Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

These are the best Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns this Springtime and they have a homemade sticky citrus maple glaze and lots of dried fruits. They are light, fluffy and doughy and much better than shop-bought.

We love hot cross buns but so often I find the ready-made ones lacking. They are either too sweet, too sticky, too hard, too doughy… you get the idea. But I always think yeasted dough is a lot of effort. And, it does take time but that time you can easily fill with other things and let the dough work its magic. These buns really are easy and vegan and you’d never go back to buying them again.

Nine Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns in a square dish
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

How delicious are these buns?

These are one of my favourite Easter recipes I have made (and there have been quite a few) as they are:

  • Fluffy, doughy and tender
  • Sweet but not too sweet
  • Finished with a sticky grapefruit maple glaze
  • Packed with citrus zest and dried fruits
  • Easy to make in a few steps
  • Delicious cold or toasted and served with vegan butter
  • Naturally nut-free, dairy-free and egg-free

If you are already keen to make these buns, skip ahead to the recipe card, or let’s first discuss the recipe in more detail.

7 Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns in a square dish
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

What ingredients do I need?

Like most buns, the ingredient list is simple:

  • Plant-based milk: any plant milk is great here like oat, almond or soya.
  • Vegan butter: full-fat block butter is great for these buns as it lends that lovely buttery soft texture. Do not swap this for coconut oil or nut butter, but vegan margarine spread should be a great substitute.
  • Plain flour: these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns work perfectly with standard white plain flour (sadly they are not gluten-free) but I can imagine half wholemeal-half white would be a delicious blend or adding some spelt flour, too.
  • Spices: cinnamon and mixed spice are great for the warming Easter flavours. If you don’t have mixed spice, add ½ tsp ginger, ½ tsp more cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Caster sugar: or another sugar like golden caster or coconut sugar will be good but I kept it simple with white caster sugar.
  • Salt: this is important to help the yeast grow and it also adds to the flavour.
  • Yeast: this recipe calls for dried active yeast or fast-action yeast as you can smell it within a few minutes of mixing with the warm milky butter that it starts to activate and come alive.
  • Grapefruit or other citrus: I love an excuse to use grapefruit and for these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns I have used grapefruit zest in the buns and also for the glaze. You can swap this for orange, blood orange or lemon too.
  • Mixed dried fruits: hot cross buns would not be complete without dried fruits. I use a mix of raisins, sultanas, cranberries and dried mixed peel.
Pulling apart Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

For the cross:

  • Plain flour: as above.
  • Water: mixed with the flour to form a gloopy mix that is perfect for piping on top.

The sticky citrus glaze is the icing on the cake! While most recipes use marmalade on top (which you can certainly do instead) this maple glaze is the dream and adds that lovely shine with some citrus flavour.

  • Grapefruit: as above you can use orange, blood orange or lemon. The glaze uses the juice and zest of the fruit.
  • Maple syrup: this is the base of the syrup which we are infusing with the citrus. You can use other syrups like agave or brown rice or use a vegan honey alternative.
  • Light brown sugar: gives the glaze a richer colour and helps to the thicken it too. Coconut sugar or white sugar should also be fine.
Drizzling syrup over Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

How do I make these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns?

As the name suggests, they are easy to make in a few steps. I prefer to use a standing mixer with a dough hook attached for the mixing and kneading but you can certainly use your hands, too.

  • Melt the plant-based milk and butter: until fully combined and lukewarm. Allow to cool if needed as it cannot be too hot (this will kill the yeast).
  • Stir together all the dry ingredients: in a large mixing bowl (either of a standing mixer or a regular bowl).
  • Gradually pour in the milky mix: and continue to mix until mainly combined.
  • Knead until elastic and soft: 4 to 5 minutes by mixer or 8 to 10 minutes by hand.
  • Stretch out the dough on a floured surface: to an oval shape.
  • Sprinkle over the citrus zest and dried fruits: and gently knead to evenly disperse the fruit.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl: cover and leave somewhere warm to proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough and divide into 9: shape into balls.
  • Place the balls in a greased dish: mine is a square 9-inch or 23-cm dish. Cover and leave to proof again for 35-40 minutes.
  • Brush with plant-based milk and add on the flour cross: to all 9 buns.
  • Bake until golden: risen and fluffy.
  • Make the citrus glaze by bubbling the ingredients: till thick and glossy.
  • Brush the buns with the glaze: and enjoy warm or cold.
An Easy Vegan Hot Cross Bun on a plate
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Do I have to use grapefruit?

No, but even if you are not a fan of grapefruit, these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns are still delicious. You can swap the grapefruit for orange, lemon or blood orange. Or skip the zest in the buns and use orange marmalade or regular maple syrup as a glaze on top.

How long will these buns last?

These are definitely best eaten on the same day but you can keep them for 1-2 days in a sealed container or freeze fresh and cooled buns for 1 month and allow to defrost at room temperature.

Are these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns gluten-free and nut-free?

These buns are nut-free, just check that your milk and butter contain no nuts. These are not gluten-free and for those avoiding gluten, I’d recommend my other no-yeast bakes like my Vegan Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Scones, Strawberry Swirl No Yeast Buns or Double Chocolate Fruit and Nut Swirl Rolls.

Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns on plates with grapefruits
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

I love easy bakes, what else can I make?

I hope you are going to love baking these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns and for more ideas, how about my:

Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

These are the best Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns this Springtime and they have a homemade sticky citrus maple glaze and lots of dried fruits. They are light, fluffy and doughy and much better than shop-bought.


    For the Dough:
  • 300ml plant-based milk
  • 65g vegan butter
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sachet (7g, or 2 ¼ tsp) dried active yeast
  • 1 grapefruit, zested
  • 130g mixed dried fruits
  • For the Cross:
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3-4 tbsp plant-based milk, divided
  • For the Citrus Glaze:
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 120ml maple syrup
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar


  1. Prepare the hot cross bun dough: add the milk and butter to a small saucepan and gently melt the butter, do not let the milk bubble. Check that the mix is lukewarm, if not, allow it to cool down.
  2. To a large mixing bowl of a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, sugar, salt and yeast and stir to mix. Keep the mixer running and gradually pour in the milk-butter mix and once incorporated, knead for 4-5 minutes on a low speed, until the dough is elastic and coming away from the bowl (skip to step 4).
  3. Or, you can add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and use a spoon and then your hands to gradually add in the milk-butter mix and once a dough is formed, tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for 8-10 minutes until elastic and soft.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and spread out with your hands to an oval. Add the grapefruit zest and the dried fruits on top and quickly knead your hands for 1 minute to disperse the fruits.
  5. Grease a large bowl and add the ball of dough. Cover and leave somewhere warm to double in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Lightly flour a surface and grease a square dish. Punch down the risen dough and tip onto the surface. Divide into 9 pieces of dough (about 115g each) and shape into neat balls, tucking the edges underneath. Place each ball into the greased dish (mine is 9-inch or 23-cm square) and repeat with all 9 buns. They should just touch one another but have room to expand.
  7. Cover and leave somewhere warm for 35-40 minutes until risen and nearly doubled.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170Fan/190*C. Mix together the flour and 2-3 tbsp of milk for the cross to a smooth paste and place in a piping bag.
  9. Once the buns have risen, brush with the remaining 1 tbsp milk. Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe a cross onto each bun.
  10. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked through.
  11. While they bake, make the maple glaze: zest ¼ of the grapefruit and juice half of the fruit (you need 3 tbsp). Add to a small saucepan with the maple syrup and sugar and stir well. Bring to boil and stir well to allow the mix to bubble for 5 minutes, until thickening (or for nearer 8-10 minutes for a more spreadable consistency). Pour into bowl and allow to cool, it will continue to thicken as it cools.
  12. Brush the warm buns with the grapefruit maple glaze.
  13. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and then enjoy warm or cold, with more grapefruit maple glaze and coconut yoghurt/cream or toasted with vegan butter. Keep leftover buns for 1-2 days in a sealed container or for 1 month in the freezer.
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns cut open with cream and syrup
Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns

I look forward to hearing what you think of these Easy Vegan Hot Cross Buns so please let me know in the comments below. If you do make these buns, I’d love to see them so please tag me in your bakes, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With hot cross bun love x

p.s. this recipe was first made with Florida Grapefruit to show off their gorgeous grapefruit but all opinions are my own and this blog post is not sponsored.

  1. Heya Amy. Looks wonderful and splendid photography as always!! Amazing and saved to my WordPress saved collection 😁

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic recipe and taste delicious. The whole house smelled amazing when they were baking too!

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