Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns


For Good Friday each year, my husband bakes dairy-free hot cross buns, a yeast-based Easter bread recipe. We’ve been known to enjoy them on Easter Saturday, too, as there’s often more time to bake on Saturday.

Our children enjoy them with currants but not with raisins. Since we couldn’t find currants this year, we improvised and made this batch of dairy-free hot cross buns with Craisins. They were a hit, especially with the orange zest in the dough.

Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

There is a superstition that says if you keep a hot cross bun baked on Good Friday it will not spoil or mold throughout the coming year. I’ve never let my kids try this, but I do like to encourage them to share a hot cross bun with each other to ensure friendship throughout the year. It can’t hurt, right?

Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The hands on time for this recipe is actually minimal, but plan a day ahead, as there is some rising and chilling time involved.
Serves: 16 buns
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup your choice of plain dairy-free milk alternative
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 2 tablespoons soft dairy-free margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3-1/3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup currants, craisins, or raisins
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon your choice of plain dairy-free milk alternative
  1. Combine the water and milk alternative and microwave until tepid, about 100ºF.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast, and let sit for a minute.
  3. After the yeast becomes frothy, add the dairy-free margarine, egg, zest, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix well.
  4. Slowly mix in the flour. When possible, begin to knead the bread with your hands, continuing to knead until it is smooth.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Let it rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
  6. Punch down the dough, and the dried fruit, and knead it into the dough.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise again in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. The next day, let the dough come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Shape the dough into 16 balls, and space them apart on one or two greased cookie sheets.
  10. Let rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.
  11. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
  12. Slash a cross shape into the top of each bun, and brush with egg white, if desired.
  13. Bake the buns for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
  14. Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and pipe crosses onto the still-warm buns.

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. She also shares food and daily dilemmas as a milk allergy mom via her blog, No Whey, Mama. Sarah’s previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at Travelago.com, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.