Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

KaiApril 18, 2019

These are the best hot cross buns in New Zealand

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

The Spinoff has scoured the length and breadth of this great nation of ours (OK, we delved into the font of knowledge that is the friends of The Spinoff, plus the good people of Kai Corner) to bring you the very best hot cross buns of Aotearoa.

No doubt we missed a bunch – please do let us know in the comments. And yes, we know we’re light on South Island offerings. Please, Te Wai Pounamu, tell us about your buns!


Samuel Flynn Scott:

I’ve eaten a lot of posh hot cross buns this year and some have had a cloud-like crumb (Miann) or crosses that actually taste nice (Ima Cuisine’s custard cross party favourites), but one has stood out for me as both the best and best value. That was Daily Bread’s $3 bun of perfection. Oh, it was so good. Light, but not in that over-yeasted supermarket way, and deeply spiced. Just a perfectly balanced classic. Sometimes Daily Bread can overdo the funky flavours but not in this case. This is perfection.

Other Auckland picks:


Fort Greene


Hamilton bakery Volare has long been known for its fine HCBs, and they’re available at various spots throughout Waikato.


Billow Bakery

We have it on good authority that this Taranaki sourdough bakery makes the best buns in NP. 


Daily Donut

Yes, doughnuts, but also the finest hot cross buns in the east.


Head to Love Rosie Bakery in Tauranga for the Bay’s best buns.


A Manawatu local says Babco‘s buns have the perfect balance of fruit and spice, good texture, and they’re not too yeasty. “Almost a bit of a tropical flavour going on in there.”

Also in Palmy, we’re told that Winter Family Bakery does goodies.


Food editor Alice Neville, currently visiting our nation’s capital, made a mercy dash to Moore Wilson’s for hot cross buns but none of the four varieties she tried were that good, tbh. However, our Wellington insiders tell us that killer buns can be obtained from the following establishments:

Leeds Street Bakery

Baker Gramercy




Nada Bakery


James Dann:

One of the best-kept secrets in the Christchurch food game, Grizzly Baked Goods has been supplying cafes and farmers markets for a couple of years. They now have a hole-in-the-wall attached to their bakery in Sydenham, and if you’re quick, you might be able to pick up some of their excellent hot cross buns. Perfectly rounded, thanks to Grizzly’s newly acquired vintage bun-roller, these guys are small but dense. They’re packed full of fruit, with raisins, cranberries and chunks of orange peel. The kicker though is the dough, which has just enough air in it to let everything breathe. Eat as is, or lightly toasted with a lick of butter.

Photo: James Dann


Port Chalmers Four Square‘s in-store bakery is run by “a small group of formidable women”, and their buns are “spicy and fresh, with a good ratio of raisins to peel”, says our Dunedin insider.

Keep going!