Recipe: Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Ahh the hot cross bun… One of my favourites for sure and after a couple of attempts to create a chocolate version I feel pretty chuffed with this one I must admit

I have kept some of the fruit, and all of the spice from my traditional recipe and added hazelnuts and chocolate chips too. A little cocoa powder goes a long way, so just a touch is all we need. Also, it is SO absorbent, too much will make the buns super dry and crumbly! Orange zest is most welcome, suggested after a recent taste test at a bread making demonstration (thank you!)

A couple of pointers before you begin; soaking the fruit is essential (see step 1) to keep them juicy, and prevent them from tightening up the dough. And secondly, an enriched dough like this, with so much filling too, will take longer to prove up than a standard bread dough. So despite the extra yeast, be prepared. I have estimated 4.5 hours for you to make these start to finish, but as you know there are SO MANY factors contributing to the speed of the rise, so this time is a guide only.

Have fun and as always share a photo with me on social media, links are at the bottom of the page.


Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Difficulty: Medium

This recipe makes 12 Buns in around 4.5 hours


For the dough

470g Strong white bread flour

30g Cocoa powder

10g Salt

80g Sugar

2tbsp Mixed spice

1tsp Ground cinnamon

Zest of 2 oranges

30g Fresh yeast or 2 x 7g sachets of dry fast action yeast

20g Soft butter

270g Room temperature milk

1 Medium Egg

For the filling

100g Milk chocolate chips

100g Chopped hazelnuts

100g Raisins or sultanas

For the Cross

50g Strong white bread flour

50g Water

Pinch of sugar

For the Glaze

Juice of 1 orange

Caster sugar


  1. First, chop your hazelnuts if you need to. Soak your raisins or sultanas in boiling water from the kettle for 10 minutes. Then drain and set aside to cool

  2. Measure your flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, spice and into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, mix everything together and add the egg and butter

  3. Weigh the milk into a jug, and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to take the chill off. If you are using fresh yeast you'll need to dissolve it into the milk before moving on to step 4. If you are using dry yeast, pop it into the flour bowl

  4. Pour the liquid into the bowl and mix everything together until it comes together into a dough, turn it out onto the table

  5. Knead the dough on a clean table for 8 minutes. It will be sticky at first but stick with it and remember NOT to add any flour at this stage. Use a dough scraper to tidy up every now and again instead

  6. Next, dust the table lightly, spread out the dough and sprinkle over the raisins. Roll them up inside and continue kneading until they are evenly dispersed. Repeat a second time with the chopped nuts, and a third time with the chocolate

  7. Shape the dough into a ball, using a light dusting of flour, and place it back into the bowl. Dust again, cover with a clean cloth, and leave to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes

  8. When your dough has puffed up nicely, dust the table with a little flour and turn the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into twelve pieces, around 100g each. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange on a large parchment lined tray. Place them a finger width apart, and they will join each other as they prove

  9. Cover very loosely with cling film and allow 60-90 minutes for the buns to prove up.

  10. While your buns are proving, you have two tasks to keep you busy. First, the cross. Mix up the cross ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Fit a piping bag with a very small nozzle, or use a disposable one, and fill it with the mixture ready to go. Next, the glaze. Weigh the juice of one orange, and add the same weight of caster sugar. Bring to the boil in a small pan and leave to cool.

  11. Towards the end of the proving stage, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6, and pipe the crosses on the top of the buns

  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven, and when they are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a wire rack

  13. Use a pastry brush to glaze the top of each bun with your orange glaze, then leave to cool


So what do you reckon? Did you have a go? Click like, and share below.