Originally comprising two villages, Hutton to the north, and Cranswick to the south, the expansion of the villages has merged them together to form a single village, Hutton Cranswick. However, the individual parts of the village are still often referred to by their separate names and both maintain their individual character. The village has a small railway station, served by Northern Rail services on the Yorkshire Coast Line.
The civil parish is formed by the village of Hutton Cranswick and the hamlets of Rotsea and Sunderlandwick. According to the 2011 UK census, Hutton Cranswick parish had a population of 2,065, an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 2,015.
Historically, Hutton Cranswick was an ecclesiastical parish in the wapentake of Harthill. From 1894 until 1974, Hutton Cranswick was located in Driffield Rural District. Rotsea and Sunderlandwick were merged into Sutton Cranswick in 1935.
In 1974 most of what had been the East Riding of Yorkshire was joined with the northern part of Lincolnshire to became a new English county named Humberside. The urban and rural districts of the former counties were abolished and Humberside was divided into non-metropolitan districts. The new organization did not meet with the pleasure of the local citizenry and Humberside was wound up in 1996. The area north of the River Humber was separated into two "unitary authorities"—Kingston-upon-Hull covering the former City of Hull and its closest environs, and the less urban section which, once again, named itself the East Riding of Yorkshire.