The Best Hot Cross Buns in Melbourne

Updated 3 months ago


Come January, hot cross buns are already flying off the shelves. And while the supermarket HCB is a fine (and affordable) choice, there are plenty of bakeries and cafes around town putting their own spin on the ubiquitous Easter classic.

Now as we close in on the holiday, it’s time to hunt down the city’s best. From a traditional style packed with fruit and spice to something more inventive, like a spiced custard-filled doughnut-croissant hybrid, make sure you cross one of these buns off your list.

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  • Easter is coming early this year and baker Mike Russell is also rising early with a new hot cross bun offering. The newcomer features cinnamon-spiced oranges and raisins from Caulfield North at $24 for a half-dozen. Fans of Baker Bleu’s signature sourdough HCBs can still find the two mainstays: sour cherry and dark chocolate, or raisin and pecan ($28.20 and $25.20 per half-dozen respectively). If you’re feeling indecisive, why not order all three? Also in Prahran.

  • Instagrammable watermelon cakes aren’t the only thing Black Star should be celebrated for. Its dense and citrusy vegan buns are rolled with a bouquet of aromatic spices and achieve a lustrous shine thanks to a frankincense glaze. It’s also running a smooth chocolate offering made with Koko Black dark chocolate. Grab a half- or full dozen for $27 or $50 respectively.

  • These 24-hour fermented Hot XXX Buns are sure to attract the same queues as last year. The traditional option features a light base and is jam-packed with fresh fruit and spice (including citrus, cranberries, ginger and cardamom) and is $23 for a six-pack. There’s also a “rough, fluffy and super choc-loaded” variety made from a buttery brioche-style dough, house toffee and cocoa by local chocolatiers Hunted & Gathered at $25 a pack. Can’t choose? Get three of each in a mixed pack for $25. Also in Albert Park.

  • A favourite among Fitzroy locals, these traditional sourdough beauties are baked fresh seven days a week. Hero ingredients include certified organic Aussie flour, raisins, whole pureed orange, fresh ginger and Dench’s secret spice mix.

  • According to some of the city’s top chefs, Falco is responsible for the best HCB in town. An all-rounder in its field, Falco’s HCB is soft, chewy, fruity, spicy and gloriously sticky all at once. Buns are priced at $25 for half a dozen and sell out early, so get in fast.

  • For a Noma alumnus, Cobb Lane’s Matt Forbes keeps things surprisingly simple with his stellar bun – and we’re all for it. His note-perfect rendition on the classic comes with a zesty kick, courtesy of spiced orange peel and puree. Take one home in a bag for $4.50, or ramp it up with a six-pack for $25. For a twist, try its new sour cherry number studded with dark chocolate, $5 for one or $28 for six.

  • Find hot cross buns in traditional, dark chocolate and (wait for it) doughnut form. The latter is made from Rustica’s famous sourdough, filled with brandy crème and covered in sugar. Plus, it’s teamed up with a legend from across the ditch, Whittaker’s Chocolate, on a limited-run chocolate number that’s perfectly sweet, soft and plump. Prices range from $22 to $28 for a six-pack, and you can order online here.

  • Assembled with minimal yeast, organic vine fruit, fresh spices and candied orange peel, these are just as good fresh as they are toasted and drenched in butter. They’re so versatile, in fact, Phillippa’s suggests turning them into ice-cream sandwiches or bread-and-butter pudding. Coming in a six-pack for $24.50, they can be purchased in-store or online for click and collect.

  • Alongside its usual slow-fermented breads and indulgent morning treats, this spot serves hot cross buns we’d change religions for. The original is layered with sultanas, currants, orange, cinnamon and nutmeg ($4.60 each, $26 six-pack). Plus, there’s a saffron-laced newcomer ($5.60 each, $32 six-pack). Be sure to order ahead so you don’t miss out. Also in Elsternwick.

  • This poky and beloved bakery turns out sourdough hot cross buns that are laced with all the good stuff: raisins, currants, dark barley malt, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla bean and house-made candied orange and lemon. Plus, they’re vegan. You can order half a dozen online for $24.

  • If you’ve not tried Lune’s once-a-year hot cross cruffin, do yourself a favour before it’s too late. A hybrid of Lune’s wild interpretation of the HCB is bursting with sultanas, candied citrus peel and a gooey spiced custard, and is priced at $10.50 a pop or $63 in a pack of six. Also in Armadale.

  • A master in the bun business for years, Woodfrog has become a go-to in the lead-up to Easter. It’s got plentiful stock at each of its Melbourne locations, which means you’re unlikely to miss out on these soft, sweet and citrusy delights. Devour one for $4, or take half a dozen home for $21. Also in multiple locations across Melbourne.

  • Made from scratch with 72-hour sourdough, the traditional fruit bun here hits all the right notes with mixed spice and house-made orange puree. There’s also a sweeter chocolate-forward option made with Veliche Belgian chocolate, Callebaut cacao and cranberries. The classic cross is replaced with a signature H, and buns are priced at $4.50 each, $22 for a half-dozen, and $44 for a dozen.

  • Wild Life is re-creating its traditional bun this year with a splash of straight rye whiskey from Brunswick distillery, The Gospel. The crowd-favourite chocolate and sour cherry bun has also returned. You can wrap your mitts around one for $4.50 or half a dozen for $27.

  • True to its no-frills ethos, Sourdough Kitchen’s buns are classic and traditional, made using a sourdough base, sultanas, currants and fresh orange peel. Devour one in under a minute for $4.50, or draw it out with a six-pack for $25. Also in Williamstown.

  • For its classic buns, this bright patisserie soaks fruit in cider for a good six months before hand-rolling it into a flavourful, yeasted dough. Its new, giant HCB scroll swirl and mainstay triple-choc buns are decadent alternatives. Traditional and triple-choc buns are priced at $4.90 each, $24.90 for a pack of six, or $46.90 for a dozen.

  • Sultanas, currants and fruit peel are aged in a six-month-old mix of brandy, citrus juice and more– forming the base of Q Le Baker’s original HCBs. The buns are then finished with a sticky glaze of Backyard Honey and orange zest, and will set you back $4.50 each or $25 for a six pack. Plus, come by on weekends for chocolate and Frangelico HCBs.

  • Penny For Pound is well-loved for its flaky croissants, glistening danishes and sourdough. Yet its HCBs are also worth your time. Choose from three equally excellent flavours: traditional fruit, sticky date or chocolate at $24 for a six-pack. Or go next level with its HCB gelato sandwiches, which pair its three HCBs with gelato flavours like salted brown-butter caramel, choc-hazelnut and coffee pecan crunch. Also at Moorabbin and Camberwell.

  • Meet Moon Cruller’s decadent HCB spin-off: the Hot Cross Cruller. Its signature choux dough has been laced with spices, Kirsch-soaked dried fruit and citrus peel. Once deep-fried, it’s covered in a fruity glaze and finished with a delicately piped cross made from royal icing. Available to order online at $7.50 each.

  • This iconic gelateria is pulling out all the stops for its best Easter yet, with a special range made at its Fitzroy HQ. Come by for chocolate eggs, HCBs in traditional spiced and plain flavours ($2.50 each), and HCB gelato sandwiches ($12 each).

  • Responsible for some of the best croissants in the west, Gordon Street Bakery is hot crossing another classic off its list this Easter. On offer is a traditional fruit HCB packed with sultanas, currants and raisins, alongside a chocolatey one with a healthy dose of dark-choc chips and cacao. Settle on one for $4 or a six-pack for $21.

  • This much-loved bakery is built around reinventing classics and Easter specials are no exception. For a limited time, it’s baking three new creations: a hot cross lamington, lamington hot cross bun and yuzu hot cross bun. Stop at one for $5 each, or take home a half-dozen ($27), a dozen ($50), or a combo six-pack of all three ($35).

  • Mörk’s rich, pillowy chocolate HCBs will melt in your mouth in minutes yet stay on your mind for days. They’re layered with Mörk’s own North Melbourne-made dark chocolate, candied orange, cranberries and sultanas, which are sealed in a fluffy bun with a chocolate cross. They’re $6 each or $32 for a half-dozen, and you can easily order them online. Also in the CBD and at Queen Victoria Market.

  • This west-side favourite is well-loved and known for its American classics, like Philly cheesesteak rolls and key lime pie. But it also rolls out the original HCBs each year, which are soft, fruity and made with just the right amount of spice. Buns are priced at $4.20 each or $24 by the half-dozen.

  • Boris Portnoy’s gourmet lookalike of the classic Baker’s Delight bun is infused with freshly ground spices and layers of citrus and made with biodynamic flour, including spelt, giving its buns a nutty flavour. The shiny glaze and perfectly drawn cross embody the less-is-more approach. Buns are priced at $4.50 each or $25 for a six-pack. Get them on weekends from Saturday March 9, or every day from March 22. Also at Thornbury and Ivanhoe East.

  • Ned’s is foremost known for its bread. But its buns are just as worthy. This year, Masterchef alum Jess Liemantara at Ned’s is whipping up classic hot cross buns with sultanas, currants, mixed peel and fragrant spices ($4 each, $22 six pack). There’ll also be lavish chocolate-flavoured HCBs on offer. Available at all Ned's Bake locations.