Hot Cross Buns with a California Flair

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Celebrate Easter weekend with these delicious Hot Cross Buns. They’ve got all the bright flavors of California, lemon and two colors of raisins.

While I’ve been to London before, and I’ve got my tickets to England booked for the spring, I’ve never eaten an authentic hot cross bun. Or a scone. Or a Yorkshire pudding. But, I plan to remedy all that soon.

What I’ve lacked in actual, authentic experience, I’ve made up for in my love of British Literature. I’ve devoured books by J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, P.G. Wodehouse, J.K. Rowling, and a host of other Brits with initials for first names. Maybe I should start going by the pen name, J.G. Fisher. That sounds so fancy, don’t it?

So, while I’ve not had a “real” hot cross bun, I’ve read about them. That should count for something. And since I love a good mashup of cultures, I set out to create a hot cross bun that reflected my home state of California. Perhaps someone will say that this recipe is too American, “too many flavors mixed up together.” Perhaps….

But, they’re still good. I figured since I didn’t know what a true hot cross bun tasted like, I could embellish it with two truly California ingredients: lemon and raisins, and pretend that this roll knows it’s not a true hot cross bun.

There is a big difference between raisins, sultanas, California raisins, and currants, but California raisins won out, of course, because they are oh-so Californian. And way easier to find where I live.

Tradition says that hot cross buns are best enjoyed on Good Friday. There’s even a nursery rhyme to go along with the buns:

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns![1]

So you can sing the song while you bake these, and pretend that you know what you’re doing. It’s okay. I won’t tell on ya.

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

How I make this recipe easy:

One of the great things about scones is that you can freeze them before or after baking. If you freeze them prior to baking, you don’t thaw them, just slide the frozen scones into the hot oven and add a few minutes to the baking time. If you bake them first and then cool and freeze, you can very easily thaw them overnight on the counter so they’re ready when you are.

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

  • bread machine or stand mixer –  These machines make dough mixing SO much easier!
  • bench knife – I love this tool for easily cutting dough into pieces.
  • parchment paper – I hate washing pans. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.
  • sheet pans – I LOVE my set of steel sheet pans. They make such a difference in baking.

Hot Cross Buns with California Raisins

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. alicia huntley says

    If you added in candied lemon peel (or candied citron or candied orange peel) it would be just a trifle more authentic. You can also make the cross on the top with strips of dough. Also, a sugar/water wash before baking helps them to be golden brown while still moist on top.

  2. mmmmmm those look good! I have never made (or had) Hot Cross Buns before. I think I need to do something about that!

  3. I’m a ok with the CA flair! These make me think of mini raisin bread loaves lol

    🙂 Allie

  4. Kristy says

    If you add currants you have three kinds of raisins to represent the Trinity and they are all in one bun because there is only one God….

  5. Lucky says

    Every year I plan to make these but never have. Maybe this will be the year!

  6. Diana says

    I learned a couple of extra lines in that nursery rhyme: “If you have no daughters/ Give them to your sons./ But if you have none of these little elves,/ Then you must eat them all yourselves!” The recipe sounds like I’d want to do just that! 🙂 Thanks!

  7. Lorna says

    My parents would make these 2-3 times a year. They were from Scotland. Add some candied fruit with currents and you would be spot on. She would make the kid friendly kind with 2 types of raisins as I detest the candied fruit! 🙂

    I learned that song when I was young and taught it too my children.

    Your post brought back happy memories for me….thank you.

  8. Melanie says

    Making these for Easter again this year because they were so good last year.

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