The fluffiest vegan hot cross buns with a buttery brioche base. These will melt in your mouth and are better than your classic Easter bread!
What's the difference between BRIOCHE hot cross buns and normal hot cross buns?
Brioche hot cross buns are more buttery, fluffier and will melt in your mouth more so than classic hot cross buns. The unique texture of brioche buns is from a higher fat content (normally from butter and eggs).
Making VEGAN brioche (without eggs, animal-derived butter and milk) is totally possible. These brioche hot cross buns is based on my popular and well tested vegan brioche recipe.
The process for making brioche hot cross buns versus normal ones is exactly the same :).
How to make the easiest hot cross buns ever
There's no soaking of dried fruit, no grating of citrus or whatever. Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl and knead.
I used instant active dried yeast which does NOT need to be proofed beforehand. Plus, I use it soo much so I 100% know it's active. If you use another form of yeast, I've added some tips in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
First rise of the hot cross bun dough
Once your dough becomes soft and elastic (like the above pictures), simply leave the dough in your bowl and let it rest. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours for it to double in size. This depends mostly on how WARM your home is.
If it's not rising, reposition the dough in a WARMER spot in your house. Or check my vegan brioche post for some troubleshooting tips for enriched breads.
Shaping the buns
Now, there are a few ways to shape the buns. It all depends on what tin you use!
- Loaf tin. Shape your buns into long rounds. I found that 8 pieces works the best
- Square or rectangular tin. Shape your buns the classic way into 9-12 little balls. Refer to the process pictures in my choc chip hot cross bun recipe as a guide.
Once you've shaped them, they need to rise again. This time, they only need to rise by around 20-50%.
Can I make these buns overnight!
Yes of course! You can either:
- Let the unshaped dough rest in the fridge for the first rise OR
- Let the shaped buns rest in the fridge for the second rise.
If you do the 2nd option, just make sure they come to room temperature (and puff up a little) before you bake them.
Vegan Brioche Hot Cross Buns
Brioche hot cross buns
- 3 ⅓ cups (415g) plain or all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (165g) plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut, warm
- ½ cup (115g) melted vegan butter or margarine
- ¾ cup (105g) sultanas, or raisins
- ¼ cup (50g) cane sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp instant dried yeast*
- 2 tbsp orange juice, or water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt, if using unsalted butter
- 2 ½ tbsp water
- 2 tbsp plain or all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp any light-coloured sweetener, such as rice malt syrup or maple syrup, or light-coloured jam
To make the hot cross buns:
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl or stand mixer with the dough hook. Knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough becomes soft and elastic. The dough should be tacky but not stick to your fingers or the side of the bowl. If the dough is a little dry, add a little more milk and knead again. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour and knead again.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (the damp towel prevents the dough from drying out). Leave it in a warm area to double in size for at least 1 hour.***
Shaping the hot cross buns:
- When the dough is puffy, you can shape the buns! There are two options:1. Line or grease a loaf tin about 12 x 22 cm (5 x 9 inches) large. Divide the dough into 8 tall buns and arrange them in the loaf tin.2. Line or grease a rectangular or baking tray about 28 x 15 cm (11 x 6 inches) large. Divide the dough into 12 regular buns and arrange them in the tray.
- Cover your tin with a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm area to rest for another 30 min - 1 hour. The dough should increase in size by around 20-50%.
- When the dough is puffy again, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Making the cross and baking:
- Add both ingredients to a small bowl to form a thick but smooth paste. Add more flour or water if needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe crosses onto the buns.
- Bake the buns for 30-40 minutes (if you used a loaf tin) or for 15-20 minutes if you used a square/rectangular tin. The surface should be golden brown and when you insert a skewer into one of the middle buns, there shouldn't be any wet dough on it.
- When the brioche hot cross buns are still hot, brush the top with sweetener or jam. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes then turn them on a wire rack and cool.
- Store the buns in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, in the fridge up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.