Hot cross cinnamon sticky buns

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Hot cross cinnamon sticky bun on a plate

This hot cross cinnamon bun sticky bun is a hybrid of a hot cross bun and a cinnamon bun and is simply bread heaven. Add in buttery caramel, raisins and citrus flavours for an utterly decadent and delicious Easter treat.


I have been planning this recipe for absolute ages and since it’s the only Easter recipe I’m doing this year I wanted to make sure it was 100% perfect. I researched extensively and settled on 2 recipes as my base inspiration.



I went forth and made the dough, allowed it to prove for hours then kept it in the fridge overnight as many recipes recommend. Took it out the next day. Let it prove further, before baking it off. I also tested 3 caramel topping recipes. I didn’t want the honey flavour, and I wanted the consistency to be perfect.

I still was not completely happy with the overall result. The cinnamon buns tasted great but they were not the feathery-light brioche dough that I was looking for.


I woke up this morning on an absolute mission to remake these. Tweak a few of the elements slightly and, most importantly, I wanted to test making them on the same day. I mean, who has the time to make cinnamon buns over 24 hours? The results were so much better I am totally thrilled.

I allowed the dough to rise in a sunny spot in my house for around 3 hours. It puffed up and proved beautifully. I then rolled it out, added the fillings, rolled and placed the cut rolls on the caramel raisin topping and then allowed them to prove for about another hour. I also used a bigger baking pan.

I established yesterday that you need to allow quite a bit of space for your buns to swell in the proving and then further in the oven. I then baked them.

A small hiccup occurred at this point, I popped them into the oven which I thought I had preheated to 180C only to establish 15 minutes in that it was only heated to 140 C. Out they came and I quickly brought the oven up to the correct temp and baked them for a further 25 odd minutes.



Thank goodness everything worked out in the end. I also established that it is easier to invert them and tip them out while they are still warm, and for the sake of aesthetics, I flipped them back for my shoot.

As a little afterthought, I decided a small drizzle or two of cream cheese frosting would add value, both from a taste perspective and visually, but you could leave this out if you just wanted the caramel. I simply whipped 1/4 cup cream cheese with 1/2 a cup of icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract until it was nice and runny.


I added raisins, extra cinnamon, citrus peel and mixed spice to give these sticky buns an Easter-hot-cross-bun-vibe. The raisins go all soft and gooey as they bake in the caramel and I think this recipe would be perfect at Christmas time too.

They seem very tricky and daunting to make and I have to say that the first test was a little taxing. The second attempt was so much easier and despite this now being the recipe and post that has taken me the longest amount of time to create in the 4 plus years I have been blogging, these are worth every single bit of effort and time.

*Cooks notes~ I used maple-flavoured golden syrup which is essentially corn syrup in south Africa. In the USA it would be maple-flavoured corn syrup. I’m not a fan of the honey flavour in cinnamon buns, but you could replace it with honey if you prefer. If you are not a fan of raisins, use pecan nuts as is more traditional.


Adapted and inspired by these two recipes: Simply Recipes & Bon Appetite 

Have a very happy Easter if you celebrate x

Hot cross cinnamon sticky buns

The most decadent hot cross cinnamon sticky buns with caramel and a cream cheese glaze.
Print Recipe
Hot cross cinnamon sticky bun on a plate
Prep Time:4 hours
Cook Time:35 minutes



  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 10 g active dry yeast instant
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 50 g butter plus extra for greasing
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 T orange zest finely grated
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 cups flour and extra for dusting


  • 1/2 cup Muscavado sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 T + 1t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t mixed spice
  • 2 T candied citrus peel finely diced
  • 1 cup raisins / sultanas
  • +- 40g butter softened, kept separately


  • 115 g butter
  • ¾ cup Muscovado dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup cream
  • 1 T liquid glucose
  • ¼ cup golden syrup maple flavoured
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ t salt


To make the filling:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the melted butter and mix. Set aside

To make the Dough:

  • Combine the water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for around 5 minutes to dissolve and become frothy.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, but only 3 of the 4 cups of flour. Fit a paddle attachment and lightly mix until just combined.
  • Change to a dough hook attachment and mix. While this is going, slowly add the remaining 1 cup of flour, and continue to mix until you have a smooth dough, about 5 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into a large ball and grease the mixing bowl with butter. Roll the ball in the butter to coat all sides.
  • Place the ball in the greased bowl, cover it with plastic cling wrap and set aside in a draft-free, warm area to rise for about 1 – 2 hours. You want it to double in size. If it is cool, this could take up to 4 hours. 
  • Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a rectangular shape about 45cm long and 30cm wide.
  • Brush / spread the softened butter over the entire surface and sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon filling evenly over this.
  • Scatter the raisins over the sugar.
  • Starting from the longest edge, roll the dough up until you have a long log. Keep the join seam underneath.
  • Trim the edges of the roll and then cut it into 16 even pieces.

To make the topping:

  • Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat, and then add all the other ingredients except the salt. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the sauce comes together and is golden brown with a nice sheen, about 3–4 minutes.
  • Pour ¾ of the glaze into a baking pan (about a 23cm x 32 cm), or ovenproof dish, and swirl this around to evenly coat the bottom and some of the sides. Set the rest aside. Sprinkle the raisins over the sauce evenly.
  • Place the 16 cut slices of roll on top of the caramel and raisins, allowing some space in between for expansion during proving. Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove in a warm spot for about an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake the buns for 35 minutes until golden brown. If necessary, and to prevent over-browning, loosely cover the tray with tin foil from about halfway through.
  • Remove from oven and spread the remaining glaze over the buns followed by the ¼ t of salt sprinkled. Allow them to cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Tip out onto a large serving place and serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Mix the cream cheese frosting (optional) and drizzle over the buns.


*top tip - if you have a car parked in the sun, this makes the perfect proving conditions for the dough
Servings: 16
Author: Sam Linsell




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  1. OMG…these look gorgeous and delicious – I can almost taste and smell them through the screen! I’ve never attempted making sticky buns/cinnamon rolls from scratch, but this post has me motivated now. 😉

  2.! Those look incredible. I am literally drooling.

  3. These look amazing Sam, love the addition of the candied fruit peel and raisins in the dough.

  4. I think I have just died and gone to heaven! wow Sam, these buns looks amazing!!

  5. I’ve never been tempted to make the classic hot cross buns, they look a little dry and, well, boring. But I could really get behind these!

  6. I’m so tempted to make a dash for the kitchen and make this hot cross cinnamon sticky buns. So yum! 😀

  7. Thanks Laura and a happy Easter to you x

  8. Thanks Jess 🙂

  9. Thnaks Meg, Im pretty sorted this year for Easter, best I go for several walks too 🙂

  10. Wow this made me lick my screen and drool on my keyboard. I am definitely making these this weekend!

  11. I have just finished making my third batch of hot cross buns. Thought that was it for Easter but after seeing these, I may have to try making them as French Boyfriend thinks that they look better than my hot cross buns 🙁

    Leeann x

  12. Wow & Wow & Wow Sam these look divine Sam, will have to try your principles with my eggless recipes for hot cross buns.

  13. freakin GORGEOUS photography in this post! and i so appreciate you’re desire to come as close as possible to perfect with a recipe like this. there are so many recipes for sticky buns out there, but sometimes you want to be remembered as a sticky bun goddess, ya know? (mission accomplished)

  14. Thanks Renee 🙂 #stickybungodessinthemaking

  15. These photographs are so beautiful I could cry. I’m with Sue – I’ve never been too motivated to try hot cross buns. But roll them up with sticky, gooey caramel and drizzle them with cream cheese icing, and hello! Thank you for sharing this stunning recipe.

  16. Thanks Alanna, I froze the last few and had one last night. Even delicious frozen :-). So glad I did

  17. Thanks Laura. Exactly, do not need easter as any excuse 🙂

  18. Cinnamon rolls are my weakness! these look AMAZING! 🙂

  19. Sam, I need to use less self-restraint and give these a try. These look amazing. Just looking at them makes me happy enough. Thanks!

  20. Thanks Judy, they made me VERY happy indeed. PS they also freeze very well. Sam 🙂

  21. Can you tell me if you’ve tried doing the final rise in the fridge overnight & baking in the morning for fresh buns at breakfast? If so, did you let them come to room temp & rise a bit more before baking? Thank you.

  22. Hi Toni. Test one I put int eh fridge over night and then the finla rise at room temp. It needs this. I did not bake from fridge directly. It rose quite a lot after I removed it from fridge. I found my results without the time in fridge were better. So a straight prove after making.

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