Easy vegan hot cross buns with TWO types of chocolate chips. They are fluffy, will melt in your mouth and better than store-bought!
What to expect from these hot cross buns
I've revamped traditional hot cross buns by replacing wrinkly raisins with two types of choc chips. They also happen to be:
- vegan, making them egg-free and dairy-free
- have just the right amount of spice
- easy to make (though, you'll need a little patience while the dough rests)
If you prefer more traditional Easter buns, see my recipe for vegan brioche hot cross buns.
Ingredients you'll need
These hot cross buns has a SHORTER ingredient list than commercial or store-bought hot cross buns! That makes these potentially healthier ;). You will need:
Tips about the ingredients
Melted vegan butter can be substituted with a light-tasting oil. Make sure your melted butter has COOLED down otherwise it'll melt the chocolate chips.
Vegan chocolate chips, such as dark, milk or white. Alternatively, you can use roughly chopped chocolate or even leftover Easter eggs!
Sugar is needed to activate the yeast. If you'd like refined sugar-free hot cross buns, feel free to use coconut sugar or maple syrup.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making the dough for buns
The dough is a simplified version of my vegan brioche recipe! Simply add all ingredients except the choc chips to a bowl (or stand mixer), mix and knead.
Add the chocolate chips then knead until combined.
It's a two step process because if you place the chocolate chips with the warm milk and butter, the chocolate chips are more likely to melt.
The choc chips may struggle to 'stick' to the dough which is fine. We can always stick them on/in the buns when we shape them!
First rise of the dough
Once you've kneaded your dough, place it in a large clean bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and let it sit in a WARM area of your home. After at least 1-2 hours, your dough should double in size.
If your dough hasn't doubled in size, let it rest for longer and reposition it to a warmer area in your home. Since the dough has butter in it, it'll take longer to rise than regular pizza and focaccia dough.
Shaping the vegan hot cross buns
Each of my buns were about 70 grams each. I shaped each piece of dough with my hands, pulling on the sides to make sure the top was smooth and taut. This will help the buns rise and bake with a beautiful surface.
If you need a visual guide on shaping the buns, check out this step in this Youtube video.
Tip: to divide your dough, you can also roll it out into a long tube and cut out 12 equal sections.
I also buttered and floured my baking tray so I didn't have to use baking paper!
Second rise of the buns
Resting your buns for the second time is similar to the first time. Leave it in a WARM spot in your house and cover with a tea towel.
You can also let the buns rise in the fridge overnight. Just make sure you allow the buns to come back to room temperature before baking.
Making the cross for the hot cross buns
To make the paste for the cross, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Just make sure it's a thick and pipeable consistency. It doesn't look like much paste but we don't need much!
Piping the cross on the buns can be a little messy. I used a reusable piping bag and the smallest tip I had to pipe crosses onto each bun.
Baking and glazing the buns
The hot cross buns are ready when the surface is golden brown. Or you know when they are ready when can tap on the bottom of a bun and it sounds hollow.
I made a simple refined sugar free glaze for these buns. The glaze gives each bun a beautiful shine and also keeps in their moisture so they keep for longer.
I stored my buns in an airtight container at room temperature. They would keep for up to 3 days... but mine usually don't last that long.
Of course, you can freeze the buns. Just make sure they are in an airtight container because breads often absorb an unpleasant freezer aroma!
I hope you enjoy this easy vegan bread!
More vegan Easter recipes
Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns (vegan)
Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns (note 1)
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose plain flour, or bread flour plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup (190g) dairy-free milk, warm
- ⅓ cup (75g) melted vegan butter, room temperature OR neutral-flavoured oil (note 2)
- ½ cup (80g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar, to taste
- 1 tablespoon (9g) instant dry yeast, (note 3)
- 2 tablespoons (13g) ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (2g) ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice, optional
- Pinch of any good-quality salt, if using unsalted butter
- ~½ cup (85g) vegan dark or milk chocolate chips
- ~½ cup (85g) vegan white chocolate chips, or more dark/milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablepoon (12g) granulated sugar, coconut sugar, any light-coloured liquid sweetener or apricot/orange coloured jam
- Dash of water
To make the hot cross bun dough:
- Combine all of the bun ingredients except the chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix until it comes together. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook to your machine. Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth and stretchy dough.
- If your dough is a little dry where cracks appear, add a little milk and knead again. If your dough is a little sticky, add a little flour and knead again.
- Add the chocolate chips to the dough and knead them in. The chocolate chips may not 'stick' to the dough if you use a stand mixer. If so, you can pick up the remaining chocolate chips and 'stick' then on the buns when you shape them!
- Leave the dough in the bowl or stand mixer and cover with a tea towel. Leave the dough it in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doesn't double in size, reposition it to a *warmer* spot in your home.
Shaping the hot cross buns:
- Divide the dough into 12 equal parts (about 75g each). Roll and shape each piece of dough into a ball making sure the top is smooth. Place each bun into a rectangular or circular lined greased baking tray, leaving around 3 cm (1 inch) between each bun.
- Cover the tray with a tea towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least 1 hour. The buns are ready when they've expanded in size by at least 50% or are puffy again.
- When you are ready to bake the buns, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
Making the cross and baking:
- Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl to form a thick but smooth paste. Add more flour or water if needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe crosses onto the buns.
- Bake the buns in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The buns are ready when they're slightly golden brown. Or if you remove one of the bun and tap it lightly on the bottom, the bun should sound hollow.
Making the glaze (while the hot cross buns are baking):
- Add the sugar (or sweetener or jam) and water to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- When the buns are hot from the oven, brush them with the glaze.
- The buns are best eaten the day they are baked. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- If you would like your actual dough/hot cross bun bread to be chocolate-like, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
- The butter results in a more traditional and fluffy dough whereas the oil makes the dough more dense but still delicious. If you use oil, use only ¼ cup (65g).
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' or 'bloomed' beforehand. However, if you use another type of yeast, combine it with the warm milk in the recipe and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
This post was originally published in April 2019 and updated in March 2021.
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