These homemade hot cross bun muffins are a simple and delicious twist on the traditional Easter recipe for a hot cross bun.
Made without yeast, these muffins are much easier than hot cross buns, but still have that spiced fruit buns flavours of an old fashioned hot cross bun.
These hot cross bun muffins are so versatile, you can enjoy them as a delicious Easter brunch, snack or dessert!
They also make an amazing Easter bake sale treat or easy Birthday tea idea.
So, why not cook something different this Easter, and make these cheats hot cross buns by making them instead as deliciously soft and fluffy muffins!
✏️ Recipe creation
I love a traditional hot cross bun, the fruity currants and peel combined with the mixed spice makes them one of my favourite Easter food traditions.
However, I wanted to create a recipe that was just as delicious as the Easter classic, but without the need for yeast or proving dough, etc. These glazed hot cross bun muffins are the best easy update on a tradition, and the best part is that they’re deliciously sweet and fluffy muffins!
When I first made these spiced bun muffins, they came out quite dense and heavy. That was because in my excitement I’d added quite a lot of the dried fruit and not enough leavening agents.
My next attempt came out so much better, such a soft and tender crumb! The Easter muffins have a beautiful colouring thanks to the cinnamon and other spices too.
To make the muffins look more like hot cross buns, I added a golden syrup glaze to them to give the tops a beautiful sticky sweet shine. A white icing cross just tops them off perfectly too, with an extra smooth sweetness and the finishing touch to look just like a hot cross bun. These muffins are one of my best Easter recipes!
🥘 Ingredients notes
- When measuring your ingredients, I always recommend using weights rather than cups where possible for greater accuracy. Accuracy is important for the amount of flour used.
- I usually use plain flour in this recipe, but alternatively, you can swap plain flour for self-raising flour of the same quantity and reduce the baking powder by 2 tsp.
- You can also swap the golden syrup glaze for another syrup like honey or light corn syrup. For more alternatives, check out my top golden syrup substitutions.
🔪 Equipment notes
- I like to use digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easier and more accurate than other scales. I'm a fan of these KitchenAid or Salter ones!
- Use measuring spoons for your teaspoon and tablespoon amounts where possible.
I usually keep my hot cross bun muffins in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last soft and moist for up to 3 days stored like this.
If you live somewhere hot (lucky you!), I'd recommend storing these muffins in the fridge instead. Your hot cross bun muffins should keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. They'll start to dry out towards the end though so eat them fresh if you can.
If you want to freeze your muffins, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap / cling film and freeze them. This should keep for 1-2months in the freezer. Defrost and enjoy! You can also reheat them once per the notes below.
💭 Top tips
- My top tip for making hot cross bun muffins is not to over-mix the muffin batter. Too much beating can cause your muffins to be dense and heavy instead of soft and fluffy.
- It's best to add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring in slowly. This will reduce the lumps in your mixture, but don’t worry if there are still a few stubborn ones left in there before you bake your muffins.
- When pouring your muffin batter into the muffin liners in the muffin tin, you need to fill each of your muffin cases to roughly ⅘ full. If you fill it less than this, you might have your muffins looking a bit more like big cupcakes than traditional muffins, as they may not rise enough to spill over slightly.
- If you're using tulip muffin cases, only fill them ⅔ full of muffin batter, as you don't want these spilling over.
- When your muffins have finished baking, it’s best to glaze them with syrup straight away. The warmth from the muffin will help the syrup spread nicely brushed over the tops of your golden muffins, giving them a beautiful shine. The syrup will dry to a glossy sticky layer, just like a real hot cross bun!
If you’ve got any specific questions on making these simple hot cross bun muffins without yeast, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
♻️ Alternatives and substitutions
If you do like your muffins hot, you can pop them into the microwave for a short 30secs blast, or reheat in the oven wrapped in foil for 20mins on low-medium heat (150oC fan).
They’re better reheated in the oven, but sometimes 20mins is just too long to wait when you’re craving such a sweet treat!
Spread a little butter over your hot muffins. The buttery extra melts beautifully and really takes them to the next level. This is also the way I enjoy my actual hot cross buns – warm and buttery! The warm hot cross bun muffins are perfect for an Easter breakfast or brunch.
If I’m feeling extra decadent, I’ll add in an extra 45g (¼ cup) of milk chocolate chips into the muffin batter – adds a nice extra texture and sweetness!
Alternatively, you can swap 30-50g of the sultanas for other fruits, such as finely chopped apple.
Another easy alternative is to use 1 ½ teaspoon of mixed spice instead of the ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
To make these hot cross bun muffins gluten-free, swap the plain / all-purpose flour for a gluten-free plain flour blend of the same quantity.
The other ingredients should be gluten-free, but please be sure to check the label on your ingredients for cross-contamination just in case!
🧁 Other goodies
I definitely recommend that you whip up a batch of these soft and fruity Easter brunch hot cross bun muffins! But as an avid home baker, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “what next?”.
To level up your Easter brunch, you can also use this homemade apple syrup to sweeten your morning! Drizzle over your hot muffins, pancakes and more.
Check out my full collection of Easter desserts for more great seasonal recipes!
Or if you’d like to hear about our latest recipes, why not subscribe to our newsletter?
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Hot Cross Bun Muffins
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- 1 egg (large)
- 70 ml (⅓ cups) vegetable or sunflower oil
- 140 ml (⅔ cups) milk (semi-skimmed or whole)
- 125 g (⅔ cups) caster sugar (golden or white)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or mixed spice)
- A pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- A pinch of ground ginger (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 100 g (⅔ cups) sultanas
- 50 g (⅓ cups) mixed peel
- 2 tablespoon golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 3 tablespoon powdered icing sugar
- 1-3 teaspoon hot water
- Preheat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- In a mixing bowl, beat the egg, oil and mik together until smooth and thickened.
- Add in the sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until fully combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sieve the flour, bicarbinate of soda (or baking powder) and then add in the spices, salt, mixed peel and sultanas, mixing them together until the fruit is coated completely.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring together gently until only just combined.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cases in the muffin pan, filling them almost to the brim.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25mins or until risen, golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
- As soon as you take the muffins out, transfer them to a wire cooling rack and brush the tops generously with syrup to glaze them and allowing them to cool (roughly 30mins).
- Once the muffins have cooled, sieve the powdered sugar for the crosses into a mixing bowl.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of hot water, mixing together until combined. If the icing is too thick to form a paste, add more hot water (1 teaspoon at a time), until the icing sugar comes together into a smooth paste. It should be very thick but still able to slowly run off your spoon.
- Fill your piping bag (with a small round nozzle attached) or a sandwich bag with the corner cut off, and pipe a cross over the top of each cooled muffin.
- You can swap the plain flour in this recipe for self-raising flour of the same quantity (200g) and reduce the baking powder by 2 tsp.
- This recipe makes 6 very large domed muffins, but if you prefer a smaller portion size, you can split the batter over 8-10 muffin cases instead and bake for a few minutes less.
- You can swap the golden syrup glaze for another syrup such as honey or light corn syrup.
- You can use 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice (pumpkin spice) in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.
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