Cranberry & Apple Hot Cross Buns

What can I say about hot cross buns? I remember from my early childhood having them. My dad would bake them or my mum would buy some.

Back then they were all made with the same flavours, not like today.

These gluten-free and vegan hot cross buns are speckled with cranberry jewels, and packed with spices and fragrant orange zest. These also have small pieces of juicy apple throughout. Being gluten-free does not mean going without this Easter.

These are

  • Chewy
  • Fruity
  • Zesty
  • Delicious
  • Fruity

To me the best way to serve one is to have it toasted and slathered with dairy-free butter. In fact, it just would not seem like Easter without these spiced buns. Traditionally an English thing although they are enjoyed in a few countries.

Like bread hot cross buns are not a quick bake, this is because they need to be proofed. Although it is only one proof, that still needs a good hour and a half for good results.

I have detoured away from the original recipe as I have chosen to use cranberries and apples. If you do not want to use these flavours you could use sultanas and omit the apple.

These buns are best eaten fresh and warm on the same day. You could also freeze them in an airtight container. The nest day they are best toasted

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.


Egg Replacement choices

Flax egg

Mix 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds with 3 tbsp of warm water, rest for 5 minutes and then use as you would an egg.

Crackd Egg

If this product was not so expensive then I would use it more. It does work great in baking and replaces up to 3 eggs quite easily. You can also freeze this which is useful.

Powdered egg replacement such as Orgran No Egg or Tesco’s egg alternative. Use according to the packet instructions.

Shaping your Hot cross buns

Once you get the hang of it then it becomes natural. It is the same process for shaping bread rolls.

  • You need to shape your buns before rising so they continue to keep their shape while they are rising.
  • Start by tucking the dough from the outside and bring it into the centre.
  • Turn them over, ensuring that the smoothest surface is on top
  • Cup your hand around each one and make sure it is in a nice round bun.

Because of the fruit content you will not get a completely smooth surface.

Do I need the crosses?

They do represent an important meaning to the Christian faith, that said if you can not do them for some reason they will taste delicious.

Flour Substitutes

Millet Flour

Quinoa, sorghum, oat or chickpea flours could be used.

Buckwheat flour

Fine brown rice flour, Sorghum or oat flour

Tapioca Starch

Potato starch or cornflour

Cranberry and Apple & Hot Cross Buns

Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, nut-free and egg-free

  • Preparation Time 45 Minutes
  • Cooking Time 25 Minutes
  • Proofing 1 hour 30 Minutes

Author Karran Minchinton


The Dough

  • The Crosses

  • The Glaze


  1. In a bowl add the cranberries, diced apple, lemon zest, orange juice and zest, mix through and set aside and next, mix the psyllium husk with the water. This will become a thick gel, leave this to the side until needed.
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment
  3. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer if you are using one) add the potato starch, millet flour, buckwheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast, xanthan gum, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg and whisk together.
  4. Add in your egg replacement, psyllium gel, warm milk and melted butter. If you are using a stand mixer, add a dough hook and mix until the dough comes together, continue to mix on speed 2 only for 5 mins and then tip onto an oiled board. If you not using a stand mixer, bring the dough together with your hands adding a little flour if needed, bringing the dough together until you have a clean bowl and then tip onto an oiled board and knead with your hands for 5 minutes.
  5. Now it is time to use the fruit and zest. Drain the juice away and using half of it first knead it into the dough until all the fruit is used up.
  6. Next, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape them (SEE NOTES ABOVE)
  7. Place them onto the lined baking sheet making sure you leave them 2cm apart, sprinkle the tops with a little millet flour and place a damp tea. towel over the top. Place in a warm place or your oven if you have a dough proof setting. Leave like this for 1 hour and 30 minutes until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 205C and add an ovenproof dish into the bottom of the oven and fill it with boiling water. This is to add steam.
  8. While the oven is heating up it is time to add your crosses. Mix the ingredients for them, the mix needs to be a little runny, if still too stiff then add a drizzle of more water. Add to a piping bag inserted with a small round hole nozzle.
  9. Brush the buns with milk and then pipe the crosses over the top of the bun. Place them into the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes or until golden in colour.
  10. If you wish to glaze them, it is best to do them while warm. Heat the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan on a simmer until the sugar has dissolved and brush all over the buns. Leave to dry and then place into an airtight container.

If you decide to give this recipe a try, please don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too. Feedback is so important.

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