These Keto hot cross buns are pillowy, soft and fluffy. Made with almond flour, these yeast rolls are grain free and gluten-free. Perfect for Easter breakfast.
I have been dreaming of sweet yeast rolls recently. I used to devour the "milk buns" we had at home when I was little. Later, I developed an intense love for brioche or challah.
Over the years, I've posted a range of low carb and keto bread recipes, rolls and buns. But so far, I've never tried baking with yeast.
With Easter just around the corner, I decided to test my baking skills by creating a healthy version of hot cross buns.
And I've gotta say, these handsome guys don't just look good. They taste great, too!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Authentic flavor
- Soft, pillowy texture
- Naturally gluten-free and grain free
- Low carb and keto friendly - 3.9g net carbs per bun
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
- Almond flour - Use regular almond flour or ground almonds. Reduce by 2 tablespoons if using extra fine almond flour
- Whey protein powder - Unflavored. Egg white protein also works.
- Psyllium husk powder - for a fluffy texture
- Baking powder
- Active dry yeast - check that it is fresh.
- Inulin - this is a prebiotic fiber made from chicory root. it is gently sweet. We are using it to activate the yeast.
- Powdered sweetener - Use your sweetener of choice. This could be erythritol monk fruit sweetener, xylitol or allulose.
- Eggs - must be room temperature
- Butter - melted, then cooled
- Yogurt - I used Greek yogurt. Helps with a better rise.
- Water - lukewarm
- Prunes - diced
For the Crosses
- Coconut flour
- Xanthan gum - You need it to bind the water. I tried using only coconut flour and water first, but the mix separated when I tried piping it. Guar gum could be an alternative.
(This section contains step by step instructions and photos that show how to make this recipe. Find the recipe card with ingredient amounts and nutritional information at the bottom of the post.)
1.) Proof the yeast by mixing it with warm water and inulin. Cover your bowl with a dish cloth and place it somewhere warm and not draughty. It should froth up and thicken. If it doesn't, start again with a new batch.
2.) Crack 2 large eggs and 2 egg whites into a food processor or large mixing bowl. Add melted, warm butter and your water/yeast mixture. Blend until fluffy and frothy.
3.) Mix all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Option to also add a pinch of salt. Blend with the egg mixture, together with the yoghurt.
4.) Now, fold in the diced prunes.
5.) Lightly wet your hands (the dough is VERY sticky) and form 10 buns. Place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. I used a pie/tart dish. Leave a little space around each roll as they will expand in size.
Cover again with a kitchen towel and put back in your warm place for 50-60 minutes.
6.) Now let's get onto those all-important crosses! I decided to use coconut flour as it's so nice and white and mixed it with water and xanthan gum to form a paste. Fill into a small ziplock bag and snip off one corner. Pipe the mix over the buns.
7.) Bake in the oven until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
After you remove the hot cross buns from the oven, let them cool down a little to allow the texture to strengthen and improve.
The correct temperature for the ingredients is key. Yeast likes it warm. If it is exposed to cold or hot temperatures it simply dies and the buns won't rise.
The buns you see in the images are still slightly smaller than they should be because I was impatient and did not wait until my eggs were completely room temperature.
I have since made Keto pull-apart bread rolls using the same basic recipe and they rose about ⅓ more.
Inulin activates the yeast. Yeast needs to feed on sugar (carbs) to help the dough rise.
No you can't, because low carb sweetener is zero carb. But you could use honey, maple syrup or even sugar. Since the yeast feeds on it, in theory there won't be any sugar left once you put your buns in the oven.
I normally recommend to use ⅓ the amount of coconut flour in place of the almond flour. Coconut flour absorbs more liquid, that's why you need less of it. I'll be honest with you though. I haven't tried this myself and as this recipe is a bit lengthy I don't want anyone being disappointed. Please try at your own risk and let us know if it was a success.
Change the spices: Crushed cardamom seeds, ginger, nutmeg or allspice would all be delicious here.
Add-ins: Feel free to use raisins or currants instead of prunes. Of course, this would increase the carb count a little. Or add sugar-free chocolate chips or sugar free dried cranberries.
Dairy-free: Use egg white protein powder, coconut oil instead of butter and coconut yogurt instead of dairy yogurt.
Keto hot cross buns taste great on their own or with lashings of butter.
Option to toast them lightly or warm in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Store in an airtight container on the kitchen counter for up to 2 days or in the fridge for around 5 days.
Freeze for up to 3 months.
Here are more keto buns and rolls to try:
- Keto Breakfast Buns (Low Carb, Paleo)30 Minutes
- Black Burger Buns40 Minutes
- Pull-Apart Keto Bread Rolls35 Minutes
- Keto Cinnamon Rolls (sugar free, low carb)30 Minutes
Take a look at more ideas for a sugar free Easter.
- Sugar Free Easter Eggs (Creme Eggs)35 Minutes
- Deviled Egg Easter Chicks35 Minutes
- Keto Marzipan (Sugar Free)5 Minutes
- Keto Egg Salad Recipe15 Minutes
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating below!
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Keto Hot Cross Bunsfrom Sugar Free Londoner
Note: The servings slider only changes the first amount in each line and not any subsequent amounts. Please make your own calculations where necessary. ***As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- 2 cups almond flour or ground almonds, 200g. Reduce by 2 tablespoons if using extra fine almond flour
- 3 tablespoon whey protein powder or egg white protein
- 3 tbsp psyllium husk powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- optional: zest of 1 orange or ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tsp inulin
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1-3 tablespoon powdered sweetener to taste, optional
- 2 eggs, large room temperature
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- ¼ cup melted butter 50g
- scant ¼ cup greek yoghurt 50g, room temperature
- ⅓ cup lukewarm water 80ml
- ¼ cup diced prunes 40g
For the Crosses
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 6-7 tablespoon water
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- Stir the yeast and inulin into warm water (40 Celsius / 105 Fahrenheit). Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to proof in a warm place for 5-10 minutes. It should start to bubble and thicken.
- Combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, whey protein powder, psyllium husk, baking powder, cinnamon and orange zest/powdered sweetener, if using) in a bowl and set aside.
- In a food processor or in a bowl using an electric mixer, whisk the ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs and egg whites, melted butter (make sure it's WARM and not HOT) and the proofed yeast mixture.
- Now add the yoghurt and the first half of the flour mix. Blend until combined. Then add the second half of the flour mix. The dough will thicken quickly.
- Now stir in the diced prunes.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper (I used a round pie dish). Wet your hands and form 10 dough balls. Place them in your dish, leaving space around each as the buns will rise.
- Cover again with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm space for 50-60 minutes until the buns have significantly increased in size.
- Towards the end of the 50-60 minutes, preheat the oven to 175 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit.
- Now it's time to make the mixture for the crosses. Mix the coconut flour, water and xanthan gum so you have a soft paste. Fill into a small ziplock bag, snip off one corner and pipe crosses over the buns.
- Bake 15 minutes or until the buns start to brown. Then cover loosely with aluminium foil and bake for another 7-10 minutes. Total baking time should be around 22-25 minutes.
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Hi Tina, I did not use defatted almond flour. It was regular almond flour. Depending on where you are in the world, Amazon will link to different products.
If I were to make these hot cross buns what can I use in place is inulin. Not something that I would like to buy especially if only used in a small quantity and possibly not used again
Just use sugar or honey instead. You need something that the yeast can feed on. There should be none left after baking.
If I use cranberries shall I soak them first?
You could - but dry them off properly before you put them in 🙂
Charmaine van Rooyen
This recipe is an absolute game changer for me, i did add some sweetener to my second batch, it was absolutely fantastic!
Hi, did you bake the buns? How did they turn out in the end? First of all, it's always helpful to check the images for dough texture - it should definitely not be soggy, but quite firm. Maybe you used psyllium and not psyllium powder? It's something that is easy to get mixed up. Psyllium powder is twice as absorbent and this could have been the reason why your dough did not firm up as expected.
As for the sweetness, I did not think it needed sweetener in the dough as I was already adding the prunes. But you can, by all means, add a tablespoon or 2 if you prefer sweet buns! let me know if you thought this was helpful 🙂
The buns are being eaten by my husband who reckons he likes them toasted with lots if butter and stilton cheese.
You're right - I did use psyllium husks. I didn't realise there was a difference. I do find it difficult here in the UK to get all of the ingredients.
I don't know if I could change any of the quantities to make the difference I need. I may experiment.
Thank you for your comment. By the way, I am enjoying a number of your other recipes though like your amazing chocolate cake.
Hi Caz, just double the amount of psyllium husks and you can use them in the recipe no problem. Wherever you have psyllium husk powder in a recipe, you can sub it with twice the amount of psyllium husks. (unless you measure your ingredients, because then the weight needs to remain the same).
Glad you like the chocolate cake!!!
Thanks for your tip - I'll try doubling the psyllium husks. husks
Hi there! Just wondering if I could leave the buns to rise in the fridge overnight, bring to room temp in morning and then cook? Would that work? Xx Arabella
hi Arabella, because it's yeast I would not mess with the temperature. Yeast likes it warm, so you would not get much of a rise in the fridge I would think. It may be worth doing a Google about this - I'm not really a yeast expert. MAYBE you can let them rise and THEN put them in the fridge. But my best guess would be to not put them in the fridge at all. Let them rise, then keep them at room temperature. Then bake the next morning.
Hi, can I use egg protein powder instead of whey?
I haven't tried this, but I think any protein powder should work. It may change the taste a bit.
Is there a swap for the psyllium husk? That gives me stomach distress.
I haven't tried the recipe without it. you could try about 4-5 additional tablespoons of almond flour. From my experience, psyllium absorbs A LOT of liquid, that's why I'd increase the amount. Alternatively, you could try to use flax (3 tbsp). My feeling is though that its taste may overpower and you won't get that hot cross bun experience you're after. Another possibility is to add 2-3 tbsp of coconut flour. Note that all these suggestions are starting points. You'll have to be the judge of whether your dough is a good consistency and add more of whatever you choose to use if necessary. Hope this helps and happy baking!
Hi Karin, not entirely sure how much Coconut flour I used, just added a bit at a time until it looked the consistency in your picture it probably about a quarter to a third of a cup, I did need quite a lot. Bought some more Almond flour that is is more like the one I normally use.
Yum yummity.yum. As it is Good Friday tomorrow gave these a go. Lovely. The batch of almond flour I have is a bit course so was rather wet, added coconut flour to get the right texture. I know you say orange zest is optional but it does really give the buns a more authentic hot cross bun flavour. Thanks again Katrin for another stunning recipe, Can’t wait to try the sweet buns you posted recently
Can I substitute Flax seed for psyllium ?
I think it would probably work, the two are pretty much interchangeable. I find that flax has a stronger taste than psyllium though, so the flavour would change.
I am in the habit of using collagen peptides in my baking. Do you think this could replace the whey protein?
Hi Anne, I don't have any experience with collagen peptides, so I cannot guarantee it would work. It would be an experiment 🙂
Hi Norma I assume you mean to ask whether you can use stevia instead of the inulin? That's a no, unfortunately 🙂
Hi Jane it's all explained in the post. The psyllium is really high in fibre, that's why the recipe is technically zero carbs. However, we have to take into consideration the sugar content, so you can see that as your "net carbs" as there are carbs in sugar.
Hello, recipe looks great. I’ve got a query about the protein powder, I don’t have any. Is it crucial to the recipe?
Hi Katherine, protein powder does help with the structure of the buns and makes it fluffier, that's why I decided to use it. I think it's worth while having in the house - I like to use it in granolas also, for an extra protein kick, such as this low carb granola. In its place I might use 3 tbsp almond flour plus 1 tsp xanthan gum (again, for structure) or maybe 2 tbsp almond flour and 1 tbsp flaxseed meal, but that would be an experiment. I want these buns to be a success for you, so if you decide to use a substitution, I have my fingers crossed.