Which hot cross buns to buy and avoid?


Additive Free Easter

Supermarket – Bakeries – Recipe

Obviously, the healthiest option is to head to your kitchen and bake your own from ingredients you know (I have included a homemade hot cross bun recipe for you at the end of this post).

However, not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen or just running out of time to bake. The reality is that there is so many options to choose from these days but most of them are not good for you as they are loaded with preservatives and additives.

Here is a little guide what to look for to help you with your choices this Easter to stay additive free (or as much as possible).

In the supermarket

When buying from supermarket as usual flip the product over to check the ingredients list. This may surprise you that some buns average about 30 ingredients! I mean, really how many ingredients do you need to bake hot cross buns?

What you will find on the label:

Flour – wheat, spelt, ray, oat is ok. Try to avoid starches. Starches are usually highly processed and have lower nutritional value.

Fats and Oils – butter, olive and coconut oil are good quality oils and no emulsifiers are needed. If you see another vegetable oils such as canola, palm oil you can bet your dollar that you will see a range of emulsifier used. Emulsifiers in our food destroy our gut microbiome so you want to avoid them.

Eggs – eggs are eggs but if you see a dried egg on the ingredients list this is an indicator that the product is highly processed

Sweeteners – Examples of sweeteners used in the hot cross buns include: maple syrup, rapadura sugar, sugar, brown sugar, or anything ending -ose (dextrose, glucose). Obviously the less processed sugar is better.

Antioxidants – there is no need for them if real ingrediencies are used. Their presence indicates that the product is highly processed.

Acidity regulators – are preservatives used to regulate pH. Examples are acetic acid, sodium acetate, lactic acid, malic acid and citric acid. Much preferred option is the use of natural regulators such as lemon juice or vinegar.  

Flavours – Usually highly processed products need flavours to be added. Good quality hot cross buns do not need any flavour enhancement.

Rule of thumb

  • Keep it simple!
  • Look for good quality ingredients that your grandma would understand!
  • You probably looking at 8-12 ingredients
  • Some of the best brands Healthy Bake and Bodhi
  • Some of the worst – Woolies, Coles, Aldi, Bakehouse, Bakers Life, Yarrows – you will find on average 20-30 ingredients where half of them is highly processed plus emulsifiers, antioxidants, preservatives, flavours

In the bakery

You may be asking and what about hot cross buns from bakeries such as Bakers Delight, Brumby`s. There has been a review done and I`m afraid they fall into the category of some of the worst ones.

If you are buying from your local bakery don`t be afraid to ask them what ingredients they use. The list above is a great starting point.

Homemade hot cross buns recipe

by Belinda Smith



  • 300ml coconut milk (I used Coco Quench Coconut Milk. You could use normal milk or another mylk source)
  • 1 tblspn dried yeast
  • 3 tblspns raw honey (check out your local bee farmers for the best honey. How’s is from the Griffin Family Crescent Head – Delicious!)
  • 600g wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tpsn cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • 1 tblspn grated fresh ginger
  • 50g sultanas
  • 30g goji berries (soaked for 5 minutes and drained)
  • zest of one orange
  • zest of one lemon
  • 100g butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg


  • 1 teaspoon of raw sugar
    1 teaspoon water
    1/4 tspn cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Line a baking tray
  3. Heat milk over medium heat until it’s warm
  4. Turn off heat and stir in yeast and honey
  5. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes – the mixture should froth a bit*
  6. Mix until combined the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sultanas, goji berries, orange and lemon zest
  7. Turn the flour, spice and fruit mix into a food processor
  8. Add in the yeasty sweet milk mixture, the butter and egg and combine until it forms a dough (there will be still small chunks of butter)
  9. Place dough into a bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and place it on the stove top to allow it to prove – it will become really soft and supple and increase in size
  10. Wet hands and grab a good handful of the mixture, roll into balls
  11. Place balls on baking tray, cover with the tea towel again
  12. Leave to prove for another 25-35 minutes until doubled in size
  13. Press the apple slices into the top to make the cross
  14. Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes or until golden on top
  15. Mix up the ingredients of the glaze
  16. Take the buns out of the oven and whilst hot, brush with the glaze
  17. Allow to cool slightly on the tray, then cool on a wire wrack (or slide open gently whilst warm and butter and eat, YUM!)

*if yeast doesn’t froth in the milk mixture, in a different bowl add 1/4 cup warm water, 1 tblspn yeast, 1/2 tspn of sugar and let this sit for 10 mins. Then add it into the mixture when you add the milk.

Gluten Free – sub out the wholemeal flour for a mix buckwheat, rice and a standard gluten free flour.

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