These soft and fluffy vegan hot cross buns turn out perfectly every time- and they’re foolproof! With step by step photos and video, learn how to make the classic hot cross buns- but secretly dairy free and no eggs. Perfect for any Easter brunch or dinner!

vegan hot cross buns on parchment paper

Why you need these vegan hot cross buns at your Easter table:

​If you adore traditional hot cross buns- you know, the beautiful blend between cinnamon rolls, fruit bread, and dinner rolls– then you’re going to be WOWed by these vegan hot cross buns.

These vegan hot cross buns are beautifully yeasted and loaded with zesty orange and raisins (or sultanas!) warming spices (including cinnamon and ginger). 

And yet- they’re entirely and unbelievably dairy free and eggless with the simplest of swaps. So if this is your first time baking vegan, don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place!

vegan hot cross buns on parchment paper

I’m going to walk you through exactly how I made these hot cross buns vegan, and fully approved by non-vegans. With simple swaps, like dairy free yogurt for eggs (my favorite for vegan egg substitute!) and vegan butter for butter, you’ll be a pro in no time.

They’ll be absolutely perfect on your Easter brunch table- and if you’re looking for more veganized Easter favorites, check out my vegan Easter Menu here!

First off- how are traditional hot cross buns not vegan?

Well, actually…orginally, 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. That’s why if you are purchasing store bought hot cross buns, they most likely are not vegan.

pulled apart vegan hot cross bun

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!

First, the yeast:

There are several different types of yeast, so let’s go over what you can use for these vegan hot cross buns!

Spoiler: you can use either!

Active dry yeast: Also known as dry yeast. This is NOT fresh yeast, and essentially needs to be bloomed in liquid before using in a recipe. To bloom the yeast, you’ll mix a spoonful of sugar into warm dairy free milk (around 100 to 110F). Then stir in the yeast, cover, and let sit until it begins to foam. That’s when it’s bloomed and ready to use in your recipe!

Instant dry yeast: Also known as quick-rise yeast. This is a yeast specifically designed to activate without blooming first in liquid. However, the yeast will still bloom in liquid if you’d like it to, and still make your rolls rise quite quickly. You can therefore swap in instant dry yeast for the active dry yeast, and change none of the instructions.

heated dairy free milk with yeast bloomed

The remaining 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!
  • All purpose flour: Most hot cross buns recipes call for bread flour, and understandably so. But many beginning homemakers might just have all purpose flour (or plain flour in the UK), so I designed this recipe with AP flour!
  • 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: You can also skip the orange zest and add in 1/2 cup candied orange peels!
  • Ground cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger
  • Granulated sugar: You can also use coconut sugar or maple sugar.
  • 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!

Overview: how to make vegan hot cross buns step by step

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.

First, make the dough:

After you’ve bloomed the yeast, you’ll begin to make the dough!

Whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, sea salt, and orange zest in your mixing bowl (either for a stand mixer or in a bowl that you’ll use to make the rolls by hand). Then add in the milk and yeast mixture, along with your room temperature vegan butter, and dairy free yogurt. Mix on high speed with a dough hook until the dough is a sticky and tacky ball.

Add in the raisins or sultanas, and mix again until evenly distributed and the dough is slightly more smooth.

Then, we’ll do the first proof of the dough:

Place the dough into a greased bowl and set it in a warm area (ideally 80-100F) covered to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour and a half.

Third, shape the buns & second proof:

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. I like to divide the dough first in half, then into quarters. Then each quarter into 3 pieces.

To shape the dough, pinch the corns of a piece together, then flip the seam to be on the table. Then use your palms to smooth the dough around in a circle to create a roll. Repeat for the remaining buns

Cover the rolls to proof again until doubled in size.

Finally, we’ll pipe the cross & bake:

Once proofed, we’ll mix together our vegan egg wash (just dairy free milk, maple syrup, and apricot jam), and brush the tops of the proofed buns.

Pipe our flour cross atop the rolls (just flour, sugar, water, and a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice!). And bake in the oven until golden brown!

Can I prep these vegan hot cross buns overnight?

Yes, absolutely! I would prep them the day before up until Step 6 in the recipe card below. Instead of proofing them a second time at room temperature, cover them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, take them out to sit by the oven and continue on with the steps!

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!

hot cross buns smeared with jam

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

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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vegan hot cross buns on parchment paper

Homemade EASY Vegan Hot Cross Buns

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Proofing: 120
  • Cook Time: 23
  • Total Time: 2 hours 43 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegan


These soft and fluffy vegan hot cross buns turn out perfectly every time- and they’re foolproof! With step by step photos and video, learn how to make the classic hot cross buns- but secretly dairy free and no eggs. Perfect for any Easter brunch or dinner!


  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) unsweetened dairy free milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) organic sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups (560 g)  all-purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 6 tbsp (80 g) salted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp dairy free yogurt
  • 1 cup (160 g) raisins or sultanas

Hot cross bun bread wash:

  • 1 tbsp dairy free milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam

Flour piped cross:

  • 1/2 cup (65 g) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 1 tbsp orange juice


  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 1 tbsp of the sugar to the milk in a jar. Add the yeast and stir with a wooden spoon and cover. Place the bowl in a warm area (75-80F) to activate for 7-10 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: Pour the flour, plus the remaining sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, sea salt, 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. Then pour in the milk mixture, along with the dairy free yogurt, and vegan butter. 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. Keep the dough mixing until you get a sticky dough. Then add in the raisins, and 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 and a half. 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 even pieces, about 90-100 g each. 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 hot cross buns 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 400F. Once doubled in size, mix together all of the bread wash ingredients, and brush the tops of the rolls with the apricot bread wash. 
  7. When the hot cross buns have doubled again: mix together the flour,  sugar, water, and orange juice 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 23-25 minutes.  The tops should be golden brown but not over baked. Remove from the oven.
  9. Brush again with the orange glaze: Brush the tops of the rolls again with more wash. 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.


See blog post for all tips and tricks!