Best hot cross buns, simnel cake and Easter desserts 2024
Discover which supermarket hot cross buns, simnel cakes and Easter desserts won in our Easter Taste Awards. We tested traditional, flavoured and savoury varieties
Hot cross buns are our number-one Easter essential, but which supermarket hot cross buns are worth buying? From classic and alternative flavours, to gluten-free buns, we've got you covered. Plus, this year we wanted to find the best shop-bought Easter desserts for you to celebrate with, as well as classic simnel cake for traditionalists and marzipan fans.
How did we test the Easter Awards?
For our Easter Supermarket Awards, 10 supermarkets submitted their best Easter treats across 15 categories. Packaging was completely removed and judges tasted all items blind. Comments and a score out of 10 were submitted for each product in the category via anonymous online judging forms. The entire judging process was overseen by an independent adjudicator.
This year, the team tested more than 100 different products to find favourites in each category. As well as the winners, the Good Food judging panel also awarded ‘highly commended’ status to high-scoring favourites that deserve recognition.
Read on to find out which traditional, flavoured and gluten-free hot cross buns came out on top, as well as our favourite simnel cake and desserts for Easter 2024.
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Please note that some of these products are only available to buy in-store and not online.
Best classic hot cross buns
Winner: Aldi Specially Selected Hot Cross Buns
These attractive hot cross buns have a shiny glaze and generous amount of fruit dispersed throughout. The raisins are plump and the dough has good squishy texture.
Aldi (£1.25, in-store)
Runner up: Tesco Finest Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns
These have plump. juicy raisins and a squishy bun. The buns are strongly spiced with cinnamon with a pleasant shiny appearance.
Best alternative hot cross buns
Winner: Waitrose Belgian Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
These have a rich chocolate flavour with big chocolate chips – a good twist on a classic hot cross bun that sweet tooths will enjoy.
Runner up: M&S Extremely Caramely Hot Cross Buns
These are intensely sweet that might divide hot cross bun purists with those who can't resist a touch of salted caramel – it works well in a hot cross bun form but is a touch synthetic for some judges.
Best savoury hot cross buns
Winner: M&S Extremely Cheesy Hot Cross Buns
The cheese flavour of these buns appealed to all judges, with good texture to the bread and slight chew. One of these buns would make an extremely decadent grilled cheese sandwich...
Ocado (£2, 4-pack)
Best simnel cake
Winner: Waitrose Easter Simnel Cake
This classic simnel cake has a pretty design and lovely texture. The cake is generously spiced and the marzipan gives good depth of almond flavour.
Ocado (£13, 930g)
Best Easter dessert
Joint winner: Aldi Specially Selected Hot Cross Bun Pudding – Banoffee
Judges loved this comforting pud: crispy top, squidgy custardy centre and lots of fruit and spice from the hot cross buns. It is very indulgent and sweet.
Aldi (£3.99, 600g. In store March 26)
Joint winner: M&S Easter Lamb Meets Colin the Caterpillar
Who doesn't love a Colin the Caterpillar cake? For this Easter makeover, you get two signature chocolatey cakes as Colin meets a lamb. It's a fun Easter centrepiece that would make a great dessert if you've got lots of kids to feed over the Easter weekend.
For more 2024 winners, including the best supermarket Easter eggs, visit our Easter Taste Awards.
This review was last updated in February 2024. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your favourite shop-bought hot cross bun? Let us know in the comments below.