These soft and doughy Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns are made without psyllium husk and need only one proof. They are also laden with fruit, laced with cinnamon and spice and are deliciously sweetened with natural honey. Optional dairy free.
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Originally Published 3rd April 2015… Updated 4th April 2023
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My original (No Psyllium) Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns – updated
This is my original recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns which dates back to 2015. I’ve been meaning to update it with a recipe card for the last 3 years… And finally, it’s reached the top of my list. I’m glad… Because it meant I had to make them again to check the recipe… And making them has reminded me just how good they are!
I have a number of recipes for gluten free Hot Cross Buns on the blog. This recipe differs from the others however, as the buns are made without psyllium husk. But while psyllium has come to be seen as a magic ingredient for gluten free bread, there are many people who cannot tolerate it. And thus, it’s really important in a world of inclusivity to have a great recipe that is different!
And this is truly a GREAT recipe… Hot Cross Buns which are laden with juicy fruit, laced with plenty of cinnamon, a little ginger and a touch of orange… All sweetened with natural honey. Despite using no psyllium, they still have a texture to rival their glutenous counterparts… Soft and lightly ‘doughy’ and deliciously divine whether fresh or toasted, but always slathered with butter, the traditional way.
Why you’ll love this no psyllium Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns recipe
Although you can buy gluten free Hot Cross Buns in UK supermarkets, their quality and texture varies greatly. But even if you find a brand you like, homemade buns are always better! So why choose this recipe?
- If you can’t eat (or find) psyllium husk… This is a perfect, no psyllium Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun recipe that doesn’t compromise on either taste or texture.
- You’d never know they are gluten free.
- The method only requires one proof and a 15 to 20 minute bake. Thus, they are a speedier option that can be delivered fresh from the oven, ready for Easter breakfast or brunch.
- They are pretty easy to make and don’t require any fancy equipment.
- The buns are packed with carefully paired fruit and balanced spices for the best Hot Cross Bun flavour.
- They are sweetened with unrefined, natural honey which (apart from adding to the deliciousness), also offers shelf life and softness to the bake.
What are Hot Cross Buns?
If you have never come across Hot Cross Buns before, here’s a quick run-down on these very British Easter treats…
Hot Cross Buns are gently sweetened, yeasted buns. They are speckled with dried fruit and infused with Easter spices and a little citrus. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Christian communities, each bun is topped with a cross (made or indented in various ways) to symbolise the cross on which Jesus was crucified. They are generally eaten either freshly baked and gently warmed… Or toasted and slathered with butter.
While traditional Hot Cross Buns are fruit-based, there are now a plethora of variations that have been created both in recipe form and from commercial bakeries. Indeed, even here at Gluten Free Alchemist, we have alternative recipes. Check out our Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns and Marzipan Hot Cross Buns.
Changes to the original recipe…
In re-testing my recipe for no psyllium gluten free Hot Cross Buns, I have more-or-less maintained the original list of ingredients… With one exception. When the recipe was originally created, I used a small amount of ‘modified tapioca starch’, which I believe is also known under a brand name of ‘Expandex’ in some parts of North America. This ingredient is no longer available in the UK (and is probably impossible to source elsewhere too). Thus, I removed it from the recipe… And subbed with a little extra xanthan gum (with no adverse effect on the bake).
The only other alteration made for the recipe card, has been to reduce the batch size by a third. The recipe still makes 16 gluten free Hot Cross Buns, which is ample. But if you wish to increase or decrease the number you make, I advise doing so in ratios that equate to adding or removing whole eggs for ease of calculation.
What flour should I use to make these Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns?
These buns are pretty versatile. I use my Gluten Free Alchemist white flour Blend A (found at the bottom of my Gluten Free Flours and Flour Blends page). However, they should work equally well with my rice-free flour blend B (found on the same post). Or with any other well-balanced commercial gluten free flour blend (such as Doves Freee plain white gluten free baking flour).
In addition to the base blend, I’ve added some extra tapioca starch and also gluten free oat flour for texture and the particular bake structure required. It is important that these are NOT subbed for more of the general base blend.
If making the buns for anyone with Coeliac Disease (Celiac) or who is gluten free for health reasons, it is important to ensure that all flours (and all ingredients) are confirmed as gluten free to ensure the buns are diet-safe. Additionally, it is important to be aware that some Coeliacs are unable to tolerate oats. This is because they contain Avenin (a protein similar to gluten). So if making buns for someone who can’t eat oats, these need to be switched for an alternative (see below).
Can I make gluten free Hot Cross Buns without oats?
For anyone who can’t eat oats, I would suggest you try substituting the oat flour for sorghum flour… Or possibly a combination of sorghum flour and ground almonds. Although it is not something I have personally tested, I know from working with other gluten free recipes, that these are potentially good alternatives. If it is something you try, do let me know how you get on.
Can I make this recipe dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes. It’s easy to make my no psyllium Hot Cross Buns gluten free AND dairy free. Simply sub the milk and butter for good dairy free alternatives. I recommend using a dairy free block butter such as either Stork block or Flora Plant B+tter in the UK. If using a salted option, leave out the salt listed in the recipe.
Can I vary the fruit in this recipe?
Traditional Hot Cross Buns are made with a combination of dried fruit (usually currants, sultanas and raisins) and mixed peel. However… for this recipe (and for personal preference), I used the wonderful combination of apricots, sultanas and glacé cherries. Together they offer a lovely marriage of colour and flavour in the buns, particularly paired against the orange zest, extract and spices.
If these fruits don’t appeal however, then it’s fine to switch them for alternative dried fruits that you prefer. Try to use dried fruit that is on the fresher side. It tends not to be as dry and thus won’t cause the dough to dehydrate.
Glacé cherries are a particular favourite fruit of mine for baking, as they bring lovely pops of red to the bake. For Hot Cross Buns, I either use the darker, richer Morello glacé cherries (available in some supermarkets)… OR my own home-preserved Glacé Cherries (Candied Cherries), which I make every year in cherry season.
How to shape the Hot Cross Bun dough…
The dough for these gluten free Hot Cross Buns is very sticky and NOT kneadable. Nonetheless, it can still be held and shaped into round balls. To do this, it is essential that your hands are lightly oiled intermittently during the process. I pour a small drop of olive oil into a dish and periodically dip a finger and rub the oil into my palms.
Equally… it helps to smear a little oil onto the surface of either an ice cream scoop (or large spoon) when scooping the dough out of the mixing bowl. This simply helps to prevent the dough from sticking to the scoop.
Top Tip: Wear lightly oiled food-safe gloves when handling gluten free bread dough. They prevent the dough from sticking to the cracks of your fingers and make it way easier to handle and shape. But don’t throw them away after just one use. Leave them on and wash your gloved hands thoroughly with washing up liquid and hot water, before air-drying the gloves ready to use another day. If you live in the UK, you can also find food-safe gloves in Sainsbury’s.
Baking gluten free Hot Cross Buns
These Hot Cross Buns cook pretty quickly… about 18 to 20 minutes in a hot oven. When they are ready, they will be golden brown and firm on top. Be sure to remove them to a wire rack to cool as soon as they have been brushed with the sugar glaze, so that they don’t sweat underneath. It is important that air can circulate all around, so that excess moisture can evaporate while the buns are cooling. They can, of course, still be eaten fresh and warm… But I would advise leaving them to cool for 10 to 15 minutes first for the best texture.
My gluten free buns can either be baked as a tear-and-share bun block or as individual buns. The only difference is how much of a gap is left between the dough balls on the baking tray. For tear and share, proof the buns about 2 to 3 centimetres apart on the tray, so they rise and bake to meet in the middle.
How to store these Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
Although my no psyllium Hot Cross Buns do not have as long a shelf-life as my psyllium buns (on account of the lesser moisture retained as a result of not having the husk), they are nonetheless moist and fluffy on day one. And they toast perfectly (as Hot Cross Buns usually do) from day 2 onwards. Or they can be warmed in the microwave for a few seconds to soften. Having made standard wheat Hot Cross Buns in my pre-Coeliac days, there is honestly very little difference. And as Easter Buns are generally toasted anyway, it’s no hardship if they dry a little.
For best storage… Place the buns in an airtight bag or container, or wrap them in clingfilm. Store them at room temperature. If they start to sweat in warmer weather, pop them in the fridge and toast or warm in the microwave when ready to eat.
Ready to make (no psyllium) Hot Cross Buns?
If you have any more questions about my gluten free Hot Cross Buns, do get in touch and I will do my best to advise. Otherwise, the recipe can be found below (just scroll an inch or two further).
To get in contact, either leave a comment at the bottom, email me or message on social media… (Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest). And if you have a social media account and share any photos of your buns, do remember to tag me in @glutenfreealchemist #glutenfreealchemist
If you’re looking for more Easter baking inspiration, we also have a dedicated Gluten Free Easter Recipes index. And for everything else, our Gluten Free Recipe Index is choc-full of ideas and recipes for your gluten free kitchen. All shared with my love… for free!
NOTE for Psyllium eaters: Although both recipes are worthy and delicious, for those who can eat psyllium husk, you might also want to check out my other very popular recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns (with traditional fruit and psyllium). It’s a later developed recipe than the one shared here, and offers the benefits of a more ‘springy’ texture and longer shelf life.
Hot Cross Buns with Apple, Cherry and Sultana (No Psyllium Recipe)
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- 210 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES), but an alternative flour blend should work fine
- 70 g tapioca starch
- 110 g gluten free oat flour
- 1¾ tsp xanthan gum
- 2½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 40 g sultanas
- 65 g dried apple cut into small pieces
- 40 g glacé cherries I used Morello glacé cherries
- 180 g hand-warm milk (180 ml) preferably full-fat/whole milk (or dairy free milk as required)
- 13 g instant yeast I use Allinson’s Easy Bake Yeast
- 1 tsp runny honey
- 160 g unsalted block butter or dairy free block alternative
- 120 g runny honey
- 2 large eggs At room temperature – UK large size (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- finely grated zest 1 orange
- 1 tsp orange extract
- olive oil to grease hands when rolling dough balls
Paste for Crosses
- 50 g plain GF flour mix
- 40 ml cold water approx
- 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- Line a couple of baking trays (or one extra large baking tray) with baking paper.
- Mix together the flours, xanthan gum, spices and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside. (TIP: Weigh into a large airtight container and shake vigorously)
- Weigh and chop/cut the fruit as required. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon honey and set aside, stirring occasionally to dissolve the yeast.
- In a separate medium-sized pyrex bowl, melt the butter with the honey (in the microwave on medium setting (30 second bursts, stirring between each) and whisk to combine. (or alternatively, heat gently in a small saucepan and then transfer to a bowl once melted).
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly, before whisking in the eggs one at a time.
- Pour the butter mixture into the yeast-milk mixture and whisk together.
- Add and stir in the zest, orange extract and dried fruit.
- Add the flour mix and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Leave the dough batter to hydrate for 5 to 10 minutes and then stir again. The mix should now be a thick, but very sticky dough.
- Rub a little olive oil onto your hands (it may help to wear oiled food gloves) and take a large spoon (or small-medium ice cream scoop) of dough and roll into a ball (about 6 cm/2½ inches in diameter). Place on the baking sheet.
- Repeat the rolling process (intermittently re-oiling your hands) until all of the dough is used and there are 16 even-sized dough balls. Place the dough balls in rows on the baking tray with a slight gap between them for rising. (NOTE: they will stick together when they rise and bake to make a 'tear and share' bread. For separate, individual buns, leave a larger gap between them).
- Cover lightly with a piece of cling film and place the tray(s) in a warm place to proof for 45 to 60 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- When almost risen, prepare a smooth flour paste for the crosses by mixing the flour and water together.
- Pipe (or drizzle) a cross onto the top of each bun.
- Bake for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
- While baking, make the glaze by mixing the sugar and water and heating either in a small saucepan or in a bowl in the microwave to dissolve and blend.
- Remove the buns from the oven and (while still warm) brush the top of each with a good coating of sugar glaze before placing (immediately) on a wire rack to cool.
- Although they can be eaten fresh from the oven, I would suggest allowing them to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before devouring. They taste better that way!Delicious warm, cold or traditionally toasted!
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist