Hot Cross Bagels

Woah this Easter break has gone by so FAST. I’ve been in London for just over 2 weeks now aaaand I’m slightly freaked out that exams start basically a month from today. But I’m ignoring that thought for a mo to tell you about my bagel x hot cross bun hybrid!!

What we’ve got here is super chewy bagel dough, dotted with mixed dried fruit (which in the UK is basically currants, raisins and candied orange + lemon peel) and of course with the cross piped on top. Now, I’m always confused when I see US recipes for hot cross buns because people pipe a FROSTING cross onto the buns?? Adding frosting makes HCBs untoastable! So, please, for the sake of your enjoyment of HCBs, don’t used frosting on there; pipe a proper cross of water + flour paste + let your buns be toastable!!

Hot Cross Bagels

5 from 1 vote
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Course: Bread and Yeast Doughs
Servings: 8 bagels


  • 1 tsp active dried yeast
  • 4 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) water
  • 4 cups (500g) strong flour (I used half white and half wholemeal)
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice*
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz (100g) mixed dried fruit or raisins

for the cross:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water


  • Pour the yeast into a large bowl along with the sugar and 1/2 of the water. Set aside for 5 minutes then stir together.
  • Add the flour, mixed spice, salt and ~1/2 cup (125ml) of water. Use your hands to mix everything together in the bowl, adding more water a bit at a time as needed, to get a moist, firm dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and firm.
  • Pour some oil into the bowl you were using and place the dough into it, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume - about 2 hours.
  • Once the dough has risen tip it out onto a surface and pat down into a large circle. Sprinkle with the dried fruit then roll the dough up and knead it a few times to incorporate the fruit. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cup your hand around a piece of dough and use a firm, circular motion to shape it into a ball. Poke a hole in the centre of the ball and gently stretch the hole out to be about an inch wide - it sounds large but as they sit the hole will shrink up!
  • Oil a baking tray, preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat so the water simmers. Gently lift one bagel and lower it into the water. Leave to boil for 1 minute then flip and boil for another minute. Remove to the baking tray and repeat this boiling with the rest of the bagels.
  • Place the plain flour into a medium bowl and gradually stir in the water until you get a thick, pipeable paste (you won't need all the water). Scoop the mixture into a sandwich bag and and snip off the corner then use it like a piping bag to pipe crosses over the bagels - it doesn't matter that the paste will be dripping through the holes as you can pull that bit off after it's baked.
  • Bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool before slicing and toasting - serve with butter (and lemon curd is delicious, too).


- adapted from New York Bagels in Kamran Siddiqi'scookbook, Handmade Baking
- mixed spice is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice and ginger. For those in the US, it's basically Pumpkin Spice mix.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!



8 thoughts on “Hot Cross Bagels”

  1. Yummo Izzy! I’ve never made bagels before, but I have made yeasted breads and hot x buns, so hopefully all goes to plan if I give these a go. And, as always, beautiful photography and styling (I especially love that last shot)

    • thanks, Natalie! You can use a whole sachet of yeast but if you do you’ll need to let the dough rise for an hour instead, and the bagels will have less flavour + less chew

  2. Thanks for the great recipe, Izy! I really enjoy your photos!

    BTW, what is the exam for which you are waiting now?

    Regards, Filip

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