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A hand brushes glaze over a tray of hot cross buns
Wild Life Bakery

The best hot cross buns in Melbourne

Battle of the buns: we've eaten our way through the city's baked goods in order to bring you the best

Written by
Time Out editors
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What’s not to love about a doughy, spicy, fruity, buttery ball of joy, warmed to perfection in the toaster, or the microwave, and slathered liberally with salted butter? Melbourne has a wealth of brilliant bakers, all of whom have been elbow-deep in flour, sugar and spice, perfecting their recipes for Easter. We’ve rounded up our favourite floury heroes and how to get them below.

Kneed more dough? More of the best things to enjoy at home in Melbourne right now. 

Melbourne's best hot cross buns

  • Restaurants
  • Brunswick East

Wild Life Bakery specialises in 24-hour fermented loaves, and its hot cross buns receive the same sourdough treatment. The relatively traditional fruit buns are dense but airy buns, made with Straight Rye Whisky from Brunswick Distillers, rye grain specially grown and stone-milled by Woodstock Flour and studded with candied orange, sultanas and currants, balanced by the presence of strong spices and finished with a sticky glaze. The insanely popular chocolate and sour cherry option are back, too.

Loafer Bread
  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy North

These are of the sourdough nature, so expect a dense and complex bun. The Australian fruit is organic, the lemon and orange peel are candied in-house, and a dark malt syrup adds lustre to the glaze. These breakfasty buns reign supreme thanks to their savoury and slightly acidic nature. It’s only a few steps from Dench Bakers, putting Fitzroy North high on the bun-lover’s radar.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Collingwood

Falco’s hot cross buns are made using organic Australian flour, Australian fruit and cultured butter and milk from St David Dairy. The base is a tender, light brioche bun, carefully spiced and sweetened with fruits, rolled by hand, daily. There is candied peel in the mix, so if you're not a citrus lover, beware. This is fantastic untoasted due to the brioche base, but toast it up and lather on some extra butter for luxury.

From two French bakers with resumes referencing some of Melbourne most loved carb-making institutions (see Woodfrog, Baker D Chirico) comes Bread Club. The original North Melbourne store now has an Albert Park outpost, with hot cross buns on sale at both – or you can order online. Opt for the classic spiced fruit or the (very) chocolatey alternative. These are the soft, moist kind best warmed just a little and served with lots of melted butter.

Eliza Campbell
Editor, Time Out Melbourne
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  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
  • St Kilda

Black Star shot to Insta-fame with its OG Sydney locations, but lucky for Melburnians, you can now snag a hot cross treat from the Victorian flagship location at Chadstone. These buns are dense yet cushiony, sticky, spicy and sweet – and best of all, they're vegan. The inclusion of frankincense syrup contributes to an intense but delicious flavour profile. Toast them thoroughly and top with vegan (or normal) salted butter.

Eliza Campbell
Editor, Time Out Melbourne
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • South Yarra

This artisan bakery specialises in whole wheat sourdough bread and pastries, and its hot cross buns are light on the spice and resemble your stock standard bakery hot crossie. The stand-out is its crust and thick, biscuit-like cross. That's not to say they aren't delicious when toasted and slathered in butter, but we dare say you could even add a layer of jam to your bun for added sweetness. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Spotswood

Candied Bakery knows its way around a sweet treat, and the hot cross buns are no exception. These bright, glazed numbers are packed to the brim with different Australian fruits, spices, bursts of citrus from orange, and free-range eggs to give them a slightly cakey edge. Use them when they're stale in a bread and butter pudding of sorts, or pop them in the toaster and marry them with butter for the ultimate holy union this Easter.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • St Kilda
  • price 1 of 4

Woodfrog Bakery specialises in uncompromised, naturally leavened, hand-shaped sourdough breads, but it's the generosity of currants and sultanas, high tones of unintrusive citrus and soft interior that pushes this finely glazed bun to the top of the pile. Another plus is you won't need to order ahead to avoid disappointment, as production is plentiful across all branches.

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Baker D Chirico
  • Restaurants
  • St Kilda

Orange and ginger purée flavour these sourdough buns, which are spiked with juicy currants. Rather than cooking up a new recipe each year, chef Dan's traditional Italian formula plays on repeat. Fair warning, though, these buns are on the hefty side, so if you're more used to a traditional treat, these benefit from a light toast.

 

Tivoli Road Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • South Yarra

You must order ahead for these hot cross buns, as they usually disappear well before midday. These buns are perfectly round, cakey (they contain egg) and on the softer side, studded with juicy raisins, sultanas and currants. The zesty spice mix is warmed up with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and clove, which is a little more Christmas than Easter, but nevertheless delicious.

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Brioche fans, rejoice, as that is the base of Ned's gently spiced hot crossies. The European-inspired bakery makes two varieties of buns, the traditional spiced fruit and a chocolate kind, made with Mörk chocolate. You can order them online or pick them up at the Armadale, South Yarra or Middle Park location. 

Dench Bakers
  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy North

Dense, chewy, flavoured headily with pureéd whole oranges and Australian vine fruits and spiced with a secret blend that includes – drum roll, please – coriander. Dench's hot cross buns are rightly famous and are best eaten the day of purchase.

Melbourne's best *not* cross buns

  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
  • South Melbourne

Delivery? Order here.

Agathe Kerr is the master of experimentation, but this year, her hot cross buns will be chocolate in a brioche bun. Aside from spiced fruit buns, everyone's go-to treat for Easter is chocolate, so the theme this year is Absolute Chocolate. Think pain au chocolat, chocolate tea cake, chocolate kouign amann (caramelised croissant), chocolate hazelnut mousse entremets lining the case next to the hot cross buns. Get in early at the market for these, because they're flying out the door.

  • Restaurants
  • Thomastown

It's commonplace to lather your hot cross buns in a high dose of butter, but have you ever left your bun untoasted and coated it in smooth, sweet, cinnamon-spiked ricotta that resembles the cream cheese coating you get on a slice of carrot cake? These hot crossies from Cannoleria by That's Amore Cheese won't leave you missing it being toasted, nor will you miss the butter – it's gloriously spiced and loaded with dry fruits and can be consumed via the usual method sans cheese for any purists out there.

Looking for a bigger meal?

  • Restaurants

Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old, and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Melbourne's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, that is. So behold, our eat-and-destroy list – a guide to Melbourne's 50 best restaurants.

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