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I don’t know about you but when I was a kid there was one type of hot cross buns.  Ironically they were called hot cross buns.  Now there are so many more varieties, and these ones are a delicious variation that I’m loving: lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns.
lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns

Hot cross buns basically appear in the shops the second the Christmas stuff is packed up, and for good reason: these delicious little morsels are so good.  Grab and go, they are great for breakfasts on the run, easy afternoon snacks and everything in between.
lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns

So much so that every year I make a new version for the blog! You can check them out here:

One of the best ways to make hot cross buns is to use a large square container.  I’ve used a 30X30 cm cake tin to create these ones, it helps keep them all together and uniform.  It also assures they have square sides, just like the ones in the shops. 

lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns

These are a fun baking project to make with kids and are easy to make.  Wait times for the rising aren’t too bad either, so you can easily keep them entertained.  

lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns

Why make them fruit free?  Well, despite Master 6 loving sultanas…he won’t eat them in baked goods.  Does that even make sense?  I don’t think so, but that’s his prerogative.  Personally, I like the traditional ones, but these lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns come in a close second.

lightly lemony fruit less hot cross buns
If you’re not keen on baking 24 of these, then halve the recipe, it’s simple to do.  I like to make 24 so that I’ve got some for the freezer.  Because these are so delicious for afternoon tea, and super convenient if anyone pops around during the Easter period.

Yield: 24 hot cross buns

Lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns

These lightly lemony fruit free hot cross buns are delicious. Perfect for an easter brunch or breakfast, they are also great for afternoon tea!

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
20 minutes

Additional Time
50 minutes

Total Time
1 hour 20 minutes



  • 2 tbsps dried yeast
  • 4 tbsps sugar (I used raw, use whatever takes your fancy)
  • 400 mls body temp water
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • zest of two lemons
  • 8 cups plain flour
  • 150 grams butter- softened
  • 1 cup milk


  • 2 tbsps raw caster sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 8 tbsps water


  • 2 tsps apricot jam
  • 2 tsps water


  1. In a jug mix the water, sugar and yeast.
  2. Allow to rest until frothy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Combine the cinnamon, mixed spice, lemon zest and flour in a bowl.
  4. Add the butter, lemon juice and milk to the yeast mixture and pour onto the flour.
  5. Using a dough hook on your mixer (or do it by hand), knead for 1 minute on low.
  6. Knead for 3 minutes on medium.
  7. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.
  8. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and knead into balls, then pop into a greased and floured square baking tin (30cm by 30cm), just touching each other.
  9. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  10. Allow buns to rise 20 minutes more. on the bench
  11. Mix the flour, sugar and water to form a paste. Using a piping bag or a ziploc with the corner trimmed off, pipe each row of lines in one go.
  12. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden.
  13. Remove from oven and leave in the tray.
  14. Warm the apricot jam with the water and use to glaze the tops of the buns.
  15. Serve with butter. These freeze well.


Freeze separately on a tray and then transfer to a ziploc bag or a container.

Reheat wrapped in paper towel in the microwave.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bun

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 247 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 14mg Sodium: 54mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g Protein: 6g

This nutrition information is generated using software. Please check with a nutritionist for any specific questions.