Hot Cross Buns–Easy & Gluten-Free!

Easter is almost here!  I worked on this recipe in honor of my father.  He loved hot cross buns.  As a kid I couldn’t figure it out–they weren’t really sweet.  And I associated Easter with candy, just like Halloween and Christmas.  One day I asked him about hot crossed buns–why were they such a treat to him.  He told me that they really didn’t get a lot of candy for Easter.  The hot crossed buns were the first goodie they got after weeks of Lent (unless they were naughty!)  So they tasted wonderful to him as a kid.  Then as an adult he really didn’t want candy but he always was sure to get really, really good hot crossed buns from the bakery for Easter Sunday.  In his honor I decided to try to make really, really good gluten-free hot crossed buns.  To my delight–this recipe made up very well.

I started by getting only dried fruit that I liked, and soaking the fruit in apple juice (or rum if you are only baking for adults!).  Then I decided not to try to make the buns but to make them in disposable cupcake tins.  These were slightly smaller than regular cupcake tins and the dough made buns just right!  They came out just nicely rounded and not over the top–so they don’t look like a cupcake or a muffin.  With gluten-free baking, using the pan to help support the cakes while rising and baking is a neat trick that helps produce beautiful baked goods.  I share this trick with you gladly.

These are really good, delightful treats for Easter and I encourage you to give this recipe a try.  You just might find out why hot crossed buns are so popular for Easter!  Happy GF baking!

Hot Cross Buns--Easy & Gluten-Free!
  • 1 cup dried fruit or raisins--soak in ½ cup apple juice to plump
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or yoguty
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • ⅓ cup light Karo syrup
  • 2 cups Baking Free™ gluten-free All Purpose Flour (248 g)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • /4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2¼ teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
Butter to top buns as they bake
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk--enough to make icing that can go through piping bag
  1. In a small bowl soak the dried fruit. I heat the apple juice so the fruit plumps quickly. Then dry the fruit and dust with a little flour before you add it to the dough.
  2. In a bowl for a stand mixer, stir the eggs, sour cream (or yogurt) Karo syrup, milk, lemon zest and oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, spices and yeast.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones with the mixer on low. Then beat the dough for about 2 minutes. Stir in the prepared fruit with a spoon.
  4. Prepare the cupcake time with cooking spray. Scoop the dough into the cupcake tin evenly, and cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Place in a warm area, covered with a clean kitchen towel to rise. Allow to rise for about 1 hour.
  5. Once risen, brush tops with melted butter.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake buns 20-25 minutes. Allow buns to cool 5 minutes in pan before placing on cooling rack.
  7. Once buns are completely cool, prepare a thick icing that will go through a piping bag. Top cooled buns with icing in the form of a cross. Makes 12 buns.