Back in the day, a hot cross bun meant only one thing: a yeasty, sweet, spiced bun full of raisins and mixed peel, decorated with a white cross.
Things have certainly changed. (Traditional hot cross bun purists, you may want to stop reading now.)
These days, even varieties like apple and cinnamon or raspberry and white chocolate hot cross buns fail to raise eyebrows – they're stocked as standard alongside traditional, fruit-free, gluten-free and brioche hot cross buns in all the major supermarkets.
Who knew things could get so complicated?
Well, hold onto your hats (buns?), because we've scoured the internet to find the weirdest and wackiest hot cross bun flavours, bun hacks and hot cross bun products that've been dreamed up around the world.
And if you prefer your buns more traditional, don't miss our taste test review of 21 products to see which store-bought buns taste best.
Woolworths' Cadbury Creme Egg hot cross bun toastie. Image credit: Woolworths.
Cadbury Creme Egg hot cross bun toastie
This intense recipe from Woolworths mashes together two Easter staples – hot cross buns and Cadbury Creme Eggs – and the result is… well, let's just say that it's a sure-fire way to get as much sugar into your gob as possible in one hit.
Basically, you just slap a Cadbury Creme Egg in the middle of your hot cross bun, whack it on the sandwich press and then sit back and enjoy the feeling of your pancreas getting a heck of a workout.
Ready to go there? You'll need a sandwich press that's up to the challenge. Check out our sandwich press reviews to find out which one can handle the ooze.
Vegemite and cheese hot cross buns. Image credit: Vegemite.
The savoury hot cross bun
If you need to give your sweet tooth a break but you're not ready to get off the bun bandwagon, savoury hot cross buns could be the answer to your dilemma.
One particularly divisive recipe was created by the people behind an iconic Australian flavour: Vegemite and cheese hot cross buns.
These savoury snacks have plenty of umami from a quarter of a cup of Australia's favourite salty spread, plus three-quarters of a cup of parmesan cheese.
For the final salty flourish, they're topped off with piped Vegemite crosses. (Although you can probably whip up a reduced-salt version and no-one will ever know: many of the taste-testers in our mighty Mite taste test couldn't tell the difference between regular Vegemite and its reduced-salt version, which was voted as the favourite.)
No way would a Vegemite one ever cross my lips. There are just some things you shouldn't try to fiddle with too muchCHOICE Community member
If you're not a Vegemite fan but you need to give your sweet tooth a rest, there's also cheese and bacon hot cross buns, complete with crispy bacon crosses.
And then there's these hectic kimchi/corned beef/smoked oyster mayo-loaded hot cross buns from Sydney restaurant Bodega.
Bacon hot cross buns? Yes, someone went there. Image credit: delicious.com.au.
Aldi's Hot Cross Bun Gin Liqueur. Image credit: Aldi.
Liquid hot cross buns
This is where things get even weirder. No matter how quirky the flavour, we're used to seeing hot cross buns in solid form, but it seems that some people are keen to push the envelope even further.
Aldi released a hot cross bun gin liqueur in time for Easter this year. Costing $19.99 for 500mL, the 20% alcohol liqueur is a small batch gin blended with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger flavours. It was released on Wednesday 24 February.
Hot cross bun-flavoured plant-based protein. Image credit: Macro Mike.
Now, hot cross buns in alcohol form is something that most of us can probably get behind, but a hot cross bun health product?
An eagle-eyed CHOICE Community member spotted this hot cross bun-flavoured plant protein product online. At $69.95 for a kilo, it's probably the most expensive hot cross bun product we've encountered – and the most unusual.
And with just 152 calories per serve (compared to nearly 300 per serve for the Coles traditional hot cross bun that topped our hot cross bun taste test), it's also a product that helps you work on your buns while chowing down on some buns!
Hot cross buns on ice
What's better than ice cream? Ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate.
When we taste-tested hot cross bun-flavoured ice cream, some taste testers weren't keen on the idea, labelling it a "novelty". But plenty of testers loved the idea. And now it's available in single serves, in a different format.
Both Coles and Woolworths released a hot cross bun ice cream product in 2019 but it appears that Woolworths has dropped the idea, while Coles has doubled down on it, launching its chocolate hot cross bun ice cream sticks ($4 for a 4-pack, on sale at time of writing; normally $5.)