Easter just wouldn’t be the same without Hot Cross Buns. They are deliciously sweet, a little sticky and because they are risen with yeast they are hearty and satisfying. They can be eaten as they are or toasted and slathered in butter.

Good Friday

Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Christian communities. They are symbolic of the crucifiction of Jesus on this day. The buns are decorated with a flour paste cross to represent that the cross on which he died and the spices that are incorporated into the recipe are a symbol of those that were used to embalm Christ after his death. There are a few beliefs surrounding Hot Cross Buns and Good Friday including one where it is believed that if you bake your buns on Good Friday they will not go mouldy during the following year. Another tradition that was often followed was keeping one bun from the batch made on Good Friday in case a family member became ill in the year following. Hot Cross buns were believed to have healing abilities for even the most terrible diseases thanks to their holy connotations.

Eostre The Goddess Of Fertility

Although Hot Cross Buns are linked to Christianity and Easter, it’s highly likely that they are linked to pre-Christian times. The Saxons ate ‘Cross Buns’ in April to honour Eostre who was the goddess of dawn and Fertility. The cross on the buns symbolised rebirth after winter and the four quarters separated by the cross represented the phases of the moon. A Christian tradition was imposed on top of this pagan event, changing Eostre's feast into a celebration of Christ, as was often the case. As a result, the cross atop the bun came to symbolise not just the Crucifixion, but also the meeting of the horizontal and vertical - the human and divine.

One A Penny Two A Penny….

You probably remember the famous playground rhyme or ditty: 

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

This rhyme started out as a London street cry and was used by sellers of Hot Cross Buns.  We can’t be sure of the exact date when this came about but records show the earliest recorded version was published in 1798.  It is thought to have been sung out by baker’s children to entice customers into the bakeries to purchase these freshly baked goods.  

Hot Cross Bun Recipes

Making homemade Hot Cross Buns is definitely achievable and may not be as difficult as you think.  If you are thinking of having a go at making your own Hot Cross Buns this year then you may like to check out Mary Berry’s recipe in one of our previous blog posts.  It’s a great recipe that you can involve the family with so that you all have some delicious treats to eat over the Easter holidays.  There is something so delightful and satisfying about the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread combined with the sweet scent of cinnamon, spices and fruit.  However, there are some modern takes on traditional recipes if ingredients like dried fruit or mixed peel is not for you.  How about this chocolate chip hot cross bun recipe:


  • 400g strong white bread flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 50g golden caster sugar , plus 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 1 medium egg , beaten
  • 50g butter , melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g chocolate chip (milk or dark, whichever you prefer), or currants or raisins
  • 50g plain flour


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the strong flour, yeast, caster sugar and 1 teaspoon salt, along with the spices. Pour the milk, egg, and butter into a well in the centre. Begin mixing with a plastic or wooden spoon and work your way to the end using your hands. If the dough is too dry, add warm water; if it is too moist, add more flour.
  • Knead and stretch the dough on a floured surface for 10 mins until it becomes smooth and springy. 
  • Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten. Scatter over the chocolate chips and knead the dough a few more times. Divide it into 8 even portions.
  • Roll each portion into a smooth round and place on a greased baking sheet in 2 rows of 4, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise. Cover with a tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins, until almost doubled in size again or just touching.
  • Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the plain flour with 1 tsp sugar and 4-5 tbsp water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe white lines on the buns to make crosses. Bake for 20 mins until they are light brown.

Baking Equipment At Lawsons

We stock a vast range of baking essentials and cooking equipment including mixing bowls, stand mixers, food processors and baking sheets and trays so that you can prepare your Easter bakes and achieve fantastic results.  Whether you are making Hot Cross Buns, Easter cupcakes, an Easter showstopper or even a traditional roast lamb we have everything you need.