Cranberry hot cross buns – easy sweet hot cross buns

Have you ever thought of pimping up your Hot Cross Buns? There are so many different ways you can including chocolate and nuts. However, I think these cranberry hot cross buns are the best! Adding cranberries and lime zest is a game-changer! Some might find this Easter tradition a bit drab and boring, but a citrus twist makes these sweet hot cross buns the perfect Easter treat! Enjoy this cranberry hot cross buns recipe.

What a great way to celebrate Easter than making your own hot cross buns. They are a fun bake to make in spring and they produce delicious cranberry hot cross buns. I’ve been asked if it’s okay to leave out the lime and of course it is. However, I think it really adds to the finished hot cross buns. Hot cross buns with lime really help to boost the dried fruit’s fruity flavour.

My sweet hot cross buns are a super twist on this classic Easter treat with a kick of lime and plenty of dried cranberries and other fruit!

Why you’ll love this recipe

I really love tradition. For me Sweet Hot Cross Buns are a treasured Easter tradition, toasted with a little butter, makes me hungry just thinking about them! This recipe for hot cross buns with cranberries is sweeter, zestier and super easy to make!

It’s tastier than your classic recipe, fruitier and can keep for a couple of days after they’ve been baked. The dough can be made at least the day before and allowed to rise in the fridge overnight.

Top Questions – link to answers later

Can you add dried cranberries to hot cross buns?
What goes well with hot cross buns?
Are hot cross buns available all year round?
How should I serve sweet hot cross buns?

golden brown freshly baked cranberry hot cross buns

Ingredients

It looks like quite a large list written down like that, but trust me – it’s nowhere near as awful as it looks at first glance. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.

  • strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • salt
  • instant yeast
  • caster sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • eggs
  • semi-skimmed milk (warm)
  • water (room temperature)
  • cranberries
  • currants
  • mixed peel (chopped)
  • limes (zest only)
  • mixed spice
  • cinnamon

For the crosses

  • plain flour / all purpose flour
  • water

For the glaze

  • apricot jam (use smooth for best results). This glazes the hot cross buns to give them that beautiful shine.

CRANBERRIES

This along with the lime zest is what really makes this recipe exciting! Use dried cranberries for this recipe as they flow through the dough. Fresh cranberries are too juicy and very bitter so won’t give you a good dough.

LIME ZEST

You can use as much zest as you like, the more you use the more punch your sweet hot cross buns will have.

STRONG WHITE BREAD FLOUR

Bread flour is important to use as it creates strong gluten strands and gives the hot cross buns their famous texture. It also makes for tasty and extra fluffy hot cross buns with cranberries and lime.

How to make cranberry hot cross buns – step by step

The steps are fairly simple, so if you’re familiar with making bread then you shouldn’t have any issues. However, if you aren’t familiar with making bread then make sure to follow them fairly closely as it can be rather finicky – even the wrong temperature of water makes a difference!

  • Sieving the flour makes for a much smoother dough, sieve into a large bowl and add the salt, sugar and yeast.
  • Add the soft butter (get it out the fridge about 30minutes before you’re ready to start baking), eggs, milk and half the water. Here is where it gets messy.
  • With one hand start bring all the mix together. Add a little more water if you need it to make it soft but you don’t want a soggy dough.
  • Tip the dough from the bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes with a little flour to stop it sticking to the work top, until smooth.
dried fruit in a bowl with xest and dried cinnamon
dried fruit, lime zest, cranberries being added to a bread dough for cranberry hot cross buns
  • Add the cranberries, currants, mixed peel, lime zest, mixed spice and cinnamon to the dough and knead in until evenly spread through the dough. Kneading will help to form strands of gluten which make for extra tasty hot cross buns with lime!
  • Pop the dough into lightly oiled bowl and leave for at least an hour until doubled in size. I left mine for 2 hours.
cranberry hot cross buns
Adding the white flour and water cross to hot cross buns
  • Take the dough from the bowl and give it a quick knead to get the air out.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Divide into 12 and place the balls on the tray with about a 2cm gap between them. They will rise and grow in size so this space is very important.
  • Place the baking tray somewhere warm for 1 hour for the buns to rise.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
  • For the crosses mix the flour and water in to a thick paste. Pop the flour paste into a piping bag and draw the crosses across the buns.
golden brown freshly baked hot cross buns
basket of hot cross buns
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  • While the hot cross buns are baking warm the apricot jam as soon as they are fully browned, remove from the oven and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze.
  • Leave to cool slightly before tucking in.

Top Tips

  • Chop up the dried cranberries before adding them. Having some finely chopped helps get that gorgeous lime and cranberry flavour around the whole dough.
  • Season your baking! In this case, salt! Salt is absolutely integral for flavour. Without salt, all bread is bland!
  • Cinnamon is a great addition to this recipe. Its warm and pairs perfectly with the cranberries.

Cranberry hot cross buns serving suggestions

Hot, straight out the oven with a knob of butter. The perfect Easter Sunday breakfast.

If you can’t wat them straight away then enjoy them toasted. A toasted hot cross bun is my favourite Easter breakfast, snack, nibble on the go and treat with a cup of tea. I eat a lot of them.

You can make these hot cross buns into a dessert by heating them up and pouring a little fresh cream over them.

Or turn them into a hot cross bun bread and butter pudding. If you do serve with extra custard because custard is amazing.

Equipment

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  • Piping Bag
  • Baking tray
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden Spoon (so not to bruise the dough)
close up of golden brown cranberry hot cross buns

Storing / Making ahead of time options

Hot Cross Bun dough can be made the day before and left to rise in the fridge over night. I would suggest only doing this after the first prove the buns can be formed and left in the fridge on the baking tray so they can be baked fresh in the morning.

Baked Hot Cross Buns with Cranberries can last in a cool dry cupboard for a couple days in an air tight container but I would recommend eating them straight out the oven!

Substitutions and variations for cranberry hot cross buns

CHOCOLATE

Want to try something even crazier? Add a little cocoa powder and some espresso powder to the dough, balancing with a little extra water to keep the consistency for a deep chocolatey taste.

What about chocolate chips with the dried cranberry hot cross buns? White chocolate especially works well.

CINNAMON

Mixed with the dried cranberries and the cinnamon and you are in for a treat!

LEMON

If you are not a huge lime fan you can easily swap it out and use lemon instead. It’s a lovely citrus flavour that really helps the cranberries pop with flavour.

A basket of cranberry hot cross buns on a checked blanket

FAQS

Can you add dried cranberries to hot cross buns?

Of Course, you can add dried cranberries to hot cross buns! This recipe is so tasty and the dried cranberries are just sharp enough that it doesn’t ruin the sweet hot cross buns.

What goes well with hot cross buns?

In terms of fruit to add to your hot cross buns, you can add the traditional mixed fruit or you can go a little more exotic and add dried cranberries.

To serve I think keeping it simple with butter goes best with hot cross buns.

I like mine warm and sliced in half buttered. But you could have them with fresh fruit and cream as an Easter Sunday dessert or many you want to make them even more luxurious and add chocolate chips into the dough too.

Are hot cross buns available all year round?

Homemade ones can be! It is more common to see them in your supermarket bakery around the Easter period. However, in more recent years it seems like a lot of supermarkets do sell hot cross buns all year round.

How should I serve sweet hot cross buns?

I believe the best way to serve sweet hot cross buns is for breakfast or lunch with plenty of butter. They’re delicious lightly toasted and if you’ve ever made butter then that’s definitely the best thing to spread on them – delicious, salted homemade butter. Or unsalted if your preference.

Personally, I think that the cranberry hot cross buns with lime are packed full of so much flavour they are great as a light breakfast or comforting snack. I just don’t feel like you need anything but warm, freshly baked hot cross buns! Toasted is equally wonderful.

Other Spring and Summer Recipes you might like

Leftover Easter Chocolate Tray Bake
Mini Egg Mini Cheesecake
Mini Egg Chocolate Cookies

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Recipe

Cranberry Hot Cross Buns – easy sweet hot cross buns

Sisley White
Have you ever thought of pimping up your Hot Cross Buns? There are so many different ways you can including chocolate and nuts. However, I think these cranberry hot cross buns are the best! Adding cranberries and lime zest is a game-changer! Some might find this Easter tradition a bit drab and boring, but a citrus twist makes these sweet hot cross buns the perfect Easter treat! Enjoy this cranberry hot cross buns recipe.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Course Bakes, Bread, Sweet Treats
Cuisine British, English
Servings 12 hot cross buns
Calories 311 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 500 g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 120 ml semi-skimmed milk (warm)
  • 100 ml water (room temperature)
  • 75 g cranberries
  • 75 g currants
  • 80 g mixed peel (chopped)
  • 2 limes (zest only)
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crosses

  • 75 g plain flour / all purpose flour
  • 75 ml water

For the glaze

  • 100 g apricot jam (use smooth for best results)

Instructions
 

  • Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the salt, sugar and yeast.
  • Add the soft butter, eggs, milk and half the water. Here is where it gets messy. With one hand start bring all the mix together. Add a little more water if you need it to make a soft but not soggy dough
  • Tip the dough from the bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes with a little flour to stop it sticking to the work top until smooth.
  • Add the cranberries, currants, mixed peel, lime zest, mixed spice and cinnamon to the dough and knead in until evenly spread through the dough.
  • Pop the dough into lightly oiled bowl and leave for at least an hour until doubled in size. I left it for 2 hours.
  • Take the dough from the bowl and give it a quick knead to get the air out.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Divide into 12 and place the balls on the tray with about a 1cm gap between them.
  • Place the baking tray somewhere warm for 1 hour for the buns to rise.
  • Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
  • For the crosses mix the flour and water in to a thick paste. Pop the flour paste into a piping bag and draw the crosses across the buns.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  • While the hot cross buns are baking warm the apricot jam as soon as it’s baked remove from the oven and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze.
  • Leave to cool slightly before tucking in.

Notes

  • Store when baked and cooled, in an air tight container. They will last 2-3 days and will be better toasted the next day.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 8gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 351mgPotassium: 156mgFiber: 2gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 183IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.

Keyword Cranberries, Cranberry and Lime Hot Cross Buns, cranberry hot cross buns, Hot Cross Buns, lime, lime hot cross buns, sweet hot cross buns
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