The best hot cross buns 2019

See the results of our 2019 Easter Taste Awards to find out which supermarket hot cross buns should be on your shopping list this year. We tested traditional, flavoured and gluten-free varieties.

A selection of cross buns laid out on plates to be tested

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Hot cross buns are our number one Easter essential. While making your own is easier than you might think, shop-bought buns save time and hassle – but which ones are worth buying?

Supermarkets are getting more and more inventive in terms of flavours, shapes and sizes, with varieties like chocolate, cheese, brioche and sourdough hitting the shelves. We blind-tasted products across three categories: traditional, gluten-free and flavoured. 

Hot cross buns on a table being tested
Find out the results of our taste test below, and visit our Easter Taste Awards hub page for more handy information, including the winners of our chocolate Easter egg categories. 

Please note that some of these products are only available to buy in store and not online.

Best traditional hot cross buns

M&S hot cross buns in packaging

M&S luxury hot cross buns

The clear winner of this round, these buns are sticky, perfectly spiced and packed with juicy fruit. The texture is light and not at all stodgy. They also have a picture-perfect finish thanks to the super-glossy glaze and evenly piped crosses. Buy from M&S (£1.50)


Aldi hot cross buns in packaging on white background

*Highly commended*
Aldi Specially Selected luxury fruited hot cross buns

These bargain buns have a beautiful, buttery flavour. The fruit is well distributed throughout the dough and the level of spicing is just right. Buy from Aldi (99p)

Morrisons hot cross buns in packaging on white background

*Highly commended*
Morrisons The Best extra fruity hot cross buns

Our judges loved the somewhat savoury, ever-so-slightly salty flavour of these buns, which also have a buttery aroma. The texture is enjoyably squidgy and the fruit juicy and plump. Buy from Morrisons (£1.50)

Best gluten-free hot cross buns 

Tesco gluten-free hot cross buns in pack

Tesco Free From hot cross buns

This round was a real mixed bag. We found these Tesco buns were the most similar to a traditional hot cross bun. We liked the subtle spicing, light texture and even distribution of plump, juicy fruit. Buy from Tesco (£2)

Gluten-free hot cross buns from M&S in packaging

*Highly commended*
M&S Made Without Wheat hot cross buns

Much darker in colour than the other buns in this category, these hot cross buns scored highly on the juicy fruit quota – our panel described them as reminiscent of malt loaf. They're a robust bun with a savoury element and wholemeal heartiness. Buy from M&S (£2.40)

Best flavoured hot cross buns

M&S salted caramel hot cross buns in packaging

M&S salted caramel & chocolate hot cross buns

Described by one judge as ‘outrageous’, these decadent, super-soft buns are generously filled with rich caramel and dark chocolate chips. They pack a mean punch in the flavour stakes and are even in shape with a luscious texture. They'd be even more luxurious toasted and served with ice cream, but they're a delight eaten straight from the packet. Buy from M&S (£1.50)

Booths chocolate and ginger hot cross buns in packaging

*Highly commended*
Booths chocolate & ginger hot cross buns

These Booths buns were one of the most unique products in the taste test. They have an intense ginger flavour and are packed with chocolate. They're so good, they don't even need toasting. One for flavour adventurers. Buy from Booths (£1.50)

Lidl very berry hot cross buns in packet

*Highly commended* 
Lidl very berry hot cross buns

These pink-hued buns are almost doughnutty in flavour. They're tall in stature thanks to a good rise in the dough. They were described by one judge as 'independent bakery standard'. The flavour is slightly sharp and the tart fruit offsets the sweetness. Buy from Lidl (99p)

For more 2019 winners, including the best Easter eggs visit our Easter Taste Awards hub page

This review was last updated in March 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at 

What's your favourite style of hot cross bun? Let us know in the comments section below. For more taste tests and product rundowns, visit our review section


Comments, questions and tips

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16th Apr, 2019
My favourite this year M&S golden marmalade ones delish
11th Mar, 2019
How did the Brioche Cranberry & Orange ones from Co-Op not even get a mention?
20th Mar, 2018
I love hot cross buns and the best I've ever had is from The Caven in Hinchley Wood.
Real Bread Chris
7th Mar, 2018
For a great hot cross bun and to help keep your high street alive, buy yours from a local, indepedent, Real Bread bakery!
6th Apr, 2017
Don't be rediculous, these aren't the 'best Hot Cross buns'. They are just things you can buy in a supermarket.
12th Apr, 2017
Wholeheartedly agree!
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