Perfectly soft and fluffy vegan hot cross buns that everyone will love, vegan or not! Sweet, full of warming spices and sultanas, and piped with the classic cross, these hot cross buns are perfect for any Easter brunch or dinner!

BEST Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Why are hot cross buns not vegan?

Originally, hot cross buns were designed to be vegan (unintentionally). During Lent, Christians would abstain from consuming dairy until Palm Sunday, and the buns did not contain any eggs. So the hot cross buns were unintentionally vegan!

However, over time, people have adapted the buns to contain both eggs and dairy once more. That’s why if you are purchasing store bought hot cross buns, they most likely are not vegan.

That being said, these vegan hot cross buns taste just like the real deal (and are probably closer to the original intended recipe!), making them the perfect recipe for all eaters at Easter brunch!

vegan hot cross buns

What are hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are like a blend between cinnamon rolls, fruit bread, and dinner rolls. They’re yeasted rolls sweetened with brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and contain loads of spices (including cinnamon), along with raisins and orange zest. 

The result is unbelievably soft, fluffy, and deliciously tender hot cross buns that are perfectly sweet!

Hot cross buns originated around the 14th century, and are symbolized with a white cross piped in either a flour paste (to be baked into the dough) or icing. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. 

In fact, Queen Elizabeth I banned hot cross buns at one point, as she saw them as exhibiting too much “Popery.” 

vegan hot cross buns

Why you’ll love these vegan hot cross buns:

​These vegan hot cross buns are surprisingly easy to make. If you’ve ever made vegan dinner rolls, then you know, the steps are quite simple, as are the ingredients!

The rolls themselves are perfectly sweet, with hints of spice and delicious zest of orange, and the symbolic cross on top piped in a flour paste is beautifully visible. Brushed with an apricot glaze, these dairy free hot cross buns are for all eaters- vegan or not!

They’ll be absolutely perfect on your Easter brunch table!

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need to make these vegan hot cross buns:

  • Dairy free milk: You can use any dairy free milk, like soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk!
  • Bread flour: I recommend using bread flour, as it contains more protein than all purpose flour, and will yield a better texture. However, either will work. 
  • Sultanas: Or golden raisins, in the US. You can also use regular raisins if you’re having a hard time finding sultanas in stores, like I did here!
  • Orange zest
  • Ground cinnamon & all spice
  • Brown sugar: This is the key difference between cinnamon roll buns and hot cross buns. The brown sugar will yield a more molasses flavor.
  • Vegan butter: I recommend using salted Miyoko’s vegan butter!
  • Apricot jam: You could also swap in orange juice (just squeeze the orange that you zested!) if you didn’t want to purchase another item.
  • Maple syrup: This is for the wash at the end!
hot cross buns ingredients

Overview: how to make vegan hot cross buns

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

You’re going to love how simple this recipe is! If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make these hot cross buns by using a large bowl and a wooden spoon.

Here’s an overview:

  1. Bloom the yeast.

    Mix the heated dairy free milk with some of the brown sugar and the flour. Then stir in the yeast (you can use rapid rise or activated dry yeast here), cover, and allow the yeast to bloom. It should double in volume and be quite foamy. That’s a sure sign it’s activated!

  2. Make the dough:

    Add in the remaining dry ingredients to your stand mixer with the dough attachment, along with the yeast mixture. Mix just until a shaggy dough forms.how to make vegan hot cross buns

  3. Add in the softened vegan butter:

    Begin to mix again until the butter is incorporated. Continue kneading the dough in the bowl (or by hand) until it’s smooth on top and just slightly tacky. You can also check that it’s done by performing the window pane test. This should take about 15 minutes all together.how to make vegan hot cross buns

  4. Proof the dough.

    Allow the dough to rest in a warm area covered with a clean tea towel or proofing cover, until doubled in size.how to make vegan hot cross buns: proofing the dough

  5. This is what the dough should look like:

    how to make vegan hot cross buns:

  6. Divide the dough into four sections:

    Then divide each section into 3 pieces for a total of 12 hot cross buns.how to make vegan hot cross buns

  7. Shape ​the hot cross buns.

    Pinch the corners of the hot cross buns together and lightly roll in the palm of your hand.how to shape hot cross buns

  8. ​Each bun should look like this:

    how to shape hot cross buns

  9. Rest the rolls again:

    Add the rolls to your baking tray, and cover them in a warm area to rest while the oven preheats.how to shape hot cross buns

  10. ​Pipe the cross onto the hot cross buns:

    Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl, then pipe lines across the hot cross buns to form a cross.piping a cross onto hot cross buns

  11. ​Bake the vegan hot cross buns:

    They should lightly brown, and the flour piped cross will be completely set.baked vegan hot cross buns

  12. ​Brush with the apricot jam and serve warm!

    brushing hot cross buns with apricot jam

Make these hot cross buns for your vegan Easter brunch!

Trust me- absolutely everyone is going to love them! You won’t even notice that these hot cross buns are vegan!

vegan hot cross buns

More Vegan Easter Recipes:

My family’s Pane di Pasqua

Vegan Coconut Cake

Easy Vegan Lemon Loaf

Vegan Carrot Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake Bars

Vegan Easter Egg Cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

BEST Vegan Hot Cross Buns

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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BEST Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Fluffy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 40
  • 60 minutes proofing:
  • Cook Time: 27
  • Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Perfectly soft and fluffy vegan hot cross buns that everyone will love, vegan or not! Sweet, full of warming spices and sultanas, and piped with the classic cross, these hot cross buns are perfect for any Easter brunch or dinner!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups (330 mL) unsweetened dairy free milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (560 g) + 1 tsp bread flour or all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) organic brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (160 g) raisins or sultanas
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) salted vegan butter, room temperature

Flour piped cross:

  • 1/2 cup (65 g) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) water

Hot cross bun bread wash:

  • 1 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam

Instructions

  1. Prep: Measure and weigh out all ingredients before beginning. Grease a large bowl with cooking or coconut oil and set aside (this bowl is for the rising and is different than the bowl you’ll use to mix the dough).
  2. Bloom the yeast: Heat the dairy-free milk to 110F. Use a food thermometer to ensure that it’s exactly 110F. Once heated, stir in the 2 tbsp of the brown sugar with 1 tsp of flour. Add the yeast and stir with a wooden spoon and cover. Place the bowl in a warm area (75-80F) to activate for 10-12 minutes. Your yeast may bloom faster or slower depending on the warmth of the area. You’ll know it’s ready when it smells yeast-like and there is foam on the top of the dairy-free milk. If this hasn’t happened, you’ll need to start over.
  3. Make the dough: Add the remaining flour, plus the remaining brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, and orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the dough hook and gently mix the ingredients together for a minute on medium speed. Turn the stand mixer on to medium-low speed and mix (or use a large spoon to mix if doing by hand). Mix until just combined. The dough will look shaggy. Next, add in the room temperature vegan butter, and mix on medium at first until the butter is incorporated into the dough. Then turn the speed up to medium-high, and allow the dough to be kneaded for 10-15 minutes, or until you’re able to do the window pane test without breaking the dough.
  4. First proof: Place the dough ball into the greased bowl, and cover with a thin clean dish towel. Place the bowl in a warm area that’s at least 85F. If your oven has a proof setting, you can use that. You can also heat the oven to 100F, then turn it off and keep the oven light on. Proof the bread until it’s doubled in size, about an hour. If your area is cooler, it will take longer, if it’s warmer, it will be quicker.
  5. Make the hot cross buns: while the dough is rising, you can grease a medium casserole dish with cooking oil. Set aside. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down lightly and gently pull the dough from the bowl onto a clean surface. Use a pizza cutter or large kitchen knife to divide the dough into 12-16 even pieces. You can weigh them out for a more accurate dough. First, weigh the full dough, then divide by how many rolls you would like to make. To form round rolls, gently roll a dough ball in between your palms. Then pinch the bottom of the dinner roll together to create a more round top. See this video for a visual demonstration. Repeat for the remaining hot cross buns, placing them in the casserole dish when done.
  6. Second rise: cover the dinner rolls with a thin clean dish towel again and place in a warm area (by the oven is fine) to nearly double in size again. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. When the hot cross buns have doubled again: mix together the flour and water in a small bowl. If you find the mixture is too runny to be piped, stir in another tablespoon or two of flour. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, and snip the end of the piping bag. Pipe one long line over a row of rolls. Repeat for each row. Then pipe one long line across the columns of hot cross buns (i.e. in the perpendicular direction to create the cross). Repeat for each column.
  8. Bake the hot cross buns: once the oven is preheated, place the vegan hot cross buns into the oven to bake for 23-28 minutes. You might need longer for 12 rolls. The tops should be lightly golden, but not over baked. Remove from the oven.
  9. Brush with the orange glaze: Mix together the tablespoon of melted vegan butter, orange juice, and maple syrup for the bread wash. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the mixture over the tops of the rolls.  Allow them to cool slightly, but serve warm with vegan butter.
  10. Storage: store any leftover rolls in an airtight container or baggy. They will last at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for 4-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Keywords: vegan hot cross buns, dairy free hot cross buns, eggless hot cross buns, hot cross buns