Hot cross buns: We put four retailers to the test in our taste review

Hot cross buns: We put four retailers to the test in our taste review.
Image via Pixabay

Easter eats: We taste-tested the best hot cross buns sold in shops

We put hot cross buns – traditionally eaten during Easter – to the taste test after sampling the spicy treats from four major retailers.

Hot cross buns: We put four retailers to the test in our taste review

Hot cross buns: We put four retailers to the test in our taste review.
Image via Pixabay

Hot cross buns and the Easter holidays go hand in hand, and are loved by people around the world…including us!

The savoury bun is characterised by a cross on the top and is filled with fruit and various spices.

But where can you find the best hot cross buns in South Africa? We take a look…

ALSO READ: Dessert buns: Easter sweetness to delight the family


Like marshmallow eggs, chocolate bunnies and pickled fish, hot cross buns is one of the many traditional eats enjoyed around the Easter holiday.

And while it’s a delicious delicacy, there is a great significance to the spicy treat, which originated in the Middle Ages.

Although they have Pagan roots, the treat has become synonymous with Christianity throughout the years. They also have various traditions and urban legends surrounding hot cross buns, including claims it has medicinal and magical properties.

Of the bun itself, the  cross across it represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which is remembered on Good Friday. Spices in the dough represent the ones used to embalm Jesus after his death before he was buried.

Orange peel is often added into the mixture to signify the bitterness felt on the day Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers.

Hot cross buns are also typically eaten to celebrate the end of Lent, a period of 40 days, in which Christians remember the events leading up to the death of Jesus.


We tested hot cross buns baked by four major retailers: Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar

Here is what we discovered…

Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay’s buns are freshly baked everyday – and are so popular, they quickly sell out! They also have raisin-free and vegan option too.

Verdict: This bun was fresh, flavourful and even a delicious sweet glaze on top.


Woolworths offer great variety when it comes to hot cross buns: traditional, extra-spicy and fruit free. They even have chocolate ones too!

LIke all their buns, their traditional ones come pre-packed and are found in the bakery aisle.

Verdict: Whilst we love the all encompassing flavours that cater to every taste bud, they do lack freshness like other shops that bake their buns every day.


Baked daily, these buns looked great from the outside.

Verdict: Sadly the most underwhelming, these hot cross buns lacked the spice synonymous with the Easter treat. They were also incredibly dry!


Like their wors, Checkers promise a unique and delicious recipe prepared by their in-house team. Like other retailers, these hot cross buns are prepared daily.

Verdict: Although promising lots of flavour, they did not deliver on the traditional spicy taste. The dough was also pleasant enough, but slightly soggy underneath.