Butter Buns

Butter buns

Update January 2020 – I have kindly been given the recipe from an old local bakery and so have made a video demonstrating the recipe for these buns. You can watch the video below or on my YouTube channel. You can also find the alternative filling in this post.

These are the buns that I dream of. I do actually dream about them. When I was young you could buy these from an Italian family bakery that had shops in Shrewsbury and other local towns. They were my all time favourite cake and one that I would choose every time I saw them on their stainless steel platter. The memory of the taste has stayed with me and when the café doors were closed for the final time, it remained just that, a memory. Many times in recent years I have thought about how I might go about making them, but I couldn’t get my head around how you might layer the bun and enclose all that buttery goodness.

A few weeks ago a lady contacted me asking if I had the recipe for the Shrewsbury Butter Bun. Before she contacted me it never occurred to me that  the butter bun was a local phenomenon. Of course, now I realise it is.  A few weeks prior to this I found out that a friend’s husband had family connections with the café and I was considering whether she might think I was mad if I asked her if he knew the secret to the butter bun. The two things happening so close together felt like fate and I knew that it was time I got my act together and found out how I could go about making the butter bun.

Learn to make the Shropshire Butter Bun and other delicious buns on my online course

I haven’t asked my friend’s husband. I thought it best not to ask him to reveal family secrets. But I did find an entry for butter buns on the internet which revealed the folding technique. At last, the answer to all my dreams. I can’t find the link again, which is frustrating, but if I do I will post it here. I have used the recipe that I teach for all my enriched dough recipes on the bread making course. It’s a recipe that can be adapted for a fruit bun, chelsea bun, iced finger etc.

I have trialled these twice now, with success each time. I was frustrated with the first batch that all the sugary butteriness oozed out during the baking. With the second batch I tried sealing the bun with a little milk to prevent the leakage. I now realise that you just can’t seal them, and this is the point. All that sugary, butteriness gathers in the tray and encrusts the bottom of the butter bun. May it ooze for all its worth, enough of the filling manages to stay in to create the delicious buttery layers.

These little beauties are now going to be one of the choices for students to make during the enriched dough part of the bread making course so that I can share the butter bun love with as many people as possible. I urge you to get out your flour and make some as soon as you possibly can.

Makes 10 buns

Lightly grease two baking trays. Oven temperature, 220°c, gas mark 7 or the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga.

For the buns
300g strong white flour (bread flour)
250g plain white flour
10g fine salt
7g easy bake yeast (instant yeast) or 10g fresh yeast (the fresh yeast can be dissolved in a little of the warm water that you will be using for the recipe)
50g caster sugar
150ml warm milk
150ml warm water ( I add boiling water to cold milk and that way both get warm, just make sure that the liquid is only hand hot or you will kill the yeast)
50g butter
1 egg

For the filling
150g softened butter
150g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste or extract

For the glaze
50 ml milk or water
50g caster sugar


In a large bowl mix together the flours, salt, yeast and sugar. Pour in the water, milk, egg and add the cubed butter. Mix together well ( I use my hands like a claw) and then tip out onto a work surface (no extra flour needed) and knead for about 10 minutes until feeling smooth and elastic or you can use the stretch and fold method or use your stand mixer. The dough will be sticky during the kneading process, which is fine. Better sticky than dry.

Form the dough into a ball, and place into a bowl and leave to rise until double the original size, covered with a large bag or lightly oiled clingfilm. With all of the sugar, milk, egg and butter this dough will take longer to rise than a bread dough. In a cool kitchen expect this to be about two hours, less in a warm kitchen.

In a bowl mix together the softened butter, caster sugar and vanilla paste for the filling.

Place the sugar and milk or water for the glaze in a small pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Set aside.

Once the dough has doubled in volume, take it carefully out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a sausage shape and cut into ten equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Take one ball and roll out thinly into a circle. Place a teaspoon of the filling mixture in the middle of the circle. Fold over the circle to create a semi-circle. Flatten the dough over the butter and press the seam down well. Place a second teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the semi-circle. Fold the dough over to create a triangle. Flatten again and press the seam well (See pics below). Place onto a lightly greased tray and repeat with the other balls of dough. Leave to rise for 20 -30 minutes. Place on the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga, or onto the middle shelf of an oven preheated to 200°c, gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until golden.  Glaze the buns whilst hot with the sugar and milk using a pastry brush. Leave to settle on the tray for ten minutes, in this time they will have sucked back up some of the sugary butteriness that has oozed out, and then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Butter bun fold, stage 1
Butter bun fold, stage 1
Butter bun fold, stage 2
Butter bun fold, stage 2
Butter bun fold, stage 3
Butter bun fold, stage 3
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118 thoughts on “Butter Buns”

  1. These sound ridiculously good. Dangerous, though – I’d eat far too many. Funnily enough there was an Italian baker near where I lived many years ago that made a sort of buttery bun. I’ve no idea if the recipe came from Italy or England but I seem to remember that they had a bit of a hazelnut flavour about them.

    1. I like the sound of the hazelnut flavour. That may be an idea for a bit of recipe development. They are dangerously good and my stomach doesn’t approve quite as much as my head does. But they are worth it.

  2. Well I have bookmarked and will give these a try for sure. The name alone has me feeling quite giddy; I can hear them calling to me gently, but steadily. I’ve just posted about a lost bun in our area, two local buns lost and found 🙂

  3. Oooooh, they look so good. Really rustic and wholesome. And at first when you mentioned the ‘folding’ thing, I thought ‘Oh no, too difficult’ but that is quite do-able! Yum. xCathy

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  6. I love butter buns! I’ve been looking for a recipe for these for so long!
    My parents & grandparents grew up in Shropshire and have been pestering me to make some. These worked beautifully, thank you for sharing this.

  7. Last week I found the most gorgeous butter buns after years of searching, the shop is called Hignetts in Pontesbury 3 miles from Shrewsbury I am now left wanting more but unfortunately I live 40 miles away.

    1. Thanks for the heads up, I will take a detour to try them one of these days. You could always try your hand at these and then you could have them whenever you want without the trip. Let me know if you do.

    2. Higgies is AMAZING. I’m coming back to the UK soon and will be heading there for their butter buns. Then George’s fish and chip shop round the corner.

    1. Hi Sam, It will depend on a number of factors, how warm the liquids were when you added them. A warm liquid will make the yeast work quicker, but make sure it is only warm. Yeast is killed at 50 degrees celsius. If your kitchen is warm the dough will rise faster too. Enriched dough takes longer to rise than a bread dough because of the sugar, butter and milk in there all slowing the yeast activity down. I would say that if you have a kitchen of about 20 degrees celsius and you have used warm (not hot) liquid it will take about one and a half hours for the first rise. It should double in size. If you have added cold liquids and you have a cold kitchen it will take longer, but it will develop a better flavour. You could also make the dough the night before you want to make the buns with a cold liquid and pop the dough in the fridge overnight. This will give the dough lovely flavour development. Fetch it out in the morning and it should have started to rise and be almost ready. Allow it to come to room temperature and get on with the rest of the recipe. I hope all of this makes sense and that you end up with delicious butter buns.

      1. Thank you! That’s very helpful! Haven’t had these since I was a kid from TO Williams of Wem so in hoping they turn out nice!

      2. Oh the memories of these as a child..I make them regularly now..sometimes adding ground almonds into the paste or rolling like chelsea buns and using almond flakes instead of fruit..Shrewsbury lass loves these 😋😋

  8. I grew up in Shriewsbury and Butter Buns were an after school treat at Sidoli’s, sadly no more. There was a bakery in Welshpool that did them, closed too now. Looking forward to making these fof a New Year treat. Thank you for the recipe.

  9. These look amazing! I’m trying to translate some terminology in my head from that side of the pond to this (USA). Would your “easy yeast” be the same or similar to our “instant yeast” or “quick rise yeast” as opposed to the regular variety do you think? I’m also not familiar with “strong white flour” as we’ve just go the regular sort and bread flour.

    1. Hi Tandaina, I am glad you have found the recipe. Sorry about the confusion, easy bake is the same as instant yeast. It is the yeast that you can add without hydrating first. Strong white flour is flour with a higher gluten content than plain or all purpose flour so bread flour would be the one to use. Please let me know how you get on. Best wishes Kath

  10. ‘Butter buns’ also go by the name ‘sugar buns’. You can find them at a small bakery chain called Catherine’s with shops in both Bridgnorth and shifnal if you are local to Shropshire. Coincidentally I introduced my boyfriend to these sugary messy treats only yesterday!

  11. Hi … So glad I found your post have been looking for years for a recipe for the butter bun… almost so that I stated to think I had dreamed it up . I went to collage at Radbrook in the eightys and they were made fresh every day to sell in the refrectory . A very popular breakfast treet yum yum

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  13. I’ve known these as Tywyn buns, still a big hit there, local bakery sells out by 10am. Going to give these a go!

  14. I made these for the first time last night and my friend said they were the best he’d ever had (& he’s even had 1 from Hignetts!). I felt very proud. Thank you very much for the recipe! I will definitely making them again!

  15. Maybe it’s a Shropshire thing because DeGrays cafe in Ludlow used to make the most amazing butter buns too. Unfortunately it closed and took the recipe with the closure. Moo King forward to trying out this recipe though 😀

    1. I made a batch shortly after finding this recipe and while they came out a little tougher than I remember them being (almost certainly my poor baking skills) the family absolutely loved them. For what it’s worth you can easily freeze excess dough and use it another time. I put half the dough after raising in a plastic bag and froze for a couple of weeks – after defrosting it rose again happily and cooked as well as the first batch.
      I’m about to make the family happy again and go make some more 🙂

  16. On the subject of “Tywyn buns”, I’ve been searching for authentic ones for many years having never forgotten them from childhood holidays during the 1960’s. I have been back a few times over the years; work occasionally takes me there; and there is a bakery that sells these Butter Buns, and lovely they are, however, I think the original Tywyn buns had honey in the filling which took them to another level!. Maybe the “Tywyn filling” substitutes honey for the castor sugar?
    There were two places that sold them, the “Dorothy Café” in the main street was one and I think they baked them out the back, but for the very best ones we used to go to Ivor who had a bakery down a pathway at the side of the church where you could stand just inside the doorway and watch him and his assistant at work. Ivor was also the church organist if I remember correctly. I have posted this information in various places over the years but so far I have found no one who remembers Ivor and his very special Tywyn Buns.

    1. Hi Steve, just been speaking to my Nan who use to live in Tywyn..
      We are planning on making butterbuns to bring back some memories 🙂
      Richie Lewis baker at Porthgkwin stores (who owned it) was the organist at Tywyn Methodist church. This may help with your search.

    2. I grew up in Aberdyfi, 4 miles from Tywyn and the bakery there sold honey buns, later known by me as butter buns. I believe they were invented either in Tywyn or Dolgellau. They were folded and contained either honey or brown sugar and had a crusty toffee base like lardie cake does. I found them years later in Gloucestershire where I now live and got quite excited as I had not seen them since leaving Wales in 1980. You can buy them in Tywyn now, there are 2 places to buy them. They can be plain or they can contain a few currants or sultanas.

    3. graham grimmett

      Just been searching for Tywyn buns, I remember them from holidays in the 60’s the baker would drive onto the campsite (rough field , chemical toilets )and sell them still warm from the van.

  17. Hi, well inspired by your recipe here, I will have a go myself at the weekend. My biggest challenge is that I’ve recently been diagnosed as coeliac so I need to make gluten-free enriched dough and the available flours are not great to work with! I’ll keep you posted,

    1. Oh no Steve I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, although having the diagnosis is good as it enables you to get better. It will be a challenge to recreate them with gluten free flour but I am very interested in how you get on. Keep me posted.

      1. I remember butter buns from Cam Bakery near Dursley – my friend Jacquie would bring them into work on a Friday, still warm. This was when I first started work, nearly thirty-five years ago. I’m glad to hear they can still be got in Dursley.

        A few years later I moved to Shropshire and remember that whenever my parents went into Shrewsbury they would bring back goodies from Sidoli’s bakery – although it was usually yumyums that they brought.

        Sadly I live in East Anglia these days but I still have family in the West Country, so next time I’m over that way …

    2. Hi Steve. I know your original post was a long time ago but I wondered if you ever did try making gluten free butter buns? And if you did, do you have any tips? Thanks

  18. Hello there!
    I have also been dreaming for years about very similar buns that we used to buy in the Spar bakery in Machynlleth on family holidays… this was at least 40 years ago!
    Until now I had failed to find a recipe to re create them but these look so similar! Do you think it would work if I fill them with honey instead of the vanilla mixture? I’m going to experiment!
    Thank you for posting this!

    1. Hi Victoria, please to bring back happy memories. I haven’t tried mixing honey and butter (instead of sugar and butter), but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how you get on.

  19. ohhhh! I’ve just seen the above posting from Steve!!!
    How wonderful !!! 🌞😀 The Spar must have got them in from Tywyn!!

  20. I used to buy honey buns ifrom TO Eilliams n Whitchurch, Shropshire – they were butter buns with honey. I live 10 mins from Hignetts in Pontesbury and they are the best I’ve tasted! Tip, if you want to sample the butter buns, get there early as they sell out very quickly! I will be trying your recipe! Thank you! 😀

  21. Surely if Hignetts sell out so early .it would prompt them to make more hence keeping more customers happy and making more profit..Just business sense..

  22. I used to make these butter buns in Sidolis in Shrewsbury in the 1960s. I can’t comment on the recipe, since I was provided with the dough. On the method the tins were greased with a thin layer of the butter cream (they were awful to clean). The layering of the buttercream described above is accurate. Four of the quadrant buns, were then placed together to form a circle. Finally we had a circular press, maybe about 6 inches diameter, which was used to seal the four buns. The buns were baked, and separated after baking.

    1. Oh Alan, you don’t know how happy your comment has made me. I love that I was at least part of the way there. The question is did you ever eat them or could you no longer face a butter bun after working with them all day long?

  23. So glad I have finally found a recipe for these amazing little bundles of guilty pleasure! My Dad LOVES these so much that my Uncle, who lives next door to Hignetts, sends them to him in London through the post! He’s so excited that I have found a recipe for them and will pestering me to make them immediately. Thanks so much!

  24. Paula Burnell

    I’ve been lusting after these buns since the 1970s when the shop in Liverpool where we bought them closed. Me and my Mum were addicted to them. I was so excited when I found this recipe and they turned out exactly as I remember them. Thank you from the bottom of my butter bun heart 😘

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying. I am so pleased to have helped. Butter buns seem to have a special place in lots of people’s hearts. Not least mine. I am glad they can fill a butter bun shaped hole in your life.

  25. When I lived in Shrewsbury I used to work in a bakery that made these ,as a Saturday job and they used to go so fast – So excited to see this recipe many years later – Can’t wait till tomorrow now 😍 – Thanks for sharing x

  26. Last week I made Butterbuns from your recipe, Ever since that first batch my waking moments and in my dreams I have thought of my next day off when I can make them again. I have very fond memories of growing up with these Buns as part of Shrewsbury life. Everyone who tried one asked for me to make them again, I cant wait to get started.
    Yours is the only recipe I have found so I thank you

  27. Rachel Cherrington

    Happy to see this recipe. I’m from Stockport originally and remember buns shaped like this, but they were called honey buns. The last place I bought them was from Pilkingtons bakery on Bramall Lane, but no one seems to make them any more. I will certainly be trying your recipe, but perhaps swapping the sugar for honey in the filling…
    I got Louis Troyano’s recipe book as he had a recipe for Stockport honey buns, but they weren’t like this, so not the ones I was looking for. Can’t wait to try these…

    1. Sorry Rachel, I thought I had replied to this. I can’t honestly remember. A straight swap would work, but check by tasting as you mix it into the butter. Some honeys are powerful tasting and so using sugar as well will help to reduce that powerful honey taste.

  28. I am so excited to have found this recipe thank you , even though I’m not very good at bread I will give them a try.I used to buy and devour butter buns in Market Drayton back in the seventies from Griffiths bakeries,( they had 2 shops and small cafe) If the shop had run out, I would run down to the other one as fast as I could to see if they had some left as they sold out fast They always had a dusting of icing sugar over the top, absolute buttery sugary bliss!

    1. I am so glad to hear this and to find a fellow butter bun fan. Please do try the recipe and let me know how you get on. I teach bread making classes in Ironbridge and do a course called Sweet Dough on which we make butter buns, so if you still live in Shropshire you might enjoy the day. My courses are all listed at http://www.vegpatchkitchen.co.uk

  29. This is the third time that I have baked Butter Buns for my local charity coffee morning and every time the elderly attendees come close to violence trying to get one.

  30. Very interested to hear about butter buns. Like a few of the contributors, I know Tywyn well having been brought up there eating Tywyn Butter Buns, definately made in Porthgwyn. Ivor the Baker was a good friend of my family and had his own bakery, went everywhere on a bike and lived well into his eighties helping my father in his market garden.

  31. I stumbled across butter buns, by chance in Shrewsbury Market Hall yesterday. I didn’t know what they were but Marion on the bakery stall ensured me that they were one of her best sellers. I duly bought some and Oh my God! They are really scrummy and I’ll be back next week for more!!

  32. Fiona Edwards

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I back all the time for my family and friends and these are a big hit.

  33. Just making these. We used to buy butter buns/sugar buns from a bakery in Oswestry called Clays hoping these are similar. X

  34. Thank you so much I made butter buns today and I turned into a 6 year old who used to drag her nan down to the bakery every Saturday for a treat! Thank you

  35. Like you I didn’t realise that these were so local to Shropshire until a discussion about favourite cakes with 3 friends recently came to an amazed pause when I mentioned them as a favourite. Puzzled looks and my inability to give an adequate description didn’t help. Then today we had to visit The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and there in the cafe were …. yes butter buns! Had one of course. Don’t know where they buy them from but they are GOOD!

  36. We used to love ‘Honey Buns’ from an independent bakery in Ruthin
    N. Wales until, very sadly, they closed down years ago.
    I recently spotted a similar bun in a bakery in Ludlow and they call them ‘Butter Buns’ absolutely delicious.
    So thrilled to have found them again and delighted that they freeze beautifully!
    Thank you for publishing this recipe, it looks the same so I’ll be baking some soon!

    1. I have heard about honey buns but not tried one, if you do try the recipe replace some of the sugar with honey when mixing the butter paste to get the taste you remember. I hope you enjoy them.

  37. We bought honey buns from the bakery in Aberdyfi in the 1970’s. They were allegedly invented by the Porthgwyn baker in Tywyn 4 miles away. But when I discovered them again years later in Dursley Gloucestershire they were called butter buns. They were the same as honey buns. So I think is just a different name for the same thing. I can still buy them there today, also from Burns the Bread in Evesham who do a version too.

  38. Just made these they are having their second prove, 10 mins left till they go in the oven. Can’t wait to try them😁
    We used to get them from Murray’s the bakers in Bishops Castle when I was little

  39. I’ve just made these as I also remember honey buns from when I was a kid in Gloucestershire. Me and my sister have been challenging each other to find the recipe and make them. 👩🏼‍🍳
    I replaced half of the sugar with honey for the filling and they were perfect!
    I also dusted them with a little icing sugar before serving 😋
    Thank you

    1. I can still buy them at the bakery in Dursley, nr Stroud and one in Evesham, can’t remember the name of it. They do them with and without currants.

  40. I grew up in Newport, Shropshire, and used to buy butter buns as a treat from Addison’s, a local bakery. They were delicious. I had no idea they were a Shropshire delicacy, but have looked for them for years elsewhere with no success. I was reminded of them when I first made kouign amanns about 5 years ago (after seeing them on Great British Bake Off). They also create a buttery, sugary middle that reminded me instantly of my childhood treat. I will definitely give these a go!

  41. OMG I have been thinking about trying to find out from my local Baker how to make these. Will defo be trying this recipe as looks exactly what I’m looking for. I live 28 miles from shrewsbury in a little town called ludlow and there was only ever 1 shop I could get these from as the ones in Walton’s aren’t the same. There nice but I like more filling. Anyway thank you. Will let you know how they turn out xx

    1. I am glad you have found the recipe. I think you can get them from Ludlow Food Centre when life is not in lockdown. Have you tried those? If you make these just be very generous with the butter and sugar filling.

  42. Geraint Cartwright

    Honey buns are still occasionally available in the bakery/cafe in the square at Dolgellau. Excellent, but usually sold out by the time I get there. Now I shall have a go at this recipe!

  43. Geraint Cartwright

    Honey buns are occasionally vailable from the cafe/bakery in the square in Dolgellau. Sadly, by the time I get there they will be sold ou more often than not. Now. I shall have a go at this recipe!

  44. Thank you for the recipe! I have been dreaming about these, never saw them anywhere else. Never had them since I left school in Shrewsbury. We called them honey buns.

  45. Thank you for the recipe! I have been dreaming about them since I left school in Shrewsbury! We called them honey buns. Couldn’t find them anywhere else. My tray is on the cooling rack, can’t wait to taste them!

  46. A family ran bakery in my town in the Cotswolds would sell these. Was my Saturday treat every week as a child. Can’t wait to try to recreate them!

    1. You can still buy them in Dursley bakery where I now live and an Evesham bakery in the Cotswolds, but I grew up with them in Aberdyfi, Tywyn and Dolgellau, Wales, where they were invented at Porthgwyn Stores, Tywyn in the 50’s,.Kate

  47. Liz Overstall

    I have never tasted Shropshire butterbuns, but I do love Southwold butterbuns which are still made there. That recipe is a closely guarded secret so (naturally) I was keen to crack it. I have experimented with the Shropshire recipe using a sourdough enriched with butter and egg, and flavoured with a little cardamom. I fill and fold the dough three times. (Yes you can do it!) This makes them particularly yummy. Finally I cook for 25mins and – just as they start to brown on top – I turn the butterbuns over in the leaking filling, so they become sugary all over. Then I cook for another minute, watching like a hawk to make sure they don’t burn. One problem… they don’t keep.

  48. I have been making these regularly (to the horror of our waistlines) and swop the vanilla for orange or almond essence depending on what we fancy. Just the easiest recipe, and I always use baking paper as that ensures all the overspills end up as a delicious sweet brittle without having the scrape the tray for them!

  49. Omg I used to work in the bakery you are talking about it was Sidolis!!! I now live in Australia and no one has every heard of a Butter Bun!!! ( they think it’s just a buttered bap lol I used to have a butter bun every morning fresh off the delivery truck lol 😂 I hope I can make them with your recipe Thankyou so much for sharing!!!!

    1. How wonderful, I am glad you have found the recipe and I hope that when you make them it will bring back happy memories. What a great job to have had, especially if you got a butter bun every morning.

  50. This is fantastic. I used to buy these in Edgeley Stockport at Mr Reeder’s bakery and I too used to dream about them.

    1. Being from Tywyn and now living in South Wales I always make a point of buying these when I’m home (if I get to the bakery in time! ) Today with covid restrictions lifted my son went to visit! He must have brought out the shop! So I have just enjoyed a delicious treat! And now I have the recipe too

  51. I stumbled across your recipe a few years ago in search of one for Sugar Buns that I used to enjoy as a child. We used to have them as a treat from Whitneys bakery in Bridgnorth when visiting our grandparents. These are incredibly close to their recipe and even my born and raised Shropshire father said they’re a really good match.

  52. I remember these from the bakery in Cressage, I had no idea they were peculiar to Shropshire (but it would explain why I’ve not found a bakery that sells them anywhere else I have lived!). I don’t remember any lemon flavour, so I’m going to try your original recipe this afternoon. Thank you!