stand mixer, it will take roughly ten minutes before your dough is ready to rest.

If you are kneading by hand, it will take longer than 10 minutes. Might take 20 minutes depending on how you are kneading. The sticky dough will be tough to work with.

3. Let The Dough Rise Before Moving To The Next Step

Whenever you are baking with yeast, you need to let the dough double during its first rise before moving on to the next steps. Enriched breads will take longer to rise than lean doughs. 

freshly baked hot cross buns on a cooling rack

How To Store Brioche Hot Cross Buns

It is best to store these brioche hot cross buns at room temperature in a bread box or an airtight container as long as they haven’t been glazed yet. This is the best storage to prevent bread from molding.

Typically, how long brioche bread lasts depends on how it is stored.

However, if they have been glazed, they must be stored in the refrigerator. Since glaze has milk, it can spoil and mold if left on the kitchen counter. To store in the refrigerator, place the hot cross buns in a ziplock bag or cover with foil.

If you don’t plan on eating these anytime soon, you can freeze Brioche buns for up to three months.

When you’re ready to eat them, you can heat bread in the oven at 350°F for 8 minutes or until warm. Drizzle the glaze on it and serve!

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brioche hot cross buns in a glass baking dish
5 from 3 votes

Easy Brioche Hot Cross Buns VIDEO

These brioche hot cross buns are fluffy and with a rich flavor. Soft and pillowy buns filled with dried fruit and brushed with sweet glaze!
Xena Kai
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 12 buns

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

Spiced Brioche Dough

  • ¾ Cup Milk 180ml warmed to about 110°F
  • 2 ¼ Teaspoons Yeast one packet
  • ½ Cup Sugar 100 grams
  • 3 Eggs Large, 50 grams each
  • 3 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour 420 grams
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Butter 169 grams, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Raisins 160 grams

Flour Cross

  • ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 7 Tablespoons Water

Icing

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar 120 grams
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk

Instructions
 

  • Place one cup of raisins (or the add-in of your choice) in a bowl. Fill the bowl with hot water and let it sit for ten minutes.
  • Prepare the dough: In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Cover and let sit for five minutes until it becomes foamy. (See notes if you do not own a stand mixer)
  • Add the eggs, flour, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt into the mixer bowl. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Then, knead on high speed until you see no more patches of flour.
  • Now, add the butter a little at a time. Continue mixing on medium speed for about ten minutes. The dough should come together. If it does not, then add ¼ cup of flour and keep kneading until the dough comes together.
  • Drain the raisins (or other add-ins) and add it to the dough. Knead on low for about one minute until they are incorporated and evenly distributed.
  • First Rise: Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for about two hours or until doubled in size.
  • Shape: Once the dough has doubled, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. It doesn't have to be perfect! Take each piece and shape it into a ball. Then, place the shaped dough ball into a greased baking dish.
  • Second Rise: Cover the shaped dough balls and let rise in a warm spot for one hour until doubled.
  • Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Add The Cross: Whisk the cross ingredients together. You want a thick flour and water paste that will pipe easily. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water. Place the paste into a small piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off). Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then pipe it in the other direction to create crosses.
  • Bake: Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If the tops are browning too quickly, loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to prevent tops of the buns from getting too dark. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
  • Icing: While the buns are cooling down, whisk the icing ingredients together. Then, brush the icing on the buns once they are ready to serve.

Video

Notes

  • Check out my post for step-by-step photos and a short video. They are there to help you out.

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