Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding (2)

Excepting the obvious, the most frequently eaten treat at Easter is almost certainly the hot cross bun. Spicy, fruity and soft on top, these sweet buns have become something of a British institution, traditionally consumed on Good Friday. Unfortunately, unlike Dame Helen Mirren, this is one British institution that goes stale given sufficient time.

Indeed, a week has been so carelessly allowed to elapse since the World’s favourite chocolate-based holiday and it is likely that a great number of bread bins are inhabited by the forgotten crossed buns of Easter. Usually, this would spell waste or perhaps bird food, but no more – a recipe for hot cross bread and butter pudding has arrived.

Bread and butter pudding is an 18th century British pudding, renowned for its frugality and universal appeal – there isn’t anything about it that’s offensive. Made with regular white bread, usually stale, it provides a fantastic solution for bread that would otherwise find itself thrown out. As such, it was a favourite during the World Wars – a time when waste was simply not an option. Happily, we can afford a little more luxury these days and the milky flavour of a basic bread and butter pudding provides a fantastic base for all manner of flavours – nutmeg included.

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding (3)

Key to making an attractive bread and butter pudding is getting a fantastic rise. What causes this is the expansion of the custard mixture from within the bread during the cooking process. Achieving a good rise isn’t particularly difficult – simply make sure you’ve allowed enough time for the egg mixture to soak into the bread. Forget to do this and it’s likely you’ll end up with a flat and unattractive, though delicious, pud – more like a custard tart with hot cross buns preserved inside. Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll do fine.

For more ideas on how to get rid of those Easter leftovers, check out my recipes for Hot Cross Bun French Toast and Leftover Lamb Hotpot…

Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding {Easter}

Serves 6-8


• 6 hot cross buns

• 30g salted butter

• 3 medium eggs

• 450ml whole milk

• 3 tbsp light muscovado sugar, extra for sprinkling

• A generous handful of raisins and sultanas

• ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg


1. First, cut your buns in half and butter both sides. Chop them in half again to make triangles and butter a medium-sized casserole dish.

2. Layer the triangles made from the bottom half of the buns in the dish, press down a little and scatter with the fruit and nutmeg. Whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar – pour over three quarters of the custard and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding (1)

3. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Take the tops of the buns and pop into the custard mixture for 5-10 minutes. Arrange on top of the base layer, pour over any left over custard and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and cooked through. Serve immediately with ice cream, single cream or yoghurt – it’ll keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding (4)

Cost: This is another great way to use up those Easter leftovers. Don’t forget, you can use the same recipe for a white bread or brioche bread and butter pudding. However, those hot cross buns, whether bought or made, did cost someone money. Indeed, this huge pudding – perfect for up to eight – should set one back around £2.80.

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105 comments on “Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding

  1. Sophia
    April 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! Reminds me of eating bread and butter pudding in boarding school (although I am sure yours is much tastier!).

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks, Sophia! I hope it is, but you were one lucky boarder 😀

  2. fionaward
    April 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Bread and butter pudding is absolutely my favourite dessert and this sounds like an amazing idea.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks so much – it was a fantastic dessert. Can’t wait to eat the rest of it.

  3. cookinginsens
    April 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    The pictures are gorgeous and that looks like my casserole 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks – it does indeed 😀 – a lovely Le Creuset casserole for only £9.99!

  4. Chris Giulianotti
    April 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Looks and sounds wonderful but we never have any Hot Cross Buns left to make this pudding. I suppose you could still get the same result by incorporating the same ingredients and using regular soft bread.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks so much – you could always buy more… 😀

      • Chris Giulianotti
        April 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm

        I don’t buy – I make!!!

        I forgot to mention – “boo hoo” to your Helen Mirren comment!

        • Admin
          April 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

          Very good! It was a compliment to her, saying she doesn’t go stale!

      • Grace @ Cultural Life
        April 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        I think that’s what I’m going to do. We don’t have any hot cross buns left over either but this recipe looks too good to pass up! 😀

        • frugalfeeding
          April 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

          You must – please let me know how it turns out!

  5. makingitwithdanielle
    April 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Looks so delicious!

  6. thecompletecookbook
    April 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Love making bread and butter pudding with hot cross buns – fabulous.
    🙂 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      It’s so delicious, isn’t it? Nice and spicy!

  7. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    April 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Great idea and looks delicious.

  8. Ruth Wright
    April 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I also like it made with stae french stick bread, but you have to be liberal with the spice & fruit

  9. Ruth Wright
    April 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Whoops that should have read stale french bread (sticky buttons on keyboard(

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

      That’s a nice idea – I might try it with croissants and chocolate next 😀

  10. thecookingbowl
    April 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I really love your photography in these. Does the job, because now I want to make it! Looks delicious!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Thank you so much – I was really happy with the photos.

  11. Elly McCausland (@nutmegs_seven)
    April 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Good god this looks incredible. Your photos are mouthwatering! It kind of makes me want to go out and buy hot cross buns just to let them go stale. I bet this would be an amazing brunch too…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Haha – thanks, Elly! You probably wouln’t have to let them go stale to be honest :D. I’m certainly having it for brunch/lunch today.

  12. baconbiscuit212
    April 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    That looks amazing Nick! Bread and butter pudding is one of my favorite desserts. Would never have thought to use hot cross buns. Looks terrific!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Thanks, Daisy! You should give it a try, it was so yummy (still is, I’m having some for lunch)

  13. Amber
    April 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I love hot cross buns. The bakery I worked at in high school was inundated with orders for them every Easter. The last time I made bread pudding was with some challah. I may have to make it again, as this is making me hungry 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Fantastic! That’s a nice idea. I want to make challah at some point, so I’ll have to give that a try!

  14. narf77
    April 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Looks yummo and is a great way to use up excess hot cross buns (or cheap hot cross buns available after the event for we frugalistas 😉 ).

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

      It is indeed! To be honest, it’s better than simply eating a hot cross bun…

      • narf77
        April 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm

        twice as good because that stale hot cross bun has been transformed into a stellar pud that looks too good to eat! I would need to invite friends when I made that 🙂 A dessert as good as that would need to be shared 🙂

        • frugalfeeding
          April 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

          Haha, indeed. It lasted us a few days, no sharing 😀

  15. Rachel
    April 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Now I wish I hadn’t eaten all the hot cross buns!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

      You could get some more 😀 – or use brioche, croissants or simply white bread!

  16. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    April 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Wow, this looks FABULOUS. I’m drooling. If only I had some stale hot cross buns on hand!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      You could use white bread or any pastries really!

  17. Somer
    April 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    You clever devil….I love this!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Haha, thanks, Somer – and thanks for the mention on the new post!

  18. Carroll
    April 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    LOVE this! I always find myself with left over bread/pastries! I’m a sucker for bread pudding!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      I’m sure it would work well with any left over pastry. I think I’ll have to post a chocolate croissant version soon!

  19. Carolyn Chan
    April 9, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Love the Dame Helen Mirren comment ! And yep, bread and butter pudding is a perfect way of using stale breadstuffs up. Yummy !

  20. pattyabr
    April 9, 2013 at 3:21 am

    what a lovely recipe congrats

  21. Michelle
    April 9, 2013 at 3:33 am

    What a clever boy!

  22. Katrina Tauchen
    April 9, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Oh my. This looks amazing. And so pretty, too!

  23. Korena in the Kitchen
    April 9, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Aaahhhh, I wish I had thought of this when I still had hot cross buns! Next year…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

      That’s a shame – you could follow the recipe and use any bread really!

  24. mittsandmeasures
    April 9, 2013 at 7:08 am

    This looks amazing!

  25. marymtf
    April 9, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Well, aren’t you clever, and living up to your frugal reputaiton. Well done. I’ve not made bread and butter pudding for decades (I’m old so I can say decades). Your version is creative and sounds delicious.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Haha – thanks :). You should give it a try again!

  26. IRENA
    April 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

    That looks yummy! Wonderful photos and the recipe!

  27. Chica Andaluza
    April 9, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Now why didn’t i think of doing that?!

    • Admin
      April 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

      I don’t know! At least one of us did 😀

  28. Jude
    April 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Oh darn it I can’t buy hot cross buns in France! I’ll have to improvise. 🙂

  29. whatelliemade
    April 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Ooh I’m definitely making this at the weekend! I made one using panettone at Christmas which went down a treat 🙂

  30. sochac
    April 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Very cool and creative idea. I do love hot cross buns. Being in the US bread pudding not a common occurrence, not a concept I would have thought of to do. Pictures of it are very nice as well.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Give it a go – I didn’t think it would be that popular in the US, but it should 😀

  31. The Fine Duchess
    April 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    My my. That is truly quite clever. Must try that for next year.

  32. Tina Evans
    April 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    This looks outstanding 🙂

  33. Amy @ Healthy and Fit for Real
    April 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Looks delicious!

  34. kitchenmemory
    April 10, 2013 at 11:10 am

    as usual a great picture!

  35. jonathanharvey2013
    April 10, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Some really nice recipes on here Frugal, and some really great photography.

    Great stuff 🙂


    Jonathan and The Grey Simmonds Team

  36. ERB
    April 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Great blog you have here. The pictures are wonderful and I am sure the food is even better. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  37. Clarisse Shaina
    April 11, 2013 at 12:22 am

    This looks amazing! Marking this as a to-make. 🙂

  38. Miss Molly Stewart
    April 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I adore this! Definitely going to give it a try next time I find myself in a baking mood 🙂

    Thank you for visiting my blog, also, come back any time!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

      No problem – enjoy it. Let me know if it goes well.

  39. Maya Oryan
    April 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    It’s in my “Recipes I Like” folder on Pinterest, now!

  40. Mama's Gotta Bake
    April 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Oh how I love comfort food! Gorgeous!

  41. Kim Bultman
    April 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Bread pudding has long been a solution to bread that can’t be consumed within a reasonable time frame in our household. (Better yet, made with leftover homemade hot cross buns!) I also agree with you entirely… Helen Mirren never goes stale.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Fantastic! IT’s so frugal 😀 – I’m sure she will one day… though of course I’m talking literally…

  42. taplatt
    April 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I have some frozen hot cross buns that would be a great excuse to try this on the weekend.

  43. odelleasmith
    March 4, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I love this idea of using Hot Cross Buns for pudding, oh & the crunchy topping in pics looks delicious, great idea.
    Love nutmeg, much prefer it to cinnamon in a pudding. A must try, served with your custard.
    Looking forward to you making Challah, I especially enjoy this enriched-sweet bread, it would make a superb bread & butter pudding.
    Fantastic recipe, many thanks.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 4, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Challah! Ok, will add it to the list :). Thanks!

  44. Howard Hodges
    May 16, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Excellent recipe I have just finished making it, and it turned out yummy, even got it to rise . I made a couple tweaks, I spread each piece with orange curd, added dash of apricot liqueur to the custard mix.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Fantastic – those sound like excellent tweaks!

  45. Elizabeth
    March 27, 2016 at 12:53 pm