Hot cross buns on test

Which hot cross buns should grace your table this Easter?
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01.Best of the buns


Despite having been on supermarket shelves since January, for many of us hot cross buns are an Easter-only treat. So now, with Easter rapidly approaching, we’ve done the hard work for you and found the best bun for you and yours.

After raiding Sydney supermarkets and chain bakeries for traditional fruit buns (none of those chocolate or fruitless impostors), Fiona Mair, home economist from CHOICE's test kitchen, applied her expert judgement. She was joined by 18 hungry staff volunteers with a penchant for spicy fruit buns who also applied their taste buds. In the end they came to very close agreement on which buns were best.

What makes a good hot cross bun?

Fiona says a good hot cross bun should have:

  • a thin but firm crust, with a shiny top
  • a firm but not doughy crumb
  • an even distribution of fruit
  • even air holes
  • have a brownish dough (from the spice) and a golden top.

 So which ones fit the bill?

The podium finishers...

Baker’s Delight Hot Cross Buns

Cost per bun: $1.17 (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Very good shape and size, nicely glazed, lots of fruit and a golden brown colour. Yeasty, spicy aroma, soft plump fruit – delicious!” 10/10

Staff: Scored highest overall, with 14 out of 18 rating it one of their favourites. “Lovely – I liked the glaze on top – nice flavour and texture.”

Coles Bakery Hot Cross Buns Fruit

Cost per bun: 67c (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Very nice appearance – shiny, sticky top, nice colour; nice flavour, good amount of fruit and spice.” 8/10

Staff: Scored third-highest overall. “Delicious – lots of plump fruit and nice texture, nice colour too.”

Brumby’s Bakery Hot Cross Buns

Cost per bun: $1.22

Fiona says: “Not glazed, a pale golden colour; soft crumb and crust; sweet slightly spicy taste – good overall but appearance lets it down.” 7/10

Staff: Scored second highest overall. “A nice bun, good spice and fruit and good texture. Very tasty.”

The rest ...

Bakers Life Fruit Indulgence Hot Cross Buns (Aldi)

Cost per bun: 58c (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Looks home-made, slightly glazed, golden brown; soft crust, soft crumb, slightly dense and dry; good amount of plump fruit; slightly stale, best toasted.” 6/10

Staff: Came fourth overall, with five listing it one of their favourites – but five listing it as one of their least favourites!

“Looks nice, good fruit content.”

“Not mind blowing but OK. Looks nice and brown and wholesome-ish.”

Tip Top Café Range Hot Cross Bun

Cost per bun: $1.00 (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Good appearance, nice golden brown crust and crumb, little spice flavour and aroma, fruit limited and unevenly distributed – OK but limited in flavour.” 6/10

Staff: “Show me the fruit! Looks nice though, and quite tasty despite lack of fruit”.

Tip Top Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Cost per bun: 88c (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Good appearance, no glaze, golden brown; good texture; not much fruit or spice – OK but limited in flavour.” 6/10

Staff: “Tough to find any fruit at all. Quite bland, texture OK, appearance not bad”

Woolworths Fruit Bun Hot Cross

Cost per bun: 73c (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “No glaze, good size, golden colour; slightly dry in some areas; slightly bland flavour, limited in spices – OK overall, better heated.” 6/10

Staff: “Good appearance, but lacking any great taste”

Bowen Island Bakery

This Sydney-based award-winning bakery distributes products nationally. We bought fresh from the bakery.

Cost per bun: $2.13 (in pack of six)

Fiona says: “Looks home-made, nice shape and shine on crust; good aroma, yeasty; heavy, dense raw dough towards bottom; slightly sour. Would have rated higher but not cooked properly.” 5/10

Staff: “Sugary bun, very dense, lots of fruit, not cooked through the whole way”

My Italian Bakery

This Sydney-based Italian bakery distributes to Italian grocers.

Cost per bun: $1 (in a pack of six)

Fiona says: “Not glazed, too pale in colour, slightly yeasty; plump but limited fruit; soft dry crumb. OK but too pale.” 5/10

Staff: This bun rated lowest overall, and being an Italian-style bun was very different to the other hot cross buns.

“Not much to look at, very white. Fruit had sunk to the bottom.”

But some liked them:

“Despite looking positively anaemic, quite tasty and nice texture.”


If you’re buying them on Thursday to eat on Good Friday, you might want to warm them up – they may not be at their best the day after baking. Having said that, the Coles buns we bought were baked the previous day, and were tested straight from the packet without warming or butter - and rated very well.

For more on groceries, see our Food and drink section.



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