Hot Cross Buns are a spicy, sweet, fruit-filled Easter tradition. I like to load mine up with lots of plump raisins and currants. This gluten free version is also dairy free, except for a little butter in the icing crosses.
These gluten free hot cross buns have a lovely honey glaze. The icing for the crosses is also sweetened with honey, along with coconut oil and butter.
- Rice Flour - You may use either brown or white rice flour, but I would recommend brown if you have it.
- Tapioca Flour - also called tapioca starch. They're interchangeable.
- Raw Sugar - I like to use raw sugar because it's minimally processed. You may use refined sugar if you wish.
- Butter - Butter should be soft, but not melted, for making the icing.
- Coconut Oil - Like the butter, coconut oil should be neither liquid nor hard. It needs to be soft for the icing. I have a little trick I use if it needs some help. I melt the coconut oil. Then I set it in the fridge for a few minutes, stirring it occasionally. As it starts to turn white, it's beginning to firm up. Keep checking and stirring until it reaches that nice, soft, spreadable consistency. It doesn't take long with such a small amount.
Soak dried raisins and currants in boiling water. Save the water; you'll need it later.
Meanwhile, prepare your pan and combine the dry ingredients.
Drain the water from the dried fruit into a mixing bowl.
To the water in the mixing bowl, stir in the sugar. Check to make sure that the temperature of the liquid is no higher than 115°F (46°C). Then sprinkle yeast over it. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Beat in the eggs, half of the dry flour mixture, the oil and vinegar, and then the remaining dry flour mixture. Once it has been well mixed, stir in the drained fruit by hand.
Scoop the batter into 12 round balls and place them into the prepared pan. Let this sit in a warm place for about an hour, for them to rise.
Bake the buns until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F (88°C). Be careful not to leave them too long, or they will become dry.
Allow the pan of buns to cool on a wire rack. Then, warm a tablespoon of honey and brush it over the tops of the buns.
Beat the icing ingredients together until smooth.
Cut a small corner off a plastic sandwich bag. The kind that zips closed is best. Put the icing inside it. Then squeeze out the icing for cross shapes over the tops of the hot cross buns.
Recipe FAQ's and Tips
You can make these gluten free hot cross buns without an electric mixer. It's just easier if you have them. Use a whisk where practical. Then stir vigorously with a big spoon when the batter becomes stiff.
A hot cross bun is a spiced, yeast bun with raisins or currants and a cross on top. The cross symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices represent those used to embalm him at his burial. The earliest mention of hot cross buns seems to be that of a 14th century Anglican monk who made them and distributed them to the poor on Good Friday.
More Gluten Free Easter Recipes
- Fresh Grapefruit Salad with Apple
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Maple Glazed Carrots
- Fruit Salad with Whipped Cream
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Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Pour boiling water over raisins and currants. Let it sit to soak and allow the temperature of the water to come down to 110°F to 115°F, about 15 minutes. You'll need to save the water.
- Line a 9" X 13" (22.6 X 33 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Add raw sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Drain the liquid from the soaking raisins and currants into the bowl with the sugar. Give it a stir or a swish to dissolve at least some of the sugar. Checking to make sure that the temperature of this liquid is no higher than 115°F, sprinkle the yeast over it, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Beat the yeast mixture in the stand mixer with mixing paddle on slow speed for a few seconds, just to blend it. Then add the eggs, and beat well.
- Add the about half of the dry mixture to the wet. Beat together until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Add the oil and vinegar. Beat. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix them in.
- Stir the raisins and currants into the batter by hand.
- Shape batter into 12 balls and place, evenly spaced, into the prepared pan.
- Smooth out the tops of buns with an oiled spatula. Allow the buns to rise in a warm place until a little bigger in size, about an hour.
- Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 25 - 30 minutes, only until the internal temperature measures 190°F. Allow to cool completely on a rack before adding icing.
- Warm the honey, either in a saucepan over low heat, in an oven proof container in a toaster oven, or in a microwave.
- With a pastry brush, brush warm honey over the tops of the buns.
- Beat butter and coconut oil together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the honey, vanilla, and salt. Then beat in the tapioca flour.
- Cut a small corner (¼-inch across) from a plastic sandwich bag. Transfer the icing into the bag.
- Squeeze the icing in lines across the rows of cooled buns to form crosses. It's easier to do whole rows rather than one bun at a time.
- Batter for gluten free dough tends to be softer than that for regular baking. You should be able to scoop the dough into little mounds to rise, but they will be very soft.
- Be careful not to over bake your hot cross buns, as they could become too dry.
- The icing ingredients need to be at a warm room temperature. Both the butter and coconut oil should be soft but not runny.
- Although you can use white rice flour in this recipe, brown rice flour is preferable.