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A selection of hot cross buns, Easter eggs and simnel cake on a yellow table

Best hot cross buns, simnel cakes and Easter desserts, 2022

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Find out which supermarket hot cross buns, simnel cakes and Easter desserts won in our Easter Taste Awards. We tested traditional, flavoured and gluten-free varieties.

All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more and read about how we write BBC Good Food reviews
Hot cross buns are our number one Easter essential, but which supermarket hot cross buns are worth buying? From classic to alternative flavours and 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 a classic simnel cake for the traditionalists and marzipan fans.

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For our Easter Supermarket Awards, we invited 13 supermarkets to submit their best Easter treats across 12 categories. Packaging was completely removed and judges tasted all items blind. Comments and a score out of 10 was then 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 80 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 for Easter 2022.
Find out the results of our taste test below, and visit our Easter Taste Awards page for the rest of our winning categories, including the winners of our best chocolate Easter egg categories.

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

Best classic hot cross buns

Four hot cross buns on a table in the sunshine with a fork on the side

Winner: Lidl Deluxe luxury hot cross buns

With a generous amount of plump, juicy raisins and balanced spices, these buns have a crisp crust, but are light and airy. They can also be buttered without falling apart.
Buy in-store at Lidl (£1.19, pack of four)

Runner-up: Co-op Irresistible richly fruited hot cross buns

A good level of spice, juicy raisins and zesty orange peel. The top had a neat cross and appealing sticky glaze.

Buy in-store at Co-op (£1.50, pack of four)

Best flavoured hot cross buns

A selection of hot cross buns on a yellow board outside in the sunshine

These soft buns have a rich dark chocolate flavour. The ginger adds a gentle, warm background note.

Buy in-store at Booths (£1.50, pack of four)

Runner-up: Morrisons The Best apple & cinnamon hot cross buns

A subtle twist on a classic hot cross bun, this is a simple crowd-pleaser with a clear apple flavour.

Buy in-store at Morrisons (£1.50, pack of four)

Best gluten-free hot cross buns

Hot cross buns on a green plate, one buttered with a butter knife on the sude

Winner: Sainsbury’s Free From fruity hot cross buns

These subtly flavoured gluten-free buns taste much like the classic, so everyone can enjoy them.

Buy online at Sainsbury's (£2)

Best simnel cake

A whole simnel cake with colourful marzipan balls on top and one slice cut out of it

Winner: Waitrose Easter simnel cake

The thin layer of marzipan on top has a pretty design, decorated with colourful marzipan balls. The sweet, buttery sponge underneath has a good level of spice, clear chunks of cherry and a classic marzipan filling layer for moisture.

Best Easter dessert

A hot cross bun bread and butter pudding on a serving platter

Joint winner: Tesco Finest hot cross bun bread & butter pudding

A bread and butter pudding done well: lighter than expected, but still rich and eggy, with vanilla-scented custard and a generous grating of nutmeg.
Buy in-store at Tesco (£4)

An Easter egg-style dessert with chunks of chocolate resting on a blue pmount

Joint winner: M&S chocolate & salted caramel dessert egg

This inventive egg is dinky but impressive, with layers of caramel, chocolate mousse and brownie providing plenty of texture without being too sweet. An intensely chocolatey indulgence.

Buy in-store at M&S (£15)

For more 2022 winners, including the best Easter eggs, visit our Easter Taste Awards.

This review was last updated in March 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

For more taste tests and product rundowns, visit our reviews section.

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