These Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns are the real deal! They are perfectly soft, flavourful, packed with dried fruit, and incredibly easy to make!
I was introduced to Hot Cross Buns much later in my life because growing up in Macedonia, hot cross buns were not really a thing. However, now they are my favorite thing about Easter. If you ask me between chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, I'll always choose Hot Cross Buns
Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe
These Hot Cross Buns are FODMAP friendly, very simple to make, pillowy soft, perfectly spiced, and just as delicious as the regular buns. They are really just as soft, as rich, and as flavourful as the hot cross buns made from wheat flour! I know UNBELIEVABLE! People usually eat hot cross buns at Easter but to be honest I've been eating them all year round! They are perfect as a mid-day or snack, breakfast!
What are Hot Cross Buns?
A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
You will love these Hot Cross Buns if you love:
- cinnamon spices
- buttery bread
- soft rolls
What ingredients do you need?
Gluten Free Flour (I recommend that you use this homemade blend)
Lactose-Free Milk (you can also use plant-based milk)
Butter (you can also use vegan)
Zest of 1 Orange
Orange or Apricot Jam (for glaze)
How to make these Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns?
Hot Cross Buns are very simple to make and require only 1 rise (which saves time)! There are only 3 simple steps that you will need to make:
STEP 1 - MAKE THE DOUGH
Add the milk, butter, and orange zest to a small saucepan and place on low heat. Heat through until the butter has completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, egg, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and half of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour and the raisins. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.
STEP 2 - SHAPE THE BUNS
Line baking tray with baking paper. Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!). Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. Arrange in prepared baking pan. Cover shaped rolls with a kitchen towel, place them in a warm spot, and let them rise for 1-2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
STEP 3 - MAKE THE CROSS & BAKE
To make the cross, mix warm water with gluten-free flour until it forms a thick, smooth paste ( You want a thick paste that will pipe easily.) Spoon into a piping bag with a small hole cut off the tip. Brush the rolls with egg wash, then pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns. Bake the hot cross buns for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. Remove from the oven. Microwave the apricot or orange jam for 20-30 seconds and then brush on top of the hot cross buns while they are still hot. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes until eating.
Tips for making the best Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns
The dough will be sticky, but that is exactly how it should be. Don't add extra flour to make the dough knead-able, it'll be horribly dry upon baking.
Shape before rising. Because gluten-free bread has no rise and punch down and second rise and punch down … you’ll want to shape these rolls before the rise (they’ll only rise once!).
I recommend that you soak/rehydrate the raisins in hot water before using them. This makes them extra plump and juicy, which will result in even more delicious hot cross buns.
You don’t want the hot cross buns to be positioned too closely together, as they will expand as they prove. If you place them too closely together, they will spread out horizontally rather than rise up vertically as they enter the oven. I generally leave at least ¾ inch (2cm) between them.
Make sure to flour your hands when forming the buns, as this will stop too much dough sticking to your hands.
How to Shape these Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns
Because there’s no gluten in these hot cross buns, they will lack the smooth surface of hot cross buns made from wheat flour. Gluten-free dough simply doesn’t achieve the same high surface tension as wheat-based dough. Moreover, the dough is quite sticky, so this is the best way to shape the gluten-free hot cross buns:
- On a lightly floured surface, gently pat down one of the nine pieces of dough until it’s about ½ inch (1-1.5cm) thick. It doesn’t have to be a very regular shape, try making it approximately circular.
- Then, take the edges of the dough and fold them up and towards the middle.
- Pinch the ends together, until you get something like a pouch.
- Turn the ball of dough seam-side down and hold your hand like a claw over it. Move your hand in a small circle over the dough to form it into a tighter ball.
- Finally, use the heels of your palms to rotate the ball of dough in place – this further seals the seams and also helps to create the even, round shape of the bun. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
What flour to use to make it?
I like to use my universal homemade gluten-free flour blend. Which is a mix of the following flours :
3. Sweet Rice Flour (Glutinous Rice aka Sticky Rice)
4. Tapioca Flour (tapioca starch is the same as tapioca flour)
5. Xanthan Gum
If you can’t make that one, you can try with any gluten-free flour mix (just make sure it contains xanthan gum because that helps in binding the dough). The final result using different flour mix might vary slightly, depending on what flours your mix contains.
To find the recipe for my gluten-free flour mix click, HERE.
Can I make these Hot Cross Buns dairy-free?
Yes, simply replace the lactose-free milk and butter for a plant based alternative.
The Hot Cross Buns will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days. You’ll just need to reheat them briefly in the microwave (for about 20 seconds) to soften them up again – once re-heated, they’re just as soft and delicious as they were on the first day.
You can also freeze them. Simply place them in a freezer friendly zip bag or container and freeze it for up to 3 months (when you want to have them, you will need to warm and defrost them in the oven)
*To make sure that your flour mix is fodmap friendly I recommend that you make your own gluten-free flour mix, I always make this one. Or always read the ingredients of the store-bought gluten-free flour mixes. Make sure your mix doesn’t contain soy flour, chickpea/besan/gram/garbanzo bean flour, lentil flour, coconut flour, amaranth flour, or lupin flour.
* Raisins are low FODMAP in 13g per serving. This recipe requires 80g raisins but makes 9 buns, which is about 9g per bun.
*All the ingredients used in this recipe are FODMAP friendly, however, As a general rule always read the labels of the ingredients that you use as there can be sneaky FODMAP’s in any product. To educate yourself on which foods are high in FODMAP’s I’d strongly recommend downloading Monash Unversity FODMAP Diet.
Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns
- 450 g (3 ⅓ cup) gluten-free flour blend
- 280 ml (1 ¼ cup) warm milk
- 70 g (⅓ cup) butter
- 14 g Instant Yeast
- 100 g (½ cup) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- zest from 1 orange
- 80 g (½ cup) raisins
- 60 g gluten-free flour
- 90-120 ml water
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon apricot or orange jam
- Add the milk, butter, and orange zest to a small saucepan and place on low heat. Heat through until the butter has completely melted. Remove from heat and add it in bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Let it cool down sligtly before you add the rest of the ingredients. It needs to be lukewarm.
- Add the sugar, vanilla extract, egg, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and half of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour and the raisins. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. (If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula.)
- Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.
- Cover shaped rolls with a kitchen towel, place them in a warm spot, and let them rise for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- To make the cross, mix warm water with gluten-free flour until it forms a thick, smooth paste (You want a thick paste that will pipe easily.) Spoon into a piping bag with a small hole cut off the tip.
- Brush the rolls with egg wash, then pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns.
- Bake the hot cross buns for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. Remove from the oven.
- Microwave the apricot or orange jam for 20-30 seconds and then brush on top of the hot cross buns while they are still hot. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes until eating.