homemade hot cross buns in a dish being used up

Only in shops for a few weeks of the year, hot cross buns are a proper Easter treat. These sticky, fruity buns have a short shelf life, but that doesn’t mean they should end up in the compost bin! Discover how to bring leftover hot cross buns back to life with our easy ideas.

For an Easter twist on a brunch favourite, transform leftover hot cross buns into eggy bread. Or, use torn-up buns in a bread and butter pudding for a seasonal take on this much-loved pud (if you don’t have enough hot cross buns to fill your baking dish, use regular stale bread to make up the difference). Fruity hot cross buns also make amazing toasties – stuff them with melty cheese, caramelised onions and bacon for a next-level lunch. 

And if you’re bunned out over the Easter weekend, you can also freeze leftover hot cross buns – simply slice them in half and pop into a reusable freezer bag for a rainy day. 

Eggy bread is always a winner for using up stale bread, so why not swap in hot cross buns? Seasonal rhubarb is hit up with orange zest, vanilla and fiery stem ginger, cooked until soft, then stuffed into hot cross buns dipped in egg and fried until golden. So good!

Go savoury with this epic hot cross bun toastie recipe. We’re talking sweet, fruity buns paired with salty, melty cheese and topped with your choice of relish or chutney – yes please! And if that wasn’t enough to tickle your tastebuds, this recipe is cooked entirely in the air fryer, saving you time and energy – result. 

Making the most of budget-friendly store-cupboard ingredients, this Easter pudding is a real showstopper. Gently spiced hot cross buns are torn up, covered in homemade apricot custard and scattered with flaked almonds, then baked until golden.

Crispy on the outside, oozy and soft in the middle, this is Easter in dessert form! With dried apricots, orange zest and Cognac, this is a proper grown-up pud (just leave out the booze if you’re feeding little ones). Feel free to add shards of leftover Easter eggs to the mix, too (if you’ve got any!). 


To transform stale buns into breadcrumbs, place halved stale buns onto a baking tray and bake for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how stale they are) at 130°C/250°F/gas ½ until crisp and dry. Leave to cool, then either place the dried buns into a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin, or blitz in a food processor until fine. 

You can use the hot cross bun breadcrumbs in place of some of the flour or ground nuts in this Bakewell tart to add a hit of spice. Or, you could add a handful to the filling of this Treacle tart for a fruity flavour boost. 

Hungry for more? Check out our hero hot cross bun recipe and take it four delicious ways


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