A simple, healthy recipe for hot cross buns muffins (aka muffins that taste like hot cross buns). Lightly sweetened with orange juice and flavoured with spices that remind me of Easter.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, Paleo friendly and super easy!

Nourish 101:

  • These hot cross bun muffins are free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugar making them a great option for those who can’t tolerate these ingredients and are a healthy alternative to commercially baked buns that contain refined flours and sugar.
  • The combination of egg and almond meal provide a source of protein and satiating fats that help to keep you feeling satisfied and nourished.
  • Almonds are also rich in vitamin E and are known to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol lowering your risk of heart disease.
  • By using nutrient-rich ingredients such as almond meal and eggs, the combination of healthy fat and protein help to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
  • These nutrient-rich ingredients will also leave you feeling full and satisfied with smaller servings.
  • Instead of adding sugar or natural sweeteners I decided to use fresh orange juice to lightly sweeten whilst giving it a healthy twist.
  • Made with real food ingredients you can enjoy a yummy snack/ treat knowing its a healthy option.

If you are looking for more healthy treat recipes without added sugar or even some without natural sweeteners, check out my Real Food Recipes e-book.

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Dietary Notes:

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and soy free

Hot Cross Bun Muffins

A simple, healthy recipe for hot cross buns muffins (aka muffins that taste like hot cross buns). Lightly sweetened with orange juice and flavoured with spices that remind me of Easter.
Keyword Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Preservative Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10


  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk (canned)*
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (approx 1 lge orange)
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 cups (200g) almond meal
  • 1 tsp (3g) gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or good quality vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp (2g) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (100g) medjool dates, pitted and chopped**
  • 1 tbsp (20g) coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp (40ml) water
  • 1 Snap-lock bag / piping bag


  •  Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180°C. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk eggs with coconut milk, orange zest and juice. 
  • Add almond meal, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and cloves and mix to combine. 
  • Stir through chopped dates. 
  • Spoon batter into patty/muffins cases. 
  • To make crosses - in a small mixing bowl combine coconut milk, coconut flour and water to make a white paste. 
  • Spoon into a snap lock bag or piping bag. Cut a small corner to make a piping whole and squeeze mixture on top of muffins in a cross design. 
  • Bake in oven for 35-40 mins or until cooked through. Allow to cool. 


Serving Suggestions:
  • Serve warm, toasted or chilled.
Recipe Tips:
  • *Use premium canned (BPA free) coconut milk with no added thickeners or gums. Premium canned coconut milk will give the recipe a delicious creamy tone. You can also use coconut milk (drinking milk/carton) - this will slightly change the texture/flavour but will still work.
  • Be sure to use baking powder that is free from gluten and aluminium.
  • You can adjust the quantity of chopped dates to your liking - to reduce overall (natural) sugar content use half the amount of dates.
  • Swap dates for 1 cup finely chopped apple.
  • Add chopped nuts for a fun crunch.

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Casey-Lee Lyons

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