12WBT Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Nutrition // Madeleine // 19 March 2013

You’ve stayed on track with your healthy lifestyle, but now Easter is on its way. When that whiff of freshly baked hot cross buns drifts from the oven it can be hard to resist. 12WBT’s Hot Cross Bun recipe will make sure you don’t miss out, but also don’t go off-course!

The Easter weekend is around the corner and with it comes the delight of sweetly spiced hot cross buns. They’re tempting, but they’re high in sugar and calories.

A single pre-packaged hot cross bun can contain as much as 20g of sugar and more than 250mg of sodium. The store-bought ones are also rich in emulsifiers, artificial flavourings and preservatives and have very little nutritional value.

The 12WBT team loves hot cross buns as much as the next person so thought we’d create a healthier version of these seasonal favourites. 12WBT Hot Cross Buns are considerably lower in calories and fat and higher in protein than store-bought ones.

Each 12WBT Hot Cross Bun has 181 calories, 5g of protein, 7g of sugar and 39.2mg of sodium. Plus, the recipe tastes amazing!

12WBT Hot Cross Buns

  • 15 Serves
  • 30 min prep time
  • 30 min cooking
  • 181 Cal / serve

Who doesn’t love hot cross buns straight from the oven?! If you’re someone who finds it hard to stop at one, either don’t make this recipe OR the moment they come out of the oven, portion them up and freeze the leftovers for another day.


  •  2 1/4 cups Plain Flour (340g)
  • 1 cups Plain Wholemeal Flour (160g)
  • 1 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon (2g)
1/2 teaspoons Mixed Spice (1g)
3 teaspoons Yeast, Dried (9g)
  • 100g Raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups Low Fat Milk (310g)
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup (40g)
40g Margarine
1 Cage Free Eggs (50g), lightly whisked


  1. Combine the flours (reserving 1/4 cup of the plain flour), mixed spice, cinnamon, yeast and raisins in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the milk, margarine and golden syrup in a small saucepan until the margarine melts and the mixture is lukewarm. Remove pan from the heat.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and prove in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 180C (fan-forced). Spray an 18 × 28cm lamington pan with cooking spray.
  6. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes or until the dough returns to its original size. Divide the dough into 15 equal portions. Knead each portion into a ball and place close together in the pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 20 minutes to prove or until buns rise up and touch each other.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the paste, place the reserved flour and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Beat until smooth, until a little more water if the paste is too thick. Spoon into a small plastic bag.
  8. Brush the tops of the buns with a little egg.
  9. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe the flour paste to form crosses over the buns.
  10. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the buns are cooked through and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Mish Tips

  • You probably won’t be using the whole egg for the wash. The best bet is it whisk it with a fork in a cup and then brush the tops as this will provide a better shine, which is just what you are after.
  • Make sure you allow plenty of time to let the dough rest as this is a crucial step to getting the perfect hot cross bun!
  • Keep the hot-cross buns in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Alternatively, wrap individual buns in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months, defrosting as required.




  1. Jodi Swift Reply

    I have requested this recipe a number of times, but it has not come through on the email. How can I get this recipe? Thanks.

    1. Madeleine Reply

      Hi Jodi,

      I will look into it now for you.


  2. Hot Cross Buns | nutritionilove Reply

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  6. Linda Reply

    Margarine?? trans fat, one of the worst fats to ingest..butter or good quality virgin coconut oil would be a much better alternative.

    1. Chantelle Curtis-Latchford Reply

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the comment. Many Australians consume too much saturated fat from animal products. We recommend margarine on the program over butter because it has less saturated fat, has no cholesterol and is better for your heart than butter.

      In Australia almost all margarines are now free of trans fats, check the nutrition label for <0.1% trans fats. In the 1990’s margarines had much higher levels of trans fats, but these have now been significantly reduced.

      Butter is fine in moderation if you have good health, no issues with cholesterol and a healthy diet.

      Chantelle Curtis-Latchford
      12WBT Dietitian and Nutrition Content Writer

    2. Tracey Reply

      I only use butter, and minimal at that, (and not a lot of other oils), so I traded margarine for butter. I figure that a little bit natural fat is better than manufactured oils and fats.

  7. Lisa Reply

    Just wondering why you would choose to use margarine over butter?? Seems crazy. And golden syrup – as opposed to natural maple syrup? Sorry – I’ve only started getting your email and this just doesn’t make sense!?

    1. Chantelle Curtis-Latchford Reply

      Hey Lisa, see my comment above!

      Chantelle Curtis-Latchford
      12WBT Dietitian and Nutrition Content Writer

  8. Grace Reply

    I have just made these amazing HCB and they came out fantastic!!! With the help of my niece and nephew! Great tasting nutritious healthy guilt free Hot Cross Buns!

    Please upload more recipes.

  9. Linda Clark Reply

    I agree that margarine is a no-no for me. Even if the trans fat is almost gone from margarine these days, apparently it is still close to being plastic (?) and also has too much omega 6. Is this not correct?

  10. Linda Clark Reply

    Also, I have read that saturated fats from animals etc are actually not the bad fats that we originally thought they were and they we ought not to avoid them, but eat in moderation, avoiding as much omega 6 and trans fats as possible. Is this correct?

  11. karen knight Reply

    Can I make these with out yeast by substituting bicarb and vinegar?

  12. Fiona Reply

    Right on Lisa & Linda! Ditch the margarine in favour of real butter which your body can recognise as real food. Also use maple syrup in moderation over golden syrup which is just another highly processed sugar.

  13. Andi Reply

    Love the recipe, but would organic grass fed butter and something like maple syrup not be a better alternative as they are more “natural” than margarine and golden syrup?

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