Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate orange hot cross buns – a delectable chocolatey twist on the classic Easter bread. Perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Chocolate orange hot cross buns - a delectable chocolatey twist on the classic Easter bread. Perfect for breakfast or a snack.

It feels like we only just had Christmas but now it is somehow nearly Easter already; I don’t know where the time has gone! I need to do some more Easter themed baking to blog but for now I do have these chocolate orange hot cross buns to share with you.

Chocolate orange hot cross buns with butter and tea.

These are a delicious chocolatey twist on classic hot cross buns. The chocolate flavour comes from using cocoa powder in the bread dough, as well as adding plenty of chocolate chips so that every bite is chocolatey.

Orange zest, candied peel and a sticky orange glaze give the buns a hint of orange flavour that works perfectly with the chocolate, making them incredibly moreish! Of course a hot cross bun is just a bun without the cross, fortunately they are really easy to do and are just made with a mixture of flour and water that you pipe on top of the risen buns before they go in the oven.

Close up of chocolate orange hot cross buns flavoured with cocoa powder, chocolate chips, candied peel and orange zest.

As with most homemade breads, these are best eaten on the day they are made but they are still good for a couple of days afterwards, especially if you serve them split and toasted with plenty of butter! They would make a fantastic Easter weekend breakfast or brunch or leave off the crosses and just make regular buns at any time of year.

If you want to break up the work a bit so they don’t take as long to make in the morning then you can make the dough in the evening and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight then continue with the recipe as normal.

Easter chocolate orange hot cross buns on a white background

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Soft, yeast raised Easter bread flavoured with cocoa powder, spices, orange, chocolate chips and candied peel.

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 15 buns



  • 500 g (4 cups) white bread flour
  • 45 g (5 Tbsp) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin/apple pie spice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 14 g (4 tsp) fast action (instant) yeast
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (or dairy free margarine) softened
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) full fat milk (or soy/almond milk)
  • 1 large egg (or 1 flax egg)
  • finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
  • 110 g (2/3 cup) chocolate chips
  • 180 g (1 1/4 cups) mixed dried fruit (I used a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants and candied peel)


  • 3 heaped Tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 5 Tbsp cold water


  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 large orange


  1. Place the bread flour in a large bowl and add the cocoa powder, mixed spice, salt and sugar to one side and the yeast to the other (yeast doesn't like to come into direct contact with salt). Mix it all together.
  2. Place the butter, milk and orange zest in a pan and heat until the butter has melted. Set aside until it has cooled to lukewarm (it shouldn't be so hot that you can't comfortably hold your finger in it). Pour the milk mix into the flour along with the egg and stir until it forms a rough dough.

  3. Turn out onto an un-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough should be sticky at first but become smooth as you knead it. Alternatively you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead it for about 6-7 minutes.

  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Flatten the risen dough out into a rectangle and scatter over the dried fruit and chocolate chips; knead until they are well distributed. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape each one into a ball. Place them slightly spaced apart on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Loosley cover with oiled clingfilm and set aside to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. To make the crosses, place the flour in a bowl and slowly whisk in enough water to form a thick, pipe-able consistency; your looking for something with a similar consistency to wallpaper paste. Place the paste in a disposable piping bag and snip off the very tip (or put it in a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle).

  7. Pipe a cross on the top of each risen bun then bake them for about 20 minutes. They should be well risen and browned; if you have a probe thermometer then the internal temperature should reach at least 94°C/201°F.

  8. While the buns are baking prepare the glaze. Place the orange juice and sugar in a small pan; heat while stirring until the sugar has dissolved then bring up to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until syrupy.
  9. Once the buns are baked, remove them from the oven and brush the tops liberally with the glaze. Allow to cool then serve them split, toasted and buttered.

For more hot cross bun goodness check out my Hokkaido milk bread hot cross bun loaf.

I originally made these chocolate orange hot cross buns for DIYs, check them out for some awesome craft and recipe ideas.

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