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Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns gluten free recipe

Confession: I’ve never eaten a hot cross bun made with wheat flour. But from all accounts, hot cross buns are like slightly sweet, fruit-filled dinner rolls. Traditional recipes call for raisins or currants and spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

Of course, there’s always chocolate chip buns. And blueberry hot cross buns, which I actually prefer over the the chocolate ones. Go figure.

If you do use raisins, soak them first. Pour hot water over about one cup of raisins. Let sit for an hour or so until plumped. Drain excess water, then mix raisins with additional cinnamon and sugar if you like, before stirring into dough.

Be sure to read all the instructions before you begin. Otherwise, you might do something silly, like preheat the oven or something. Just a warning – this recipe isn’t as sweet as a regular hot cross bun, so make adjustments as needed.

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

18 hot cross buns

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Here's a delicious way to make gluten free hot cross buns. Do plan ahead though - mix dough the day before you plan on baking. This is the easiest way to enhance the texture and flavor of any gluten free bread. See notes after recipe for more.


  • Dry
  • 3 1/4 cups gluten free bread flour blend (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or 3 teaspoons guar gum)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ginger, cardamom, nutmeg (optional)
  • Liquid
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins or chocolate chips, optional
  • Next day
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 3 tablespoons water)


In a large bowl, combine gf flour, sugar, yeast, xanthan or guar, cinnamon, salt, and additional spices. It's important to blend dry ingredients thoroughly. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine: milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract.

Add (blended) dry ingredients to liquids in bowl. Mix on low speed, scrape bowl down, and blend more on medium speed until smooth and cohesive. Dough will have the consistency of a thick brownie batter and will be stickier than its gluten counterpart. Fold in chocolate chips or raisins.

Cover dough and refrigerate overnight. It will rise in the fridge, so allow room for that. The next day, remove dough from fridge and let sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast into a tablespoon of water and stir into dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8”x8” pans well. Using a #16 disher, drop 9 dough balls into each pan.

Use a dampened spatula to smooth top of dough, then brush with egg wash. A few minutes (10-15) in a warm room or 100 degree oven is all that’s needed before baking.

Bake for 22-24 minutes. Transfer buns to a cooling rack after about 10 minutes to avoid soggy bottoms from excess moisture.

Top with a simple glaze of 1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon milk.


Make a sorghum flour bread blend by combining: 2 parts sorghum flour, 2 parts tapioca flour, 1 part potato starch, and 1 part almond meal. Mix flours well in a large container. Use this blend to replace wheat flour in recipes. Read more about gluten free blends here.

Grease pans well, even non-stick.

Cooled buns can be stored frozen to defrost as needed.


dough before baking

Need something sweet right now? Here’s how to make a gluten free cinnamon roll in the microwave. Big thanks to the nice guys at Nu Life Market for the sorghum flour.


  1. Pat Gaddess says:

    Ok. I made them and they really taste good. They don’t look quite as nice as yours but they are wonderful.

  2. These got the “The Most Like Wheat” vote from the family this morning – the best of many gluten free recipes we have tried over the years. I used to bake all our bread and several dozen regular hot cross buns every year. There is a sadness about giving up wheat baking. So. The texture of these gluten free buns was soft and bread like with a chewy crust and the spices came through well with the fruit. We will definitely be putting this in our Family Recipe Book. Thank you so much for making our weekend.

    • Fiona, I’m so glad to hear that you and your family like the buns. I used to bake focaccia and pizza on a regular basis prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease. The sadness you speak of is something I remember well. It was the process of baking that I missed the most. Of course, I always enjoyed eating tasty baked goods, too. It was a complete shock to hear that I couldn’t even sample a tiny bit of regular cake batter again. Yes, I actually asked about that, looking for some kind of loophole. It was like I lost a friend. The good news (I hope) is that once you find the style of gluten free baking that gives you good results, everything becomes much easier. That sense of loss has completely disappeared for me. I really appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment!

  3. I’m looking for a gluten free bun recipe to bake for a friend who can’t eat eggs either. I’m wondering if any of you have tried this recipe with egg alternatives – flax or chia and what the results were like?

  4. Baked these for breakfast today after the dough had sat in the fridge for the night.
    They were great, lovely texture and taste, even my non gf husband ate them and said how much they tasted like the wheat ones! I will not be buying expensive gf hot cross buns ever again! Making the sorghum flour blend is well worth the effort, I will be using it to make some bread rolls next!
    Thank you!

  5. Hi there! Planning on cooking these this weekend for when I have easter with my family – can any gluten free plain flour blend be used or does it have to specifically be a gluten free bread mix? Thank you – I’ve done much research and these look amazing!


    • The gluten free bread flour blend here will give the best result. But I have used Pamela’s Artisan blend (leaving the additional binder – guar or xanthan – out since it is in Pamela’s blend already) for this loaf bread as pictured here. Hope that helps!

  6. Oh my goodness, thank you! This recipe worked so well. I had to substitute chia seeds for the xanthum gum as I realised I had run out after the shops had closed, still worked. The texture is so good!

  7. Claire Marson says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. They were delicious! I used half a cup raisins and half a cup of candied peel. Two of my non GF friends actually preferred them to the regular ones and took seconds! I’m not sure what I did “wrong” but the dough was quite stiff and never like a batter and didn’t really rise much overnight. And I ended up baking them an extra 7 minutes as they weren’t quite done. But no complaints as they were amazing! I decided to try to make them mostly sugar free so I substituted Lakanto monk fruit sweetener and Xyletol and even increased those by an additional 1.5 tbsp. The buns still were not sweet. I look forward to trying more of your recipes. Who knew GF baking didn’t have to taste like sawdust…lol.

    • I’m happy that you and your friends liked them! You didn’t do anything wrong – just be aware that (regular) sugar affects yeast activity and can have a profound effect on the textural end result as well. Your substitutions were clever though! Good of you to make adjustments to baking time as needed. Thanks for leaving a comment with your changes, Claire!

  8. I made these today with the America’s Test Kitchen flour blend and they were delicious! Thank you!!

  9. Jennifer Porter says:

    I just made these for the first time today and they are so good. I didn’t have a #16 disher so i just used my hands and then a soup spoon dipped in water to shape them.

  10. Alexandra Toppins says:

    This recipe calls for both yeast and instant yeast. Can you tell me the difference? I have fast acting yeast, will that work for either? Thanks so much!

  11. I only use instant yeast in baking. Fast acting yeast will work fine. Sorry for the confusion.


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