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Best hot cross buns we tasted: Aldi, Coles, Woolworths, Bakers Delight and more

We taste-tested supermarket and bakery hot cross buns to find the best for your table this Easter.

Last updated: 21 March 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Christmas mince pies have barely left the supermarket shelves when hot cross buns make their appearance, so clearly Australians have quite an appetite for these spicy, fruity baked goods – and not just at Easter.

We tasted 29 hot cross buns – 'traditional' fruit and chocolate varieties, and gluten-free and regular – from national supermarkets Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi, major bakery chain Bakers Delight and membership warehouse Costco, to see which buns are best.

Best traditional fruit hot cross buns

The options when it comes to hot cross bun varieties extend from Iced VoVo to Pizza Shapes, and seemingly everything in between. Despite this, our polls consistently show that a traditional fruit hot cross bun is our favourite.

So for those who'd prefer not to mess with a classic, which traditional buns are best?

Our panel of professionals taste-tested 29 hot cross bun products all up, toasted and untoasted, including 14 traditional fruit varieties (it's a tough gig but somebody's gotta do it). 

And for the second year in a row, Woolworths has taken out the top spot. 

You can compare all products in our full hot cross buns review.

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Woolworths Luxurious Richly Fruited Hot Cross Buns were the favourite traditional bun with our expert testers.

Woolworths Luxurious Richly Fruited Hot Cross Buns

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
  • Toasted score: 72%
  • Fresh (untoasted) score: 72%
  • Price: $1.25 per bun ($5 per 4-pack)
  • Health Star Rating: 3.5
  • Good to know: This bun had the highest fruit percentage out of all the buns we tested (30%); it contains cranberries, candied orange peel and cinnamon myrtle; and the pack price is the same as last year.
  • Experts say:
    • "The bun had a nice shine with an even cross; well baked and when broken it had a nice aroma; the addition of citrus peel and cranberries was good to see."
    • "Pleasant aroma; soft and a nice chew to the texture; not a very strong aroma, but this intensifies on toasting and it has a good level of spice on the palate."
    • "Toasts well; good fruit distribution; better aroma when toasted."

Best chocolate hot cross buns

Why wait for the Easter bunny to bring eggs when you can eat your chocolate in bun form? 

One of the seven chocolate hot cross buns we tested made it onto our recommended list by scoring 70% or more in our taste test.

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If you prefer chocolate chips over dried fruit, the Bakers Delight Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns took line honours in this category.

Bakers Delight Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Toasted score: 78%
  • Fresh (untoasted) score: 71%
  • Price: $1.50 per bun ($9 per 6-pack)
  • Health Star Rating: 1.5
  • Good to know: 25% chocolate, baked on-premises, and the pack price is the same as last year.
  • Experts say:
    • "Nice spicy aroma with sweet chocolatey overtones when melted; even spread of small chocolate chips; soft texture with a slight chew; can taste some spice with the chocolate."
    • "Great product – the appearance was pleasing with a nice chocolate cross; when broken open the aroma of spice and chocolate was evident; the texture was light and the flavour was pleasing with the chocolate coming through in both the untoasted and toasted samples."
    • "Good size and height; lots of chocolate evident; good choc crosses. Bun toasted well; better when toasted as the choc flavour was more evident; choc was quite sweet."

Best gluten-free hot cross buns

Many people need to avoid eating gluten, so we've again included gluten-free traditional fruit and chocolate bun offerings from Coles and Woolworths in our taste test. We also decided to give the gluten-free buns their own category, so the scores have improved since last year (and aren't directly comparable).

Generally speaking the gluten-free buns don't score as well as their regular counterparts, but the best gluten-free traditional and chocolate buns were both from Woolworths this year.

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Woolworths Free From Gluten Hot Cross Buns were the winners of the new gluten-free category this year.

Woolworths Free From Gluten Fruit Hot Cross Buns

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Toasted score: 64%
  • Fresh (untoasted) score: 60%
  • Price: $1.30 per bun ($5.20 per 4-pack)
  • Health Star Rating: 4
  • Good to know: Vegan, no artificial colours or flavours, egg free, dairy free.
  • Experts say
    • "For a gluten-free product this was really good; when toasted this had a pleasing aroma; the flavour profile was quite good; there was a good amount of fruit present; overall good product." 
    • "Good size, shape and glaze; pleasant aroma; a little dry and crumbly with a floury texture when untoasted; good flavour balance; mild spiciness but mainly sultana flavour."
    • "Nicely glazed top; grainy mouthfeel when fresh; nice plump fruit – sultanas and currants evenly distributed; hard cross that aren't pleasant to eat."
Hot Cross Buns 24 Ch -23-1

Prefer your hot cross buns with no gluten and no fruit? The Woolworths Free From Gluten Chocolate Hot Cross Buns impressed our experts.

Woolworths Free From Gluten Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 67%
  • Toasted score: 71%
  • Fresh (untoasted) score: 64%
  • Price: $1.30 per bun ($5.20 per 4-pack)
  • Health Star Rating: 3
  • Good to know: Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa, vegetarian, no artificial colours or flavours, egg free.
  • Experts say: 
    • "Good size and height; lots of choc evident; pleasant choc aroma; good texture that seems crumblier than it is on eating; surprisingly good; even better toasted; toasts well with good texture contrasts."
    • "For a gluten-free product, this was really good; good amount of chocolate and this definitely made all the difference in the flavour; texture was good; toasting the bun enhanced the flavour." 

How we test

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Our CHOICE kitchen team Fiona Mair and Chantelle Dart unpack the products so they can be tasted 'blind'.


We tested hot cross bun products available in major Australian supermarket chains and bakeries, including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Bakers Delight, as well as wholesale warehouse Costco. Traditional fruit buns and chocolate buns, along with their gluten-free varieties, were tested separately. Price is for the pack size specified and bought in Sydney stores in February 2024 (not on special).


Our panel of three experts tasted the hot cross bun samples 'blind' (without knowing the brands) in a randomised order, which was different for each expert. Each bun was tasted fresh (untoasted) and toasted.

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Expert tester Brigid Treloar prepares to sample yet another bun.


The experts independently judged all hot cross bun products. The CHOICE Expert Rating, our overall score, consists of 90% sensory and 10% nutrition (based on the Health Star Rating). Of the 90%, 50% of the score represented the toasted sample and the other 50% represented the fresh (untoasted) sample.

Here is a breakdown of the sensory weightings:

  • flavour (50%), 
  • appearance (20%) 
  • aroma (15%) 
  • texture (15%). 

We recommend traditional and chocolate hot cross buns with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 70% or more, and recommend gluten-free hot cross buns (all varieties) with a score of 60% or more.

Meet our expert taste testers

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(Left to Right) Jane Bardell, Ian Huntley and Brigid Treloar

Brigid Treloar has been a freelance food consultant for over 30 years. The author of eight cookbooks, she also contributes to newspapers and magazines, reviews restaurants, judges cookery and recipe competitions, and judges chocolate in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Competition. 

Brigid has presented specialist cooking classes around Australia and overseas, and often appears on TV and radio. She's an industry assessor for Le Cordon Bleu, advises many of Australia's food companies on product and recipe development, and also provides recipes and cooking information for company websites.

Ian Huntley is a pastry chef by trade and has been in the industry for 35 years. He studied confectionery, cake decorating and bread making in the UK before moving to Australia in the mid 1980s. After five years of working in two of Sydney's top hotels, the InterContinental and the Regent, he started his wholesale patisserie business, supplying desserts and pastries to airlines, department stores, hospitals, restaurants and coffee shops. 

Today Ian is the chair of judges for the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) Professional Bakery competition and chief assessor for patisserie for leading French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu.

Jane Bardell might fill her days checking facts and figures as one of our esteemed CHOICE verifiers, but she spends her weekends and evenings perfecting her brioche, refining her frangipane tarts and decorating cakes for special occasions. She's just as comfortable manipulating data in a spreadsheet as she is shaping a loaf of sourdough, and she's even a multi-award winning pastry chef – if you count the prestigious annual CHOICE staff lemon bake-off.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.