Hot Cross Buns On the Grill

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Learn how to prepare this Easter staple on the grill! Hot cross buns are normally baked in the oven, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be done on the grill.

I’m using the Z Grills 700D4E pellet grill, but you may use any grill that can keep a consistent temperature of 375F.

Oak pellets provide a smokey undertone to this rich dough without dominating the classic tastes.

The buttercream frosting adds to the yeasty dough’s richness! Use them in our smoked bread pudding for an extra delicious dessert.

What are hot cross buns?

Hot Cross Buns On the Grill

Hot cross buns have long been connected with Good Friday and, more broadly, Easter.

They are yeasty buns ornamented with a white cross either carved into the dough or composed of icing that resembles the crucifix.

They are often filled with dried fruits like as raisins or currants included into the dough, however this is not required.

What do hot cross buns taste like?

Our hot cross buns are similar to dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls.

They have a lovely crust on the exterior and are soft to the touch on the inside. They’re thick on the inside and have a spicy taste from the cinnamon and nutmeg.

The granulated sugar on the interior mildly sweetens the buns, while the buttercream cross on top adds a richness to them.

The wood pellets provide a delicate smoky taste to the buns that complements the woodsy flavors.

The dried fruit lends sharpness and sweetness to the buns. Traditionally, raisins or currants are used, but you might use a variety of dried fruits to suit your taste.

How to make hot cross buns on the grill

This dish begins with a basic dinner roll recipe, but adding additional butter and eggs results in a thicker filling.

While not quite rich enough to be considered a pastry, they are more akin to a dessert roll than their dinner counterparts.

What you need

For the dough:

  • Stand mixer with a paddle attachment
  • cup warm milk (110F to 115F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast not instant yeast
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • cup granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 egg white for egg wash
  • 12 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, with more for dusting
  • 1 cup raisins, currants, or dried fruit of choice (filling optional)

For the buttercream icing:

  • cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar sifted
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

Bloom the yeast

Bring the chilled ingredients to room temperature (excluding the milk).

Warm the milk in the microwave until it reaches a temperature of 110F-115F. For accuracy, I utilized the ThermoPro TP15H digital instant read thermometer.

The yeast will begin to froth after approximately five minutes.

Make the dough

When the yeast has foamed, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix on low speed for 30 to 60 seconds, or until everything is mixed.

Add the flour in batches, being careful to mix the last amount and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the next piece. With the mixer on low, I added the flour in four increments. At this time, the dough will be dry.

Increase the speed of the mixer and add the butter a few teaspoons at a time. Mix the dough between additions to ensure that all of the butter is integrated.

Scrape down the sides of the basin as required and continue mixing for another 2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the edges.

Mix in the raisins or dried fruit of your choice until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for another minute by hand.

Let the dough rise

Roll the dough into a ball when you’ve finished kneading it by hand. Transfer the dough to a stainless steel or nonreactive bowl that has been lightly greased with cooking spray or butter. Turn the dough in the basin to coat it evenly with the spray.

Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm location to rise. It should double in size within an hour.

Portion the dough for second rise

Punch down the dough in the bowl and place it on a floured work surface. Hand-knead the dough for one minute.

Make 12 equal-sized dough balls. To make a flat surface, stretch the sides of the dough down and under each ball.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish in the same way you did the bowl, then divide the dough equally, leaving equal space between each ball.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the balls to rise for another hour in a warm location. At this stage, their volume should have about doubled and they should be touching.

Cook the hot cross buns

Preheat your grill to 375F for indirect heat.

After the second rise, whisk together one egg white, one teaspoon of water, and a sprinkle of salt until well combined. Brush the tops of each bun with the egg wash, using a sauce or pastry brush.

Cut a cross into the top of each bun with your sharpest knife or kitchen shears, being careful not to break the dough.

Bake the baking dish on the grill until the buns are golden brown. On the ZGrill 700D4E, it takes around 30 minutes.

Place the baking dish with the baked buns on a wire rack to cool.

Keep in mind that depending on the temperature of your grill, your buns might cook in 20 minutes or up to 40 minutes.

Make the icing

Cream the butter in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment on medium-low until creamy and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required as you add the confectioners sugar in small batches until well combined. Blend in the vanilla extract.

Pour in the milk and stir for another three to four minutes.

To give your buttercream a fresh citrus flavor, add lemon or orange zest.

Ice the buns

Fill a piping bag with frosting and pipe a cross on each bun following the indentations where you scored the dough.

If you don’t have a piping bag, put the icing in a tiny zip-top sandwich bag, press it into one corner, and snip the tip off.

Serve and enjoy

Serve while the buns are still warm to the touch for the ideal ending to a smoked Easter dinner!


Should you toast or grill hot cross buns?

Unless they are newly made and warm from the oven, they should be toasted. Do not toast if it is fresh and hot from the oven. Toast them when they have cooled. Both approaches appeal to me.

Do you have to grill hot cross buns?

HCBs are infamous for shedding pieces in toasters, causing them to blow, if not all of the kitchen plugs. Make use of the grill. No, microwaving them will not provide the same results. Instead, it might turn your buns into steamy, wet lumps of dangerously heated dough.

Can hot cross buns be toasted?

The ideal bread should be toasted for 62 seconds and smothered with butter. However, you should not consume it at any time of day. According to legend, the best time to eat a hot cross bun is around 11 a.m., accompanied by a cup of tea.

What is the best way to heat hot cross buns?

Instructions for Warming and Toasting Hot Cross Buns

To reheat or toast them, split them in half, and toast them that way if your toaster is broad enough. Alternatively, warm the buns in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F for 5-6 minutes, or until beautifully browned.

How long to toast buns on the grill?

To toast a bun on a grill, grill pan, or griddle, split the bun apart and set it cut side down on the grill for approximately 10 seconds, or until light golden brown.

How to toast hot dog buns on grill?

Brush the insides of the buns with melted butter. Grill the buns greased side down for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Can you put buns on the grill?

On a grill, toast the buns.

Place the burger buns cut sides down on a grill and toast for approximately 10 seconds, or until barely golden. Keep an eye on the buns to ensure they don’t get too browned, or they won’t be soft on the exterior.

What temperature do you grill buns?

Toast the buns in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes, or until they are warmed through and faintly crispy. Place the buns in a good basket with a towel over them or cover them in tinfoil to protect them from becoming too crunchy or hard after toasting; you may toast them 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time.

Do you toast hot cross buns on both sides?

Split the hot cross bread in half and toast either side. Butter the bun as thickly as you want, then let it cool somewhat so the caramel doesn’t melt too much – you want it gooey without running down the edge.

How long do you toast hot cross buns?

Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush with honey to glaze, and let aside to cool.


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