Chelsea Buns (British Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins) Recipe

British Bites

Classic british dishes updated for the modern American cook.

Chelsea Buns (British Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins) Recipe

[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

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  • Yield:makes 8 buns
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours 30 minutes


  • For the Dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Icing:
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners sugar


  1. 1.

    In a large bowl combine the flour and salt, then make a well in the center. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the center of the well. In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until the butter has melted and the milk is just warm. Allow to cool for 2 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Pour the milk into the center of the flour well. Mix gently with a wooden spoon then add beaten egg. Mix until a dough forms. Knead with hands for 5 minutes then place in a clean bowl, and coat with thin layer of vegetable oil. Leave to rise in a warm place, covered with a clean dish towel, until roughly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  3. 3.

    Press down dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface. Roll dough with a rolling pin into a rough 8- by 13-inch rectangle with the large edge running parallel to the counter's edge. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Brush dough with butter, making sure to leave a 1-inch border along the top edge. Add raisins and brown sugar on top of butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Gently roll away from you to form a 13 inch-wide tube. Use a thin, sharp knife to cut the tube into 8 equal pieces.

  4. 4.

    Butter an 8- by 11-inch baking dish with remaining tablespoon of butter, then place rolls in buttered dish. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Let the buns rise in a warm place until doubled again, about 30 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  5. 5.

    Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup milk and the confectioner's sugar in a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Pour over Chelsea buns while still warm. Serve warm.