/ / Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns – NZ Brands Compared

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns – NZ Brands Compared

Want to know which are the best gluten free hot cross buns in NZ? We tested as many of the most popular New Zealand hot cross bun brands as we could get our hands on, to help you find your favourite 🐰

A collage image of 8 grey plates with halved hot cross buns on a mint green background, text overlay reads "gluten free hot cross buns, 8 nz brands compared".

Once upon a time, not that long ago, the best gluten free hot cross bun in New Zealand was whatever one you could find. Beggars did not have the slightest opportunity to be choosers. If you could find one brand, that had to be your favourite because there was nothing else.

But thankfully, those dark days are behind us. Now we have more options to choose from, and while your local supermarket may only have one or two options in stock, most of these can also be ordered online if you can’t find them in-store. 

So which one is the best? Well, I think I’ll actually leave that up to you. But my Coeliac Dad and I have spent the past couple of weeks buying and trying as many of the GF hot cross buns in NZ as I could get my hands on, and I’ve put together a little guide so you can compare.

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns NZ

All of the prices stated below are what I paid for them – however, prices differ between retailers and they could be on special at any time between now and Easter, depending on where you buy from.

I have added information on other allergens where available, but if you have food allergies to cater for, please always check the packets of the products you’re buying, and don’t rely on information from a stranger on the internet, even if it’s me and I’m doing my best.

Woolworths Free From Gluten Fruit Hot Cross Buns

Countdown/Woolworths brand Free From Gluten Fruit hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with three more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

These have the classic hot cross bun taste, maybe a bit light on the spices if you like a strongly spiced bun. The fruit in these is a mix of sultanas and currants, and they don’t contain mixed peel. They have a nice sticky glaze on the top.

They have a similar soft texture to regular hot cross buns, just slightly less chewy, of course, due to the lack of gluten. When we tested these they were 1 day past their best-before date, and they were still good. The texture may be even better if you eat them sooner.

There are 4 buns per pack, each bun is 90g.

These buns are made in Australia and have been pre-frozen, but are thawed when you buy them at the supermarket, and they recommend you don’t refreeze them. I see why they do this – to keep them fresh during travel – but it is a bit disappointing if you like to freeze buns for later.

Edited to add: I’ve had a few panicked comments from people that they have frozen their buns and wondering if they can still eat them. As far as I’m aware, refreezing defrosted bread is not a food safety issue, more of a food quality one – they may not be as good after thawing a second time. Having said that, we have refrozen these buns, thawed, toasted and eaten them, and noticed no issues.

The packet says they are best served toasted (and they do brown up nicely in the toaster) but they are also pretty good just heated a little in the microwave.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Vegan
‼️ Contains Soy
‼️ Say they shouldn’t be re-frozen

Available from Woolworths/Countdown and Fresh Choice. I paid $8.00 for these, but they are sometimes on special for less. I found them in the regular bakery section – not the gf bread section.

Woolworths Free From Gluten Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

Countdown/Woolworths brand Free From Gluten apple and cinnamon hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with three more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

If you’re not a fan of raisins/sultanas/currants then these could be a good option for you. They’re a lightly spiced bun with little chunks of apple. I think these could do with more cinnamon – I ended up sprinkling the top of mine with some cinnamon sugar for extra flavour. They have the same texture as the fruit buns from the same brand.

Most of what I said above about the fruit buns applies to these too – 4 buns per pack, each bun is 90g. Pre-frozen and says best served toasted, although I did just heat mine in the microwave and I thought it was pretty good. They also brown up nicely when toasted.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Vegan
‼️ Contains Soy and Sulphites
‼️ Say they shouldn’t be re-frozen (see above).

Available from Woolworths/Countdown and Fresh Choice. I paid $8.00 for these, but they are sometimes on special for less. I found them in the regular bakery section – not the gf bread section.

Woolworths Free From Gluten Choc Hot Cross Buns

Countdown/Woolworths brand Free From Gluten chocolate hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with three more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

If you’re not into spicy buns (*ahem*) then these might be more your style. Similar texture to the other Free From Gluten buns. Same pack size, bun size etc. as above.

They have a ton of chocolate chips and a nice general chocolate flavour. I think they were quite a bit sweeter than the non-chocolate ones, but that’s probably to be expected with all of the chocolate. I didn’t test toasting these, I just microwaved them for 10 seconds and that softened them up nicely.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Vegan
‼️ Contains Soy
‼️ May contain milk
‼️ Say they shouldn’t be re-frozen (see above)

Available from Woolworths/Countdown and Fresh Choice. I paid $8.00 for these, but they are often on special for less. I found them in the regular bakery section – not the gf bread section.

Lucy’s Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Lucy's hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with five more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

I am a big fan of Lucy’s fruit bread loaf (“The Fruity One”), so I had high hopes for these hot cross buns and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. They have a slightly chewy texture which I love – as we know, gluten free bread products tend to be more cakey than chewy, so I like the chew on these because they feel so much closer to regular bread texture.

As with their fruit loaf, the buns contain sultanas, dried apricots, dried cranberries and mixed peel. I’m not the biggest fan of mixed peel, but there’s not too much of it. The ones I got didn’t have much of a glaze on them and they were quite pale, but toasted up nicely in the toaster.

These are the most expensive gluten free hot cross buns that we tested, at $24.00. Postage was $10.00, however I also took the opportunity to stock Dad up on their sourdough and fruit bread at the same time.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Vegan

Thoroughbread Paleo Hot Cross Buns

Thoroughbread hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with five more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

If you’re looking for a grain-free option then these are for you. They use tapioca starch, ground sunflower seeds and linseeds. They have raisins and sultanas as the fruit and have a lightly spiced flavour.

The texture is lovely and soft even before heating, but they are best toasted. Plenty of fruit but no glaze – which is a mark down in my book, although if you don’t like getting sticky fingers then that may be a mark up for you.

There are 6 buns per pack, and each bun is 111g. Made in NZ.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Grain Free
πŸ’Ÿ Can be frozen

Available from some supermarkets (I bought these from our local Fresh Choice) and from Thoroughbread stockists. These are the second-most expensive on the list, at $18.00.

Dovedale Gluten Free Easter Buns

Dovedale hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with five more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

Made with sultanas, currants and mixed peel and lightly spiced, these buns toast really nicely. They have a slightly chewy texture, similar to the Lucy’s buns, which I like.

These are the smallest buns of all the ones I tested. I think this size would be great for kid’s lunchboxes, or morning/afternoon tea with a cuppa.

There are 6 buns per pack and each one is 53g. Made in NZ.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
‼️ Contains dairy (milk powder)
‼️ Made in a plant that also handles sesame seeds and tree nuts

Available from some supermarkets and online. I paid $8.50.

Allergywise Hot Cross Buns

Allergywise hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with five more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

Allergywise buns are a great option if you have multiple allergies or intolerances (see below) as they’re made in a dedicated allergy-wise facility and state that they are “free from all known allergens per NZFSA guidelines”

The hot cross buns are made with currants, sultanas and mixed peel, and I would say they’re very light on the spices – I actually couldn’t taste much spice at all. They were a little on the dry side (more on that below) but they toasted nicely, and were softer inside once toasted. They say they have a glaze but it’s not a super sticky, shiny glaze.

These are interesting in that they are frozen after manufacturing but they state they can be re-frozen within four days of thawing. They may be sold still frozen in supermarkets, but if you buy online they will defrost in transit. I ordered these online, but unfortunately, they don’t use an overnight courier and the delivery took five days to arrive so I’m not sure they were at their best when we tested them. I probably wouldn’t order them online again, but if we saw these in store we might buy them as Dad enjoyed them.

6 buns per pack, each bun is 70g. Made in NZ.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free (Crossed Grain logo)
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Egg Free
πŸ’Ÿ Soy Free
πŸ’Ÿ Nut Free
πŸ’Ÿ Vegan

Available from some supermarkets and Binn Inn stores (in the freezer section) and from their online store. I paid $11.50.

Home Street (Bakeworks) Easter Hot Cross Fruit Buns

Home St hot cross buns, one cut bun on a plate with three more buns on another plate, with the empty packet on a mint green background.

The Home St buns (made by Bakeworks) are refined sugar free (made with coconut sugar) and they’re also dairy free. Made with sultanas, raisins and cranberries. They taste less sweet than some of the other options, so if you prefer less sweet hot cross buns, or you like to put savoury toppings on, then these might be good for you. I found these had quite a strong vinegar smell (they contain apple cider vinegar) and was a bit nervous about tasting them, but that smell was gone once the bun was toasted. Neither Dad nor I thought these had much spice flavour, and the cross was quite hard.

βœ…βœ… Gluten Free
πŸ’Ÿ Dairy Free
‼️ Contains egg white
‼️ May contain almond and sesame

Available from some supermarkets and online. I ordered online and paid $13.90, plus postage.

Bonus – Alternative Bread Co. Fruit Bread Mix for Homemade Hot Cross Buns

And if you can’t find any of these, or want to make your own gluten free hot cross buns at home, I recommend trying The Alternative Bread Co. hot cross buns made with their fruit bread mix. I made them last year and Dad and I both loved them.

In fact, it was much less work to make them than it was putting together this guide of ready-made buns. Why didn’t I just do that again this year? πŸ˜‚

GF Hot Cross Bun Comparisons

I put these tables together for my own entertainment, but then I thought I might as well add them here too.

Prices and Sizes

The prices stated below are the average retail price at the time of writing (not including delivery for online orders).

Fruits and Glazes

Summary

Free From Gluten fruit, apple and cinnamon, and chocolate buns and a Lucy's bun, halved on grey plates with text labels.
Thoroughbread, Dovedale, Allergywise and Home St hot cross buns halved on grey plates with text labels.

I expected at the end of this to have very clear favourites and ones that I wouldn’t recommend, and while I do have some faves, I think all of these buns have something going for them, and would suit different people.

The Free From Gluten fruit hot cross buns are the ones I would say are the closest to a regular gluten-y supermarket hot cross bun, in size, taste and texture (once heated or toasted). The Free From Gluten apple and cinnamon buns are great if you don’t like raisins/sultanas etc. or want a change from regular fruit buns. The chocolate Free From Gluten buns are great for those who don’t like any fruit or spice in their hot cross buns.

The Thoroughbread buns are perfect for those looking to cut down on refined grains. The Allergywise buns are great for those with multiple food allergies or intolerances. The smaller size of the Dovedale buns makes them great for morning or afternoon tea, or for kids’ lunches. The Lucy’s buns are the ones I would take to a nice brunch to impress non-gf friends when you tell them “oh hey, those are gluten free”. If you’re looking for something less sweet and made without refined sugar, then the Home St ones could suit you nicely.

Our Favourites

If, after all of that, you can’t choose which to try, here are our personal favourites.

I really like both the Free From Gluten Fruit buns and the Lucy’s buns. The Free From ones are more of an everyday bun, and I love the sticky glaze. I also really love that they look like a regular hot cross bun.

The Lucy’s buns are probably more of a special occasion bun, as they’re considerably more expensive, but I really love the texture of them, and they’re a lot closer to “real” bread and they taste homemade. I’m not a big fan of mixed peel, which Lucy’s buns do contain, but I picked some bits out and the rest wasn’t enough to put me off the flavour.

Dad’s favourites are the Free From Gluten Fruit buns (for the same reasons as mine, we agree on something for once πŸ˜‚) and he really likes the flavour and the texture of the Throughbread buns as well. They were one of the first gf hot cross buns he ever tried and he’s enjoyed them ever since.

Mum – the only person in the family who still eats gluten – didn’t test all of the buns, but she did try the Free from Gluten apple and cinnamon buns and Lucy’s, and even as a gluten-eater, she liked them both.

None of the buns we tested had quite enough spice for my or Dad’s taste – but bear in mind that as a family we all really like spice, and I tend to add extra to anything I’m baking.

There’s really something for everyone on this list, so I hope you find your favourite gluten free hot cross buns and let me know in the comments which ones you love! πŸ’œ

And before you go, if you’re looking for gluten free Easter treats, I have you covered!

An assortment of different brands of Easter eggs and treats, on a mint green background, text overlay reads "gluten free Easter treats"

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