EGG-citing Tropical Hot Cross Buns

Although in the blogging world, it probably is a given that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, I only learned of it this year. The rolls got their names from the crosses piped on top, signifying the resurrection of Christ. Don’t be surprised that I am not the only one unaware of this! haha.. Except for a select number of bakeries advertising Hot Cross Buns on their display, almost no one else in Vancouver knew they were traditional rolls for Easter, even the ones who were born here! Some of my Catholic friends were even in disbelief until I Wikipedia-ed it for them.

I compared two recipes; allrecipes and Good Housekeeping Cookbook – Classic Home Cooking, then decided to add some tropical flavour of my own!! When I first saw that Hot Cross Buns were this month’s challenge by The Little Loaf for Fresh From the Oven, I was pretty excited about it! Unfortunately, I am really not the biggest fan of currants / raisins and any addition of it would bear severe reluctance. Sorry guys! But all is not lost! Alas, we still have other alternatives to dried fruits, like CHERRIES and MANGOS! I made both, but I’m only going to post up the recipe for the mango one which I thought was softer and prettier! The “cherry + mango combination” ones tasted really good too but that recipe yielded a more scone-like texture instead of the soft, fluffy texture I was looking for. If you like, you could add 1/3 cup to these soft and fluffy tropical hot cross buns 🙂

Left: Mango and Cherry Hot Cross Buns using another recipe
Right: Mango Hot Cross Buns with below recipe

Here is the interior view of both my Hot Cross Buns. As you can see, the one on the left yielded a dense, more scone-like texture, whereas the one on the right yielded a much softer and tender texture. So, without further ado, here is the recipe!

(Somewhat) Tropical Hot Cross Buns

Soft and fluffy, just like little Easter bunnies!
makes 9 buns (feel free to double the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup warm coconut milk (not too hot or you might kill the yeast!)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2  1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (if you don’t have this, you could use some nutmeg, cardamom and cloves, 1/8 tsp each)
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons bread flour
  • zest of half an orange (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried mangos
  • 1/3 cup chopped cherries (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon bread flour for kneading


  • 1 yolk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut milk


Ensure that all your ingredients are measured and prepared before you start. Read through the directions prior to beginning to gauge I used my KA for this, but you could definitely do it by hand too!

  1. In a bowl, combine warm coconut milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a separate large stand mixer bowl, beat 1 egg and 1 egg white.
  3. Add in softened butter, remaining sugar, both spices and yeast mixture, then beat on low speed until just blended. (make sure your butter isn’t in big chunks!)
  4. Using a hook pedal, add flour in gradually, about 1/2 cup at a time until blended, stirring on LOW speed. When you are within your last 1/2 cup of flour, add in dried mangos, desiccated coconut, (optional) cherries and (optional) orange zest. If you add in too much flour, your dough will not be sticky and your buns will not yield a soft texture.
  5. Knead your dough for about 3 minutes, then place it in a bowl lightly coated with oil and cover with a plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 -1.5 hours. Mine only took 1 hour.
  6. When your dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 3 minutes, then divide into 9 equal pieces.

    Before rising. I like to place mine close together to give "pull-apart" effect
  7. Set your buns in 3 rows of 3. Leave little gap between them to achieve the “pull-apart” effect. Cover and let rise until they touch one another.
  8. While waiting for your buns to rise, make the glaze and crosses for piping.
  9. After your bread has risen, use a scissor or knife to make a “cross” incision across your buns. Brush your glaze on the buns and then pipe the crosses on.

    Making your incisions and piping
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top browns

I guess I left mine in for a little longer than I should and hence the top browned a little more than I would have liked. Nevertheless, the buns were soft and very flavourful! I could definitely taste the spice as well as its tropical flavours! A friend said she never liked hot cross buns but really loved this when she tried it. I guess we’re all not very big fans of currants which was quite essential for traditional hot cross buns!

I’m a little notorious for bastardizing traditional recipes when I dislike certain ingredients. But hey! Where’s the fun in baking if you don’t get a say in your own ingredients, right? 😀

I am aware the post is a little late since Easter has been long gone! But if you ever feel like some delicious hot cross buns with dried mangos, you know where to go! I’ll definitely be using this recipe again. Fresh bread from the oven never tastes the same as those packaged in supermarkets. True story!!

Hope you guys have a wonderful week ahead!


76 Comments Add yours

  1. chefconnie says:

    I feel like I missed the boat because I did not make hot cross buns this Easter. Yours look wonderful.

  2. samology says:

    Awww! You can always make it now!! After all it’s still April 😀

  3. Purely.. Kay says:

    These buns look absolutely delicious. And I’m not a huge bread person at all. Very nice 🙂

  4. delicio8 says:

    What a great idea to use coconut milk and make them tropical!! Who says you have to stay with tradition? This is how “new” recipes and family traditions start. By the way, I love mango, love it, love it!!!!

  5. Now, these are amazing! I know a lot of folks who’d much prefer the idea of using dried tropical fruit (over currants & fruit peel) etc. The interior is definitely soft & fluffy too. I reckon your spot on with the glaze, it adds a gorgeous contrast to the white piping. Congrats on another baking triumph!!! 🙂

  6. Norma Chang says:

    I agree, the use of coconut milk is definitely tropical. Those hot cross buns are gorgeous.

  7. love the addition of the tropical flavors! i’ve seen hot cross buns all over the blogosphere the past week, but i still have never tried them in my life. need to change that soon!

  8. BC says:

    Thank you for the bun buns BB! They were very tastey, especially with the fruits! Made for a tastey breakfast!

  9. These rolls look gorgeous! I love the tropical flavors. It must taste divine!

  10. Lisa says:

    These are really tasty looking. (The bunny is cute, too.) Thank you for sharing the recipe and your beautiful photos – I’ll try the recipe but already know that mine won’t look quite so nice. Can’t wait!

  11. They look so good. I love the addition of the tropical flavors. Not a currant fan!

  12. Claudia says:

    I feel so ignorant. Had no idea these were traditional Easter or rather Good Fridays treats. Must be that the Italians didn’t do it! They do look warm and welcoming and scrumptious!

  13. Carolyn Jung says:

    I just got back from a trip to Hawaii, so mango hot crossed buns definitely would hit the spot for me. I’d bite into one and think I was still at the beach, surrounded by tropical flowers. Ahhh…

  14. What delicious looking buns! And, I can’t wait to try out some of your macaroon recipes you posted earlier!

  15. Sandra says:

    I’m with you, not a raisin/currant fan. Great substitution choice, especially the cherries! What type of coconut milk did you use? Canned or refrigerated? I buy both, but usually only use the type you get in the dairy section for smoothies. Egg-cited to try this! hehe

  16. samology says:

    Thanks Kay! That’s awesome! 😀

  17. samology says:

    hehe.. Thanks Matina!! I know! Me too! I love mangos so much! Both fresh and dried are delicious to me!

  18. A new twist on an old favorite- beautiful photos. Have you ever had Taiwan pineapple cake? It is actually more like a little dessert? If you added pineapple with the coconut milk I think this would be wonderful as well. You have sparked my interest. I might have to give this a whirl this weekend. Take care, BAM

  19. samology says:

    Awww! Thank you! Yep. Perhaps one day I’ll learn to love currants, like how I learned to love some other food. But, until them they will be substituted accordingly! lol Thanks!

  20. samology says:

    Thanks Norma!! hehe.. wanted to try something different. The coconut taste wasn’t too strong as it was overpowered by the spices, but I tried to compensate that by adding some desiccated coconut in!

  21. samology says:

    Oh for sure!! They’re actually easier than I thought!!! And they don’t require crazy ingredients as well.. hoho 😀 Thanks Amy!

  22. samology says:

    You are welcome Beebs! Glad you enjoyed it for breakfast-ie!

  23. samology says:

    Thanks Asmita!!! I’m just a big mango fan like youuu!! lol

  24. samology says:

    Awesome!! I look forward to your buns!! Don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to make! 😀 Yeah, I’m also digging the random Easter bunny picture. lol!

  25. samology says:

    yupe! Agreed! Currants to the devil….. for now…! lol. Maybe one day my taste buds will develop a liking to them! But for 23 years they haven’t, so I guess we’ll have to see about that!

  26. samology says:

    me too!!! I think perhaps Canadians are not too big on Easter! I’m not sure what it is! lol. But I completely had no idea as well until my fellow American bloggers started posting up HCB recipes! hehe.. Thanks Claudia!!

  27. samology says:

    oooh! Yes yes!! I’m so jealous that you went to Hawaii!! Totally would love to visit as well! 😀 Sounds like you had a lot of fun though!! Yay! I’ve heard about them having RAMEN in McDonalds! That’s something I have to see!!

  28. samology says:

    Why, thank you! I hope you’ll enjoy the macarons as much as my friends and I did! 🙂

  29. samology says:

    Phew! I’m glad to know that there are many others who share my dislike! haha.. I used canned coconut milk! Although i hear that fresh coconut milk always works better for baking! But yeah, canned coconut is much more accessible and requires much less effort! lol.. $0.99 for a can too! oooh!! If you do try it, let me know! I bet they’d be egg-cellent! 😛 hahaa.. I love my bad puns

  30. samology says:

    Yes I have!! 鳳梨酥 Those are so delicious! I always buy a box whenever I’m in Taiwan. They’re just the best souvenirs you can get anyone! hehe.. mmm!! I’m willing to bet that pineapple with coconut would be divine! Yay! Let me know if you do try it out, Bam! 🙂 P.S. since we mentioned about pineapple cakes, there’s a very popular traditional Indonesian pineapple cookie that is quite similar to the Taiwanese pineapple cakes! You could check out one of my older posts if you like! 🙂

  31. Your buns look absolutely beautiful and I love the tropical twist! Plus that bunny at the end is too cute 🙂

  32. Euan says:

    These look fab! I love the tropicality. Very original. And I want that rabbit! (My cats might eat it though 😦 )

  33. Tandy says:

    I love the fact you used a dried fruit you prefer! And they look amazing 🙂

  34. What an interesting variation on HCBs! 😀

  35. Loveforfood says:

    that is my favourite.

  36. Janine says:

    love the idea of making it tropical! mango hot cross buns must be damn awesome!!

  37. Very creative twist on these buns. The fruit you added definitely has a lot more zip than raisins, yum! Classic recipes, while adored, can be improved upon-as shown in this post. Well done!

  38. Courtney says:

    I love your twist on these, Sam! We tried to make these last year and they were a big flop – glad these ones turned out for you.

  39. These are beyond stunning Sam! So golden and the mangoes and coconut milk sound divine!

  40. Caroline says:

    So many hot cross bun recipes floating around the blogosphere…looks like I’m behind on the trend! 😉 These look delicious, Sam. x

  41. samology says:

    awww! Thank you Kate! I knowww.. That bunny is super cute especially with its googley eyes.. tee hee.. Thanks! My turn to submit a recipe to your event! hehe..

  42. samology says:

    HAHAHA.. awww! That’s horrible! But it’s hilarious at the same time. How big is your cat?! Yes I agree, bunnies are so cuuute! And they’re also a lot easier to maintain than dogs, though I’m a huge dog lover. 😀

  43. samology says:

    Thanks Tandy!! Yours look great too!!

  44. samology says:

    Thanks Lorraine!!

  45. samology says:

    That’s awesome!!

  46. samology says:

    Thanks Janine!! Enjoy the tropical goodness 🙂

  47. samology says:

    Yay! Thanks Tina!!

  48. samology says:

    haha.. My first batch didn’t look very pretty either! Turned out a little harder than I preferred but practice makes perfect! 😀

  49. samology says:

    Thanks Geni! I’m a total mango person and grew up with lots of coconut milk in my desserts! So naturally I thought this would be a great idea. hehe.. Thanks!

  50. samology says:

    hehe.. Thanks Caroline! Yeah, I was kinda late too myself! Wanted to post this up much earlier but time wasn’t in my favour! But hey, better late than never, right?!! 😀

  51. I have never had a hot cross bun, and finally learned about them this year. Your hot cross buns look so fluffy, and perfect! AND that bunny picture is just too cute:-) Hugs, Terra

  52. hotlyspiced says:

    What gorgeous and beautiful looking hot cross buns. I grew up on these and so know they are related to Easter and to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Love how you made these with mangoes – I would love to try your version. And what a cute little bunny!

  53. Joanne says:

    I don’t really see why one can’t eat these year-round! I love your tropical twist…those flavors are my favorite anyway.

  54. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    DROOL! Cherries and mangos in the hot cross buns? Hmmmm these are the best kind ever! I can eat them all year around and it’s worth making them all the time!

  55. rsmacaalay says:

    Mangoes in Hot Cross buns would be so good! I never had tried it though but just by the sounds of it make me already imagine the taste.

  56. Jasline says:

    I’ve seen so many hot cross bun recipes lately! Yours look so pretty and delicious! Wish I could try it one day. 🙂

  57. Tobias says:

    Baking hot cross buns is not an Easter tradition over here so it was actually the blogosphere that taught me about them. 😉
    Mangos and coconut I’m sure go perfectly with the (supposably – never had any) fluffy texture and hey I wouldn’t mind making them all year long.


  58. Euan says:

    The cats are just normal sized really. A rabbit would probably be too big for them, but they’d give it a try! I shall stop now for fear of upsetting anyone of a sensitive disposition…

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  60. Justine Duppong says:

    I know what you mean! I’m Catholic but I had never heard of this until literally the day after Easter…although, the hubs and I were out of town with only a microwave at the time, so not sure I would have been able to pull it off with ANY amount of planning! 😉

  61. Juliana says:

    Coll, next time baking bread will try to use coconut milk…they look so light and fluffy 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are having a great week Sammie!

  62. samology says:

    Thanks Juliana!! You too!! 🙂

  63. samology says:

    Thanks so much CCU!! You’re the best!!

  64. samology says:

    Yeah! I only found out about that tradition 2 months ago! Never knew about it before too! 🙂 Thanks Tobias!

  65. samology says:

    Thanks Jasline! 🙂 Let me know if you do!

  66. samology says:

    haha.. Thanks Raymund!! Those dried mangoes were from Cebu!! Those are the best! 🙂

  67. samology says:

    Thanks Nami!! Yeah! Good thing they don’t take forever! I’ll probably skip the cross if I’m just making them to eat though. lol

  68. samology says:

    Thanks Joanne! Me too!! hehe

  69. samology says:

    Thank you! haha.. The bunnies were just placed their for fun 😀

  70. samology says:

    Awww, thanks Terra! I wasn’t a huge fan of the bun either! Since I disliked currants / raisins. lol. But glad that now I can make my own! 🙂

  71. purelyfood says:

    Thank you for taking part this month. I love that you have done such a unique variation.

  72. samology says:

    Thanks! I always love these challenges!!

  73. foodjaunts says:

    Lol, I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio and hot cross buns are a tradition. I’m a huge fan of the original but LOVE the idea of doing it with coconut milk and mango (my favorite fruit).

  74. samology says:

    ooh thanks! I’ve never really liked the original because of the raisins! hehe.. But yeah! Mango is one of my favourite fruits too! 🙂

  75. Sally says:

    How exotic. And how extraordinary that your friends didn’t know they were for Easter. I guess I grew up with them as a seasonal treat. They look lovely

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