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What Is an Iced Bun?

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

An iced bun is a sweet type of bread-based roll that is often topped with thin, sugar-based frosting or other sweet garnishments. The base may also be flavored with fruit, giving the bun a soft center filling. It is often served as a dessert or snack in British and Scottish cuisine and is often formed into other shapes or decorated with brightly colored icing, particularly for special events.

Yeast is typically the central ingredient in the dough for iced buns. Other ingredients that form the dough include flour, milk, and butter, giving the dough a thick, pliable texture. Depending on the level of sweet flavor that is desired in the bread, sweetening agents such as sugar or honeY may also be added to the dough. Spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, citrus zest, or ground nuts, are also other common flavor variations for iced bun dough.

Raspberry jam is a common filling in iced buns.
Raspberry jam is a common filling in iced buns.

The process of making iced buns begins with mixing the dough and then letting it sit undisturbed to rise until it is approximately double its original size. This rising time gives the bread a fluffy, light texture instead of being dense. The risen dough is then divided into pieces to make up each individual iced bun and can be shaped by hand into ovals or placed into muffin tins or other specialized shaping pans before baking.

Iced bun topping is typically made from icing sugar, also commonly referred to as powdered sugar or confectioners' sugar. The sugar can be thinned out with a variety of liquids to give it a spreadable texture. Common liquid ingredients that are often combined with icing sugar for iced bun topping include water, milk, or lemon juice. The proportions of sugar to liquid depend on the desired texture for the icing. Thicker icings with less liquid tend to be used for a more solid end product that hardens slightly, which may make it more desirable for decorating specific shapes, while thinner icings are often used for lighter drizzling atop the buns.

Although iced buns may be prepared with a basic yeast and sugar based dough and topped with plain icing, they are also often made into different flavor variations. A common recipe variation is raspberry or strawberry, in which jam is spooned into the center of each piece of dough. The edges of the dough may be stretched to cover the jam so that it bakes into a soft center filling. Other common fillings include custard or chocolate.

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Discussion Comments


Using yeast scares me. I'm always afraid it won't proof, or my dough won't rise. I love yeast breads, but I'm just terrified of making them. It's an awful lot of ingredients wasted for a batch of dough not to rise!

Still, iced buns are delicious things, no matter what form they take. I love cinnamon rolls myself, along with honey buns. Those are so good!

I'm thinking yeast-based doughnuts would qualify as iced buns. They may be fried, but they're still yeasty and iced with good things. My favorite are maple glazed doughnuts. Those are just too, too good.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say hot cross buns would fit in this category, along with cinnamon buns, honey buns, sticky buns -- need I go on? I think any yeast-raised sweet bread would be considered an iced bun if it had icing on it, including cinnamon rolls.

My mom has an incredible yeast roll recipe that she got from my grandmother. It's an awesome recipe and makes the best cinnamon rolls you ever thought of. I remember pinching bits of the dough off and eating it because it was so good. But the cinnamon rolls are incredible.

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    • Raspberry jam is a common filling in iced buns.
      By: Roman Ivaschenko
      Raspberry jam is a common filling in iced buns.