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Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Hands up if you’re excited for Easter? It's one of my favourite holidays. Since my father is no longer with us I really cherish these memories of the long weekend - they’re full of days spent with family out in the sunshine in Italy, playing with friends and eating delicious food until late in the evening on long sunny days. Easter Monday was always my favourite because we used to organise a picnic in the park - the weather was finally warmer and sunnier which was perfect for walks in the countryside followed by food, games and a chilled day out.

About three years ago I hosted an Easter gathering at my house; I’d just returned to London from spending the past 8 months in Berlin and was really excited to meet up with lots of old friends. We had a lovely barbecue, everyone brought something to eat and we enjoyed sitting outside in the garden - it meant so much to me that everyone had come to join in and I wanted to make something special to say thank you - and that’s where the idea for these vegan hot cross buns came from.

Hot Cross Buns aren't something we have in Italy so I was a bit lost with where to start on the recipe so - as we all do now - I turned to the internet. There were lots of recipes online that I started comparing and tweaking but in the end, I asked a work colleague who very kindly gave me his mum's recipe to experiment with. I started by making it dairy free but then decided that it would be just as easy to make it vegan - at this point, I hadn’t turned vegan but I wanted my vegan friends to be able to enjoy them too.

The recipe isn’t set in stone though - it’s something I change every now and then and mix up with different spices and flavourings. If you like things a bit spicy then you can add some ginger powder (my husband loves this) or tone them down slightly with some cardamon - it’s up to you! Let me know how you get on with your experimentations - and don't forget to share your recipes with us using @leles_london and #LelesRecipes. That's before you go out and enjoy the long weekend of course!

Vegan Hot Cross Buns



2 and ¼ tsp quick yeast - I use Doves Farm

230ml warm water

175ml room temperature unsweetened non-dairy milk - I use oat milk as a lot of people can be intolerant to soya

75ml sunflower oil

A pinch of table salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cardamom - add as much of this as you like depending on your taste

60g sugar - I use caster sugar

2 tbsp orange zest

1 tbsp lemon zest

450g all-purpose flour

3/4 cup raisins and sultana mix


10ml unsweetened non-dairy milk

5ml agave syrup - I use Biona

1 teaspoon of margarine


65g icing sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

15ml non-dairy milk



  1. Put the yeast, 1tsp of sugar and warm water into a bowl and mix them together and let it stand for a few minutes until the yeast starts to work

  2. When the yeast has foamed up add the milk, oil, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, the rest of the sugar, orange zest, lemon zest and 1 cup of flour

  3. Mix together all the ingredients with a spoon until you have a smooth consistency

  4. Add 2 more cups of flour and knead together into a dough - if it’s a bit sticky keep adding a bit more flour until you can work with it

  5. Keep kneading the dough for about 4 minutes until it’s no longer sticky and add the raisins as you go so that they’re distributed evenly

  6. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it in a lightly oiled medium sized bowl

  7. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit in a warm spot until it has doubled in size which should take roughly 1 hour - this could be an airing cupboard, the lowest setting in an oven or on top of an aga if you have one

  8. Push the dough down and knead it for a bit longer to get rid of any excess air

  9. Line a tray with baking paper, separate the dough into 12 equal size pieces and roll each one into a ball before placing each onto the tray spacing them apart equally

  10. Cover the buns with a towel and put them back in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes

  11. Preheat the oven 190 degrees c and get ready to make the vegan egg wash



  1. Heat the margarine in the microwave for 10 seconds

  2. Mix the margarine together with the non-dairy milk and the agave syrup

  3. Once the rolls have rested for 30 minutes, use a pastry brush to cover each bun in the egg wash mixture

  4. Bake the buns for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown

  5. Remove from the oven and let them sit for a few minutes

  6. Take the buns off the baking tray and place them on a cooling rack - they will have joined together whilst baking but don’t worry about trying to separate them

  7. Whilst they’re cooling it’s time to make the icing



  1. Put the icing sugar, vanilla and non-dairy milk in a small bowl

  2. Mix well until you’ve combined all the ingredients into a thick icing paste

  3. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a small tip - if you don’t have an icing bag you can use a ziplock bag and snip off one of the bottom corners

  4. Pipe the icing on the buns to make the crosses

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Voila, your hot cross buns are ready to eat! And the most important thing? Add a little love to all your recipes - it's the most important ingredient.

Valentina x

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