By Dennis Prescott
Updated March 31, 2015
Hot Cross Doughnuts With Orange-Whiskey Glaze
Credit: © Dennis Prescott

Each year, millions of people celebrate Good Friday with traditional hot cross buns—deliciously glazed sweet buns rooted in hundreds of years of culinary history. The question: Will it doughnut? Most definitely, yes.

Here's my version of this classic recipe, using an orange whiskey glaze and cream cheese frosting crosses. Deep-fried and delicious, these are the perfect way to start your Easter weekend.

Hot Cross Doughnuts With Orange-Whiskey Glaze


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Canola oil

Orange Glaze

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, soak raisins and sultanas in whiskey.

In a saucepan, combine sugar and milk and heat over medium-low until the sugar dissolves and the milk is warm (do not boil). Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast activates.

While the yeast is activating, combine 5 cups of flour, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk-yeast mixture to the flour, along with 2 eggs and sugar, and knead on medium speed for 8 minutes, until the dough comes together.

Drain raisins and sultanas, reserving the whiskey for the orange glaze.

With the mixer still running, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until it disappears into the dough. Add remaining cup of flour, raisins and sultanas and continue to knead until a dough ball forms (about 5 to 6 more minutes).

Place dough ball in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Take dough from bowl and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick with a 3 1/2-inch cutter cut into doughnuts. Using a shot glass, punch out doughnut holes.

Knead together the remaining dough and repeat the process. You should get 14 doughnuts total.

Cover doughnuts and allow them to rise a second time, about 45 minutes.

While the doughnuts are rising, make the glaze. In a large bowl, combine icing sugar, orange juice, milk, vanilla and 1 shot of reserved whiskey and whisk until smooth.

Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a large Dutch oven to 350°. Working in batches, fry doughnuts, 1 1/2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown.

Immediately dunk cooked doughnuts in the glaze to coat and cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Fill a piping bag with icing and pipe crosses on cooled doughnuts.