Why it’s so good!

These choc chip hot cross buns aren’t just good, they’re incredibly good! Soft, tender, and full of chocolate chips, you simply must make them this Easter… or anytime really. Each bite is a combination of fluffy dough and rich, melty chocolate with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Drooling yet? I make them with a special secret ingredient that makes them oh-so-soft.

  • Perfect for Easter breakfast or a special brunch
  • Made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients
  • Can be done with or without a stand mixer
  • So much better than anything store-bought
  • Seriously, incredibly delicious!

Readers, you’ve been coming back year after year for my chocolate hot cross buns and my white chocolate and cranberry hot cross buns, so I thought it was time to add a new variation of Easter buns to the ranks. I’ve changed my go-to dough recipe a little, now adapted from my Oreo cinnamon rolls dough, and these HCB’s are better than ever!

This recipe for chocolate chip hot cross buns is somewhere in between the ones you already know and love. The bun is flavoured with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla and is totally loaded with dark chocolate chips. There’s another tiny difference that makes a huge impact on the final results: I add cream directly into the pan right before they bake. This small adjustment results in the best hot cross buns ever!

Top down view of 12 hot cross buns in a pan.


Ingredients for chocolate chip hot cross buns on a baking tray.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Whole milk: This recipe for choc chip hot cross buns is all about indulgence, so I suggest sticking to whole milk rather than replacing it with skimmed. You’ll notice the difference in the taste and texture. Make sure to warm it before getting started. You don’t want it hot – it should be just warm to the touch.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar, to be exact.
  • Instant yeast: You could also use active dry yeast instead, without any other adjustments.
  • White bread flour: You’ll want to use bread flour instead of plain as the texture and rise are better for the dough. Like any bread, you want your chocolate chip HCB’s to have a little chewiness too (as opposed the soft crumb of a cake) and the high protein content in bread flour will give you that.
  • Cinnamon: I only use a touch of cinnamon, but you can still taste it. It’s enough to recognise them as a spiced hot cross bun but does not overwhelm You can add more if you’d like, but don’t go over 2 teaspoons. It will slow down the rising process as well as overpower the other flavours.
  • Egg: Use a large egg, and bring it to room temperature before combining it with the other ingredients.
  • Vegetable oil: You’ll need to add some oil to the Easter buns dough to make the final product soft and tender. You can swap it for butter as my other recipes use but oil instead adds a little more moisture.
  • Vanilla: A bit of vanilla extract goes a long way — and pairs wonderfully with the chocolate.
  • Chocolate chips: I love using dark chocolate chips in this recipe for hot cross buns. If you’d like, you can swap regular-sized chocolate chips for mini chocolate chips so they disperse through the dough. You can also swap for milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, caramel chocolate chips – any you love really.
  • Cream: My secret ingredient. Remember that I add thickened cream (heavy cream) directly into the baking pan before popping these in the oven. The hot cross buns come out so much softer… and stay softer for longer!
  • Homemade topping: You’ll need plain flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, and some water to make the “crosses” for your chocolate chip hot cross buns.

How to make hot cross buns

These chocolate chip buns are a labour of love, but they are totally worth it. You’ll have to have some patience as the dough rises (it has to twice just like most dough recipes), but once the buns are in the oven, they’re ready to go in under 30 minutes. And yes, you can prep them the day before and bake them the following day.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

1. Activate the yeast

Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (see notes on the recipe card if you don’t have one) with the sugar and yeast and whisk. Let it sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. It should begin to puff up a bit. While you don’t need to activate instant yeast, this is a good way to check that it’s working without wasting all the other ingredients.

Yeast activating in a mixing bowl.

2. Knead the dough

Add the bread flour, cinnamon, salt, egg, oil, and vanilla and mix manually with the dough hook to combine. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead on the low setting for 8-10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If it’s too sticky, knead it again with an extra tablespoon of flour.

The dough shouldn’t be too sticky to handle, but also not dry enough that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl. It should have come away from the sides but be sticking to the bottom. Perfect!

The dough before adding choc chips.

3. Add choc chips & rise

Add the chocolate chips and knead for about 1 minute to distribute them evenly throughout the dough. Use your hands or the dough hook.

Remove the dough from the bowl and drizzle with oil. Rub it around the bowl, then place the hot cross bun dough back in and flip it so that it’s also lightly coated in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

The dough ready for it's first proof.
Dough risen in a bowl.

4. Form the buns

Punch down the dough, then transfer it to a clean surface. Cut it into 12 even pieces to form your choc chip hot cross buns. Roll each piece into a smooth, round bun as shown in the photos, and instructed on the recipe card below, then place on a baking tray and cover lightly with plastic wrap.

Pinching the underneath of the rolls.
Rolling the individual buns.
A hand holding one individual bun.

5. Second proof

Let your chocolate chip buns rise for another 45-60 minutes until they’re puffy and soft. Or, if planning to bake on Easter morning, store them in the fridge to chill then bring them out 1 hour before baking letting them sit in warm spot. They should be touching before they bake in the correct sized pan like below.

12 buns ready to rise in a pan.
12 buns that have risen in a pan.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F and grease your baking pan if you haven’t already. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the choc chip hot cross buns, then pour the cream around them, being careful not to get any on the tops.

6. Make the chocolate topping

Add the topping ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine.

The chocolate paste for the crosses.

7. Decorate & bake

Use a piping bag to create crosses over the tops of the buns. Start with each row, then turn the pan 90° and repeat so that every bun has its cross. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until crisp and shiny on top. Serve warm with butter or toasted. Enjoy the best hot cross buns ever!

The hot cross buns with crosses over them ready to bake.

Tips and tricks

  • As this is a sweet dough, it does take longer to rise. I suggest starting them really early in the morning for a lunchtime treat, or the day before, placing them in the fridge after shaping but before the second proof. 
  • Don’t let yeast come into direct contact with salt. While it’s not a death sentence to the yeast, it will slow down the fermentation process, which is what allows the choc chip hot cross buns dough to rise.
  • I know that sometimes the “rise until doubled” instruction can be difficult to judge. Another great tip for knowing when your dough has proofed enough is to gently press into the top with a finger. If it bounces straight back, it’s under-proofed and needs more time. If it bounces back slowly, it’s ready to go. If it never bounces back, the dough is over-proofed. The only way to fix overproofing is to punch the dough down again, reshape, and let it proof a third time though the texture will suffer ever so slightly.
  • I weigh out my dough balls. I know it sounds a bit extra, and you could technically eyeball it however weighing the dough means each of the buns will be the exact same size so they’ll proof in the same time and bake in the same time. Simply weigh the whole ball of dough, then divide that by 12. Then, weigh out 12 pieces of dough at that weight. Easy!
  • I don’t recommend using a proofing drawer for this recipe for hot cross buns unless you live in a cold place. If the dough gets too warm, the chocolate chips will actually begin to soften or even melt. It’s best just to have a bit of patience. You could sit it close to a warm window but not directly in the sun.
Two hot cross buns stacked.


Every time I serve these they go fast! Though, if you do have leftovers, wrap the buns individually in plastic (or in groups of 2-3 buns) to keep them from drying out too quickly. Store at room temperature — I don’t recommend putting these in the fridge as they’ll become dry.

If enjoying your chocolate chip buns after the first day, give them a quick 10-12-second zap in the microwave. They’ll warm up slightly and fluff up again.


Can I use a different type of chocolate for choc chip hot cross buns?

Yes, you can use chopped chocolate bars or chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips if you’d like. You can even totally switch up the flavour, and use milk or white chocolate instead. That said, the recipe would taste quite different, especially if using white.

What if I don’t have a piping bag for the cross topping?

If you don’t have a piping bag, you can create the crosses using a small ziptop bag with a hole cut into a corner.

Why do you add cream around the buns before baking?

It’s my secret to perfectly soft and tender buns that actually stay that way! These come out super fluffy and soft thanks to the addition of cream. You can certainly skip it, but adding it just prior to baking is a game changer and keeps them soft for longer. 

A hot cross bun torn in half showing the inside.

Did you try these chocolate chip hot cross buns? Show it some love in the comments below.

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A batch of freshly baked hot cross buns on a wooden board.
5 from 1 rating
These super soft choc chip hot cross buns are just perfect for your Easter weekend (or anytime). These fluffy buns are so much better than store-bought.



  • 1 cup whole milk (250ml)
  • cup white granulated sugar (66g/2.3oz)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (or active dry yeast, notes)
  • 455 g white bread flour (3 ½ cups / 1lb)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (80ml)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  • ½ cup thickened cream (heavy cream) (125ml)
  • 1 egg yolk (beaten with a dash of cream, milk or water)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons plain flour (all purpose flour) (notes 1)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (notes 1)
  • ¼ cup water (60ml)

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



    Warm the milk in the microwave if it’s cold, about 35-40 seconds is good, you want it to be just slighlty warm to the touch. add it to the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook attachment (or see notes if you don't have a stand mixer) with the sugar and yeast and give it a good whisk. Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate you should see it start to puff up a little.
  • Add the flour, cinnamon, salt, egg, oil and vanilla. Give it a manual mix with the dough hook, then attach the dough hook and knead on the low setting for 8-10 minutes until the dough looks smooth but elastic (just gently indent with a fingertip and it should bounce back out). The dough should have come away from the sides of the bowl but just be stuck to the bottom. If it’s too sticky just knead in another 1 tablespoon of flour. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky to handle but also not dry enough that it doesn’t cling to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Add the chocolate chips and knead those through too. You can do this with your hands or with the dough hook again. It’ll take a minute to work them in evenly.
    Remove the dough from the bowl and drizzle in a little oil. Rub it around the bowl, then place the dough back in and flip it so that it is also coated lightly in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. I advise against using a proving drawer unless it’s particularly cold where you are. If the dough gets too warm, your choc chips can begin to soften or melt so it’s best to just be patient.
    Grease a deep 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish generously with butter.
  • Punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean work surface. Cut into 12 even pieces (weigh them if you want to be precise).
  • Roll each piece into a smooth, round bun by pinching in the base over and over until you have a smooth top. Now place it down on the worktop, smooth side up and roll your hand over it in a circle to smooth and plump it up a bit more. Place on the baking tray evenly spaced apart. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.
    You can either chill overnight and bring them out 1 hour before baking in the morning or let them rise for another 45-60 minutes until they look puffy and soft. If you gently press your finger into the top of one bun it shouldn’t bounce back immediately.
    Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced. If your buns proofed in the fridge overnight, bring them out 1 hour before baking.
  • Brush the egg wash over the tops of the buns.
  • Pour the cream around the buns (missing the top as much as possible).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa and water and transfer to a piping bag. Snip the end off so you have just a small hole and pipe crosses over the top of the buns. The easiest way is to pipe long lines over each row of buns, then turn 90° and repeat so each bun has a cross.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes until shiny and crisp on top. Baked bread should reach 88C/190F on a thermometer poked into the middle.
  • Serve warm, with butter or toast in a toaster and then spread over butter.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. All ovens vary – always test for doneness 3-5 minutes before the recipe suggests
  3. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and cocoa. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  4. Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast. If you use rapid rise, your dough may double in size quicker.
  5. Flour: While bread flour gives a better texture, you can use plain flour / all purpose flour in it’s place.
  6. No stand mixer? You can make the dough without a stand mixer, just make sure to knead until it is smooth and elastic – about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 116mg5%
Potassium 150mg4%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 224IU4%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.