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4 Mar 2022

Best hot cross buns for Easter 2022

Discover which supermarket buns topped our taste test - and the best cheap hot cross buns
Plate of hot cross buns

It's a sure sign Easter is on the way when shelf-loads of hot cross buns pop up in your local supermarket. But which own-brand buns are best?

To find out, we asked a panel of consumers to blind-taste and rate eight own-label hot cross buns from supermarkets including Aldi, Tesco and M&S.

Just one supermarket's buns were considered good enough to be Best Buys: Aldi's buns wowed our tasters with their sweet and spicy flavour - and they're the cheapest option we tested.

Not all supermarket hot cross buns impressed our tasters though. Read on to find out which ones are worth buying and how your nearest supermarket's buns compare.

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Best supermarket hot cross buns to buy

Aldi came top for both taste and value in our test.

Morrisons and M&S weren't far behind on flavour though, so both are a good choice if you don't live near an Aldi.

Best Buy: Aldi Specially Selected Luxury Fruited Hot Cross Buns - 74%

£1.09 per pack (27p per bun)

Aldi's affordable buns proved a hit with our panel, receiving high marks for their flavour, texture and aroma.

These sweet but spicy buns drew plenty of fans. Aldi's hot cross buns scored higher than any other supermarket for aroma, so the enticing smell will draw you in, while more than three quarters of the panel said their texture was just right.

At just 27p per bun they're also the cheapest on test.

Available to buy from Aldi.

Morrisons The Best Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns - 73%

£1.50 per pack (38p per bun)

The flavour and texture of these extra fruity hot cross buns were rated just as highly as our Aldi Best Buy buns, making them a great choice for Morrisons shoppers this Easter.

They also scored well for aroma, and 72% of the panel thought their sweetness was spot on.

However, Morrisons buns scored just two out of five stars for appearance, so if you're looking for some attractive treats to serve up at teatime, they might not look most promising on the plate.

Available from Morrisons.

M&S 4 Luxury Hot Cross Buns - 73%

£1.65 per pack (41p per bun)

These M&S hot cross buns were among the best-rated for flavour, securing their position as joint-runner up.

Not everyone was a fan of the texture, but more than a third of tasters thought these premium own-label buns had just the right amount of fruit.

However, they are the joint-most expensive hot cross buns on test, so if you live near Aldi you're better off opting for our cheaper Best Buy instead.

Available from Ocado or M&S (in store only).

How Tesco, Waitrose and other supermarket hot cross buns compare

Hot cross buns from Co-op, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury'

A few other hot cross buns also impressed our tasters, but Sainsbury's and Waitrose shoppers might want to branch out as these stores' buns didn't fare as well as their rivals.

Here's how the rest of the buns were rated:

  • Co-op Irresistible Richly Fruited Luxury Hot Cross Buns - 72%. Scored highly for flavour and texture - a decent option. £1.50 per pack (38p per bun). Available from Co-op (in store only).
  • Asda Extra Special 4 Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns - 70%. Rated well across the board, but not quite as impressive as our top three. £1.50 per pack (38p per bun). Available from Asda.
  • Tesco Finest 4 Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns - 68%. Their appearance didn't impress our tasters, and more than half didn't think they were sweet enough. £1.50 per pack (38p per bun). Available from Tesco.
  • Sainsbury's Fruity Hot Cross Buns, Taste the Difference - 66%. Nearly a third of our panel felt these buns lacked a good spiced flavour. Joint-lowest scoring. £1.50 per pack (31p per bun). Available from Sainsbury's.
  • Waitrose Richly Fruited Hot Cross Buns - 66%. Expensive and underwhelming compared with rivals. Their appearance disappointed, and half our tasters thought they were too dry. £1.65 per pack (41p per bun). Available from Waitrose.

Toast or grill? Why it's worth checking before you cook

Some hot cross buns aren't suitable for putting in a toaster. Heavily fruited or flavoured ones are particularly likely to leave your toaster in a sticky mess. Grilling is generally recommended as the best cooking method. Check the packaging for advice, and see our full story on toasting hot cross buns for more tips.

See all of our best food and drink, including the best yeast extract spread, the best extra mature cheddar cheese and the best crunchy peanut butter.

How many calories are in a hot cross bun?

Calorie content can differ quite significantly by brand. Aldi's top-tasting offerings are also the most indulgent treat, with 78 calories more per bun than Waitrose's version.

In fact, calorie content and overall taste score seem to correlate quite closely in our line-up.But if you're going to treat yourself, you might prefer to go all in with the tastiest option around.

SupermarketCalories (kcal) per bun

Bun size and weight does vary slightly by brand too, which could be a factor in why different products have such different calorie contents.

And of course, all bets are off if you slather them with butter or jam, as this will also significantly increase the calorie count per serving.

If you want to make them last, you can freeze hot cross buns.

Fancy making your own this Easter? See our guide on how to make easy hot cross buns.

Are hot cross bun packets recyclable?

Most packs we tested have a cardboard sleeve, which you can put in your household recycling bin.

The flexible plastic outer packaging is a bit trickier - only some councils and supermarkets will accept this kind of packaging, so it's best to check beforehand.

How we tested hot cross buns

Hot cross bun taste test

We included eight premium range supermarket own-label hot cross buns in our taste test, conducted in January 2022.

Each hot cross bun was tasted and assessed by 69 people. They rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one.

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn't know which brand they were trying, and the order they sampled the hot cross buns in was fully rotated to avoid any bias.

The buns were served toasted (using a grill).