Are bakery hot cross buns better?

Here is Part 2  – Are bakery hot cross buns better!  We know that the Additive Free Kids Community are unsure which Hot Cross buns to buy for their family this year.  We have had lots of requests from our Additive Free Kids Community group looking for guidance in which Hot Cross Buns to buy for their family from bakeries.

I have pulled together a Guide to minimising additives in Hot Cross buns this Easter for you!   Part 1  looked at “Which hot cross buns to buy from the supermarket”  This is the second blog in the series – “Are bakery hot cross buns better?”

This guide is NOT an exhaustive list of all Hot Cross Buns from bakeries on the market.

There are sooooooo many amazing bakeries all around Australia.  We haven’t reviewed all of the hot cross buns.  Our Additive Free Kids community recommended some of their favourite bakeries.  I have followed up with those bakeries.  Not all of the bakeries have started baking hot cross buns yet.  When they do and they send their ingredients through, I will  keep updating the blog with the results.  If you are a bakery making some amazing hot cross buns, email us! I would love to hear from you.   

In Part 1 we looked at all the different types of ingredients used in hot cross buns and what to look out for.  If you haven’t read it, head over and read that first before continuing on.  As mentioned in Part 1, ranking additives is tricky business!  There are so many variables. 

I have looked at over 175 different ingredients (yep it grew from Part 1).

That is an insane amount of variation in ingredients for hot cross buns!

In Part 1, I detail how I categorise the hot cross buns and the reasons for recommending: AVOID, OK, BETTER and BEST. On each image below, you will see I have included the most pertinent info for ranking the hot cross buns.   Please remember these rankings are just my opinion.  Each family is different and have different constraints they they need to consider. 

Are hot cross buns from bakeries healthier?

 Starting out this review, I held the view that I expected the bakeries to bake healthier version of hot cross buns when compared to the big supermarket chains.  I am not alone.  Many in the Additive Free Kids community also feel the same.   Why is this?  Perhaps we need to look at their marketing messages first.


Let’s take a look at Brumby’s



Visiting the Brumby website, the messages that come through are:

“We believe in inspiring the community of baking” 

“At Brumby’s, we take pride in moulding the perfect creation born from simple ingredients.”

“We respect the history of artisan bakers that have come before us, and we honour their heritage with a fresh and creative approach.”

“The communities that we operate in demand that ‘homemade’ means ‘homemade’

“Our products made from the finest ingredients”


Does Brumby’s hot cross buns match their marketing promises?

Brumby’s Hot Cross Buns

What are your thoughts when you see these images and the ingredients?  I can tell you, I was shocked!  Unfortunately, all of the Brumby’s Hot Cross Buns reviewed above would fall into my AVOID category. 

I know that the Double Hot Chocolate Hot Cross Bun look the most appealing.  I just can’t believe the ingredient list.  How many ingredients to start with!!  For the record, there could actually be more ingredients than these.  I have included ‘Flavour’ as just one ingredient. The reality is that we don’t know how many sub ingredients make up flavour. 

The ingredients that shocked me most in these hot cross buns were the colours used and the types of preservatives used. 

The colours that are included in this hot cross bun are:

Colour 133 – Brilliant Blue (derived from petroleum)
Colour 150d – Caramel IV
Colour 151 – Brilliant Black (Synthetic)
Colour 155 – Brown (derived from petroleum)

Are these colours really necessary in a hot cross bun?

Most of the hot cross buns I have reviewed (and I have reviewed a LOT of hot cross buns!) didn’t need to include colours.  

The potential symptoms that can result from these colours include:

  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Hyperactivity
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Prohibited in foods for infants

Added to this, we also have a couple of preservatives included in these buns too:

Preservative 202 – Potassium sorbate (derived from petroleum)
Preservative 211 – Sodium benzoate (derived from petroleum)

The potential symptoms that can result from these preservatives include:

  • Asthma
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Skin irritations
  • Stomach upsets
  • Prohibited in foods for infants

I would like to leave you with one question:

Do these ingredients stack up with the marketing promises made? Let me know your thoughts below. 

Let’s take a look at Baker’s Delight


Visiting the Baker’s Delight website, the messages that come through are:

“There’s no shortcut to fresh”

“We’re committed to delighting that’s why all our bread is made from scratch, and baked fresh every day”

“Winner of Reader’s Digest most trusted brands award”

Let’s take a look at Baker’s Delight hot cross buns and see if they match up with their marketing promises.


Bakers Delight Hot Cross Buns

What are your thoughts when you see these images and the ingredients?  For me these hot cross buns rank in my AVOID category.  Too many ingredients, too many additives I choose to avoid and too many highly processed ingredients. 

So…the marketing claims may hold true…the hot cross buns may be baked fresh every day….however are they baked fresh with the ingredients you are expecting?

Let’s take a look at Banjo’s

For those in the West, Banjo’s is a Bakery cafe franchise with locations in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.  The Banjo’s website states:

“Our delicious products are made by cooks who care about, using the best ingredients”

“We bake a superior loaf and our bread is still made the traditional way, preservative free, fresh, soft and delicious”

Banjo’s stands for:

“Great food, made fresh each day   |  Australian ingredients wherever possible  |  Supporting the local community  |  Preservative free traditional & artisan bread  |  Our bread is baked fresh every day”

Let’s see how Banjo’s Hot cross buns compare:

Banjo’s Hot Cross Buns

Hmmm…not sure about using the best ingredients!  The promise of preservative free must only apply to their breads not their hot cross buns?
You really need to watch out for those chocolate hot cross buns!

These ones have the following colours: 

Colour 133 (Brilliant Blue)
Colour 151 (Brilliant Black)
Colour 155 (Brown)

They also have the following preservatives:

Preservative 202 – Potassium sorbate
Preservative 211 – Sodium benzoate

As discussed above, these aren’t ingredients we would expect or want to see in our hot cross buns. 

Hot Cross Buns from bakeries not necessarily looking too good at this stage!


Not all bakeries are created equal though! 

We need to go back to basics and find the independent bakeries that aren’t using as many highly processed ingredients.  That are respecting traditional practices and artisanal ways.

We have found a few for you that are better options than the bakery franchises above.  I will keep updating these as more bakeries submit their ingredients.   You will find the options listed below by State. 

Western Australia
















We can’t generalise and say that buying from bakeries is best.  Some of the hot cross buns that were reviewed above were very eye opening!


We need to keep it simple.  Reward the bakeries that are doing the right thing.  Using wholesome, nutritious ingredients without all the additives and highly processed ingredients.

As I mentioned before, many bakeries have not started baking hot cross buns as yet.  If you would like your local bakery hot cross buns to be reviewed, just email me with the name of the bakery and the ingredient list.  I will keep updating the blog for new hot cross buns reviewed.

I know that it isn’t always convenient to visit one of these speciality bakers.  Perhaps making your own hot cross buns might be worth a go?

I will be sharing some hot cross bun recipes with the community to try at home.

If you would like to be kept up to date with the latest news, product reviews and giveaways come and join the Additive Free Kids email list.  Receive additive free support direct to your inbox.

Frankie Bell is the Managing Director of Additive Free Kids, a food coach, mentor and is one of Australia’s leading activists against additives in foods.  
Frankie is a mum to 5 boys and has personal experience working through the damaging effects of additives to resolve the multiple health issues and behavioural problems in her own children.  It became Frankie’s purpose to help other families achieve the same improvements for their families. 
These changes can be overwhelming, especially for time poor parents, Frankie has done all the hard work for families to ensure they have access to additive free food, anytime, anywhere.    Additive Free Kids specialises in assisting families to live healthy lives free from additives.  See how you can work together with Frankie here.