These eggless and vegan hot cross buns are rich, fluffy, slightly spiced, filled with sweet raisins, and topped with an icing cross. They’re perfect for spring or Easter baking!
why we love this recipe
Spring is finally here and I just want to make all the springtime treats. I grew up eating hot cross buns and crave them when Easter time comes. Well, today I’m sharing my completely plant-based Vegan Hot Cross Buns!
These buns are pretty easy to make and they’re packed with wonderful flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and orange. While these are great around Easter time, they can definitely be made year-round.
They’d make a delicious breakfast, brunch, or snack time treat to eat with coffee or tea. You can even use them to make my Vegan French Toast Casserole!
If you love hot cross buns, you’ll probably also love my Pull Apart Hot Cross Bun Loaf which is based on this recipe!
why this recipe works
These hot cross buns are completely eggless but the dough is still wonderfully fluffy and rich! How do we make this happen, you may ask? Instead of eggs, this recipe uses dairy-free milk and vegan butter to create a brioche-like dough without eggs. The fat from the milk and butter adds to the richness of the dough, creating pastry-like layers.
These hot cross buns are super simple to make. There’s nothing quite like fresh-made sweet buns like these. Traditional hot cross buns use dairy butter and eggs. But these buns are eggless and dairy-free, perfect if you have allergies or can’t eat either of those ingredients!
Let’s take a look at the ingredients below:
- Active Dry Yeast
- Vegan Butter
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Orange Zest
- Vanilla Extract
the best vegan butter
You can use pretty much any vegan butter in this recipe, but below are a few of my favorites:
- Earth Balance Butter Sticks
- Country Crock Plant Butter
- Flora Plant Butter
how to make the hot cross bun dough
The first step in making this vegan hot cross bun recipe is proofing the yeast. Like with all yeasted doughs, you’ll want to mix the yeast in with warm plant milk.
Yeast is activated by warming it and ‘feeding’ it with a little sugar. You’ll want to warm your almond milk in the microwave (or on the stovetop) until it’s warm to the touch but not scalding. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast. A good test is to dab a bit of the warm milk on your wrist. If it’s not scalding, it should be close to the right temperature.
prepping the yeast
You’ll want to combine a tablespoon of the sugar with the warm almond milk. Once the sugar dissolves slightly, you can add in the yeast. It should bubble and froth up after a few minutes.
If your yeast isn’t frothing up, then it’s likely not activated and it won’t rise the dough properly. Make sure to check the expiration date of the yeast if this is the case.
While the yeast activates, in a large bowl, you’ll cream together the remaining sugar and the softened vegan butter. Then, add the yeast mixture and the salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Next up, add in 1 cup of the flour at a time, mixing to incorporate with the wet ingredients.
Keep stirring the ingredients together until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Once the dough starts to come together into a loose ball add in the raisins.
kneading the dough
Next, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes until the exterior surface is smooth and no longer sticky.
This part is super important! If the dough isn’t kneaded long enough, the buns will be less fluffy. So, set a timer and put on some good music to knead for 10 minutes! Once kneaded, the dough should pass the “windowpane” test.
the first rise
The dough will need to rise after being kneaded. You’ll want to oil a bowl (with a little melted vegan butter, or cooking spray), then place the dough ball into the bowl.
To keep the dough from drying out, cover the bowl with a damp (but not soaking wet), paper towel or tea towel. In order to rise, the dough needs to be placed in a warm place for about 1.5-2 hours (on my countertop, it takes about 2 hours). I like to place mine in my microwave (make sure not to run it!) or in my oven (turned off).
The dough is done rising when it’s doubled in size, and you can poke it with your finger and the indention stays in the dough.
shaping the buns
Once the dough has doubled in size, go ahead and transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces (77-78g each).
If you’d like larger buns, you can divide the dough into about 8-9 pieces (about 90-100g each).
Shape the pieces by gently rolling them in your hand and tucking any lumps into the underside of the ball.
the second rise
Place the balls into a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Then, cover again with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes. This second rise is very important. This will help the buns have a lighter texture once baked. The buns won’t completely double in size but they should puff up a bit more.
the vegan egg wash
To get beautiful golden brown tops on your buns, you’ll want to brush the dough with a vegan egg wash.
I’ve found that mixing maple syrup with almond milk helps brown up baked goods. You could also brush the tops with melted vegan butter.
decorating the vegan hot cross buns
Once the buns come out of the oven and have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, you can brush them with some apricot jam.
This jam glaze gives the buns a beautiful sheen and flavorful sweetness.
There are two traditional ways to decorate hot cross buns. With a flour cross or with an icing cross. In this recipe, I’m choosing to create an icing cross since it adds a bit of sweetness to the rolls.
Flour crosses are made from a mixture of flour and water that make a paste. This paste is piped on prior to baking the buns.
Icing crosses are made from powdered sugar and are piped onto the buns after baking and after they have cooled. You can spoon the icing into a ziplock bag and cut the tip off to pipe the icing onto the buns.
the best vegan hot cross buns
The vegan and eggless hot cross buns are perfect for Easter or a spring breakfast. They’re slightly sweet, glazed with an apricot jam, and have cozy cinnamon and nutmeg flavors in them. These little buns are so fun to make and you’ll be looking forward to them all year long!
eggless hot cross bun faq
Yes, hot cross buns can be made with no eggs. These hot cross buns are completely eggless but the dough is still wonderfully fluffy and rich! Instead of eggs, this recipe uses dairy-free milk and vegan butter to create a brioche-like dough without eggs. The fat from the milk and butter adds to the richness of the dough, creating pastry-like layers.
Any dairy-free milk can be used to make these hot cross buns.
I usually use Earth Balance Butter or Country Crock Plant Butter, but any vegan butter should work as long as it’s softened!
I don’t recommend omitting the sugar in this recipe. It’s needed to help activate the yeast, so the dough rises properly. Granulated sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar or brown sugar.
Looking for more delectable vegan baked goods? Check out these recipes!
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a comment or rating below!
- ¾ cup almond milk, warm but not hot
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast, or one standard packet
- ½ cup sugar, (100g)
- 7 tbsp vegan butter softened, cubed (97g)
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, (428g) spoon and level method
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¾ cup raisins, 110g
- 1 tbsp orange zest, optional
Vegan Egg Wash:
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp almond milk
- 1 tbsp apricot jam, melted
- 1/2 tsp water
Make the Dough
- Mix together the warm almond milk, the yeast, and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate.
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and the softened vegan butter. Add the yeast mixture and the salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Add in 1 cup of the flour at a time, mixing to incorporate with the wet ingredients. Once the dough starts to come together into a loose ball add in the raisins.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes (yes! exactly 10 minutes!). It should pass the “window pane” test. If the dough appears sticky while kneading, sprinkle on 1 tbsp flour at a time until the dough is smooth.
- Lightly grease your bowl, and roll the dough around in it to cover the sides with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise for 1.5-2 hours until double in size.
- Transfer the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut into 12 evenly sized pieces (77-78g each). Roll the pieces into balls.
- Place the balls into a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Cover again with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake the Buns
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Brush the vegan egg wash mixture on the tops of the buns and bake for 27-30 minutes until golden on top. Let the buns cool in the pan.
- Mix together the icing cross ingredients. Transfer them to a ziplock bag. Once the buns are no longer hot, cut the tip off the bag and pipe onto the buns in a cross shape.
- Serve warm.
- Do not add more flour than you need to. More flour leads to tougher buns. You want just enough to keep the dough from being too sticky yet still soft.
- Once cooled, store in a ziplock bag or a sealed container. Or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
- I’m using a ceramic baking dish. If you’re using a metal baking dish, your baking time may vary.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 131Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 100mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 1g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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