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Vegan Hot Cross Buns with flaxseed, chocolate chips and goldenberries

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Easter is just round the corner and so it’s time for hot cross buns!


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I love this recipe! These hot cross buns are slightly crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle, not oversweet, delicately spiced and generously peppered with sugar-free chocolate chips and chewy tart dried goldenberries. Yum!


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These are perfect as they are or toasted and eaten with butter / dairy-free alternative. (Although I just read an article in the Telegraph saying some folks eat theirs with bacon and burgers…hmm. I am not too sure about that, but I guess, each to their own!)


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To make them healthier, I have used only a little oil in this recipe and a little coconut sugar, thrown in some ground flaxseed and made the crosses using some protein powder.


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The traditional recipe has been tweaked by using ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg instead of the mixed spice, as I prefer the flavour, but please feel free to substitute! Another swop I have made is the glaze. The glaze for traditional hot cross buns is usually a diluted boiled apricot jam or marmalade. I love making a glaze from orange juice or using the syrup from stem ginger (which adds a zesty or gingery kick, respectively). And instead of raisins or sultanas, I have added my favourite; dried goldenberries and sugar-free chocolate chips!


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To all those yeast-phobes out there, don’t worry! This recipe is easy to follow and actually, the hands-on time is quite low; it is more case of letting the yeast do its thing! (What bakers call proving time!). Top tip: start making these earlier in the day to allow for the 2 hours proving required!


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Makes: 12

Preparation time: hands on 35 mins. Proving time: 2 hours (split into two 1hr slots).



  • 270ml plant milk (almond, cashew or oat milk work fine)
  • 7g sachet of fast-acting yeast
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 450g strong bread flour
  • 50g ground flaxseed (or sub for hemp seeds)
  • 5 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 100g dried goldenberries
  • 80g Italian mixed peel
  • 60g sugar-free chocolate chips
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 4 tbsp. rapeseed or coconut oil, melted
  • 90ml fresh orange juice (juice from half a large orange)

For the crosses:

  • 3 tbsp. plain flour
  • 3 tbsp. protein powder (soya bean or pea); optional-you can use more flour if you have run out.
  • 4 tbsp. tap water


For the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp. Orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. sugar


  • About 30ml ginger syrup



  • In a small saucepan, heat the plant milk until lukewarm. Pour into a medium bowl. Stir in the yeast and coconut sugar and set aside. It will start frothing.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: bread flour, ground flaxseed (or hemp), spices, salt, dried goldenberries, mixed peel, chocolate chips and orange zest.
  • Stir in the rapeseed or melted coconut oil, orange juice and yeast froth.
  • Using your hands, bring the mixture together and knead into a smooth sticky dough.
  • Transfer the dough onto a surface dusted with a little flour and knead for 7 minutes until smooth. Place back into the bowl it came from, with some oil coating the sides (to prevent the dough from sticking) and cover with a damp tea towel in a warm place for 1 hour to allow the yeast to prove. (I pop mine in the oven set to 40°C as my house is quite cold!). The dough should have increased in size by 85-100%).
  • Turn the risen dough onto a surface and knead for about 12 mins. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls (about 70-75g each) and place on a lined baking tray(s), well spaced apart.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm place or back in the 40°C oven for 1 hour to allow for the second prove before baking.
  • In the last 10 minutes into this second prove, preheat or up the oven temperature to 185°C fan (365°F)
  • To make the crosses: In a small bowl mix together the flour, protein powder (if using) and water to make a viscous yet smooth mixture. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe crosses on each bun.
  • Bake the hot cross buns in the middle shelf for 20-22 mins until golden. The goldenberries near the surface tend to caramelise to make them lovely and chewier. If you like them less chewy and brown, in the final 7 mins of baking, cover the buns with a sheet of kitchen foil.
  • For the glaze. If using orange juice, place the orange juice and sugar into a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil to form a syrup. Alternatively use the excess syrup from stem ginger (a lovely sticky choice for ginger lovers out there!). Using a pastry brush, brush over the buns with the glaze of choice while they are still hot.
  • Transfer buns to a wire tray to allow to cool. These hot cross bus are best eaten fresh or within 2-3 days. Alternatively, they freeze well!


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Don’t forget you can find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.

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