Hot cross bun taste test

Hot cross bun taste test

Hot cross bun

It’s Easter week which means indulging in hot cross buns, and with more choice than ever on our shelves, we’ve come a long way from the classic hot cross bun. From flavoured to allergy friendly, we wanted to see what this year has to offer and give you the lowdown on our top-rated buns, so you know what to pick up this week. Team HGEM have tried and tested 9 options, both classic and flavoured, from a variety of supermarkets at different price points.

Flavoured options

Marks & Spencer Extremely Chocolatey

Taste - 5/5. They really are extremely chocolatey so you have to be a chocolate lover to enjoy these! The white chocolate chunks were a nice surprise as I didn’t expect this. I can see why they are award winning (Good Food winner 2021).

Texture - the bread is perfect and soft, and when toasted the chocolate is nice and gooey.

Look - a little bit flat and could be more rounded but I like that it looks so different to all the other flavours because it’s really dark brown with a white cross which really stands out on the shelf.

Best eaten with - despite it being really sweet, my preference was toasted with buttered. Toasted is the most important thing because it melts the chocolate.

Co-Op Irresistible Limited Edition Bramley Apple & Cinnamon

Taste - 5/5. It was a lovely change from your traditional bun.

Texture - quite dense and a bit chewy but still nice.

Look - Nice and plump.

Best eaten with - I loved it toasted and I’ve never eaten a hot cross bun without butter before, but the cinnamon came through better without it.

Aldi Specially Selected Salted Caramel & Belgian Chocolate Hot Cross Bun

Taste - 5/5. It did taste more like a chocolate brioche bread as there was no fruit, but you can really taste the chocolate and caramel and they are a great alternative for anyone who’s not so keen on traditional buns.

Texture - lovely and soft.

Look - very appetising with lots of chocolate throughout.

Best eaten with - toasted was very nice as it warmed the chocolate, but I also enjoyed it cold. Butter didn’t work so well for me as it was a sweet bun, but you could always serve with ice cream and sauce.

Sainsburys Taste the Difference, Strawberries & Cream

Taste - 5/5. The edition of cranberries and white chocolate were amazing. It’s like a scone with jam and cream… but better.

Texture - soft and full of fruit.

Look - perfectly pillowy although they remind me of summer rather than Easter – still, I’m not complaining.

Best eaten with - they are packed full of flavour and fruit, and are delicious toasted and non-toasted. I preferred them with cream rather than butter, or on their own.

Waitrose Chocolate & Orange

Taste - 5/5. I would definitely buy these again as they were rather yummy.

Texture - a little on the dry side if you have them plain however, toasting them melts the chocolate which helps give them a bit more moisture.

Look - a good size, well presented in the pack without looking squished, and they had a lovely shine to them.

Best eaten with - they work better toasted as you get much more of the orange flavour coming through as well as the melted chocolate. You could have them with butter, however I wasn’t convinced that this was the best suited spread to compliment the flavour of the bun.

Classic options

Sainsbury’s Free-From

Taste - 5/5. They tasted just like your classic hot cross bun.

Texture - considering they were gluten free, they were just fine – much better than some of the gluten free bread and rolls on the market. They were soft and held together nicely.

Look - an uneven cross but it made them seem more homemade which isn’t a bad thing. They were very round and not flat at all, probably because they were a little harder than your standard hot cross bun but it just meant it maintained its shape better.

Best eaten with - toasted with salty butter to offset the fruit but if you’re free-from, you’ll appreciate them no matter what!

McColls Mother’s Pride

Taste - 3/5. Not much fruit but quite nicely spiced.         

Texture - a bit dry but was better once toasted.

Look - not the best, an uneven cross and not very uniform in appearance.

Best eaten with - toasted with butter, to bring out the flavour and improve the texture.

Rye Bakery, Frome Somerset – classic bakery buns

Taste - 5/5. Spot on, freshly homemade and just as I remember my Nan used to make them.

Texture - big, soft and full of fruit.

Look - they look great, it was hard not to eat them as soon as I purchased them!

Best eaten with - they worked very well toasted and with peanut butter rather than standard butter.

Budgens Jack’s Hot Cross Buns

Taste - 4/5. Slightly spiced with a good amount of fruit but very sweet and a bit too sugary.

Texture - lovely and soft and sticky.

Look - a well-defined cross on top, nice colour and looked fruity.

Best eaten with - toasted with butter, but they are so fruity that you don’t need butter!

To conclude

All of the flavoured buns were winners and we look forward to seeing what the supermarkets come up with next year. For you classic hot cross bun lovers, you may never beat a freshly baked one from your local bakery, but for people with allergies, we are glad there are now some great alternatives available.

We hope we’ve narrowed that down for you an got your taste buds tingling, although with such high scores you may have to try them all! Marks & Spencer actually recommend making an ice-cream sandwich with their extremely chocolatey hot cross buns, or making a hot cross bun pudding. Check out their recipes here and let us know your favourites. Happy Easter!

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