Gut Friendly Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday marks the end of Lent in the Christian calendar and hot cross buns are said to be eaten to mark the end of the fasting period. 

Whilst the concept of buns has Pagan roots, hot cross buns have become linked to Christianity as the cross on the buns is said to signify Jesus’ crucifixion and some people believe that the spices in the buns represent the spices used in his embalming.

Unfortunately, commercially produced hot cross buns contain a long list of ingredients, including high levels of sugar, sugar syrups, unhealthy vegetable oils and preservatives, which can all impact our gut.

And home-made hot cross bun recipes often have a long list of ingredients and complicated method.

We scoured the internet and found this great (and relatively straightforward) recipe from the Healthy Chef ( – as with most hot cross bun recipes, it needs to be done across two days, but the second day is really just for proving and cooking. 

We particularly like this recipe as it has only two tablespoons of raw honey as the sweetener, uses grains that are easier for our guts to metabolise, healthy olive oil instead of vegetable oils and both raisins and apricots. The recipe also uses cinnamon and ginger to add spice – which are both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial).

Finally, the ‘piece de resistance’ of this recipe in our opinion, is the melted dark chocolate used to form the cross – dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants and is our personal favourite here at ProVen.


Start this recipe the day before

320 g (11 1/2 oz / 2 3/4 cups) wholemeal spelt flour

50 g (1 3/4 oz / 1/2 cup) rye flour

10 g fresh yeast or 1 sachet 5 g dried yeast 

2 tablespoons raw honey

250 ml (8 3/4 fl oz / 1 cup) milk of your choice

2 organic eggs

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

150 ml (5 1/4 oz) extra virgin olive oil

300 g (10 1/2 oz / 2 cups) raisins or golden sultanas

100 g (3 1/2 oz) dried chopped apricots

100 g (3 1/2 oz) good quality 70 percent dark eating chocolate, melted

Egg wash

1 organic egg

2 tablespoons of milk


Day 1

  1. Combine the flours, yeast, honey, milk, eggs, orange zest, vanilla and salt into the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Mix with a dough hook at low speed until combined then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 8 minutes or until smooth.
  3. Add the oil slowly, a little at a time until it is all incorporated into the dough. Take your time and don’t add too much at once.
  4. Add the raisins and apricots and mix gently until just mixed in, then turn off your mixer and remove the bowl.
  5. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  6. Place the dough into the fridge overnight to rest and develop for a further 12 hours. This dough is quite sturdy, so if you go over 12 hours, that’s ok, as long as you cook the dough the following day. Resting also loosens the dough so you end up with a light and fluffy hot cross bun.

Day 2

  1. Divide dough into 24 even size portions.
  2. Leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours. This depends on the warmth of your kitchen
  3. Preheat oven to 180℃
  4. Make an egg wash using 1 whole egg and 2 tablespoons of milk.
  5. Brush tops of the buns with egg wash.
  6. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden and baked through.
  7. Cool slightly.
  8. Melt chocolate then pipe over the buns before serving.

Find this recipe and more from the Healthy Chef at

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