Easiest Hot Cross Buns Recipe Ever

I love traditions and making meaningful recipes, especially during the Lent and Easter season.. but y’all… I’m only 1 person! Sometimes I have to cut myself some slack, and at those times, I’m happy to reach for the super easy recipes. This version of hot cross buns utilizes canned biscuits, but also includes the seasonings and meanings behind the more complicated and traditional recipe. Be sure to check out all of my symbolic Holy Week food ideas here. Now let’s take a look at the easiest hot cross buns recipe ever. 

What Are Hot Cross Buns?

How cross buns are a traditional Lenten recipe that are seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. They are always marked with a cross on the top. Sometimes this is dough or icing that is piped onto the bun, but sometimes the cross is simply etched in the top of the buns. They usually have raisins or currents inside. 

Catholic Tradition Behind Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a traditional Catholic recipe with a story and a history behind it. So where did the tradition of hot cross buns originate? Why do Catholics eat these on Good Friday? 

“One theory is that the Hot Cross Bun originates from St Albans, in England, where Brother Thomas Rodcliffe, a 14th-century monk at St Albans Abbey, developed a similar recipe called an ‘Alban Bun’ and distributed the bun to the local poor on Good Friday, starting in 1361.” –source

Several hundred years later, Queen Elizabeth I made a law saying that hot cross buns could only be sold at Christmas, funerals, and on Good Friday. 

There are many legends surrounding these buns including protecting sailors at sea, keeping evil spirits away, and never going stale or bad if they were actually baked on Good Friday. The buns were also believed by some to have healing powers. 

At times these have even been referred to as “Good Friday Buns”

Hot Cross Buns Symbolism

These buns are marked with a cross on the top to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ, and also the sign of the cross. The spices inside the buns represent the spices that were used during the burial process during the time of Jesus. 

Hot Cross Buns Song

Surely you have heard this children’s song that goes along with these little traditional rolls!

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns
Give them to your daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

More Holy Week Recipes

If you like learning about Holy Week through cooking, check out my new ebook, The Symbolic Holy Week & Easter Cookbook! This cookbook includes 23 recipes that point to the true meaning of Easter. It also includes 29 pages of bonus printables! You do not want to miss this amazing resource. 

How To Make Super Easy Hot Cross Buns

Now that we understand the story and symbolism behind this traditional Good Friday treat, let me show you how to bake the easiest hot cross buns ever! We will start by collecting our ingredients. 

Ingredients Needed For Easy Hot Cross Buns:

  • canned flaky biscuits
  • raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • pumpkin pie spice

Hot Cross Buns Icing Recipe:

  • orange juice (a few tablespoons)
  • powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup)

Hot Cross Buns Crosses On Top:

  • white cookie icing

How To Make Easy Hot Cross Buns

No yeast, no kneading, no rising, just a very simple recipe that will make you happy on Good Friday.

Preheat your oven to the temperate it says on your can of biscuits. 

Start by putting parchment paper into a 9×13 baking pan. 

The flaky biscuits are easy to separate in the middle. Peel the top layer back about 2/3 of the way.

Brush the middle layer with some melted butter.

Then place about 6-8 raising in the middle.

Place the biscuit in the pan.

When you have all of your biscuits with the butter and raisins, sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice inside. 

Fold the top of each biscuit closed, and bake according to your package directions. 

While the biscuits bake, mix your orange icing for the top! Place your powdered sugar in a bowl and just add enough orange juice to make it into a glaze. Ours took about 2 Tbs. 

Take your buns out of the oven when they are golden brown.

Now you should be ready to brush them with the orange glaze we mixed. 

Allow the biscuits to cool for a few minutes. 

Then you can take your cookie icing and make your crosses across the top of the biscuits. 

Start with 2 lines going down the middle of each row.

Make another line of icing on each row to form crosses.

How cute are these?

Serve these right away! Your family can now enjoy the warm raisin and spice flavor of hot cross buns without the work!

There is an old Irish rhyme that links hot cross buns to friendship as well:

“Half for you and half for me,
Between us two shall goodwill be”

The Symbolic Holy Week & Easter Cookbook is full of fun and traditional recipes that point to the true meaning of the Easter story. Learn more here.

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