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.
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.
£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.
£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.
£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.
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:
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 for more tips.
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.
|Supermarket||Calories (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.
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.
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).