Dairy free Hot Cross Buns
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For many of you Hot Cross Buns are a staple in your kitchen every year by the end of lent.  But for me, I just heard of them when I move to Ireland. As the time passed, I tried them and I love them. That is why I made the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns version.

hot cross buns

What are Hot Cross Buns?

Hot cross buns are a mild sweet and spiced bun, which has dried raisins, sultanas or currants and a white cross on top.

These buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday marking the end of Lent. This is a tradition that started in England and has spread to Ireland and few others Catholic countries. If you want to learn more about them click here.

Depend on what country you are from the hot cross buns have different meanings. One of them is it represents the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside suggest the spices used to preserve him at his funeral.

You can eat these Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns all year round, whether for breakfast, snack, Sunday brunch, with your afternoon tea or coffee, warm or room temperature they are scrumptious. Certainly, I am glad that I made the gluten free version so now I can enjoy them anytime I feel like to it.

Gluten and Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns


We have a task here and is to make these buns soft and try to mimic that pull apart that gluten flours have.

The flours I used were a blend of tapioca starch, buckwheat and brown rice flour. Why? Well, I love buckwheat and talking in terms of nutritional facts, has less carb and calories, and more fibre and protein than brown rice flour. I know, in the ratio of the flour tapioca starch has the most but we need the starches to mimic light and fluffy gluten flours.

Other two ingredients that will help us to achieve the gluten texture are Psyllium husk and xanthan gum, which in theory are thickeners and will give that sort of elasticity to our dough.

We need something to get them big and fluffy and that is going to be the job of the instant dry yeast, baking powder and baking soda for an extra puff when they are baking.

I am going to say that these buns wouldn’t be so tasty if they didn’t have the spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (or cloves if you don’t get your hands on the other one). For me are the perfect blend. Additionally, for flavouring I used orange zest and juice for the glaze.

Because I am dairy intolerant, I am using whole eggs and non-dairy milk as liquids substitute in this recipe. Also, the eggs will help bonding all the ingredients together.


The cross on top of the buns, believe it or not, is simply made of flour, sugar and water!

hot cross buns

After the dough has proved, you brush the buns with an egg-wash. However, I didn’t want to waste an egg there so I used non-dairy milk instead, and they came out of the oven lovely golden brown.

sugar free hot buns

Next, you will pipe the dough in a cross shape along all the buns. I made the dough or thick paste by mixing gluten-free flour, sweetener and cold water. Then place the paste in a piping bag and piped away. As the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns bake the cross will thin out looking more like lines.


As we all might know making gluten free dough is not the same as making a normal gluten dough. In which you will have to knead the dough for gluten developed. On the other hand, here there will not be kneading involved at all.

Allow the thickeners and bonding agents to become a thick paste to help you to have a good result. Do not rush into this step.

The dough will be sticky, but we want that in other to have a great result. If you add extra flour, yes, the dough will be “knead-able”, but as a result, the buns will be very hard and dry.

A fantastic tip is to flour your hands and surface before forming the buns, as this will stop dough sticking to your hands.

You should keep re-flouring your hands from time to time as you will see your hands and surface are getting sticky again. Otherwise, you will end up with a sticky mess!

To sum up, do not use extra flour and allow the bonding agents to thicken up fully.


You will need a warm space for the buns to prove. You want fluffy sponge buns, not dry rock-hard buns.

To create a warm environment draft-free, I place a bowl with hot water from a kettle in the oven. Place your dough in a bowl covered with cling film or a kitchen towel. and allow the dough to rise until double for the 1st rise.

hot cross buns

Then, I fold in the dry fruit and place it back in the same warm spot until double again. My dough took one hour in the 1st rise an extra hour in the second rise.

If the weather is hot (30C or over), you can skip the oven step and leave the covered dough on the counter. Consequently, the dough might prove a lot quicker. And when it is colder (under 20C) I suggest using the oven technique.

dairy free hot buns

When the time passes the dough should look and feel light and puffy. Now the 3rd and last rise, it is time to shape the buns and place them in a baking tray line up with parchment paper. Place the buns separated 1 inch or 2 cm from each other they will rise again. Covered them with cling film slightly oiled so it doesn’t stick to the hot cross buns. These rise it can be in between 30min to an hour.

Don’t worry if the buns are touching each other, they will have that pull apart bakery look, that we all love.

Serving and Storing the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

You can eat these buns warm from the oven, room temperature, toasted, lather with some ghee, coconut butter, nut butter, my sugar-free homemade Nutella or my Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. They are perfect, for breakfast, snack, brunch, or any time your macros and calories allow you to eat them.

When storing the buns, I personally cover them individually with tin foil and place them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When I want to eat them, let them thaw in the fridge and place them in the oven at 100C until they are warm.


Sugar Free Hot Cross Buns

Hope you enjoy my recipe and give it a go, snap a picture tag me on Instagram @ikarlina_l #ikarolina_l so I can see it. Also, I am on Pinterest iKarolinaL and Facebook ikarolinal . It will make my day.

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This is my recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. If you like the recipe then consider sharing it with other gluten free and dairy free lovers on social media.


Recipe by iKarolinaCourse: Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes, SnackDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




Proofing Time


Baking Time


Total time






  • 14g Instant Dry yeast

  • 1 tsp Coconut Sugar

  • 120g warm water or almond milk

  • 70g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cranberries)

  • 20g Psyllium Husk Whole

  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum

  • 3 Large Eggs

  • 80g Apple sauce, unsweetened

  • 250g Almond Milk or Water, hot 40 C

  • 130g Tapioca Starch

  • 200g Buckwheat Flour

  • 100g Brown Rice Flour

  • ¾ tsp Salt

  • 90g Sugar Substitute (50g erythritol, 20g allulose, 20g coconut sugar)

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp allspice

  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • Zest of an Orange

  • Glaze
  • 2 tbsp sugar substitute

  • Juice of an orange

  • Crosses
  • 30g Brown rice Flour

  • 1 tbsp Tapioca Starch

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1 tbsp Sugar substitute


  • First, you need to find a warm spot draft-free in your kitchen. I personally created a warm environment in the off oven placing a bowl with hot water and closing the door to keep the moist and warmth in.
  • Now we need to prepare the paste that will mimic the gluten in our recipe, by mixing the eggs, psyllium husk and xanthan gum, after all is combined add the water. Set aside for 10 min or until thicken*.
  • Next, in a big bowl combine tapioca starch, buckwheat and rice flour, spices, baking powder and baking soda, sweetener and salt. Give them a little whisk to combine thoroughly.
  • Add the egg paste and remaining water, and mix with a danish whisk or a wooden spatula until it formed a thick and sticky dough with no dry bits**.
  • Transfer the dough to a different bowl slightly oiled and cover with cling film and place in your warm spot draft free, for an hour.
  • After the hour has passed add the dry fruit of your choice, and cover again and back to that warm spot draft free for another hour.
  • Now is time to form the buns. But first line up a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Slightly flour your work area and very very important your hands as well to avoid the dough sticking to your hands.
  • Split the dough into 12 pieces and roll into a ball and place on the baking tray separated 2cm apart from each other.Hot cross buns before last proofing
  • 10. Cover the dough loosely with oiled clingfilm and place in your warm, draft-free spot to prove for around 45 min to an hour. The dough should puff up and indent when pushed gently. The buns will touch each other that is fine they’ll have that bakery pulled apart look.Hot cross buns after last proofing
  • 12. Add the brown rice flour and tapioca starch to a small bowl along with the sweetener and water, mix well until it forms a thick, smooth paste. Transfer into a piping bag cut off the tip to make a small hole. Pipe the crosses onto the tops of the buns.
  • 11. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to Fan 180’C. Lightly brush each piece of dough with almond milk.
  • 13. Bake the hot cross buns for 20 minutes until golden on top. Turn around the baking mould half way for an even colour. Remove from the oven to a wire rack.
  • While the buns are in the oven prepare the glaze, place orange juice and sugar in a small pan on the hob until the sweetener is melted. It will never caramelize because it is not sugar, but still, the buns will have that glossy glaze. Brush on top of the hot cross buns while they are still hot. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating***


  • *Do not miss this step is very important.
  • **You can use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you wish.
  • ***If you make them the night before you will eat them, pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm up and reglaze if you wish.

Nutrition Facts

12 servings per container

Serving Size1g

  • Amount Per ServingCalories199
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 2g 4%
    • Saturated Fat 1g 5%
  • Sodium 338mg 15%
  • Potassium 51mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 39g 13%
    • Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
    • Sugars 6g
  • Protein 5g 10%

  • Vitamin A 2%
  • Vitamin C 7%
  • Calcium 54%
  • Iron 3%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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