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Gluten free hot cross buns without yeast

It’s coming up to HCB (hot cross bun) season and I have a number of recipes already on my site. What I didn’t previously have, however, was a recipe for gluten free hot cross buns without yeast. Given the success of my gluten free cinnamon rolls without yeast, I figured this recipe had to be next on my agenda.

A moody side on image of a toasted gluten free hot cross bun sandwiched with vanilla ice cream. A second hot cross bun sits on top of it and two buns sit either side of the stack in the background.

Gluten free hot cross buns without yeast

These hot cross buns are gluten free, yeast free, egg free, xanthan gum free and nut free. They can be made with traditional yoghurt or a plant based alternative, so they are easily dairy free/vegan.

The buns are made from a single flour – buckwheat flour – which makes them starchy flour free, rice free and corn free with the right baking powder.

These HCBs are easily made low FODMAP with a few simple ingredient tweaks that we will discuss below.

They are simple and delicious food intolerance friendly hot cross buns that everyone will love. The best part? There’s no waiting for the dough to proof. Simply mix (by hand, no equipment needed) and bake!

An aerial image of a toasted gluten free hot cross bun on a white sunlit plate.

All my gluten free hot cross bun recipes (all without xanthan gum)

A side on view of a gluten free hot cross bun. The bun sits atop a white marble table against a black backdrop. A raisin peeks out from the soft, fluffy spice dough.

FODMAP notes

Making these hot cross buns low FODMAP requires two simple tweaks. First, use a low FODMAP yoghurt. If you’re using regular yoghurt, be sure to choose a lactose free option if you have issues with lactose. If you’re making vegan buns, use a low FODMAP plant based yoghurt.

The second ingredient to consider is the mix ins. If you’d like to make fruit hot cross buns, I recommend using raisins (as opposed to sultanas) or fruit peel (or a combination of both).

Raisins are low FODMAP in 13g serves per person. Sultanas are low FODMAP in 7g per person. Divided between 8-9 buns, you can use 104-117g raisins in the dough, compared to only 56-63g sultanas.

Regular dates are Low FODMAP in 30g serves, which is higher than both raisins and sultanas. Chopped dates are a good option if you want to use extra dried fruit.

Fruit peel or mixed peel is low FODMAP in up to 500g serves, which makes it a good fruit option for a low FODMAP bun.

Another option is to use chocolate chips in your buns. Dark chocolate is the lowest FODMAP option. It is low FODMAP in 30g serves and moderate for lactose in 80g serves. Monash has never specified what sort of chocolate they tested. It might very well be that dark chocolate without any milk products has a higher threshold.

An aerial image of a tray of gluten free hot cross buns without yeast in bright sunlight against a dark backdrop

Substitution options for your gluten free hot cross buns without yeast

The only substitutions I have tested are using plant based alternatives to dairy in the dough and switching up the add ins.

  • I haven’t tested any alternate sugars and I don’t plan to.
  • I currently have no flour substitution suggestions. Because I don’t have access to dark buckwheat flour here in Australia, I have not tested this recipe with dark buckwheat flour.
  • Psyllium husk powder is what I use in all my recipes these days. I buy the flakes and grind them to a powder myself in a spice grinder. I find that store bought powder has a purple grey hue once baked. There is no substitution for the powder in this recipe.

Hydration notes

As always, hydration is dependent on so many factors. Every bag of flour will have a different absorbency. On top of that, there will be differences betweens brands, countries, levels of humidity, etc. You need to have your wits about you and use your intuition (with all baking, gluten free or not).

I find this dough performs best if it is really quite sticky. With wet hands, you should be able to handle it with relative ease, but the dough should be wet and stick to your hands if they are dry. Each ball should hold it’s shape when you roll it (with wet hands) into a ball, but it should be a little tricky. After all, these are egg free, gluten free, yeast free hot cross buns. Something has to give 🙂

If your dough looks very dry, add more liquid! If it’s liquid, add more flour! Every batch of dough is different and its up to you to determine whether your dough is as described in the recipe.

An aerial view of 9 gluten free vegan hot cross buns. The buns are strewn across a light piece of baking paper on a white marble table

Tips for these gluten free hot cross buns without yeast

  • I find that a sticky wet dough that is just a little too sticky to handle makes for the best buns here. A drier dough will result in a dry hot cross bun.
  • Thoroughly smoothing the tops of your buns with wet hands will ensure they come out of the oven with smooth, normal looking tops.
  • If your buns come out looking very craggy, one of two things happened. Either your dough wasn’t wet enough to begin with or you didn’t take the time to shape the buns prior to baking.
  • Anecdotally, I found that buns with vegan yoghurt looked smoother and less craggy. However, I also found the coconut yoghurt seemed to mute the spices a bit. I’d recommend adding more spice to the vegan version if you like them spicy.
  • Read the above notes on hydration before you start. There is no one right answer for how much water to add here. Your flour might be more or less thirsty than mine was.
  • As discussed above, I grind my own psyllium husk powder in a Breville spice grinder. I find home ground psyllium husk is less likely to clump together when you first add it to liquid. It is also far less likely to turn your baked goods purple.
A moody side on image of a gluten free hot cross bun toasted and sandwiched with vanilla ice cream.

More gluten free baking recipes

An aerial macro close up of a tray of gluten free hot cross buns with chocolate crosses

Gluten free hot cross buns without yeast

Yeast free, xanthan gum free, egg free, dairy free/vegan option
*This recipe uses Australian cups and measures. Use gram and ml for international accuracy.
Australian tablespoons are 20ml, whereas US, NZ, British and Canadian tablespoons are 15ml.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Breads, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 9 buns


For the binder:

  • 250ml (1 cup)* boiling water see notes
  • 200 g plain unflavoured thick yoghurt, regular or plant based
  • 20 g psyllium husk powder

For the dough:

  • 125ml (1/2 cup)* vegetable oil or neutral oil
  • 300 g light buckwheat flour
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (4 US, NZ, British and Canadian teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (use less if grating it fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (optional, for those who like their buns extra spicy)
  • orange zest, to your tastes (optional)
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) gluten free baking powder
  • 2.5g (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda (for browning)
  • 50-75 g raisins or dark chocolate chips (see FODMAP notes in body of post)

For the crosses (optional):

  • 1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour or starch of choice (4 US, NZ, British and Canadian teaspoons)
  • 1/2 tablespoon white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon plain oil I used vegetable oil
  • Water to form a smooth but cohesive paste (2-3 teaspoons as a rough guide)
  • Maple syrup or citrus jam to brush the buns after baking


To make the dough:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/356F and line a 24 x 24cm (9.5 inch x 9.5 inch) square brownie/cake tin with baking paper, leaving some overhanging to act as handles later.
  • Combine the boiling water and yoghurt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the psyllium husk and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps remaining. Set aside for 15 minutes to form a gel.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the buns, except for any mix ins you are using.
  • Once the gel is ready, pour it into the dry ingredient bowl along with the oil. Use a spoon to combine most of the way, then get your hands in and squelch the dough through until all the flour has been picked off up the bottom of the bowl.
  • Continue until the dough is a uniform light brown with no light patches from the yoghurt and no lumps of flour. This will take about 5 minutes but is necessary for an edible bun, so keep going until you get a uniform consistency.
  • I find this dough works best when it can hold it's own shape but is too sticky to roll or hold in a dry hand. If yours is drier than this, adjust as necessary. If yours is wetter, I'd suggest leaving it. Your buns might spread into one giant bun, but they will be nice and moist.
  • Add the mix ins, if you are using them. Use your hands to distribute them through the dough.
  • Thoroughly wet your hands with water, then divide the dough into 9 balls. I do this on the bench so I can eyeball that they are roughly the same size.
  • Thoroughly wet your hands again, then roll each piece of dough into a ball with a smooth top. The smoother the top is before baking, the nicer the bun will look after baking.
  • If you only have a baking dish that is larger than the one specified, use smaller dishes to tuck the buns in tightly. They will spread if left to their own devices.

To make and pipe the crosses (optional)

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add water until you have a smooth but pipe-able consistency. If you overshoot it, add equal parts of each flour until you’re back in the game.
  • Use a piping bag or small sandwich bag with the corner cut off to pipe crosses onto the buns.

To bake:

  • Place the buns in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
  • As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with maple syrup or marmalade (ideally strained) so they have a glossy and delicious finish. Allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes at least before eating.
  • These buns are best on the day of baking. However, they can be toasted and smeared with butter for a great result thereafter. You can also microwave or steam heat them to restore them to their former glory.


  • Read the tips section in the body of the post to get the most out of this recipe. I don’t write it for fun, I promise.
  • I haven’t tried this recipe in the stand mixer, but I think it would work nicely. Where possible, I try to make my recipes as inclusive as they can be – not everyone has a stand mixer.
  • Personally, I found that the coconut yoghurt/vegan version tasted less spicy than the dairy version. This might just be me, but I’d suggest adding a little extra spice to the vegan version if you like well spiced buns.
  • I have only tried light buckwheat flour in this recipe because it’s all I have access to in Australia. 
  • See the body of the post for FODMAP notes and hydration notes.
  • I don’t often pipe the crosses these days, but I have added the option in case you’d like to. 
  • If you only have a baking dish that is larger than the one specified, use smaller dishes to tuck the buns in. They will spread if left to their own devices.
Keyword egg free baking, gluten free hot cross buns, hot cross buns without yeast, xanthan gum free, yeast free baking
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