There’s not much that beats a doughy, chewy hot cross bun, slathered with butter. Today, there are more options available than ever – from traditional fruit options to chocolate chip studded dough, and even hot cross bun doughnuts.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best buns of 2021, so you can skip the stodge, and go straight to the good stuff.
The best supermarket hot cross buns
Coles Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns scored the highest on a recent Choice taste test that’s made up of appearance, aroma, texture and flavour. They contain 27 per cent fruit, which is more than any other supermarket contender. They’re “bouncy with quite a lot of fruit and flavour” according to Choice’s pastry chef taste testers. “Coles was clearly the winner in our testing this year, with their hot cross buns coming first in both the chocolate and traditional fruit categories," said CHOICE food editor, Rachel Clemons.
Coming in at second place is Aldi, with their Specially Selected Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns. From the “premium” Aldi range, they’re also full of fruit, and with “a great balance of flavour…and intense ginger aroma."
Coles Chocolate Hot Cross Buns score even more highly than their traditional ones, with “lots of lots of choc chips evident, and a good, chocolatey aroma.” Woolworths Cadbury Chocolate hot cross buns score just under this, although their Traditional Fruit Hot Cross buns were scored almost at the bottom of the list. However, if you’re after an Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun, then Woolies is the place to go. They have more fruit than those from Coles and Aldi.
The best bakery hot cross buns
Bakers Delight Bakers Delight Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns and Choc Chip versions are both worth a try. Their traditional buns have a “great aroma” and are “quite savoury, slightly salty.”
Sonoma Fruit and Spice buns also come recommended, although be warned – there are only four in a pack, whereas most supermarkets and national bakeries sell them in packs of six.
Hot cross buns you can buy online
if you love hot cross buns but would prefer that they were delivered straight to you on the couch, Gourmet Basket have put together an Easter family breakfast hamper, complete with six traditional hot cross buns
It also contains Chocolatier Mini Easter Eggs, two Cadbury Dairy Milk Easter bunnies, T2 English Breakfast Tea Cube, Maggie Beer Quince Paste and Cuvee Grand Cru Chocolate.
The best gluten-free and vegan hot cross buns
Although most supermarkets and bakeries offer a gluten-free Hot Cross Bun, none of them scored brilliantly in Choice’s taste test. The best offering was Coles Chocolate I'm Free From Gluten Wheat & Dairy, which scored a rating of 60 per cent, but the fruit offerings from both Coles and Woolies didn’t stand up well.
If you’re after vegan Hot Cross Buns, there’s plenty of choice. Coles Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns, which is Choice’s best rating Hot Cross Bun is vegan, as is Aldi’s Specially Selected Traditional Fruit bun, and Bakers Delight Bakers Delight Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns. Other options include Aldi Bakers Life Fruit and Woolworths Traditional Fruit buns.
The best independent bakery hot cross buns
If you can get to an independent bakery, there’s no beating a freshly baked hot cross bun. These are some of the best offerings around Australia. Remember, these places get busy, so consider pre-ordering for Easter weekend if you don’t want to miss out.
Where to get the best hot cross buns in Sydney:
If you want brioche buns, then look no further than Flour and Stone. Expect the fluffy sweet dough to have flavours of rosemary and cardamom, sitting under a delicious sugary glaze.
This traditional hot cross bun with a twist is available in all four of Black Star Pastry’s Sydney stores. As well as the traditional raisins, currants, sultanas, cinnamon and whole spice, after the dough is baked, it’s soaked in a frankincense glaze to give it a modern flavour. They’re vegan too.
In several locations across Sydney, the Grumpy Baker uses a Jewish challah dough to give their hot cross buns a rich flavour. They’re studded with raisins, chocolate chips and butter which result in a delicious sticky, fluffy bun.
Where to get the best hot cross buns in Melbourne:
This small batch bakery is known for its hot cross buns, which are full of candied peel and fruit. They’ve got a generous amount of spice, and a sticky cross on top to finish them off.
As well as traditional fruit buns, and ones laced with dark chocolate, Rustica also makes a Hot Cross Bun donut. This is a fried hot cross bun dough, filled with sultanas and currants, a vanilla, cardomon and brandy crème pâtissier, then rolled in cardamon sugar. Yum.
Expect an excellent, traditional hot cross bun from Q le Baker in Prahran. With plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and cardamon, as well as candied orange and orange peel in a sourdough base, they’re delicious.
Where to get the best hot cross buns in Brisbane:
There’s a twist on the classic hot cross bun at Belle Epoque in South Brisbane. Choose from tea-soaked sultanas, cranberries and orange, or chocolate buns with cranberries, orange and tea-soaked figs.
Available in all their branches across Brisbane, Banneton’s buns are packed with fruit. They’re soft and doughy, and toast perfectly. Pile up with butter and enjoy.
Take your pick from a range of hot cross buns at this Bowen Hills bakery. Choose either a classic hot cross bun, or mix it up with a Valhrona chocolate chip version, or, for a really sweet treat, a butterscotch stuffed bun.
Where to get the best hot cross buns in Perth:
This West Perth institution offers a variety of excellent buns. From fruit-free, and no peel options, to chocolate chip or traditional, there’s something for every taste.
Made from 100 per cent freshly milled WA flour, this CBD bakery sells traditional, and chocolate hot cross buns. They’re a great tasting, light bun that’s a perfect addition to your morning tea.
Everything that comes out of this Shenton Park bakery is gluten-free. Choose from paleo, chocolate or traditional fruit, and know they’re also GMO free, vegan and have no added sugar.
Where to get the best hot cross buns in Adelaide:
This Christie’s Beach bakery once won the title of Australia’s best hot cross bun – and it’s deserved. Made from a spelt sourdough, they are chewy and delicious – and vegan.
Offering traditional and fruitless hot cross buns, this Edwardstown institution doesn’t put a foot wrong with its soft, chewy bun dough. Catering for a lot of people? They offer trays of 54 or 84 snack size buns too.
Don’t go past this North Adelaide bakery for some of the best hot cross buns in the state. Made with South Australian Laucke Flour, they offer traditional, chocolate, sourdough and fruitless buns, which are all vegan too.
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