As Easter approaches the burning questions on every Londoner's lips remain: who moved that really big rock from Jesus's cave, and more importantly, where can I get hold of the best hot cross bun in the capital?

There are few things which can top the smell of a freshly baked hot cross bun. Nor the sensation of sinking your teeth into a toasted one, slathered in cold butter and marmalade.

Originally reserved for Good Friday, they were allegedly first created by a 14th-century monk who baked a cross on top to symbolise the crucifixion of Jesus and packed them with spices to represent those that embalmed him. Nowadays these aromatic buns, studded with sultanas, cinnamon and citrus, aren't just reserved for the Easter period, forming a permanent feature on supermarket shelves – a testament to their popularity.

Although the mass-produced, factory-made versions are just fine, nothing can top a bakery-made HCB. We're so obsessed with them that we've rounded up our pick of the top 14 spots in London to get your hands on one this Easter.

The best hot cross buns in London for Easter

St John

Various Locations

St John has a reputation for doing traditional English recipes considerable justice, and its hot cross buns are no exception. At St John size matters, as they are renowned for making some of the biggest, juiciest buns in the game. Patience is key here, where the group's HCB's are long-proved and slow-risen to give the dough a deep and yeasty tang that perfectly offsets the sweet warmth of spices, candied peel, crystallised ginger and dried fruit packed into the dough.

Bread Ahead

Various Locations

Bread Ahead, hot cross buns

It's a known fact that Justin Gellatly and his team at Bread Ahead are baking geniuses, so it's no surprise this illustrious bakery is known for making some of the best hot cross buns in the game. The city's appetite is so voracious for them that they've been churning them out since February to keep up with demand. The classic-style buns are filled with lightly spiced apples and currents, plus you can even enrol in a hot cross bun workshop at the Borough and Wembley bakery schools (or online) and learn to make them for yourself.

E5 Bakehouse

Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH

As if the capital's unwavering obsession for sourdough couldn't get any bigger, the organic bakery, mill and shop E5 Bakehouse is selling semi-sourdough hot cross buns this Easter, including a vegan one. Made on-site in East London using Hackney Wild flour and Fen Farm butter, these buns are studded with homemade candied peel from organic oranges and lemon and packed with raisins, currants and apricots, making them HCBs of the utmost care and craftsmanship. Finished with a lick of their homemade orange syrup, they're best enjoyed with a knob of cold butter and a tankard of Earl Grey.


Various locations

Can't choose between bun or croissant? Now you don't have to. This Easter, head down to Pophams to try an HCB made using repurposed croissant dough and mincemeat leftover from the bakery's mince pies for a little kick. It's a bun packed with an irresistible mix of raisins, currants, sultanas, candied peel, apple, mixed spice, kings ginger and cinnamon, slathered in a citrus, maple and cardamom glaze. The star of the show is the croissant dough cross that tops the bun and, in true Pophams style, showcases the very best dough lamination for the crispiest pastry top. Go one step further and transform into an outrageous bacon roll with lashings of butter and HP brown sauce. Get your paws on these from 11 March - 7 April at all three London bakeries in Victoria Park, London Fields and Islington.


Various Locations

If you're someone who likes a heavy ratio of fruit to bun, the hot cross buns made at Ottolenghi delis are the ones for you, being pumped with above-average amounts of fruit and zest and laced with unusual flavours such as black pepper and rooibos tea. You can count on Ottolenghi to serve up baked goods with flare, and what's more is that the buns are made using the tangzhong technique to create a supremely pump, moist and bouncy dough. Find them at Ottolenghi delis across London from 16 March.

Little Bread Pedlar

Various Locations

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The hot cross buns baked at artisan bakery Little Bread Pedlar are a labour of love, made the traditional way using a milk sponge starter that takes three days to produce. Shipton flour, London Honey Company ling heather honey, Spice Mountain mixed spice and Agrimontana mixed peel are all added to the starter. Finished with a good dousing of punchy cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel glaze, these buns of beauty are ones to be cherished. With branches in Pimlico, Bermondsey, Kings Cross, Primrose Hill, Canopy Market and Waterloo, there are plenty of spots to get hold of one across the capital.

Toklas Bakery

9 Surrey Street, WC2R 2ND

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Head baker Janine Edwards has been making waves at Toklas since 2021 with her irresistable mince pies, dark chocolate and bitter honey biscuits, and, of course, HCBs for easter. Using a blend of heady spices, the buns are balanced and zesty with a base of dough enriched with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon-flavoured tea. Just to make them extra special, each year, the bakery team uses the last of the year's Todolí Citrus harvest – meaning they're packed with candied lemon, orange and pomelo. Get your hands on them from 12 March.

Cafe Cecilia

2 Andrews Road, E8 4FX

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Head down to Max Rocha's Cafe Cecilia to try one of their hot cross buns made with an Irish twist. Filled with Guinness-soaked fruit and brushed with a lick of homemade marmalade, these buns are best enjoyed with a coffee surrounded by the super cool and intimidatingly good-looking clientele that reside at the Hackney-based cafe.


Various locations

Jolene hot cross buns

Ah, Jolene, the bakery that has Londoners firmly addicted to its baked goods. This fan favourite is known for making delicious sweet treats ethically, with a focus on supporting regenerative food systems, and their buns make no exceptions. Made using fragrant and nutty wild-farmed flour, which is naturally lower in gluten, these gut-friendly buns are packed with mixed peel, sultanas and sour cherries and glazed with Earl Grey Syrup. Grab 'em while they're hot from 15 March across all bakeries.

Dusty Knuckle

Various Locations

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As one of the best bakeries in the biz, it's no surprise that the Dusty Knuckle is famed for churning out these limited-edition Easter treats. Unlike most hot cross buns, the Dusty Knuckle swaps out milk for buttermilk, which gives them a wonderfully soft texture. Made using wholemeal and rye flour and topped with homemade candied peel, you'd be silly not to head down to either the Dalston or Harringay cafes to give one a sample.


Various Locations

As if making a decision at Gail's couldn't get any harder, they're making hot cross buns too. Baked several times throughout the day, these HCBs made from nutritious rye oat flour are full of flavour and flourish. Packed with a mix of currants, sultanas and cranberries and topped with candied peel, the buns are lathered in a spiced syrup glaze for the ultimate sticky top. Thankfully, these buns are available in Gail's bakeries or for delivery, including boxes of six to feed the whole family this Easter.


7 Archer Street, W1D 7AU

This Easter, Soho gelateria Gelupo will once again reunite with Stoke Newington's favourite bakery, Jolene, for an easter special. Each day from 18 March - 1 April, Gelupo will serve a limited number of hot cross bun ice cream sandwiches, filling Jolene's fragrant and nutty wild-farmed wheat buns with artisan gelato for the ultimate Easter treat.


Various Locations

We get it, bun police, they're not a traditional HCB, but Crosstown are churning out limited-edition hot cross bun doughnuts this Easter – available in-store from 18 March - 2 April. Surprisingly vegan, these pillows of spiced dough come filled with a cinnamon custard, glazed with Seville orange and topped with threads of candied orange peel. A great choice for hot cross bun lovers with a seriously sweet tooth.

Pump Street Bakery

Available online for delivery 

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Hankering for high gloss? Pump Street's hot cross buns are glazed with Discovery Apple Juice from the neighbouring farm of High House, adding a sticky, citrus coating to seal in the moisture and keep the buns light and airy. Available in boxes of six or twelve, these buns are fragrant with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and studded with jammy currants. We don't blame you if you don't want to share the box.