Nothing says Easter more than a hot cross bun and this collection of baked goods is by far the best for this year. From Waitrose to Aldi, we’ve tried and tested the best hot cross buns for Easter 2022.
Packed full of fruit and spiced to high heaven, there’s something instantly comforting about hot cross buns for Easter (especially when they’re toasted and slathered in butter). This year’s hot cross buns have certainly raised the bar with brand new savoury buns from Asda as well as mouthwatering chocolate hot cross buns that’ll certainly keep the kids happy.
This traditional Easter food has been tried and tested by our in-house Food Team, Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks, and our Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom. Speaking about the testing, Jessica said: “We know how many people eagerly await the start of hot cross bun season, so we really wanted to get this right. We spent hours testing the best buns and hope you love our selection as much as we do”.
How did we test the best hot cross buns?
Using their experience as professional recipe developers and food journalists, Rose and Jessica blind taste-tested each potential pick focusing on top quality produce. As well as overall taste, each bun was assessed on its texture, size, and look. For texture, the judges were looking to make sure the dough hadn’t dried out and that there was good aeration from a successful prove.
Size and shape should – in our opinion – be large enough to make a good, filling snack, and the shape should be round and puffed on top. The overall look should naturally have the signature cross across the top, but also a pleasingly shiny glaze and perhaps an indicator as to what the flavour of the overall bun is.
Best hot cross buns 2022
Jacksons Luxury Hot Cross Buns with Tea Soaked Fruits
Winner: Best overall hot cross buns
Available: On sale now through Ocado
With an even distribution of fruit and a great mix of whole and chopped pieces, we loved the combined flavour and texture of these buns from Jacksons bakery. From the moment the packet was opened the smell reminded us of homemade buns (which is only ever a good thing in our book), and the rustic crosses swiped across the top did nothing to dispel this illusion.
From all the buns in this year’s taste tests, these had the plumpest fruit with that distinct tea-soaked flavour that helped keep things moist even after toasting. Less spongy and more bready, these stood up robustly to our butter test and had the perfect balance of both sweet and savoury notes. Jessica suggests serving these stuffed with crispy bacon come Easter Sunday. For added brownie points, these are palm oil-free.
ASDA Extra Special 4 Tomato & Red Leicester Hot Cross Buns
Winner: Best savoury hot cross buns
Available: On sale online and instore at ASDA
Without a hint of any synthetic flavours, these savoury buns surprised our judges with their authentic taste and texture. With many of the buns we tried this year we felt as though there was a slight synthetic undertone, but these managed to avoid that pitfall.
Instead, the sharp tang of cheddar was nicely distributed through the dough. The tomato element was introduced with the flavour of sun-dried tomato for an intensely sweet and salty twist. Inside, the texture was light and airy with a great bite. While there’s definitely a place for sweet buns in your bread bin armory, these would make a great addition to your pantry over the Easter weekend. We think they’d be great as the sides of a sandwich or would even work well served with an egg as a quick and easy breakfast.
Flor Hot Cross Buns
Winner: Best luxury hot cross buns
Available: On sale online at Flor Bakery
For a classic sweet, lightly spiced bun you can’t beat the luxurious version Flor Bakery turns out in the run-up to Easter (available between March 16 – April 17). Found in Bermondsey, this small-scale bakery specialises in detail-driven pastries and doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to its hot cross buns. The dough is flavoured with sourdough and made with 100% British-grown wheat. The results are a robust texture that manages to have a good bite without becoming too heavy. Here there’s a flavour that has much more depth to it than your average bun.
Homemade candied orange, currants, and raisins are evenly peppered through the buns. Plus, the spice mix is wonderfully warming without a hint of it becoming overpowering. The rich golden bake forms a delicious crust while the sweet glaze makes them feel extra special. Because of the quality of these buns, we think they’re best served simply with a slathering of butter.
ASDA Extra Special Belgian Blonde Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
Winner: Best hot cross buns for kids
Available: On sale online and instore at ASDA
Chocolate and hot cross buns: The two best things about Easter. Happily, Asda has recognised the duo’s natural affinity between these two treats, coming up with chocolatey buns worthy of their spot on our best list. The minute you open the packet you notice the plump, satisfying look and the hand-finished appearance which adds to the charm.
The dough is fairly pale inside. It has been enriched in a similar style to brioche, so you can expect a big, buttery flavour. There’s a good distribution of white and blonde chocolate chips throughout. The blonde chocolate tastes somewhere between fudge and a Caramc bar. Butter or no butter, these were tasty, and we enjoyed them toasted too. We imagine these would go down particularly well with little people who enjoy dodging fruit in all its guises.
Waitrose 4 White Chocolate & Lemon Hot Cross Buns
Winner: Best chocolate hot cross buns
Available: On sale online and instore at Waitrose
While the exterior of these buns doesn’t hint at their flavour, the smell that hits you as soon as you cut one open gives the game away. You’re immediately met with a tangy lemon aroma and the sweet caramel smell of white chocolate. Inside, these buns yielded a lovely spongy brioche-like texture with evenly scattered white chocolate chips throughout. There is also the slight, bright bitterness of lemon zest.
Both the lemon and the chocolate are impressively balanced so that neither is overpowering. The slight savouriness to the dough helps counteract the sugar elsewhere to ensure things don’t become overly sugary. These would be perfect layered up with lemon curd as an afternoon treat. As a little extra, we really like the pleasingly neat crosses on top too.
M&S 4 Luxury Hot Cross Buns
Winner: Best supermarket hot cross buns
Available: On sale online at Ocado and instore at M&S
Fairly highly baked, these gorgeous plump buns from M&S have the ideal colouring for our taste – deeply golden. It’s this that intensifies the flavours from the first bite and gives you an almost caramel edge once they’ve been toasted. Our judges loved the generous quantities of fruit. The mix included some fragrant candied peel too, and it had good distribution. The dough itself is enriched with butter so these are a little more robust than some and slightly less fluffy.
For the trade-off in texture, you get a gorgeous nuttiness from the butter which creates a wonderful aroma as they toast. The spices are subtle, so diehard hot cross fans might prefer something a little punchier. We liked the pared-back approach that made these suitable for both sweet and savoury toppings.
Aldi Specially Selected Salted Caramel & Chocolate Hot Cross Buns 4 Pack
Winner: Best cheap hot cross buns
Available: On sale online and instore at Aldi
Sure, chocolate hot cross buns aren’t exactly traditional, but they are delicious. One of the best ones we tried this year was Aldi’s invention of salted caramel and chocolate buns. They were extremely sugary, so definitely aimed at the sweet-toothed among us. That said, there’s no denying that they were also pretty delicious.
The appearance was less appealing than some, slightly squashed in places with a little uneven glazing in parts. However, all complaints disappeared once we began tucking in. Despite how sweet these were, there was a hint of balance brought in through the salt. The chocolate chips were evenly scattered, with our only criticism being that we would have liked more. Fairtrade, fruit-free, and baked in Britain, these tick plenty of boxes.