A Healthy Spin on a Hot Cross Buns

What is Easter without delicious hot cross buns! This recipe is a healthier take on the traditional version with added fibre and reduced sugar. A gluten free alternative is outlined below.

Makes 10 hot cross buns


  • 1 and ¾ cups plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • Pinch of Himalayan rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
  • 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup (or stevia granules)
  • 1 free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup sultanas
  • 80 grams dark chocolate for decorating with crosses (optional)

Egg wash (optional)

  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  1. Sift the wholemeal flour into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the oats, cinnamon, yeast and salt and combine well.
  3. Place the milk, maple syrup and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat until slightly warm, do not bring to the boil.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and combine gently.
  5. Add the whisked egg and oil and stir until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the sultanas to the dough and mix through until the sultanas are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place the bowl in a warm place (near a window works well) for one hour. The dough should have nearly doubled in size.
  8. Kneed the expanded dough for a couple of minutes then shape into 10 buns.
  9. Place the buns on a baking paper lined tray and cover loosely with glad wrap. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  11. Lightly whisk together the egg wash ingredients and then brush over the top of each hot cross bun prior to baking.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the buns are lightly browned.
  13. Allow to cool completely.
  14. Once cool, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over boiling water (not allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and immediately add to a piping bag. Pipe a cross on the top of each hot cross bun.
  15. Enjoy warm with a thin spread of butter or honey!

 Dark Chocolate Hot Cross Buns (For the Chocolate Addict)

To make a delicious dark chocolate batch of hot cross buns, replace the sultanas with 2/3 cup of dark chocolate (at least 70%), roughly chopped into small pieces. The chocolate should be added to the dough in place of the sultanas in step 6.

Gluten-free option

For a gluten free version, replace the wholemeal flour and oats with almond meal, and the yeast with one teaspoon of baking powder.

Holly Patterson

Holly Patterson is a Melbourne based Nutritionist with a Masters of Nutrition and undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in the fields of Nutrition, Public Health and Psychology. Holly combines her psychology background with her nutritional qualifications and knowledge to offer a tailored nutritional consulting service for corporate and private clients. Holly is our Premium Performance nutrition expert.

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