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Hot Cross Cinnamon Rolls

These Vegan Hot Cross Cinnamon Rolls combine the delicious spice of hot cross buns with a super soft cinnamon roll, topped with a cream cheese glaze and ‘cross’ decoration. A comforting and warming treat which is perfect for Easter! Vegan, No-Egg, No-Dairy and easy to make.

Hot cross bun cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.

What is a Hot Cross Cinnamon Roll?

I am very excited to share with you my latest creation, the Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Roll. They are the perfect combination of pillowy soft cinnamon rolls loaded with all the spices and dried fruit that you love about a classic hot cross buns! The dough is filled with fresh orange zest for a citrus kick, and the filling contains dairy-free butter paired with light brown sugar sultanas and spices. It gives you the flavour of a typical hot cross bun. The rolls are then topped with a swirl of scrumptious cream cheese frosting, which melts in your mouth, along with a cream cheese cross for the classic hot cross bun look / design. You’re going to love these rolls. An Easter MUST MAKE!

Looking for more Easter recipes, check out my No-Bake Mini Egg Cheesecakes, Homemade Vegan Cream Eggs, Vegan Chocolate Caramel Sheet Cake and Vegan Carrot Cake Cookies. Find more of THE BEST vegan easter recipes here.

Cream cheese glazed hot cross bun on a plate with gold fork.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Ease of making: These hot cross bun cinnamon rolls can be made by hand or using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, either option works! Also, the ingredients are easy to find, you may already have them in your kitchen cupboards / pantry.
  • Texture and taste: The flavour of these rolls is unbelievable! They really encompass the citrus and spices of a much loved hot cross bun along with the warming and comforting soft texture of the roll. The cream cheese on top also is deliciously sweet and creamy. 10 x 10 will LOVE.
  • Customisable: The best part about these rolls is that you can add as much filling as you want. You can also adjust the amount of sultanas, include some mixed fried fruit if you want. So so good!
  • Cream cheese glaze: If the spiced and fruity swirled buns aren’t enough, they’re topped with a light and whippy cream cheese frosting. It melts in the mouth and compliments the spices beautifully.
Side view of a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting on top.

Ingredients you’ll need:

As these rolls combine two recipes, you’ll need the ingredients for the cinnamon roll then the added extras like spices, fillings and cream cheese for the hot cross buns. Below I’ve jotted down all the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Find the full written recipe including ingredients list and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients for the dough-

  • All purpose / plain flour
  • Yeast: Use a one (7g) packet of active dry yeast. This will help the dough active, rise quicker and be super fluffy.
  • Sugar: You can use caster sugar (a fine white sugar) or granulated sugar. It will add sweetness and also help active the yeast mixture.
  • Dairy-free milk: You can use any sweetened or un-sweetened dairy-free milk for this recipe including almond, oat or soya.
  • Dairy-free butter: make sure the butter is at room temperature. I like to use Flora Block or Naturli Vegan Block.
  • Apple sauce: If the apple sauce is chunky, blitz in a small blender to puree to remove any lumps. You want a smooth apple sauce.
  • Orange: Wash and zest one orange, this will be added into the dough for extra citrus flavour. Be sure the orange is clean and un-waxed!

Ingredients for the filling and frosting-

  • Dairy-free butter- make sure its at room temperature. Simply leave it on your work top for 30 minutes before you need it.
  • Light brown sugar- This will add a rich, caramelised flavour to the filling. Don’t use dark brown sugar or this can be a-little too rich / overpowering.
  • Sultanas- You cna also use rainsins.
  • Spices – I use three spices, ground mixed spice, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. These provide the perfect ‘hot cross bun’ flavour.
  • Dairy-free cream cheese – I like to use Violife.
  • Vanilla – You can use vanilla extract, essence or seeds from a vanilla pod for ultimate flavour.
  • Icing sugar / powdered sugar- Adds sweetness and helps to thicken the frosting.
Close up of baked cinnamon rolls in a dish with cream cheese on top.

How to make Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe may look technical, but rest assured, they’re easier to make than they look. You only need some ingredients, a few helpful tips and tricks and a-little time to spare and you’ll have the best ever cinnamon rolls which can be enjoyed any time of day! Below is a quick overview of the method, find the full written recipe and method in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Prepare the dough

    Mix all the dough ingredients in a bowl until a smooth dough ball forms. Add into a greased bowl, cover and prove until doubled in size.

  2. Roll up

    Roll out the dough into a rectangle, spread over the spiced sugar / butter filling and sprinkle over the sultanas. Roll up the dough into a log and cut into individual rolls.

  3. Transfer into dish

    Place the rolls in a greased dish, leaving some room as they will puff up. Prove for a second time, then bake until golden. Allow to cool.

  4. Frosting

    Whip up the cream cheese ingredients in a bowl, spread over the cooled buns.

  5. Cross design

    Add left over frosting in a piping bag, snip off the tip and pipe a cross design over the buns.

  6. Serve

    Serve and enjoy!!!

Hand taking out a cinnamon rolls from a dish.

Hot Cross Cinnamon Roll FAQ

My dough isn’t rising?

  • If your dough doesn’t rise, this means one of two things – either your dough isn’t in a warm enough area to prove or the yeast is bad / off. If you live in a cool place like me (the UK) it’s harder to rise dough because our kitchen is naturally cooler than somewhere in a warmer climate. I like to turn my oven on for a few minutes until warm to create a warm / moist environment, this will help the dough active at rise. If your dough still isn’t rising, you’ll may need to start over because the yeast is may be off. Brands can be different and some yeasts actually don’t do what they say. My preferred yeast is Doves Farm Quick Yeast and Allison’s Dried active Yeast.

My rolls are dry?

  • If your rolls feel dry, you may have over-baked them. It’s actually best to slightly under bake cinnamon rolls as you want to maintain the moist, gooey and fluffy texture which they’re most loved for!

How to cut the rolls neatly?

  • You can use a serrated knife to cut the dough into rolls, but for PERFECT rolls, use the string method. Make sure to use clean and non-waxy string, then slide it under the roll of dough, cross the ends, and pull to achieve those perfect rounds.

How to store cinnamon rolls?

  • These cinnamon rolls need to be stored in an airtight / sealed container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. Best enjoyed within 2 days of making. I personally like to enjoy them day of making, warm, when they’re just baked for the best flavour!!!!

Can they be made ahead of time?

  • Well… the dough will need a few hours to prove so it’s best to make the dough ahead of time. The dough cant be made a day or few days in advance as it’s best to be made fresh!

Can I use cup measurements to make this recipe?

  • For best results, its always important to use a set of kitchen scales. It will give you the most accurate bake and leave less room for error! When you use cups, the measurements aren’t exact which can heavily alter the recipe. Try to use the kitchen scales!
Pinterest pin of hot cross bun cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese glaze.

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. Thank you & happy baking! Make sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram and Facebook! And if you want to pin this recipe for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, above or below this post, or on any of the photos. Any questions regarding the recipe, ask in the comments below. Happy baking all!

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hot cross bun cinnamon rolls in a white dish with cream cheese frosting

Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls

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5 from 3 reviews


Easy Vegan Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls, which are light, fluffy, perfectly spiced topped with cream cheese. Perfect for Easter! 


Units Scale

Ingredients for the rolls

  • 400g of all-purpose / plain flour
  • 7g (1 pack) of active dry yeast
  • 60g of caster sugar / granulated sugar
  • 60g of dairy-free butter (melted)
  • 180ml of dairy-free milk (warmed)
  • 60g of smooth apple sauce (room temperature)
  • Zest of 1 large orange (unwaxed)

Ingredients for the filling

  • 100g of dairy-free butter
  • 120g of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 100g of sultanas / raisins

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting

  • 80g of dairy-free butter, room temperature / softened
  • 150g of dairy-free cream cheese
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract


Method (cinnamon rolls)

  1. Grease a square / rectangular casserole dish with dairy-free butter. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment or in a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and sugar to combine. 
  3. In a small saucepan on the hob, add in the butter, melt. Add the melted butter, room temperature milk, apple sauce puree and orange zest. Mix the dough until a smooth, elastic ball forms, this will take approximately 8-10 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease a medium sized mixing bowl with some oil (I use sunflower), or butter, and place in the dough. Allow the dough to rest and prove in somewhere warm (approximately  90F or warmer) until about doubled in size. Proof the rolls until the dough springs back slowly when the side of a roll is dented with a finger, about 1-2 hours.
  5. During this time, mix together the filling. Add the room temperature butter, sugar and spices until a smooth paste. Add in a-little more butter if needed, you want it to be paste like and spreadable. 
  6. When the dough has doubled, turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 16” x 24” rectangle. The thinner the dough, the more swirls you’ll get.
  7. Spread the filling over the dough using an off set spatula, getting right into the edges, sprinkle over the sultans, evenly cover.
  8. Working from the long edge, roll the dough into a large log, pinching the ends together so it stays together and doesn’t fall apart. Using string, cut the dough, watch the video tutorial here for reference. This recipe makes approximately 9 rolls. Place the buns into the greased dish. Leave a tiny bit of space between the buns, but they will puff up when they bake!
  9. Place back somewhere warm to double in size.
  10. During this time, preheat oven to 190°C fan.
  11. Bake the rolls in the middle of the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, until they’ve puffed up and are golden in colour. Keep an eye on them after 20 minutes to make sure the tops don’t burn. 
  12. Carefully remove the rolls from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. During this time, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

Method (cream cheese frosting)

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla. Whisk to combine. If the filling is too firm and not spreadable, add in a splash of dairy-free milk until it’s easily spreadable.
  2. Once the buns are just warm, spoon / spread the frosting on top of each roll.
  3. Allow the buns and frosting to set, then transfer left over frosting into a piping bag, snip off the tip and pipe a cross design on top.
  4. Serve and enjoy!


To store: Store the buns in an air-tight sealed container to keep fresh. Cinnamon rolls need to be kept away from air, as they will dry out. If this happens, very gently warm them to make them soft again. Best enjoyed day of making, or within 2 days!

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Category: cinnamon rolls
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British


  1. Sarah Newton
    March 29, 2024 / 5:03 pm

    I have all the ingredients and going to make them tonight. Ill follow up with how it goes =)

  2. Addie
    April 1, 2024 / 5:17 am

    Made them for a gathering- everyone who ate them thought they were delicious and none of them were vegan! The only thing I changed was using a different icing because the first round I made with a vegan cream cheese that wasn’t great and ruined the flavor (the brand is not my favorite), so I made a second icing and left out the cream cheese and added lemon juice to balance the sweet and tart. I was under severe pressure as four kids ages 2,4,5, and 7 were chanting “cinnamon rolls! Cinnamon rolls!” As I prepared them- and I got a two thumbs up. Great recipe and will definitely be making them again!!

  3. Sarah Newton
    April 1, 2024 / 12:58 pm

    UPDATE: I apologise for the slow response, kids over easter is a crazy one BUT I made them and they are really yummy, definitely will be making again and again!!!!!! Thank you for the recipe =)

    • April 3, 2024 / 3:27 pm

      YAAY! I was looking forward to hearing how you go in, thank you so so much xx

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