Sourdough chocolate Hot Cross buns

Jump to recipe

If you have already made the traditional version, then this is not very different to that. But I thought I would put this down anyway, so if you are a chocolate fan, you can follow straight away, without having to adjust the original recipe.

I love anything chocolate, but, when it comes to hot cross buns, I think that nothing beats the traditional, spiced fruit bun. I may not be the biggest fan of the chocolate version, but it is very indulgent and above all it’s my husbands favorite. So that is a good enough excuse to make these every year.

chocolate hot cross buns

Personally, I don’t like spices with chocolate, particularly in bread products, so I like to not use any spices. But feel free to experiment. I think vanilla and orange zest would be a nice addition, if you feel adventurous. Also, I use semi-sweet chocolate chips. But you can substitute this with milk, dark or even butterscotch. If you can’t find chocolate chips, feel free to chop up a slab of cooking chocolate, or your favorite chocolate. Use a good quality brand for maximum flavor.

chocolate hot cross buns

Any type of cocoa powder works for the dough. The flavor might be slightly different depending on the brand you use.

This recipe can be made on the same day too, just like any other recipe. So instead of retarding the dough, you can continue to the next step and bake these on the same day. Start early in the day so you have enough time to finish baking.

mixing dough

Mix everything except water, chocolate chips and start mixing. Add water gradually, until a soft dough is formed. Mix for a minute or two. Scrape down the sides. Once the dough is slightly developed, we can add the chocolate chips.

add chocolate chips

I added a heaped 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Use more if you like.

If you add the chips at the beginning, it’ll be harder to develop the dough and chips might crush and get mixed in.

Mix on low speed to fold the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix. We can always finish off by hand.


Dump the dough on to a floured surface. Knead by hand to finish off. make sure chocolate chips are spread evenly.

smooth dough

Kneading will make the dough smoother and more manageable. Round the dough up and place in a big plastic/glass bowl


Dough in the plastic tub. Now this is ready to be bulk proofed. Close with a lid/ tea towel and place in a warm, draft free area. Wait patiently until the dough nearly doubles.

It doesn’t have to be exactly double the original size. Noticeably larger is good enough. Check next image.

This might take about 3-4 hours

proofed dough

Notice how the bulked dough looks like. Tip the dough on to a floured surface. The bottom of the dough will be like a sponge. Dough will feel swollen and spongy/airy.

Punch down the dough and place in the same container. Close tightly with a lid and refrigerate over night ( 10 – 12 hours)

If you don’t want to refrigerate(slow ferment), go straight into weighing and dividing.

thaw retarded dough

If you refrigerated the dough, then thaw it before continuing. Leave in a warm place and it will soften up in about an hour.


Divide the dough in to 12 equal pieces.

My dough was about 1100g so I divided into 91g pieces.

shape buns

Shape each piece into nice smooth rolls. Check this video to get an idea. Place these on a tray.

dough balls

Place them apart if you want individual rolls. Place them closer, if you want pull-apart. I like to bake them in packs of six. Now cover them to prevent drying. Leave in a warm place to double.

proofed buns

After about 4 hours they will be ready. Check constantly during the final proof as you don’t want them over proofed. Once they are looking like this, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

355 F in a convection oven.

Make the paste for the cross, in the meantime.

pipe the cross

Once the oven is ready, pie the cross over the buns and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Rotate the tray at 15 minute mark.

Make the sugar syrup while the buns are being baked

finished buns

Apply the sugar syrup while they are still warm. Now leave them to cool.

Serve with butter

chocolate hot cross buns
Best served warm with butter

You may also like


  1. Just made these. Super yummy. Subbed some of the liquid and glaze from a friend’s runny marmelade.
    Pics posted on my IG #kareylea

    1. WOW!! Thanks Karey, for trying out the recipe. I am so glad you like them.
      Marmelade glaze sounds really nice and yummy too 🙂

  2. I made these for Easter today and I love them! Mine aren’t as pretty and round, and my crosses aren’t as neat, but they taste really delicious — chocolatey but not too sweet. Yum!

  3. What is 80% hydration… actually new to sourdough world..I tried your regular buns and they came out awesome.. want to try my hands on many more things as your recipes are very simple and easy to follow..

    1. It is the bakers %. 80% hydration is the water as a percentage of total flour weight.
      I have a post about basic bread baking and sourdough for beginners which explains all these.
      You might find it useful.
      It’s under “basics” category

    1. 80% is the percentage of water in the starter eg: 100g flour and 80g water to feed the culture(mother starter). How much starter to feed depends on how fast you want it ready
      1:10:8 – starter:flour:water will take 10-12 hours (overnight)
      2:10:8 – starter:flour:water will take about 6-8 and so forth
      This timing is all rough and it also depends on room temperature and your starter activity
      For more information about starter and feeding ratios check the two posts “How to make your own starter” and “Bread making basics”

    1. You can skip the long refrigeration and continue with the rest of the steps. If you think the dough is too sticky, place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes

  4. I can’t eat dried fruit, and hot cross buns (chocolate or otherwise) aren’t available in Sweden. So these are going to be great. Just off to wake up my starter so I’ve got enough. 🙂

  5. Hi Vindi, will it be fine if I use my sourdough that has 100% hydration in it? Amazing recipes always, thankyou so much!

    1. Yes absolutely. But hold some water back from the recipe when you mix the dough. Add water gradually and stop as soon as you get a soft nice dough.
      A little extra water is not going to be an issue. If you think you added extra, just let the dough sit for 30 minutes before mixing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.