sourdough hot cross buns on a wooden platter with one being buttered

Sourdough Hot cross buns

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday these sweet spicy buns are easy to make. They use a sourdough starter in place of yeast to make the dough rise so although hands on prep time is relatively short you will need to start about 24 hours before you want to bake them. 
Course Baking
Cuisine English
Skill Level Moderate
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 1 day
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 282kcal
Author Jacqueline Bellefontaine


for the buns

  • 500 g strong bread flour (1lb 2oz/4 cups)
  • 2-3 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 60 g golden caster sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 50 g butter, cut into cubes
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 50 g chopped mixed peel
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 100 ml sourdough starter
  • 200 ml warm water

for the crosses

  • 50 g plain flour
  • cold water to mix

for the glaze

  • 25 g golden caster sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • ½ tsp mixed spice (pumpkin spice)


  • To make the dough, place the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and salt. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, then stir in the sultanas and mixed peel. Make a well in the centre.
  • Drop the egg into the well and add the sourdough starter. Add most of the water. Mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough, adding the remaining water if required.
  • Turn out the dough and knead gently, until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough in the oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 12 hours.
  • Turn out, and lightly knead again. Divide the dough into 12 and roll each piece into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet about 2cm apart. Slip the tray inside a large carrier bag or cover loosely with cling fim, and leave in a warmish place for 10-12 hours or overnight until doubled in size 
  • Preheat the oven to 190℃/180℃ Fan/ gas mark 5.
  • To make the crosses, place the flour into a small bowl and stir in enough water to mix to a soft paste. Spoon the mixture into a disposable piping bag and snip of the end. Pipe a cross on each bun.
  • Bake for 20 -25 minutes until risen and golden. While the hot cross buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Place the sugar and water in a small pan and heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the buns are cooked transfer to a wire rack placed over a tray or baking sheet then brush the tops with the sugar glaze.


Hot cross buns are best eaten warm and on the day they are made. However, they can be refreshed by popping them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm through. They are also delicious toasted.
Freeze for up to 2 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven at 180℃/170℃ fan/gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.
Details on how to make a sourdough starter can be found with my recipe for
No-knead sourdough loaf
Nutrition information is approximate and is meant as a guideline only.


Serving: 1bun | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 284mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.9mg