Yes, it’s all about gluten-free Hot Cross Bun recipes today because here we are at Good Friday—also known as National Hot Cross Bun Day in some circles—on Easter weekend. (By the way, other sources say that Hot Cross Bun Day is September 11.)
In this newly updated collection of gluten-free Hot Cross Bun recipes, you’ll find traditional recipes simply made gluten free, grain-free recipes, gluten-free and vegan recipes, recipes with non-traditional flavors (such as apple and cinnamon, chocolate, and ginger), recipes made from non-traditional ingredients (such as plantain), recipes made in a slightly different way (e.g., microwave singles), and even slightly different Hot Cross delivery methods—muffins, scones, and cookies. Honestly, I think you will love them all!
Hot Cross Buns are one of those seasonal items that get folks very excited because they’re so delicious and also because they usually only make their appearance during a very short period of time. It’s very, very special to enjoy a delicious Hot Cross Bun, but those of us who are gluten free can’t just run down to the corner bakery and pick up a package of hot cross buns as most people can. We require terrific gluten-free recipes from equally terrific gluten-free recipe creators to make our gluten-free Hot Cross Bun recipe dreams come true!
With all these recipes and flavor choices, I kind of feel the same way about Hot Cross Buns as I do about Pumpkin Pies. It would be a shame to only make them once a year! Go ahead and take a look and see which recipes work best for you. Enjoy! Now … and later. (All photos are copyrighted by the individual authors/photographers and reprinted with their permission.)
~ Allspice Hot Cross Buns from Gluten Free SCD and Veggie ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)-compliant, with egg-free option (which is not SCD compliant)
Vicky not only shares this hit recipe; she also shares some really interesting information about allspice.
Reader reviews: “I made them again this year! Only thing I would change is to use a little bit less baking soda.” and “Made these last night – they are fabulous!! AND using wet hands to smooth the dough is a brilliant suggestion.” and “Made these for our traditional Good Friday breakfast this morning – a hit with the whole family. Thanks so much for a recipe that we can all enjoy!” and “Made my second batch of these yesterday – without the crosses. This time I substituted about 1/5 of the almond meal with coconut flour—all I can say is Nom nom nom! Happy Easter everybody!!”
~ Almond and Honey Hot Cross Buns from Pocketfuls ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, and yeast free
Despite all the ingredients these hot cross buns don’t contain, they look amazing, don’t they? Plus, one big advantage of yeast-free baking is there’s no waiting for the dough to rise!
~ Apple-Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns from Art of Gluten-Free Baking ~gluten free, vegetarian
Some of you love the combination of Apple and Cinnamon, and I do, too. It is definitely a classic and favorite combo for sure! Well, Jeanne Sauvage accepted the challenge to re-create her friend’s recipe as gluten free for another mutual friend. Aren’t these lovely? Jeanne says they have “an appley-cinnamon sticky glaze on top that puts this recipe right over the edge.” Butter is used in the recipe, but I am guessing that non-dairy butter could possibly be used instead.
~ Hot Cross Buns from Carol Fenster Cooks ~ gluten free, vegetarian, with dairy-free option
Carol Fenster is one of the most well-known, beloved gluten-free chefs and cookbook authors. She gives you the tips that will result in high-rising, soft Hot Cross Buns.
~ Hot Cross Buns (Five Flavors) ~ gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian (Note that this blog is no longer active so I’ve included links to her recipes by using the Wayback Machine web archives.)
Kylie (The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse) offers four different versions of First, there are her Traditional Hot Cross Buns. Kylie shared on Facebook: “The kitchen smells amazing!! My Traditional Hot Cross Buns have just come out the oven. I brush over a sugar spiced glaze, which adds another depth of flavour and deliciousness.”
Then there are her Cinnamon-Apple Hot Cross Buns. She says, “The apple makes the buns lovely and moist and the texture is soft and fluffy. They have just the right amount of spice and sweetness, topped with a delicious sugar spice glaze.” She adds that they freeze well, with no sogginess after being defrosted and reheated. Sounds like a great way to ensure that these Hot Cross Buns are eaten more often than at Easter!
Last, she offers not one, not two, but three chocolate versions: Chocolate Hot Cross Buns, Double Chocolate Hot Cross Buns., and Double Chocolate Ginger Hot Cross Buns. These are all standout Hot Cross Buns, don’t you think? The crosses are made with chocolate paste and then the buns are glazed. The double chocolate versions are a bit different—with both containing chocolate chips and the ginger version using candied ginger as well.
Kylie says her family enjoys all her hot cross buns, but “the boys’ favourites are definitely the chocolate ones.”
~ Hot Cross Buns and more from Gluten-Free Alchemist ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Reader reviews: “Ok, made these and they turned out awesome, wonderful, yummy, absolutely delicious!!!!!” and “Yeah!!! I’ll just have to make another batch. I did fruit today and they were amazing! The ones I made this afternoon are almost all gone.” and “I just made your “Best Ever Hot cross buns” and my husband says they’re the best hot cross buns he’s had!”
~ Hot Cross Buns from No Gluten, No Problem ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Pete and Kelli Bronski have other Easter traditions such as Polish sweet bread (“mock cake”) but they were prompted by their Facebook followers to create this particular gluten-free recipe. They even offer the slight adjustment they had to make for the higher altitude in their Colorado location.
Reader reviews: “Thanks a million for this recipe. I adapted slightly to accommodate other health considerations but the proof was definitely in the pudding as my wife and three kids wolfed down the buns at the rate of one per minute. I love the icing sugar and soy milk mix. It’s just like a crispy creme donut.”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Let Them Eat Gluten-Free Cake ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Kim uses her Ultimate Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll Dough to make her Hot Cross Buns. As she says, “To me, they’re a lot like a cinnamon roll in flavor, just not all rolled up. I like to eat these warm, split open with butter in between.” Just like shown below.
Reader reviews: “By far, hands down, the BEST Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun recipe EVER! I have been trying for over 10 years to re-create a GLUTEN FREE hot cross bun that wasn’t a biscuit or a hockey puck when I was done and Kim’s recipe absolutely delivered! These rose beautifully and didn’t become dense or dry in the baking process. They not only looked like a bun but they actually tasted like one too!” and “I just made these hot cross buns. The BEST EVER! I am extremely picky about gluten free food and this is not like gluten free food! Your bread flour blend is the best! ( and I have made many)!”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Mama Me Gluten Free ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Caneel was unhappy with her early attempts at Hot Cross Buns, but she achieved success when she used the same flours as she uses in her yeast bread recipe. She says the resulting Hot Cross Buns come close to recreating her Mom’s originals from The Joy of Cooking recipe. We all want to make successful gluten-free versions of our Mom’s beloved recipes, right? Caneel used the muffin tin approach for the version shown in this photo.
~ Hot Cross Buns from Smith Bites ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Debra and “The Professor”—the husband-wife team—researched, collaborated, and tested recipes over a three-month period to create a gluten-free version of Thomas Keller’s Hot Cross Buns from his latest cookbook, Bouchon Bakery. Debra seriously doubted whether she could accomplish the task, but she did! Her summary of their gluten-free version: “Soft and tender, speckled with plump, vanilla-laced fruit and dressed in a cinnamon-cardamom icing, these gluten-free buns have the perfect balance of sweetness—Chef Keller uses the word ‘beguiling’ to describe them and he’s exactly right.”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Quirky Cooking ~ gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian
Jo uses brown rice, basmati rice, sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour, but don’t worry; despite the name, it’s gluten free), tapioca starch, Rapadura (or xylitol), and other ingredients using her Thermomix to make her version. Jo instructs you on how to make them in a muffin tin or by using the traditional method. Read comments to see how her readers made xanthan gum-free, egg-free, etc. adaptations as needed. Readers gave these Hot Cross Buns rave reviews. Jo also has a gluten-full Hot Cross Monkey Bread recipe, which uses her Hot Cross Bun dough. Wow, does it look incredible! Finally, Jo also has a grain-free Hot Cross Muffins recipe.
Reader reviews: “You are amazing!! .. I just made these using the yeast substitute with baking powder & extra egg!! Worked perfectly. They are yum. They are perfect!!” and “I made your grain free ones last weekend and used prunes instead of currants since I didn’t have any. They are delicious.” and “That Monkey Bread is amazing!!!”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Angela’s Kitchen ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg-free options
Angela shares step-by-step photos and even tells you how to easily turn your oven into a steam oven for all your gluten-free bread baking.
~ Hot Cross Buns from Art of Gluten-Free Baking ~ gluten free, vegetarian, with dairy-free option
Jeanne Sauvage has improved her Hot Cross Buns more than once. It’s so nice to see a blogger/cookbook author continue to improve an already wonderful recipe. One of Jeanne’s readers commented that she likes to pipe an upward spiral (versus the traditional cross) to represent ascension on the buns she makes.
Reader reviews: “I just made these & they were fantastic! The best texture of any gluten-free bread product I have ever made.” and “We made these yesterday … Absolutely delicious.”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Strength and Sunshine ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, vegetarian, vegan
I love that Rebecca Pytell’s recipe makes six buns. That’s the perfect number of buns!
~ Hot Cross Buns from GF Jules ~ gluten free, vegetarian, with dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan options
I love how Jules Shepard tells you how to make these buns on Easter Sunday: “A great thing to whip up before church, set aside to rise, and bake as soon as you get home for a hot, crossed bun experience the whole family will love!”
Reader reviews: “Wow these buns were so good! I made 14, from the recipe! Thank you, Jules. I did forget to put on the egg wash. Didn’t hurt the taste.” and “I saw your Easter section and couldn’t believe my luck to find this recipe! I’ve just made my first batch of gluten-free hot cross buns (Celiac disease has recently invaded the family) and they look and taste amazing – thank you so much!” and “I absolutely love this recipe! I made it this past Easter and my family loved it so much they had me make another batch. After making a couple of batches I had the idea to try making it without the spices or raisins and a little less honey and they turned out just like a regular dinner roll! These rolls have become a family favorite and go great with any meal.”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Gluten-Free Homemaker ~ gluten free, vegetarian, with dairy-free option (Note: Linda’s site is no longer active; therefore, I’ve linked to Linda’s recipe on the Wayback Machine.)
Linda Etherton is well known for her excellent homemade gluten-free bread! She was inspired to make her Hot Cross Buns when she saw a recipe over at Without Adornment.
Reviews: “Made these today and they were fabulous! I love that they are not too sweet. Even my gluten-eating-lovin’ husband enjoyed them. Thank you!” and “Made this recipe today at it was delicious! I added zest from an orange and lemon and glazed it with an orange juice/powdered sugar mixture before adding the final icing cross. Thanks so much!”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Without Adornment ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, vegan
Linda said she was inspired by Christine, aka “Bean,” at Without Adornment. And guess what … Christine was inspired by Jeanine at Faithfully Gluten Free! Don’t you love how all of us help each other in the gluten-free community? One good recipe inspires another!
~ Hot Cross Buns from Faithfully Gluten Free ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian
~ Hot Cross Buns from The Free from Fairy ~ gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegetarian
Vicki uses spices and orange zest in her recipe. One reader said: “I was amazed at the texture they came out with and the flavour is yummy, thank you very much for the recipe.”Vicki also has a recipe for gluten-free, vegan Hot Cross Bun Rolls. With a chocolate factor! She says: “These vegan hot cross bun rolls are soft and delicious with chocolate that oozes out with each mouthful. Rather than the traditional bun shape I decided to make them as rolls, much like a cinnamon roll. Only an Easter version.” What’s not to love? Incidentally, you might also want to check out her Hot Cross Bliss Balls. ~ Hot Cross Buns from My Gluten-Free Kitchen ~ gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian
Michelle uses Zante currants in her recipe and I really appreciated her explanation of why she liked those more than raisins.
Reader reviews: “These were fantastic! Our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease 5 years ago and this is the best yeast bread we have made yet. I have no idea how well they will taste cool as our family of six made quick work of them. :).” and “I made this tonight! OMGosh!!! So YUMMY!!!”
~ Hot Cross Buns from Kumquat ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Gretchen Brown also makes her Hot Cross Buns more like muffins. “Beautiful delicious little muffins of “tender, yeasty bread” with “fragrant cinnamon, raisins and a hint of orange.” I wanted to reach through the screen to get one!
Sarah Ballantyne uses muffin tins. Her recipe is a variation on her paleo yeast bread. You can even use your bread machine for the dough cycle and then spoon the dough into the muffin tins. And I love how she uses the water from simmering her fruit zest for the recipe to add to her homemade kombucha later!
~ Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns with Cashew Cream Cheeze Icing from Sweet Nothings in the Kitchen ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan
This recipe from Sandi Bruegger won the grand prize in the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest contest hosted by Go Dairy Free! Alisa says: “Moist, tender, rich with spice and infused with fruit, these gluten-free buns are a stray from traditional hot cross buns, but delicious in their own right. Note that Sandi uses Pamela’s Bread Baking Mix in this recipe, which comes complete with flours, starches, and binder.”~ Plantain Hot Cross Buns from Unconventional Baker ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free yeast free, gum free, , and vegan.
It was readers looking for allergen-free hot cross buns that led Audrey to create this amazing recipe.
Audrey also made Raw Hot Cross Bun Cookies. Don’t they look great?
~ Hot Cross Carrot Muffins from Gluten Free SCD and Veggie ~ glutenfree, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, SCD
Yes, Vicky not only made the Allspice Hot Cross Buns shown earlier, but she also made these muffins that are SCD compliant. These are such a healthy version of Hot Cross Buns. Can you guess what veggie is used to form the crosses?
~ Hot Cross Scones from Faithfully Gluten Free ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Jeanine took inspiration from her Hot Cross Buns (shared earlier in this post) in creating these scones. She said that she “incorporated the flavour of her classic Easter buns into gluten-free Hot Cross Scones. Scones are really easy to make, and can be ready to eat in under 30 minutes.” Brilliant! (Incidentally, you might want to also check out Jeanine’s Peppernut Buns—“sweet yeast buns with warming spices, including black pepper.”)
~ Microwave Single Hot Cross Bun ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo, with egg-free, vegan option
Arman of The Big Man’s World gives us a microwave, single recipe, which is the perfect number for many of us! I appreciate not only his recipe but also the information he provides on Hot Cross Buns in Australia.
I hope this roundup shows you that the gluten-free Hot Cross Bun possibilities are endlessly delicious! Happy Easter!
Originally published March 20, 2013; updated March 15, 2023.