Anna Olson’s Hot Cross Buns

three buns on a wooden board
Prep Time
1h 35 min
Cook Time
30 min
12 buns

This recipe from Anna Olson is potentially the true meaning of happiness! Warm, moist dough is complimented with dried cranberries and rich icing.

Related: Anna Olson’s Top Baking Tools and Kitchen Essentials


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For the dough

cup 2% milk, heated to just above body temperature (105ºF)
tsp instant dry yeast
cup sugar
large eggs, at room temperature
cup vegetable oil
3 ¾
cups all-purpose flour
tsp finely grated lemon zest
tsp salt
tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground allspice
tsp ground nutmeg
tsp ground clove
cup dried currants
cup mixed diced peel

For the hot glaze

cup sugar
Tbsp water
tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

cup icing sugar, sifted
Tbsp milk, plus extra if needed



The buns will, keep, well-wrapped, for a full day.

Step 1

For the dough, measure all of the ingredients except the currants and peel into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the hook attachment or in a large bowl. Mix the dough on low speed until it comes together, then increase the speed by one and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (the dough is soft and should stick to the bottom of the bowl). If mixing by hand, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Towards the end of kneading, add the currants and mixed peel and knead in. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 75 to 90 minutes, until doubled in size.

Step 2

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by rolling between your hands while it remains on the work surface. Place the rolled buns in a greased 9-x-13-inch pan, leaving space between them. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for 45 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Uncover the buns and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a rich brown on top. While still hot from the oven, prepare the glaze.

Step 4

For the glaze, bring the sugar, water and vanilla up to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Brush this syrup over the still-hot buns, until it has all been used. Let the buns cool completely in the tin.

Step 5

For the icing, stir the icing sugar and together until a thick consistency suitable for piping (add a few more drops of milk, if needed). Pour this into a small piping bag and pipe crosses on top of each bun, letting the icing set for an hour before serving.

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