These gluten-free hot cross buns feature spiced yeast dough, currants, and orange icing. They’re EASY-TO-MAKE with a secret ingredient – gluten-free bread flour! Try them for Easter this year!

Complete your Easter meal with gluten-free ham and gluten-free scalloped potatoes.

baked and iced hot cross buns in a baking pan


 

Did you grow up eating hot cross buns on Easter or Good Friday? If not, now is a great time to start a new tradition!

These gluten-free hot cross buns are like traditional hot cross buns, but the gluten free version swaps regular wheat flour for gluten-free bread flour. They’re light and chewy, dotted with sweet currants and warm spices.

Once you try this hot cross buns recipe, you’ll always want them to be part of your Easter traditions!

Table of Contents

Why I love this recipe

  • Classic Easter side dish: I love serving this traditional side dish every year for Easter celebrations! It serves a crowd and is easy to make ahead! Serve them as an alternative (or in addition to) classic dinner rolls.
  • Delicious sweet rolls: These hot cross buns are lightly sweetened with sugar, orange juice, and icing. They’re the perfect bit of sweetness to balance the savory dishes in a classic Easter meal!
  • Perfectly spiced: Warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom make this gluten free hot cross buns recipe uniquely delicious!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here are a few notes on the key ingredients to make these gluten-free hot cross buns.

ingredients for gluten-free hot cross buns on a countertop
  • Gluten-free bread flour: I’ve been loving using this gluten-free bread flour that contains gluten-free wheat starch and xanthan gum. It makes dough that is very easy to work with and gives the texture of traditional baked goods!
  • Instant yeast: Make sure you use instant yeast, not dry active yeast. Instant yeast can be mixed right in with dry ingredients, whereas active dry yeast must dissolve in warm water before using.
  • Butter: I always prefer salted butter over unsalted butter for gluten free baking. It adds more depth of flavor! Note that you can use dairy-free butter and milk to make these dairy-free.
  • Currants: I love the flavor of dried currants in these hot cross buns. They’re so delicious! I order these currants from Amazon. But you can also use raisins, if you prefer.

Gluten-Free Bread Flour

This gluten-free bread flour really is the secret ingredient for fluffy, bready gluten-free hot cross buns. Made with gluten-free wheat starch to give baked goods incredible taste and texture, it’s ideal for classic yeasted recipes. Unfortunately other flour blends like gluten-free 1:1 baking flour won’t yield the same results.

Gluten-free bread flour is made with gluten-free wheat starch. Note that it is NOT suitable for people with an actual wheat allergy. I have to avoid gluten (the protein in wheat) for celiac disease and can eat gluten-free bread flour no problem.

How to Make Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

dry ingredients for gluten-free hot cross buns in a mixing bowl, and wet ingredients mixed in

Mix dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, instant yeast, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. Mix flour mixture to evenly combine.

Add wet ingredients. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the water, milk, orange juice, eggs and melted butter. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 3 minutes until very smooth. The dough will resemble thick cookie dough. This is normal! Stir in the currants. Use an oiled spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Chill dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. (Refrigerating the dough makes it easier to roll out.)

gluten-free hot cross buns dough pressed flat on a cutting board, then rolled up into a ball

Shape rolls. Lightly flour a surface with gluten-free flour. You’ll make 15 rolls with the dough (5 rows of 3 in the pan.) Measure out ~100 grams of dough (about ¼ cup). Pat the dough down until it’s a ¼ inch thick circle. Fold the 4 edges of the circle up and pinch together. Turn the piece of dough seam-side down and use the palm and heel of your hand to rotate into an even ball of dough.

One gluten-free hot cross buns dough ball on a cutting board, and a full pan of hot cross buns rising

Repeat. Place in the prepared baking dish and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.

Recipe Tip

This is a very sticky dough — much stickier than regular dough! Sprinkle with a little bit of extra flour if the dough seems too sticky, but try not to add too much. You want to be able to work with the dough, but adding too much flour will result in dry rolls. 

Let rise. Cover the shaped rolls with plastic wrap. Set them in a warm place for a second rise (usually for 45-60 minutes.)

gluten-free hot cross buns dough with an egg wash, and baked hot cross buns in a baking pan

Make egg wash. Whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. 

Bake rolls. Bake the rolls for 35-45 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the icing.

Make the icing. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of milk. Use a fork to whisk until combined. It will be too thick to fully mix. Add only enough extra milk to make a very very thick icing. I only add about 1-2 more Tablespoons of milk. Scoop the icing into a Ziploc bag and snip the end. Use a piping bag to pipe crosses over the tops of the buns. Enjoy!

Storage & Freezing Instructions

  • To store: Store leftover hot cross buns in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • To freeze: You can freeze leftover hot cross buns for up to three months. Make sure the icing is dry before placing the buns in a Ziplock freezer bag or airtight container.

More Gluten-Free Easter Recipes

  • Gluten-Free Monkey Bread: This recipe features fluffy dough balls layered with a gooey caramel sauce and chopped pecans. It’s the perfect holiday or special occasion breakfast!
  • Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls: These gluten-free cinnamon rolls are big, fluffy, and SOFT! Plus thanks to a secret ingredient, they’re so easy to make!
  • Gluten-Free Crescent Rolls: These gluten-free crescent rolls are a must-have at the holiday table! They’re soft, buttery, and fluffy — everything a delicious roll should be!
  • Easter Fruit Salad: This crowd-pleasing, easter fruit salad is topped with honey vanilla yogurt! It is special and beautiful, but so easy to make.
  • Gluten-Free Coconut Cake: This gluten-free coconut cake is one of the best cakes you’ll ever make! It’s soft, moist and covered in fluffy cream cheese frosting. Plus toasted coconut adds the perfect contrast of textures.
  • Easy Healthy Easter Snacks: These healthy Easter snacks are adorable and fun to make! They’re perfect for class parties, playdates and more. Add these easy snacks to your next Easter celebration!
gluten-free hot cross buns sliced in half on a countertop

Recipe Tips

  • Use gluten-free bread flour: Be sure to use gluten-free bread flour for this recipe. Gluten-free measure-for-measure flour will NOT work. (See the note above about gluten-free bread flour for more details!)
  • Chill the dough: For best results, cover the dough bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. This makes it easier to roll out the dough and shape the buns.
  • Substitute raisins: I love the flavor of dried currants in these hot cross buns, but you can also use raisins, if you prefer.
  • Dairy-free: You can easily make these gluten-free hot cross buns dairy-free by using dairy-free milk and dairy-free butter in the dough. They’ll still turn out delicious!
baked and iced hot cross buns in a baking pan
5 from 3 votes

Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15 buns
These gluten-free hot cross buns feature spiced yeast dough, currants, and orange icing. They’re EASY-TO-MAKE with a secret ingredient – gluten-free bread flour! Try them for Easter this year!
NOTE: You have to use gluten-free bread flour for the proper results. Gluten-free measure-for-measure flour will not work.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 ½ cups (680g) King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) water warm
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk warm
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter melted
  • 3/4 cup (110g) currants, or 1 cup raisins

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Icing

  • 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or orange juice

Instructions 

Make the Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, instant yeast, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. Mix to evenly combine.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly add the water, milk, orange juice, eggs and melted butter. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 3 minutes until very smooth. The dough will resemble thick cookie dough. This is normal! Stir in the currants.
  • Use an oiled spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. (Refrigerating the dough makes it easier to roll out.)

Shape the Rolls

  • Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Lightly flour a surface with gluten-free flour. You’ll make 15 rolls with the dough (5 rows of 3 in the pan.) Measure out ~100 grams of dough (about ¼ cup). I like to measure all 15 dough portions before shaping them. Pat the dough down until it’s a ¼ inch thick circle.
  • Note: This dough is much stickier than regular dough. Sprinkle with a little more gluten-free bread flour if the dough seems too sticky, but try not to add too much. You want to be able to work with the dough, but adding too much flour will result in dry rolls.
  • Fold the 4 edges of the circle up and pinch together. Turn the dough seam-side down and use the palm and heel of your hand to rotate into an even ball of dough.
  • Place in the prepared baking dish and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
  • Cover the shaped rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Bake the Rolls

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash.
  • Bake the rolls for 35-45 minutes or until starting to turn golden-brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the icing.

Make the Icing

  • Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of milk. Use a fork to whisk until combined. It will be too thick to fully mix. Add only enough extra milk to make a very very thick icing. I only add about 1-2 more Tablespoons of milk.
  • Scoop the icing into a ziploc bag and snip the end. Pipe crosses over top of the buns. Enjoy!

Notes

Gluten-Free Bread Flour
This gluten-free bread flour really is the secret ingredient for fluffy, bready gluten-free hot cross buns. Made with gluten-free wheat starch to give baked goods incredible taste and texture, it’s ideal for classic yeasted recipes. Unfortunately other flour blends like gluten-free 1:1 baking flour won’t yield the same results.
Gluten-free bread flour is made with gluten-free wheat starch. Note that it is NOT suitable for people with an actual wheat allergy. I have to avoid gluten (the protein in wheat) for celiac disease and can eat gluten-free bread flour no problem.
Dairy-Free: Use your dairy-free milk of choice and dairy-free butter in the dough. 

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. Question: Is there a way to do these ahead and bake them later? I’ve made your cinnamon rolls, and making them ahead worked SO well! And they were AMAZING!!! The best cinnamon rolls I’ve had since I started baking GF 20+ years ago. I’d love to try these hot cross buns for Easter lunch, but time will be tight . . .

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