Healthy Hot Cross Buns



Now is the perfect time for making these delicious hot cross buns made from wholemeal spelt, rye,  plump raisins, honey, cinnamon and vanilla.  Start the recipe the day before you need them. Make a double batch because these won’t last long ! These tasty buns are not very difficult to make, actually the dough is very simple. After combining the ingredients the most important part is to allow the buns to rest and develop in the fridge overnight – at least 12 hours. Serve warm and enjoy on Easter morning ! 

What’s good about them:
Whole-meal spelt are rye are often tolerated with people who have digestive issues as it has a slightly lower gluten content and higher amino acid profile then traditional wheat based flours.  Olive oil is anti-inflammatory to the body and marries perfectly with the Mediterranean style flavours of orange, vanilla and cinnamon. Cinnamon improves insulin’s efficiency, which help to regulate blood sugar levels.

320 g whole meal spelt flour (see notes)
50g rye flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
grated zest of 1 orange
10 g fresh yeast or 1 sachet 5 g dried yeast ( I used fresh yeast bought from my local bakery )
250 ml milk (your choice)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
150 ml olive oil
2 organic eggs
300 g  raisins or golden sultanas
100 g dried chopped apricots
melted dark or white chocolate for crosses.

Makes 24 buns

Start this recipe the day before.

Day 1
Combine the flours, yeast, honey, milk, eggs, orange zest, vanilla and salt into the bowl of your bench top mixer.
Mix with a dough hook at low speed until incorporated then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 8 minutes or until smooth.
Add the oil slowly, a little at a time until it is all incorporated into the dough. Take your time and don’t add too much at once.
Add the raisins and apricots and mix gently until just incoprpoated then turn off your mixer and remove the bowl.
Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Place the dough into the fridge overnight to rest and develop for a further 12 hours. This dough is quite sturdy, to if you go over 12 hours, that’s ok, so long as you cook the dough the following day. Resting also loosens the dough so you end up with a light and fluffy hot cross bun.

Day 2
Divide dough into 24 even size portions.
Leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours. This depends on the warmth of your kitchen….I usually turn the oven on just to warm the kitchen and help them prove and they should at least double in size.
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Make an egg wash using 1 whole egg and 2 tablespoons of milk.
Brush tops of the buns with egg wash.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden and baked through.
Cool slightly.
Melt chocolate then pipe over the buns before serving.





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91 Responses to “Healthy Hot Cross Buns”
  1. Kate says:

    Yum! Will you be selling these at the cafe Teresa?

  2. Hi Kate, these hot cross buns are designed especially for you guys to make at home. Easy, healthy and yummy. Main focus of the healthy chef is to inspire people to eat healthy and get back into the kitchen. Hope you enjoy them. You can be really creative with these – I’ve made them about 10 times already !! xxx

  3. Antia says:

    YUM!! definitely will give these ago!
    on the side you mentioned a quinoa one too, will you post them up as well?

    • Anita, quinoa ones turned out I made versions of them about 6 times over the weekend, mainly because I wanted to designed one for the GF kids. They work out OK but almond are far better. Quinoa has a slight aftertaste in baked goods, so it needs to be combined with other flours – this is work in progress…For this time my almond version is far yummier. :) xx

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi Teresa, is almond meal & grapeseed oil ok to use for gluten free, if yes can will <3 <3 <3 making them tonight. Should freeze ok as well ?

  5. Antia says:

    thanks for posting the other one! Just wanted to know what other gluten free flours i could use? Do you think a mix of buckwheat and quinoa flour will work too? (i have both in the cupboard at the moment and have no almond meal left)
    thanks x.

    • Hi Anita – the recipe will not work on quinoa flour or buckwheat flour alone, they need to be tested as the end result is very heavy. Working on a good one for the future – best keep your buckwheat for pancakes at this stage. :)

  6. Jen says:

    WOW Teresa. I tried these tonight (as soon as I saw the recipe!) and they are totally delicious. Amazing as always!xx

  7. Sophie says:

    Yum! Can’t wait to make these.

    Thanks Teresa

  8. Jane says:

    Hi Teresa
    Is there a yeast free option for these?

  9. Allison says:

    thanks for creating a Paleo version! :)

  10. Barbara says:

    Love love love your GF versions of recipes!! Thanks xo

  11. Kylie taylor says:

    Hi Teresa,
    Love everything you make!!!!
    I got your book the other day and have been cooking up a storm ever since.
    With the ground almonds in the second recipe can you use almond meal?
    and do you have to remove the skin before grinding them?
    thanks cant wait to try them :)

  12. renae says:

    HI, these look great. The chocolate listed in the gluten free recipe…is it to be added or solely for the crosses on the top?

  13. soph says:

    Hi there,
    Is it Ok to bake with nut oils?
    I always thought that there were best used raw and were a bit heat sensative?
    Cant wait to try these out for my GF grandmother…. thanks for the recipe :)

    • Hey Soph ! Some nuts yes ! however Macadamia nut oil is great to bake with. It can handle medium temps the same as olive oil and its a good source of anti-inflammatory mono-unsaturated fats.You will love it and so will your grandmother. :) xx

  14. Anne-Mare says:

    Hi Teresa

    You are going to think this is strange asking for a steamed fish recipe when you have just given us a fabulous Hot Cross Bun recipe….

    Would you or could you please share a steamed fish recipe – I am sure you have one and would love to have your version of one. I tried one a week ago and it was not flash! Not sure if I cooked it to long or it had the wrong ingredients in the water!!

    Appreciate any suggestions you may have

  15. Mel says:

    Your recipes are amazing Teresa. I have quite a difficult family to cook for – there’s a coeliac, a type 1 diabetic, a lactose intolerant, and now a paleo! Very hard to cater for everybody in the one dish so I’m very excited to have a couple of really simple, healthy recipes that I can take when I visit them for Easter that EVERYBODY will be able to enjoy. I will definitely be making these, and the chocolate truffles you posted a while ago.

    Just checking, can I replace the chocolate in the GF recipe with more dried fruit?

  16. deeeelicious – I can’t wait to try out the GF ones…. mmmm I can smell them already!

  17. caitlin says:

    Hi Teresa,
    just wanted to know if you are going to be at the gluten free expo this year?

  18. Shannon says:

    I made them tonight… they are super tasty and so much better than the store ones!

    Do you think I would be able to prepare them the night before, leave them overnight and then cook first thing in the morning? They woud be great fresh for breakfast.

  19. Amanda says:

    Hi Teresa, just wondering would this work doing the GF option but using the spelt instead of almonds? I just cant have oats or yeast, but dont want it to be a flop as i have people coming over and want them to work out. I just love spelt flour;-)

  20. Amanda, you can approach this like a Irish Soda bread….have a look at my recipe on the site and adjust…adding fruit, baking soda etc…:)

    • Larissa says:

      Amanda /Teresa I can’t have yeast either and that is exactly what I did looking at the irish soda bread recipe and tweaking! Turned out amazing :)

  21. susan says:

    Teresa, Can I use coconut flour instead? Or maybe a combination of almond meal and coconut flour? Would i use the same amount?

    • Hey Susan – recipe is not suited for coconut flour. You will need to increase the liquid content (eggs) and make it more like a hot cross muffin scented with orange, cinnamon and sundried fruit. Would be nice though….:)

  22. Andrea says:

    These are so good, I won’t buy hot cross buns ever again – so much more flavour and great to know how healthy they are. Just made my second batch.

  23. Jodie says:

    I made the Paleo Hot Cross Buns today. I didn’t have any chocolate so substituted with sultanas, and used pure maple syrup in place of the honey. OMG…….these are AMAZING! Thanks for an awesome recipe.

    I’m just wondering if you can replace the egg in the flour version with anything? – my Mum can’t eat eggs. Thanks Teresa!

    • Hey Jodie – glad you loved my Paleo version of the hot cross buns. You can easily omit the egg from the spelt variety, but you will need to increase the milk content by 50 – 60 ml… sweet ! :)

  24. Vanessa says:

    Couldn’t decide so made both versions…. And whaddaya know – both awesome. So glad I found you (and that I’m close enough to come to the cafe) x

  25. Katelyn says:

    Do you think coconut oil would work instead of macadamia or olive oil? So excited to try these!

  26. meg malone says:

    t do you mean knock back your dough, and do you use a cutter to help shape the buns cheers meg.

  27. Divide dough with a knife into equal portions. Roll with hands into rounds.:)

  28. Nicole says:

    Yum. Love the GF recipes!!! Thank you!

  29. Shelly says:

    I love all your recipes, but was so excited to find these on this Good Friday morning. An awesome healthy treat! Thank you! x

  30. Grace says:

    Hi Teresa, just tried making your gluten free/paleo hot cross buns and, wow, all I can say is that my daughter and I loved them! It’s so nice to be able to find such a good gluten free recipe for an old family favourite. Thank you so much! Happy Easter x

  31. Amber says:

    Hi Teresa,
    Can you make the dough and roll into buns the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is pop them in the oven 20mins before you want them?
    Just planning my easter sunday breakie!!

    • You sure can Amber ! Make dough as usual and let it rise the first time as directed. Kneed the dough again and form into the round hot cross buns. Place onto a baking tray and loosly cover with glad wrap. Place into the fridge overnight. About one hour before you want to bake your hot cross buns, remove from the refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature and rise a little more. (It should have risen a little in the refrigerator overnight and developed a little more flavour.) Egg wash if you want a nice finished gloss. Bake as directed then Enjoy ! Happy Easter :)

  32. Amy says:

    I made the gluten free version using cranberries. SO YUM!!!!! Thank you Teresa for sharing your recipes with us. You have transformed our eating habits with your healthy delicious recipes. No more store bought, high sugar, processed snack foods for us :)

  33. Isabella says:


    I was just wondering if you had a recipe for gluten free hot cross buns?


  34. Kellie says:

    Hi, can you make the gluten free version with no egg? I have a son who is anaphylactic to egg and dairy and a baby (I’m breastfeeding) who’s allergic to egg, dairy, wheat and soy. I’m desperate not to miss out on hot cross buns this Easter!

  35. Sandra says:

    Made these last night, they are very nice but mine were very dry in the mixer and had to add more liquid, they were a bit dry after baking too so will add more milk to the next batch, very tasty and so happy I am not buying store bought ones this year! Thanks again Teresa

  36. Madeleine says:

    Paleo hot cross buns! Yay! I opened the blog post thinking I was torturing myself – I love a hot cross bun, but I can definitely do these! Double yay!

  37. Pamela says:

    Hi Teresa

    Can the hot cross buns be made without dried fruit? How well do they freeze?


  38. Linda Roberts says:

    help!!! I made these hot cross buns yesterday, and even though they turned out great, I had a terrible time rolling them into individual buns. My dough was soooooo sticky, I couldn’t do anything with it and ended up basically flinging blobs of it onto the baking tray. Did I knead too much, too little, is there something I missed? I’ve never baked with yeast before, so I have no idea what I may have done wrong, or could do better. Thanks!

    • Geeze !!!! sounds like you had a rough time. Kneading is good – you need to work the dough until silky smooth. If it’s sticky – add a touch – of flour. Rest the buns before you bake them. You’ve inspired me to do some cooking videos ! xx Have a great Easter :)

      • Linda Roberts says:

        Thanks Teresa, I have just made another match. 10 PERFECT shaped buns resting before they go into the oven. I kneaded for longer, rested them then used some flour for dusting my hands and the work surface before the final kneading. Lovely! x

    • Kate says:

      Like Linda, my wholemeal spelt ‘dough’ was also waaaaaay too sticky to do anything with! I let it prove but it was always more like a yeasty cake batter than a dough, so when I had to kneed it, much more flour had to be added before it became a dough. I would estimate at least an extra cup despite using the 220g as required. That said though, they came out beautifully (including my crosses made from a mix of wholemeal spelt flour and water and piped through a freezer bag corner). Thanks!

  39. Brenda says:

    Hi I would love to make these for my daughter as an easter surprise but she is fructose, lactose and GF. Can you suggest anything to replace the cranberries? Making your banana bread as I type, smells amazing. Thank you

  40. Julia says:

    What oven setting do you have it on for the paleo hot cross buns – I used the fan at 160 degrees celcius and the buns were dark on the outside after twenty minutes, yet the middle wasn’t quite cooked.

  41. Emily says:

    Yum, I didn’t even let them cool down before I tried one! Great Easter treat for my toddler:-)

  42. Celes says:

    Hi Teresa – just a small quibble – these won’t last 5 days in a container – they have only just come out of the oven and I have already eaten 2! Absolutely delicious thank you so much!

  43. Cherie says:

    Hi Happy Easter!

    I just made a craisin and carob crossless (as i’m lazy) version of the paleo ones and they are outstanding!! Thanks so much for posting ALL your recipes – mucho appreciated.

    Now back to eating….

    cherie x

  44. charlotte says:

    Made these with organic dark chocolate and sultanas! absolutely delicious ! Eating one right now with organic peanut butter!!

  45. Lucy says:

    Thanks Teresa – my husband made these today and they are simply divine!

  46. Chessie says:

    Hi Teresa! I LOVE your site :)
    I made the gluten free/paleo version of your hot cross buns tonight except I can’t have fruit, so I subbed goji berries instead (which I can have in moderation).
    They worked an absolute treat! So delicious, thank you so much :D
    I also used cacao nibs instead of dark chocolate which also worked really well. For the crosses I used super thick kefir.
    I am 15 and your site makes healthy cooking so much easier! Thanks again!!

  47. Bec says:

    Hi Teresa, what is the sodium content for these Hot Cross Buns? Cannot wait to try them! Thanks

  48. Jeanine says:

    Just made the gluten free hot cross buns. So easy and absolutely delicious.
    Teresa, thanks so much for all the gluten free recipes. I’ve tried a bunch and they work every time. I’m going to give the flourless chocolate cake a whirl tomorrow, for our Easter dessert. Would love a cheesecake recipe for hubby’s birthday…

  49. Frances says:

    I have no vanilla paste can I substitute it with vanilla extract or vanilla essence?

  50. fiona mcbride says:

    These were an expensive disaster – used spelt flour and all the other ingredients as listed following recipe but tasted horrible, dense heavy texture and they did not rise at all – went in the bin

    • Hi Fiona – sounds like you did not take the time to mix properly or let them rise or prove enough. Kneading, will develop the gluten in the dough and proving and resting will make them light and fluffy. You also need to note that this recipe is made from wholemeal spelt flour and oats, so they are more wholesome than your traditional white fluffy version you get in bakeries. T:)

  51. elizabeth sellars says:

    Dear Teresa,
    Could I substitute spelt flour with lupin flour?

    With many thanks for your wonderful recipes!

  52. tara says:

    The paleo hot cross buns DO NOT WORK. They don’t rise properly or expand- they just stay in tiny balls. Needs yeast.

    • Hi Tara – For a traditional hot cross bun – make my version using spelt flour which is in the recipe on this page. Gluten free almond flour has no gluten – so it will not work with yeast – I’ve designed this to be a lovely gluten free festive option – they do work and taste delicious ! T:)

  53. Robin Macleod says:

    Hi Teresa,

    In the Paleo Hot Cross bun recipe if I wanted to use chocolate only in stead of fruit would I use 130g?

    I look forward to making this recipe.


  54. Anna says:

    Yummy! I didn’t put currants or anything, all the rest exactly like the recipe; my boyfriend said -Will I have to eat those too? I answered: you can’t touch one. Then he tried half of mine with organic butter, and he couldn’t stop!! Haha
    Good recipe! Thanks one more time Teresa!

  55. Hollie says:

    What can I use to substitute egg?

  56. Liam says:

    I just made these…FANTASTIC. In terms of fruit, I just used what I could find, which was raisins, dried apricot and dates. The result were soft, most and delicious buns, just like the real thing, only with no butter! Teresa, you’ve done it once again! :)

  57. Chloe says:

    Is there any way to make the first recipe more “fluffier” so to say ? :)

  58. Sarah says:

    I’ve just received this great recipe. However, we do not get any raw or organic butter where I live. We do get coconut oil, do you think I can substitute coconut for butter?

  59. Kirstin says:

    Hi Teresa! Is there a substitute for the butter? Or is that the macadamia nut oil (100g)?
    Thanks Kirstin :)

  60. Nikki says:

    Can i substitute the butter with olive oil/coconut oil, if so how much should i use? Thanks!

  61. Sue says:


    I can see lots of commenters referring to a paleo version but I can’t see it in the post. Has it been edited out? Would love to see your paleo version.

  62. Hi Sue
    The Paleo Version is featured in The Healthy Chef Recipe App.
    It’s delicious !
    T:) x

  63. Hannah says:

    oops…. what if you forget to put the dough in the fridge after one hour and leave it on a sunny window sil for six hours instead ;o) …. it’s in the fridge at the moment and I’m planning to make them tomorrow morning but I could whip it out and make them tonight instead if the consensus was that this was a better plan #amateurerror

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  2. [...] good or bad thing, but it’s damn tasty either way.  Teresa Cutter released a recipe recently for paleo hot cross buns.  I gave these a try and of course I *had* to vary the recipe and even though I did so only to a [...]

  3. [...] If you’re interested in making your own Hot Cross Buns this easter, I found a healthier recipe that contains more fibre and fruit and even a Gluten Free / Paleo version to try.  Click here [...]

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  5. [...] is healthy, gluten-free and sooo yummy, you will be making them even after Easter has passed:-) TASTY HOT CROSS [...]

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