Dad’s Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns: A Good Friday Tradition


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.

Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe (Nut-Free + Vegan Optional)

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 (dried cranberries). They were a hit, especially with the orange zest in the dough.

Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe (Nut-Free + Vegan Optional)

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?

Reader Raves

Thanks to Holly for sharing her feedback for these dairy-free hot cross buns on Instagram

OMGEEEE! These hot cross buns are amazing! Sure they took 24 hours to make but boy are they worth it! Thanks @godairyfree for the recipe, I made these with spelt flour instead of regular but other than that, just follow the recipe. YUM!

Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe (Nut-Free + Vegan Optional)

Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.

For soy-free, dairy-free hot cross buns, make sure you select a soy-free milk beverage and margarine (Earth Balance offers a few).

For egg-free and vegan hot cross buns, omit the egg white wash and substitute the egg with powdered egg replacer, such as Ener-G, fruit puree, or a chia egg.

4.0 from 3 reviews
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
  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, using as much milk beverage is needed to make the glaze smooth. Pipe crosses of the glaze onto the still-warm buns.
Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe (Nut-Free + Vegan Optional)

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


  1. These turned out great! I didn’t make the slash deep enough, so the icing ran off a bit. But so good! The orange zest in the bun is perfection as well as the lemon zing in the icing.

  2. These were delicious. I added 1/2 a cup of cranberries instead. The dough was fragrant and pliable but I did find I needed to oil my hands to handle it because it was rather sticky. I will definitely make them again.

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