Good Friday 2022: why do we eat hot cross buns and how to make them at home

The sweet spiced buns are almost as synonymous with Easter as chocolate eggs

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten around the world at Easter. 
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If there is a food that Easter is synonymous with, chocolate eggs aside, it is hot cross buns.

These spiced sweet treats are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the cross on the bun representing the crucifix. They are eaten around the world, including in the UK, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Flavoured with currants, cinnamon and nutmeg, they are traditionally eaten toasted with butter.

In the UAE, you can buy hot cross buns at supermarkets including Spinneys (Dh11 for six), Kibsons (Dh14.50 for eight) and Waitrose (Dh8 for four). British retailer Marks & Spencer has got creative with its flavours in recent years, deviating from spices and dried fruits, with chocolate, Bramley apple, blond chocolate and salted caramel, blueberry and even savoury Marmite and cheese flavoured buns, available from Dh15 for packs of four.

Hot cross buns recipe

Sonu Koithara, executive chef at Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, shares a recipe to make a 25-strong batch of the fruit buns.

Ingredients for the starter

200g flour

250ml warm milk

35g fresh yeast

Ingredients for the dough

500g flour

10g salt

5g bread improver

3 eggs

150g butter

250g black raisins (soaked water for a few hours beforehand)

5g nutmeg

5g cinnamon

5g Stollen spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in the same quantity)

125g sugar

Ingredients for the icing

50g T55 flour

25g corn oil

56ml water

6g sugar


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the starter and set aside to ferment for 3 hours
  2. After 3 hours, mix the starter, flour, bread improver, egg, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, stollen spice and sugar in a dough mixer on slow heat for 7 minutes
  3. Add the salt and continue mixing for 4 more minutes, then turn up the speed and mix for another 6 minutes
  4. Add the raisins and mix making sure they are evenly distributed
  5. Set the dough aside and let it rest for 1 hour
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  7. Divide the dough into 25 even pieces (about 40g per piece)
  8. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving space between each
  9. For the icing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until you get a smooth consistency
  10. Lightly brush the buns with olive oil and pipe along each row of the buns and repeat in the other direction, creating the cross marks
  11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the buns are a golden brown colour