Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Don’t miss out on this classic Easter treat: my vegan hot cross buns are both egg and dairy free! Get the recipe below.
Breaking lent with Hot Cross Buns
In the UK, it’s a tradition to eat hot cross buns on Good Friday. So it seems fitting that I’m sharing my vegan hot cross bun recipe on Good Friday afternoon. But, what actually is a hot cross bun and why do we eat them at Easter?
Hot cross buns are a soft, sweet, spiced fruit bun. It’s usually decorated with a cross which might be made of shortcrust pastry (traditional), a flour and water paste (most common) or icing (more modern). There’s a lot of symbolism that goes into a hot cross bun. It’s probably no surprise that the cross on top represents the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Apparently the spices are meant to represent the spices that would have been used to embalm him when he was buried!
Although I only ever ate them at Easter when I was growing up, they are available in supermarkets all year round now. That being said, the supermarkets all try to bring out a new weird and wonderful flavour in the run up to Easter to get us all excited.
I’ll stick with my traditional recipe thanks.
This recipe is pretty traditional as hot cross bun recipes go. First we make an enriched dough which is flavoured with orange zest, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Then we work in dried fruit and mixed peel before shaping them into buns.
Making a vegan enriched dough isn’t as difficult as it might sound. I always like to use soy milk in place of dairy milk when I’m baking because it is the most similar. Flora and Naturli are both fantastic block butter alternatives. But, if I had to choose I’d always pick Flora! Melting the butter in the soy milk then letting it steam and cool before adding to the flour, yeast and spices it was makes really light, soft, fluffy buns! Some enriched dough recipes add an egg or two but as we are making these hot cross buns vegan I leave out the egg and add in a bit of extra non-dairy butter.
Once we’ve got a buttery enriched dough we leave it to prove, fill it with fruit, shape it and bake it. Of course hot cross buns wouldn’t be complete without a flour and water cross. I also love to give them a brush with a maple syrup glaze while they’re still warm.
These aren’t the only vegan sticky buns I’ve made on the blog, after the recipe you can find similar recipes I think you’ll enjoy. If you want to know more about plant based baking then check out my big vegan baking guide. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to bake delicious cakes, cookies and bread without egg or dairy.
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
For the dough
For the crosses
- 100 g plain flour
- 50 ml water
For the glaze
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp water hot
- In a small pan, heat the soy milk with the butter until the butter has melted and the mix begins to steam.
- Once it begins to steam, immediately take this off of the heat and mix the flour, yeast, sugar, spices and orange zest in a large bowl and place to one side.
- Pour the warm milk and butter into the bowl of dry ingredients along with the orange juice and bring together into a ball of dough with your hands.
- Turn the ball of dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes or until the ball is smooth and elastic. (Alternatively mix it in an electric mixer with a dough hook on medium for 5 minutes or until the ball is smooth and elastic).
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel to prove in a warm place for roughly 1 hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
- After the initial prove, stretch the dough out until flat.
- Cover the dough with two thirds of the dried fruit and press it into the dough gently.
- Fold the dough in half and cover with the remaining dried fruit and mixed peel before folding in half again.
- Begin kneading the dough to incorporate the layers of fruit. Keep doing this for 5 minutes or until the dough is holding together well.
- Line a large oven dish with grease proof paper.
- Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces and roll into small balls, placing each onto the lined oven dish with 1-2 inches between each.
- Cover them with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove for a further 30-45 minutes.
- Once the dough has increased in size again, pre-heat your oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 5.
- Before baking, make a smooth paste with the plain flour and water by adding the water slowly and mixing well.
- Add the paste to a piping bag and carefully pipe crosses on top of the buns.
- Place the buns in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Just before the 20 minutes are up, mix the hot water and maple syrup together. Remove the buns from the oven and brush them with the glaze.
- Add the buns back into the oven for a final 5 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove the buns from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before eating.
More plant based treats
These vegan cakes, cookies and buns are all suitable for anyone following a plant based diet. You can find even more in my vegan recipe archive.