Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

Soft, fluffy and perfectly spiced, these dairy free hot cross buns are a must make for your Easter celebration! Filled with dried fruit and topped with a dreamy orange glaze, your family will be smitten with these homemade buns. Perfect for breakfast or even dessert, you definitely won’t miss the dairy.

Several Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns on white plates.

Ready for a fun Easter baking project?

Well then say hello to these incredible dairy free hot cross buns!

Soft, fluffy and filled with plenty of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, they’re absolutely delicious for breakfast or even dessert. 

Now, these gorgeous little buns are a touch more dense than a classic dinner roll, but still plenty light and not at all heavy.

They’re packed with dried fruit plus orange zest … and are finished off with a dreamy orange glaze that totally takes them over the top.

Sweet, salty, heavenly.

And perfect for those moments when life requires something a little special!

Dried fruit in a bowl, and then bread dough rising in a mixing bowl.

How To Make Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

Like any homemade yeasted bread, these buns do have a few steps. But I promise none are too hard to handle!

Soak the fruit. First up, we’ll plump some raisins and dried cranberries in hot orange juice (or water) for about 10 minutes. 

Make the dough. Next, we’ll use a stand mixer to knead together our dough – made with simple ingredients like almond milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. The dough will be smooth and elastic but a bit more sticky than a classic bread dough. 

First rise. We’ll stick our dough in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size.

Shape the buns. Next up, we’ll divide the dough into 12 pieces and then shape each into a smooth ball and place in a greased baking dish.

Second rise: We’ll pop the dish back in a warm spot and let the buns rise until nice and puffy.

Make the crosses. Using flour and water, we’ll mix together a runny paste and then pipe a cross onto each of our buns.

Bake then glaze: Finally, we’ll transfer our buns to the oven until golden brown, before brushing with a delicious orange icing.  

A tray of Dairy Free Buns in a glass baking dish.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Be careful not to overheat your almond milk – 105 to 115ºF will do the trick. If you go hotter, it will likely kill the yeast and then your dough won’t rise. Now, an instant read thermometer really is your best friend, but if you don’t have one, stick your finger in the milk. It should feel warm (kinda like warm bath water) but not hot.
  2. When measuring out your flour, fluff in the container then scoop into your measuring cup with a spoon and level off. Don’t dunk the cup straight into the bag as you’ll likely use too much.
  3. I highly encourage you to use the listed combo of bread flour and all-purpose flour. The bread flour gives the buns the perfect amount of chew and tenderness. BUT they will still work if you use ALL all-purpose flour. 
  4. Try to find a warm spot for your dough to rise. Personally, I either use my laundry room when the dryer is running OR the proof bread setting on my oven. 
  5. Along those lines, go by the visual guides listed down in the recipe to know when your dough is done rising. Depending on how hot or cold your house is, the time may vary. 
  6. And finally, if you don’t have enough orange juice on hand, you can plump your dried fruit in hot water instead. The juice adds a little bit of extra flavor and sweetness, but the buns will still be awesome if you need to use water.

If you are new to working with yeasted breads, I’d suggest watching the recipe video to see what the dough looks like and also to see how to shape the buns.

A glass baking dish filled with glazed Lactose Free Hot Cross Buns.

How To Store

Counter: While these are best enjoyed the day you make them, they will keep for about 1 to 2 days at room temperature. 

Let cool completely then cover with foil right in the pan. Reheat briefly before enjoying.

I would NOT suggest keeping them any longer. There really is a distinct difference in taste if you go beyond the 2 days – they’re not nearly as good. 

Freezer: Let the buns cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe baggie or container. They’ll keep in the freezer for about 3 months.

Thaw in the fridge then reheat before enjoying.

You can either freeze them with the glaze OR freeze them without (and then glaze before serving). I’ve tried it both ways and either works – totally up to you.

A white plate filled with Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns with one split open.

Additional Homemade Breads You Might Enjoy:

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below. I’d love to hear from you.

Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 12 buns
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Soft, fluffy and perfectly spiced, these dairy free hot cross buns are a must make for your Easter celebration! Filled with dried fruit and topped with a dreamy orange glaze, your family will be smitten with these homemade buns.

Ingredients

For the fruit:

  • ⅔ cup orange juice
  • ⅓ cup raisins*
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins*
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries*

For the dough:

  • ¾ cup warm unsweetened almond milk (105 to 115ºF)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup pure cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dairy free butter, at soft room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ to 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the flour cross:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water

For the glaze:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • about 2 tablespoon orange juice

Instructions

For the fruit:

  1. Add the orange juice to a small microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for about 45 to 60 seconds, or until hot. Stir in all the dried fruit, then set aside to soak for about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain off the liquid, then pat the fruit dry and set aside.

For the dough:

  1. Add the warm almond milk and instant yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix for a few seconds to combine.
  2. Add in the sugar, butter, orange zest, vanilla, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and 1 cup of the bread flour. Mix on low for 30 seconds, until well combined.
  3. Add in the remaining 1 cup bread flour, 1 ¼ cups of the all-purpose flour and the dried fruit, then mix again until just combined. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and switch to the dough hook.
  4. Knead on low speed for about 2 to 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, but also a bit sticky and soft (adding in additional flour as needed - the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but not the bottom and be tacky when you touch it - I usually need to add about ¼ cup extra flour).

First rise:

  1. Lightly grease a large bowl with nonstick spray, then transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat both sides (it will stick to your hands!).
  2. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Shape the buns:

  1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick or olive oil spray.
  2. With lightly floured hands, press down on the dough to deflate, then divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and space evenly in the prepared baking pan. 

Second rise:

  1. Cover the dish with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the rolls are puffy.
  2. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 400°F.

For the egg wash:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and water. Brush the proofed rolls with some of the mixture.

For the flour cross:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water (start with the lower amount) until a sort of runny paste forms. 
  2. Transfer the mixture to a ziplock or piping bag. Snip off a small piece from the corner of the bag, then pipe a cross onto each bun. 
  3. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden and the internal temperature registers 200°F. Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes. 

For the glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice until it’s a consistency that you can brush / drizzle (adjusting the quantities of either as needed).
  2. Drizzle / brush the mixture over the warm buns. Serve!

Notes

*You can use any combo you’d like here of dried fruit - just be sure to keep it to 1 cup. Dried currants or dried & chopped apricots are also delicious. 

See the tips & tricks section in the post above for extra helpful info for the recipe!

Recipes consulted while creating this recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction, King Arthur Flour, Simply Recipes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 192mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 6g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.