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Sourdough hot cross buns in a baking dish.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough hot cross buns are fluffy sweetened rolls that are flavored with dried fruit and warm spices. Perfect for Good Friday to celebrate Easter.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 353kcal
Author: Amy Duska

Equipment Needed

  • 9" x 13" glass baking dish


Ingredients to make ½ cup (100 g)  of Active Sourdough Starter

  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) sourdough starter
  • cup + 1 tablespoon (50 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ tablespoons (50 ) water

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
  • 1 cup (240 g) milk
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • ½ cup (100 g) active sourdough starter
  • 3 cups + 2 tablespoons (375 g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup (150 g) dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or candied citrus peel)

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) water

Paste for cross

  • ¼ cup (31 g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) water (more to thin out if too thick)


  • ¼ cup (60 g) fruit preserves (orange or apricot)


Feed Your Starter

  • 8 PM Feed starter: 12 hours before you plan to mix the dough, add the ingredients to make ½ cup (100 g) of active sourdough starter to a clean jar. Stir until combined, loosely cover the jar and let the starter rise at room temperature. (The ingredients will create a total of 115 g active starter but, because some of it will stick to the sides of the jar during the transfer, we are making a little more than needed.) The sourdough starter is ready to use when it has doubled in size and there are plenty of bubbles on the surface and sides of the jar.

Make the Dough

  • 7:30 AM Melt butter: In a small saucepan, melt the butter, milk, sugar and salt together over low heat. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
  • 8 AM Mix the dough: To a large mixing bowl, add the flour and ground spices and whisk to combine. Add the active sourdough starter and the cooled butter mixture to the bowl and stir with a spatula until the ingredients are combined and there are no dry bits left in the bowl. Cover the bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 9 AM First rise: Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds spaced 30 minutes apart, keeping the bowl covered between sets. To perform a set, pick up the dough on one side and stretch it up and over itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this step until you have turned the bowl a full circle. After the final set, cover and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours or until it has risen by 50% in size. (See notes.)
  • 12 PM Shape and Second rise: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it out into a rectangular shape. Spread the dried fruit evenly over the surface. Roll the dough into a log and then divide it into 12 pieces, approximately 65 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball by gathering up the sides and pinching them together. Turn the dough over so that the seam side is down on the work surface and gently form a smooth ball. Arrange them in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Cover the dish with a tea towel and let rise for 3-4 hours.
  • 3:30 PM Prepare: Preheat your oven to 375°F (204°C). Beat the egg in a small bowl with the water and brush the egg wash onto the rolls. Mix the paste ingredients together until smooth and pour into a piping bag. Snip the tip off of the bag and pipe lines across the rolls to create a cross on each one.
  • 4 PM Bake: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. The internal temperature of the rolls should be 190°F when fully baked. Brush the top of the rolls with jelly and serve.


  • It's very important to take the ambient temperature of your kitchen into account when working with sourdough. Our recipes are tested in a kitchen that is 68°F (20°C). If your kitchen is warmer, you will need to reduce your rising time in the first and second rise to avoid over-proving the dough.
  • If you'd like to prepare the dough and bake the rolls at a later time, after shaping the rolls in step 4, cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 36 hours. When ready to bake, allow them to have the second rise at room temperature until puffy and proceed with baking.
  • If using a tin baking sheet bake rolls at 400°F. Rolls can also be baked in a muffin tin for 23-25 minutes.


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg