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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

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

Course Breakfast
Cuisine baking, British
Keyword hot cross buns
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 15 buns
Author Domestic Gothess



  • 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.

Recipe Notes

  • For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
  • If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook I would really recommend using it for this recipe. The dough is quite sticky and it’s much easier to work with in a mixer.
  • The recipe will work using plain (all-purpose) flour, but bread flour gives the best texture.
  • Make sure that your yeast hasn’t expired! Out of date yeast can lead to bread that doesn’t rise.
  • The best way to tell if bread is baked properly is to check the internal temperature with a probe thermometer. It should reach at least 94°C/201°F.
  • The hot cross buns are best eaten on the day they are baked but they will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days in which case they are best served toasted.