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How to make vegan hot cross buns

Easter wouldn’t be the same without a warm, spiced hot cross bun and this easy vegan recipe means that no one has to miss out. Made with almond milk and a little apple sauce to create a rich dough without the need for butter or eggs, this dairy-free bake is one you’ll want to make every year. Don’t forget to grab the handy shopping list of ingredients at the bottom.

  1. Mix the dough

    Add 600g strong white flour to a large mixing bowl, then stir in 60g caster sugar, a 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg and the zest of 1 lemon. Put 300ml unsweetened almond milk in a small pan and warm through over a low heat until just lukewarm, then set aside.

    Mash 60g apple sauce in a small bowl until smooth, then set aside. Pour 40ml sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil) into the flour mixture and mix gently with a wooden spoon. Then add the smooth apple sauce and the warm milk, mixing until it just comes together as a sticky dough.

    Mix the dough
  2. Knead in the fruit

    Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10 mins, stretching and folding the dough over on itself until smooth, shiny and springy to the touch. Dust with a little extra flour if sticking too much. Stretch the dough out slightly and scatter over 125g mixed dried fruit, fold the dough over and knead again briefly until mixed through.

    Knead in the fruit
  3. Prove the dough

    Lightly oil the inside of a clean mixing bowl and add the ball of dough, turning to coat in the oil. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hrs or until doubled in size.

    Prove the dough
  4. Shape the buns

    Lightly dust the work surface with flour and gently tip out the dough. Make a fist and lightly punch down into the dough to remove most of the air. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (roughly 100g each) and roll gently into a ball shape, tucking the edges of the dough underneath. Transfer the buns to a lined baking tray and cover loosely with clingfilm. Leave to prove again in a warm place for 30 mins-1 hr, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C.

    Shape the buns
  5. Make the crosses

    Mix together 50g strong white flour with 70ml water in a small bowl until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round nozzle (or a small sandwich bag with the tipped snipped off) and pipe crosses over the buns.

    Make the crosses
  6. Bake and glaze

    Bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown. Mix 2 tbsp apricot jam with 2 tbsp hot water until smooth, then brush over the tops of the hot buns. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack.

    Bake and glaze
  7. Serve

    Serve while still slightly warm or allow to cool completely. These are delicious split and toasted, topped with dairy-free spread or jam. Buns will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

    VeganHotCrossBuns Final

  8. Tip

    You can vary the buns as you like with different spices and fruits. Try swapping the cinnamon and nutmeg for ground mixed spice or adding a pinch of ground cardamom or allspice. Swap the grated lemon zest for orange, and try different mixes of dried fruits, such as raisins, sultanas, currants, candied citrus peel, dried cranberries or cherries, chopped dried apricots, figs or dates. The apricot glaze could also be swapped for shredless marmalade or warm golden syrup if liked. Just make sure that all ingredients are suitable for vegans before using.

  9. Ingredients

    We’ve made a handy shopping list, so you can get everything you need to make these vegan hot cross buns. Don’t forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    600g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
    60g caster sugar
    7g sachet fast action dried yeast
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 lemon, zested
    300ml unsweetened almond milk
    60g apple sauce
    40ml sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil), plus extra for greasing
    125g mixed dried fruit (see tip above)
    For the tops
    50g strong white bread flour
    2 tbsp apricot jam

    Serves 12

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      4g 6%
    • Saturates

      1g 4%
    • Sugars

      16g 18%
    • Salt

      0g 1%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 60.7g Protein 6.7g Fibre 2.4g