Hot Cross Sourdough Buns (GF/V)

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Hot Cross Buns prepared with gluten-free sourdough starter.

Use your homemade gluten-free sourdough starter in this beautiful Hot Cross Sourdough Buns recipe!

Thank you to everyone that has given the process of making homemade wild natural yeast a try! This recipe is for you!

If you make these buns, please comment and rate the recipe at the bottom of the post to let me know if you love them as much as I do!

Hot Cross Buns prepared with gluten-free sourdough starter.

Hot Cross Sourdough Buns (GF/V)

I’m going to keep this post short. I’ve included some process shots to help you make this recipe. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments. But trust me, it’s very simple!

The best tips I can give you is to make sure to use a gluten-free sourdough starter that’s been fed and is bubbling with activity!

Also, give the dough mixture the whole 4 hours to rise. It will help the buns be lighter in texture! It’s worth the wait—I promise!

Can I make the buns with active yeast?

The following is what I recommend to convert the Hot Cross buns to include active yeast instead of some GF sourdough starter.

Please note that I haven’t tried this version with active yeast, so if you try it before I do, please let us know how it worked out!

  1. Include 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast with the flaxseed meal and warm water. Make sure to read number 3 below.
  2. Increase the flours to include an extra 1/2 cup (60g) of one of the flours that you will be using. So instead of 1-3/4 cups (190g), the total will now be 2-1/4 cups (250g).
  3. You will need to increase the liquids as well. Remember, we’re trying to replace the one cup of active GF sourdough starter, which includes flour and water. So here you have two options to increase the milk to 1 cup instead of 1/2 a cup. Or add more water to the flaxseed and yeast mixture. If you choose to increase the water, the total will now be 1 cup instead of just 1/2 a cup. If you’re weighing your water, 1/2 a US cup of water is 118g.
  4. Let the dough rise but only for 2 hours instead of 4 hours. The rest of the steps to prepare the dough for baking will be the same.
Process photos to make Hot Cross Sourdough Buns


You’ll start with combining the dry, add the flax mixture, the butter, then the plant milk, maple syrup, and starter. Once well mixed, fold in the apples and raisins.

Process photos to make Hot Cross Sourdough Buns

Let the dough rise

You will need to cover your dough bowl and let the mixture rise for 4 hours. If using a clear glass bowl you will notice bubbles on the sides and the mixture will feel very light and airy.

Process photos to make Hot Cross Sourdough Buns

Baking Process

The dough will have a thick batter-like consistency. Scoop out the dough into some muffin liners to help contain the mixture when it bakes.

You can brush some maple syrup on each top for the last 10 minutes of baking.

The Cross

Adding an icing sugar cross is optional. You can do so by mixing some organic powdered sugar and water. You don’t need a lot of moisture to create the icing, so only a tiny bit of water will do. Add more if necessary.

Gluten-free, vegan and allergen-friendly baking ingredients and flour guide.

Previously on FiR

If you would love some guidance and more information on baking with gluten-free and allergen-friendly ingredients, check out the latest post!

The Flour Guide includes a printable version with lots of tips and tricks, a reference sheet to keep with you in your kitchen and a shopping list. You might even discover new ingredients that you’ve never considered before!

Read the blog post:
Flour Guide for Gluten-Free, Vegan and Allergen-Friendly Baking

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Hot Cross Buns prepared with gluten-free sourdough starter.

Hot Cross Sourdough Buns (GF/V)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes (+ 4-hr rise)
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Snack, Treats
  • Method: Oven-Baked
  • Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan, Allergen-Friendly, Plant-Based
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These Hot Cross Sourdough Buns are gluten-free, vegan and allergen-friendly! You will love their soft and light texture! The addition of dry raisins and fresh apples makes them so good! Use 1 cup of gluten-free sourdough starter for this perfect and beautiful treat! 



Gel Mixture

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal (25g)*
  • 1/2 cup water, warm

Other Ingredients

  • 13/4 cups GF flour, sifted (190g)
    (Combine 3 of the following GF flours:
    oat, light buckwheat, brown rice, white rice, sorghum, millet, almond/meal)**
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (50g)***
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon GF baking powder
  • 1 cup active GF sourdough starter (265g)
  • 1/2 cup plant milk (hemp, oat, almond, rice, coconut)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus extra for brushing)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (vegan or regular)**** 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1 apple (any kind), small diced (3/4 cup)

Cross (optional):

  • 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar 
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon water (just enough to create a thick icing mixture)


Before you begin, get all of your ingredients ready, so once it’s time to put everything together, it will be much easier. You’ll need one 9×13-in baking dish with unbleached parchment paper muffin liners. You can use 8 jumbo cups or 10-12 large.

Step 1
To a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal with warm water, mix and set aside.

Step 2
Sift and combine the flours, starch, cinnamon, salt and baking powder to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3
To the same large bowl, add the butter, the flax mixture, the milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, sourdough starter, and mix well until combined. Tip: Make sure to get all the dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. Gently fold in raisins and apples. Cover the dough bowl and let the dough rise in a warm area of your kitchen for 4 hours. Note: If using a clear glass bowl, you should see bubbles throughout the sides of the dough. The dough will grow in size.

Step 4
At the 3.5-hour mark, preheat your oven to 400° F. The dough will have a thick batter-like consistency. Scoop out the dough into your muffin liners to help contain the mixture when it bakes. Bake for 20 minutes, then brush each top with some maple syrup and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and let cool in the cup liners for 5 minutes. Remove the muffin liners, place buns on a wite rack to cool, add white sugar cross is you wish. 


These buns are ok to eat while they are still a little warm! You can enjoy any leftovers as is, warmed up or toasted! 

*Sub with psyllium husk. Include at least 1 tablespoon of whole psyllium husk, a little less if using powder.
**I mixed 3/4 cup (70g) oat flour, 1/2 cup (60g) light buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup (60g) brown rice flour. Other options would be 3/4 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup almond meal/flour. Or try 3/4 cup light buckwheat, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup almond meal/flour.
***You can use tapioca flour or potato starch. Another option is to combine 1/4 cup of two of the following: arrowroot starch, potato starch or tapioca flour. 
**** Sub butter with 2 tablespoons oil: olive, avocado or coconut. I didn’t try with oil. I used butter.


  1. Hi! I’d love to make these for Good Friday but I only have sorghum flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, and oat flour. Could I use a combination of those? I do have the starches.

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  2. These buns were so easy to make and so delicious! The bread was fairly light and “fluffy” at least when it comes to most gluten free recipes and the flavour the the raisins and apples was amazing. They were just a treat to have on Easter and they have hardly any sugar in them so it’s very guilt free! My only regret is that due to covid-19 And my desire to avoid stores, I used crappy muffins liners I had on hand which ended up sticking too much. Next time I will get the parchment ones this recipe deserves!

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    • Hi Jazmin! I’m thrilled that you tried this recipe and that you liked it! I’m curious to find out which 3 GF flours you decided to use. If you have a moment, let us know! Thank you for your feedback!

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  3. Haley Carlisle

    I really enjoyed this recipe! It was fun and easy to make, and tasted great! I am quite limited on ingredients right now, so I couldn’t add any apple to the recipe unfortunately. I used oat flour, white rice flour, and sorghum flour for this recipe, as well as my brown rice sourdough starter. My family loved these!

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Make sure the ingredients you purchase are prepared in a facility free from the top allergens YOU AVOID. Gluten-free products should be certified GF and clearly labelled. Consult your medical professional with your dietary questions.

Even certified gluten-free ingredients such as GF oats, corn, seeds, etc., can create health problems for individuals following a GF diet. Always consult a medical professional if unsure about ingredients for your needs.