Food & Drink Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024: Which supermarket...

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024: Which supermarket comes out on top?

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These smell and look just like a pack of bread rolls, dense and wholemealy, and there’s nothing in the scent to suggest they’ve come into contact with fruit, spice or citrus. The flavour, meanwhile, tastes artificial. Utterly joyless.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Pillowy buns with an overpowering smell of lemony sink cleaner, no doubt thanks to the plethora of citrus oils in the ingredients list. Decidedly unfruity; instead, these deliver an acrid burnt-spice aftertaste.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Squidgy little squares that look like someone has sat on them. Though generous with the fruit, they are disturbingly damp and claggy; toasting saves them only slightly from being sad and pappy.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Squishy all round, with a rather dull, stale spice flavour, pepped up only by pockets of soft fruit. Middle of the road.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Darkly baked, this is another set with a decidedly damp texture. The flavour is one-note and the fruit is small and bitty.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Slicing through the attractive domed tops reveals a rumble-tumble of sultanas and raisins but zero evidence of Easterish spices. Any citrus is subtle, too, and the merest hint of soapiness is a slight turn-off.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

Attractively dark and burnished and the well-distributed fruit promises great things but falls flat in flavour. Another middle-ground muddler.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

A very uniform pack of four that really looks the part, all dark golden brown with neat crosses and a great rise. The fruit delivers plenty of flavour.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

These sticky buns have a lovely golden sheen and are pleasingly irregular in shape. Inside there’s a great variety of fruit and very visible citrus peel. The fruit, in fact, is glorious.

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2024

These are the supermodels of hot cross buns: rustic, plump, glazed and studded inside and out with big vine fruits. They smell citrussy and spicy too, a really celebratory batch. Absolute corkers.


The best hot cross buns with a twist

hot cross buns

A very strange chemical smell hardly makes one want to race to the toaster. The texture of the crumb is surprisingly supple but we can’t get past the artificial fruit and spice combo.

hot cross buns

Firm buns with a dense, tight crumb and a definite smell of apple and cinnamon. Threatening to be far too dry, the fruit delivers some welcome juiciness. One could easily pass these off as homemade.

hot cross buns

A toffee-sauce aroma sings out of these dark, glossy buns but they’re claggy with chopped dates and caramel fudge. Redeemed by not being too sickly sweet.

hot cross buns

Oozy pockets of molten caramel make for a pleasing texture but the saccharine flavour is overpowering.

hot cross buns

Dark, milk and white chocolate chunks star in these and indeed there’s a strong cocoa taste and smell; the full-on flavour really lingers.

hot cross buns

Gooey, fudgy and yet fresh smelling, these deliver a welcome saltiness in the fudge blobs. Honestly, a ridiculously unnecessary treatment for a hot cross but (whisper it) we really like it.

hot cross buns

Fudge pieces peep out of the golden-domed tops while the innards are smeared with them and banana purée. A totally artificial banana flavour that we, despite ourselves, find surprisingly successful.

hot cross buns

Each mouthful delivers something bright and tangy, being stuffed with nuggets of golden fruit (sultanas, dried apricots and golden raisins). The scent of marmalade is super; a citrussy success that is close enough to a classic hot cross bun to not be an abomination.

hot cross buns

It’s as if hot cross buns were born to host melting chocolate chips rather than sultanas; the citrus is perfectly balanced to off-set the sweetness and is seriously grown-up in flavour. We can’t get enough of these.

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