This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Apr 12, 2022

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns

These orange blueberry hot cross buns are a fun and tasty take on a classic Eastertime bread. 

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Bun on a plate.


While hot cross buns are most known for celebrating the end of the Lenten season, these yeasted sweet buns are a delicious treat any time of year. 

Traditionally they are made with an enriched sweet dough spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and studded with dried fruits such as raisins and currants as well as candied citrus. 

The cross on the top was originally formed by scoring the shaped buns before baking. Now, the tradition for authentic hot cross buns is to pipe a flour and water paste in a cross pattern over the shaped rolls. Another simpler option is to pipe the buns in a cross pattern with icing after baking, which is what I did. 

I still need to try the flour paste, and I'd like to try it with bleached cake flour so that the cross will be lighter in color (and easy to pipe.... I need to work on my piping skills). 

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns on a rack.

While hot cross buns have origins in Pagan food traditions, the hot cross buns we know today, with Christian symbolism, can be traced to the House of Tudor era. I've read that Queen Elizabeth (the first) banned them from being baked except on Good Friday, Christmas, and for funerals because the spices were so dear back then!

Who remembers "One-ha-penny, two-ha-penny, hot cross buns"? This rhyme is several centuries old! 

Fortunately, we can easily obtain all the spices and make these any time of year. 

Be sure to slather these buns warm from the oven in melty butter and enjoy!

Hot Cross Buns with butter.

While I stayed with the traditional spices, I made these hot cross buns with orange juice soaked dried blueberries for a different twist. They were so good! They have just the right amount of sweetness and enrichment (butter) without becoming heavy and losing their fluffy-ness. 

Plus, they are glazed after baking with a sweet orange honey and orange juice reduction before piping the crosses. 

Here is what you will need to make these hot cross buns:

Dried blueberries: These are absolutely delicious (plus they're super nutritious). I can't keep them in the pantry or I will eat the whole bag in one sitting. They are my favorite dried fruit. 

Freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh zest: You can also use tangerine juice if that's what you have. I actually used tangelo juice and zest from the fruit on our currently overloaded tree. 

Pantry and fridge ingredients: Milk, flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, yeast, salt, butter, eggs, and honey. 

Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. 

Hot Cross Buns dough plated.

Equipment you will need:

I used a 10-inch round cake pan. If you don't have one, no worries, a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan would work just fine. You could probably squeeze them into a 9-inch round cake pan. They'll just be taller. 

To mix the dough, I used a stand mixer with the dough hook. You can also knead by hand if you prefer. 

How to Make these Hot Cross Buns:

First, soak the dried blueberries in warm orange juice and then drain them. 

Next, mix the milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and spices, and add half of the mixture to the stand mixer. Beat in the butter, eggs, and more orange juice. Gradually add the rest of the flour mixture and the blueberries and knead for about 8 minutes. 

After that, let the dough rise until doubled and then shape the dough into 10 rolls and place them in the cake pan. 

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns dough.

Let the rolls rise until puffy, about 30 minutes, brush them with an egg wash, and then bake them in a 375 degree F oven for about 25 minutes. 

Keep an eye on the rolls and tent them with foil if they are getting too brown.

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns in a pan.

Once the rolls cool, brush them with the glaze and pipe them with the icing. 

Make-ahead tips:

These rolls are best the day they are made, but when you need to make them ahead of time, here are some suggestions...

First, you can shape the rolls, cover them, and immediately place them in the refrigerator to rise overnight. Bake them the next morning. 

You can also bake the rolls, let them cool, and then immediately wrap them and freeze them before glazing and icing. When you are ready to serve them, let them thaw and then reheat them in the oven before glazing and icing. 

If you do have some leftovers, individual buns can be revived with a 20 to 30 second spin in the microwave, which is what we did. 

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns on a cooling rack.

Other Tips:

Resist the urge to spread too much of the glaze over the rolls. Keep the glaze thin so that it dries over the rolls. 

While I used instant yeast, if you only have active dry yeast, use that one-for-one and follow the same instructions. If you have osmotolerant yeast (such as SAF Gold), this is a good recipe for using it. It's great for using in sweet doughs. 

Alternatively, if you don't have time to make a yeasted bun, but still want the flavors, be sure to try Hot Cross Muffins

Bread Bakers logo.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns with icing.

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns

Orange Blueberry Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 10 buns
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 3 H & 30 M
These orange blueberry hot cross buns are a fun and tasty take on a classic Eastertime bread.


For the Dough
  • 144 grams (1 cup) dried blueberries
  • 300 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) warm orange juice
  • 180 grams (3/4 cup) warm milk
  • 10 grams (1 tablespoon) instant yeast
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) granulated sugar, divided
  • 500 grams (4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 gram (large pinch) ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 gram (1/4 teaspoon) ground allspice
  • 56 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 45 grams (3 tablespoons) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 large eggs, whisked and divided
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk (for the egg wash)
For the Glaze
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
For the Icing
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more as necessary
  • 1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk


To Make the Buns
  1. Place the blueberries and warm orange juice in a small bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain the blueberries and discard the juice.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Mix with the paddle attachment.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and the rest of the sugar. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix until just combined. Beat in the butter, orange juice, and 75 grams of the eggs (1 1/2 eggs).
  4. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add the rest of the flour mixture with the speed on low. Add the blueberries and orange zest and knead on second speed for 8 minutes. If necessary, add up to 2 more tablespoons flour.
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 pieces (about 105 grams each) and form each into a round. Place them, evenly spaced, seam side down, into your parchment lined or greased baking pan (I used a 10 inch round cake pan). The rolls should be about 1/2 to 1 inch apart. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the egg with the milk. When the rolls have risen, brush the buns with the egg wash.
  8. Bake the buns for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Place on a wire rack and brush with the glaze.
  9. Pipe with the icing in a cross pattern.
To Make the Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the honey and orange juice and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  2. Let cool completely.
  3. Brush the finished rolls with the glaze before piping with the icing.
To Make the Icing
  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and milk.
  2. Add more powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thickness that you can use for piping.
  3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small tip with the icing and pipe the cooled rolls with the icing in a cross pattern.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

hot cross buns, Easter
English, Irish
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it # karenskitchenstories

How to stay up to date with Karen's Kitchen Stories? 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook. Do you like taking photos of the food you make? You can also join my Facebook food photo sharing group (you don't have to be a blogger).

While you’re here please take a minute to follow me on Pinterest. I’m always pinning great recipes from fellow bloggers.

Check out my Amazon Store for some of my kitchen toys. 

Finally, please follow me on Instagram. It’s a great way to stay up to date on all the latest and greatest blog recipes.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Wish I could have one of these with my tea!

  2. Oh boy, such yummy flavors! You know, I have never actually had a hot cross bun!

  3. This orange blueberry hot cross buns looks delicious I would love to check it out.

  4. In many places overseas these start showing up in the stores well before Easter and sometimes even year round! Your buns are lovely, Karen!

  5. What a tasty flavor combo for hot cross buns 😍

  6. Love the orange flavor! The buns look fabulous! Stunning pictures! YUMMY!

  7. This recipe is wonderful. I mixed up the dough, did the first rise, made into rolls and out in the refrigerator. Took them out this morning and baked. The best hot cross buns! So easy.


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.