Homemade Vegan Hot Cross Buns, warm from the oven, are an essential part of the Easter weekend.
Gently spiced, studded with dried fruit and brushed with a sticky, jammy glaze they are a delicious way to celebrate the beginning of spring.
Why Do We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter?
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten by Christians on Good Friday to remember the crusifixion of Christ.
The cross on top symbolises both the crusifixion itself and the intersection between Heaven and Earth.
However, as with so many festivals, this was an adaptation of celebrations and rituals already in place.
The pagan festival of Eostre predates the arrival of Christianity and celebrates the Spring Equinox and Eostre, spring goddess of dawn.
In these celebrarions the cross on top of Eostre buns symbolises the four quarters of the moon.
For us, Easter is a celebration of Spring and the arrival of longer days and shorter nights. We leave winter behind us and sail forward into the light, quite literally, as Easter marks the beginning of the sailing season!
In the hustle and bustle of preparing ourselves and our boat for the new year I always make time for some Easter baking.
While it is now super easy to get vegan hot cross buns in the supermarkets I like to bake at least one batch myself.
The smell of the yeasted dough rising followed by the rich scent of fruit and spices as they bake is utterly irresistible.
How To Make Vegan Hot Cross Buns
For step by step instructions and full ingredients list see the end of this post, read on for extra tips and tricks to help you on your way.
Making your own hot cross buns takes time but the reward is well worth it. Not only do you get beautifully flavoured buns, fresh from the oven, you also get the deep satisfaction which is to be gained from slow baking. Even if you only make them once I urge you to have a go at making your own vegan hot cross buns and to present them with a flourish to your loved ones.
Hot cross buns are made with a yeasted dough, flavoured with dried fruits and warm spices.
Yeasted doughs take time to rise so make sure you aren’t setting out to make them with only an hour to spare before sharing them!
You will need time to knead followed by at least an hour for the first rise and then another hour for the final proving before baking.
The good news is while they are rising they don’t need any attention and you can go and do something else!
I faffed about with Easter decorations so I could take pretty pictures to share with you…
The Cross On Hot Cross Buns
The cross is made using a flour and water paste which is piped onto the buns prior to baking.
They add nothing to the flavour but make them look good, leave them off if you can’t be bothered!
If you want them to look more professional than mine use a narrower piping nozzle and be less slapdash!
Storing Your Buns
These hot cross buns are best eaten on the day they are made, fresh from the oven.
They will store for up to three days in an airtight tin but do split them in half and toast them before eating.
You can freeze vegan hot cross buns but, again, toast them before you eat them.
More Vegan Easter Ideas
If you’re planning a vegan Easter feast you might also like these recipes:
- Carrot and Coriander Fritters
- Easy Vegan Sausage Rolls
- Choclate Rice Krispie Cakes
- Pearl Barley Risotto with Spring Vegetables
- Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
- No Mayo Potato Salad
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
- 300 ml plant based milk I used soya
- 60 g vegan butter or margarine
- 500 g strong white flour
- 75 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp mixed spice use pumpkin spice if you are in the US
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 g instant/fast action yeast
- 100 g sultanas
- 50 g mixed peel
- 75 g plain flour
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 3-4 tablespoons apricot conserve
- Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan gently, over a low heat until the butter melts, leave to cool to blood temperature (see note below).
- Add the strong white flour, sugar and spices to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the salt and yeast, one to each side of the bowl (see note below).
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the cooled milk and butter.
- Bring together with a spoon to form a dough or use the dough hook in a stand mixer to do the job.
- Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic on a floured surface or in your stand mixer (see note below).
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
- Add the sultanas and mixed peel to the dough and knead to ensure they are evenly spread throughout.
- Divide into 12 pieces, form into balls and place onto a greased baking sheet.
- Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave to rise for a further hour. Press them lightly with a fingertip. If they spring back they are ready to bake.
- Mix plain flour with a little water to make a thick pipeable paste. Pipe a cross onto each bun using a piping bag with a thin nozzle.
- Bake at 200C/390F for about 20 minutes or until golden.
- Heat the apricot conserve in small saucepan and brush the baked buns with the warm jam as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Leave to cool slightly and serve warm or cool completely and serve toasted with butter.
- It is important to cool the milk and butter to blood temperature so that you don't kill the yeast. Test it with your finger, if it feels hot leave it a little longer.
- Salt can also kill the yeast so keep them apart until you start mixing everything together.
- This is a very sticky dough and is much easier to make using a stand mixer. If you are kneading by hand be circumspect with how much flour you add or you may end up with hefty buns.