Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Published on Mar 07, 2024

  by   Kristina Stosek

2 reviews

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves: 8
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This is an easy recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. The soft, lightly sweetened buns are flavored with warm spices, orange zest, and studded with dried fruit, featuring a cross and a glossy apricot glaze. 

close up of gluten free hot cross buns


A hot cross bun is linked to diverse cultural and religious traditions, especially during the Easter season. This lightly sweetened and spiced bun, with dried fruit, features a traditional cross and is typically enjoyed warm on Good Friday.


  • Tapioca flour – use equal weight of corn starch, potato starch
  • White rice flour – use equal weight of brown rice flour or millet flour
  • Oat flour – use equal weight of light buckwheat flour, sorghum flour
  • Sugar – fine coconut sugar or golden brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter – vegan butter
  • Milk – oat milk or rice milk
  • Instant rise yeast
  • Raisins or currants – chopped candied orange peels, candied lemon peels, candied ginger, dates. You can use up to 3/4 cup 
  • Spices – allspice
  • Orange zest – lemon zest
  • Jam – any jam
  • Psyllium husk powder
  • Xanthan gum

cross buns in a green bowl


Weigh the flour:

Weighing flour in gluten free baking is key. Different gluten free flours and flour blends have varying densities. Weighing ingredients is more accurate than volume measurements (cups) for good results. Slight variations can significantly affect the final texture and structure of the hot cross buns.

Add Texture Enhancers:

Since gluten free flours lack the elasticity of gluten-containing flours, it is vital to add texture-enhancing ingredients like xanthan gum and or psyllium husk powder. These additions will provide a good texture for the buns.

Use Fresh Yeast:

Ensure the yeast you use is fresh and active. Check the expiry date, and keep the yeast in the fridge for continued freshness.

Spice Blend and flavor:

The flavor of gluten-free hot cross buns comes from a spice combination of warm cinnamon and nutmeg. Orange zest also plays a big part in the taste of the cross bun.

Add Dried Fruits:

For extra sweetness and texture of the buns, add dried fruits like raisins or currants. You can also add candied orange or lemon peels. Be sure to rehydrate the fruit in hot water before using.

Adjust Liquid Levels:

Gluten free flours require different levels of liquid compared to traditional wheat flour. Adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe if needed to achieve a soft dough but not overly sticky. This may involve adding more liquid.

Rest the dough before shaping:

Letting the dough rest gives the gluten free flours and starches more time to absorb the moisture, giving you a smoother and lighter texture.

Allow for Proper Rising Time:

Give the gluten free dough enough time to rise properly, as the gluten free dough may take longer than traditional dough. I proof my dough in a slightly warm oven.

Handle the Dough with Care:

Gluten free dough is more delicate and stickier than traditional dough for cross buns. Handle it gently to avoid overworking, which could result in denser buns. Use a light dusting of gluten free flour or wet hands to shape the dough if it’s too sticky.

Prevent Over-Browning:

Gluten free baked goods tend to brown quicker. To prevent overbrowning, cover the buns with aluminum foil, shiny side facing up, during the last few minutes of baking.

Brush with a Glaze:

Brushing the baked buns with a warm glaze made from apricot jam or a similar gluten-free fruit jam adds a glossy finish, extra flavor, and sweetness.


This gluten free recipe is easy to make when following these steps.

Before you start, hydrate the raisins with boiling water for a few minutes. This will make them juicy and tender. Drain the water and set aside to use in the recipe. At the same time, mix the psyllium husk powder with water. This creates a gel that improves the buns’ texture.

First, mix the dry ingredients such as flour, starch, sugar, yeast, spices, xanthan gum, and salt.

dough in a bowl

In a separate bowl, whisk wet ingredients such as milk, melted butter, egg, and orange zest.

cross bun dough

Combine dry ingredients with wet to create a sticky dough. Stir in the dried fruit. Rest the dough in the bowl for 30 minutes, allowing the gluten free flour to absorb the moisture.

8 balls of dough on a baking tray

Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into rolls. Place them on a prepared baking tray about 3/4-inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for about 90 minutes.

proofed buns with piped cross on top

When ready, brush the rolls with egg wash and pipe a cross shape on top of each bun with the white paste made with a mixture of gluten free flour, water and oil.

hot baked cross buns brushed with apricot glaze

Bake the buns until golden brown, and brush with apricot glaze while still hot. The glaze is made with heated apricot jam and water. Enjoy warm.

showing interior of a cross bun


Beyond being a standalone treat, gluten-free cross buns are versatile. They are best when freshly baked and slightly warm.


Experiment with creative toppings to enhance the flavors of your gluten-free hot cross buns. Consider spreading cream cheese, fruit preserves, or even a flavored gluten free cream cheese frosting for a unique twist.

Easter or Holiday Celebration:

Incorporate gluten free hot cross buns into your Easter or holiday celebration. Serve them as part of a festive brunch or dessert table, surrounded by seasonal decorations for a special touch.

Gourmet Sandwiches:

Transform your gluten-free hot cross buns into gourmet sandwiches. Fill them with savory ingredients like smoked salmon, cream cheese, and fresh dill for a unique and savory twist.


Store the buns at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days. For the best texture, microwave the buns for about 20 seconds before serving. You can also slice them in half and warm them in a toaster. 


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stacked cross buns on a plate


In gluten-free baking, such as this gluten free hot cross buns recipe, weighing flours precisely is key for soft light buns. This recipe will not dissapoint if you follow the recipe. A list of substitutions is included. Be sure to keep everything else the same for the best results. The spices, orange zest and apricot glaze are what make these Easter sweets excpetionally delicious! Serve warm

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I just made these buns, they are very good when warm, but leftovers must be reheated. I used microwave and they were great when warmed up. I will make this recipe for Easter, but will bake them just before serving.

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