Easy chocolate babka recipe! Moist & pillowy bread swirled with rich dark chocolate in every bite. Follow this simple step-by-step tutorial!

Homemade chocolate babka on a wooden board with a French press coffee pot.

Original publish date: March 3, 2020.

This chocolate babka recipe has been completely reworked! It’s totally new and different. I’ve made it way easier and I think it’s also tastier and prettier than it was before.

Don’t you just love how the soft, pillowy bread swirls and loops around all that luscious chocolate?

Fresh-baked bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And I really love the process of making it! It’s slow and methodical but somehow so soothing. You just follow the steps and give it the time it needs, and you end up with the most incredible reward at the end.

I’m slowly making my way through, trying to create bread recipes of every make and model. And I’ve got quite a few here! Last week I made rye bread, and before that there were cheese Danish, and beer bread

But there’s nothing else quite like chocolate babka. Where else can you get moist, fluffy white bread swirled with rich dark chocolate?

Chocolate babka recipe, baked in a white stoneware loaf pan.

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What is chocolate babka?

Babka is a classic bread that derives from Eastern Europe.

It consists of a rich, soft, and moist bread that’s swirled with a sweet filling, such as cinnamon sugar, fruit, or, as you see here, chocolate!

You’ll often find babka at a Jewish deli (remember that Seinfeld episode?), but this version is way better because it’s homemade!

Why this is the best chocolate babka recipe

  1. Tastes amazing: The bread is slightly sweet, moist, and so pillowy, and it’s complimented by a thick ribbon of dark chocolate ganache.
  2. Great texture: This bakes up so airy and light, and it’s not the least bit dry.
  3. Few ingredients: I’ve stripped it down to the bare essentials. You’ll only need a handful of pantry staples to make this recipe!
  4. Easy to make: Follow my streamlined recipe instructions and expert tips, and there’s nothing to it!

What does chocolate babka taste like?

Imagine that soft, slightly sweet white bread from your childhood, but with the addition of chocolate! It’s a truly special treat.


Ingredients for making chocolate babka, with text labels.

Flour: Bread flour is best here, but all-purpose flour will work in a pinch (it just may not have quite the same satisfying, elastic texture).

Salt: Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful! Kosher salt is best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.

Sugar: Granulated white sugar adds a subtle sweetness to the bread, as well as feeding the yeast. Swap in another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it subs 1:1 it should work fine.

Butter: Adds a richer flavor to the bread and carries the flavors. Use unsalted butter because it lets you control the amount of salt in the babka. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.

Milk & cream: Works in tandem with the butter to enrich the bread. Use whatever kind you keep on hand. You could also just use all half & half, if that’s easier.

Eggs: Provide structure and added richness. Use large chicken eggs or a plant-based product that subs 1:1. It’s best if they’re at room temperature, but I don’t find this to be critical.

Yeast: Active dry yeast gets my recommendation here. It allows for a slower rise that yields a deeper flavor thanks to the fermentation that occurs during that time. Sourdough starter and instant yeast can also be used (see below), but I like active dry yeast best.

Chocolate: Chop baking bars for the best result, or use premium chips. I like semi-sweet chocolate here, but you could use a bittersweet product, milk chocolate, or white chocolate if you prefer.

Special equipment

  • Measuring cups & spoons: Follow my guide on how to measure ingredients.
  • Bowls: You’ll need a large bowl for making the bread dough and a smaller one for the filling.
  • Plastic wrap: To cover and keep the dough from drying out as it rests.
  • Rolling pin: For rolling out the dough into a big, wide rectangle before filling.
  • Silicone spatula: For stirring up the filling and for spreading it on.
  • Knife: To cut the roll lengthwise and create that gorgeous swirl pattern.
  • Pan: A standard-sized loaf pan. Mine was stoneware. If you use metal you may have to adjust the bake time.

How to make chocolate babka

This stunner of a loaf comes together in just 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Make the dough

Start by mixing about half the flour together with the salt in a big bowl. Then, make a well in the center, and pour in the milk, cream, melted butter, and sugar.

Sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquids and allow it to dissolve.

Dissolving yeast in a well of liquid in the center of the dry ingredients needed for chocolate babka.

Stir everything together until you have a really thin, loose batter, then add the eggs.

Adding eggs to babka dough.

Mix those in, and then add the remaining flour, about a quarter cup at a time, while continuing to mix.

Keep adding flour until you have a stiff dough that’s no longer sticky. It should gather itself into a ball and pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Once you see it doing that, stop adding flour. You may not end up using all of it, and that’s totally fine! Or you may need a bit more! It’s all about the consistency, kwim?

Babka dough before kneading.

This is what it should look like. When you see this, you know it’s time to knead. And that’s an important step!

It creates that satisfying elastic texture that we love about good bread. If you skimp here, your bread could come out crumbly. Knead it for a full 10 minutes. Set a timer! I let my stand mixer do this job for me.

Babka dough after kneading.

See how different it looks after a good knead? It’s smoother and stretchier.

Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place (like a sunny windowsill) to rest.

Step 2: Make the filling

While your bread dough has its nap, you can mix up the filling.

Chop the chocolate.

Chopped chocolate on a wooden cutting board.

And heat some cream. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove. Just get it to where it’s steamy. It doesn’t need to be boiling.

Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for around 5 minutes.

Hot cream and chopped chocolate in a glass bowl.

Then stir it all together and set it aside.

Freshly made ganache being whisked together in a glass bowl.

Step 3: Fill & shape the loaf

Once the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and roll it out into a wide rectangle. The dimensions aren’t critical, but I will say that the thinner you can roll it, the more surface area you’ll have for chocolate. So I roll it as thin as I can, and I aim to have the shorter side of the rectangle be somewhat close to the length of the loaf pan.

Spread the chocolate filling all over, leaving a little bit of a bare edge so you can pinch and seal it in.

Then, starting at one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, roll it up into a tight log. It’s just like making cinnamon rolls!

Rolling chocolate babka into a tight log.

Cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving it connected at the tippy-top.

Cutting babka log in half lenghtwise.

Then just twist each of the long halves around each other.

Unbaked chocolate babka before second rise.

Place the twist in your loaf pan, cover it lightly, and give it a second rest.

Step 4: Bake!

Once the unbaked bread has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and preheat the oven.

Unbaked chocolate babka after its second rise.

This will bake until it registers an internal temperature of around 195 degrees F. It will puff up a ton, opening up all the chocolate-filled layers like the petals of a flower, and go really golden brown on top.

How to serve

Chocolate babka is perfect any time of day.

I love it for breakfast or brunch, or for a nice afternoon pick-me-up, along with a cup of coffee or tea.

And it’s great for dessert as well!

You can enjoy this bread warm, cold, or at room temperature. It doesn’t really need anything added to it, but a smear of soft butter or jam wouldn’t be unwelcome!

Expert tips

Check the expiration date: If your yeast is past the date, it could be dead and your bread won’t rise.

Keep it comfy: Yeast likes to be warm but not hot. Hot water will kill it. But a nice warm environment, such as a sunny windowsill or if your oven has a “Proof” setting, will help it to flourish. It’s amazing how much more the dough will rise and puff up if it’s kept a little warm.

Let the ganache cool: After you spread on the chocolate, allow it to set for a few minutes. If it’s really warm and liquid, it will slide around inside the roll and make the cutting and twisting really difficult.

Babka chocolate bread presented on a white marble surface.

Cover it: Keep an eye on your chocolate babka as it bakes. If it’s starting to get too brown on top but it’s still not cooked all the way through, you may want to tent it with foil.

Cool it in the pan: This will keep it from drying out.

Babka chocolate bread presented on a white marble surface.


Why didn’t mine rise?

This can happen if the yeast is dead. Be careful not to kill the yeast with water that is too hot. Aim for the temperature of a baby’s bath or around 105 degrees F.

It’s also a good idea to allow your dough to rise in a warm place. This will encourage the yeast to burp out lots of air and make the dough grow in bulk.

Can this be made with sourdough starter?

Yes! Use 100g of active sourdough starter in place of the yeast, and keep in mind that you may need to extend the rise times a little longer.

Can this be made with instant yeast?

You can, but you’ll probably want to reduce the rise times by 10 or 15 minutes.

Why is mine crumbly?

This can happen if your bread hasn’t been given enough time to rise, or if it’s had too much time to rise (because it eventually collapses back down again).

But I think the number one cause is not kneading enough! Be sure to give your dough a full 10-minute, vigorous knead.

Can this be made ahead?

You will want to allow yourself plenty of time to make this chocolate babka! It needs several hours to chill and rise, and it takes a while to cool down after it’s been baked too.

I think it’s best to start the recipe at least a day before you plan to serve it. Maybe even two days! The unbaked dough will keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours, or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Once baked, it will last at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. Just keep it tightly wrapped so that it doesn’t become stale or dried out.

If you still have leftovers hanging around after a week or so, pop them into the fridge and they’ll keep for several more days there.

Can you freeze it?

Yeast breads like this one freeze beautifully. Just wrap this babka up tightly in plastic wrap and slip it into a freezer bag. It will last in the freezer for around 2 months.

Thaw it at room temperature and it will taste fresh as the day it was made!

What is the serving size?

This recipe makes one loaf.

The nutritional info in the recipe card below is for the whole loaf. Divide it out by how many slices you choose to cut it into.

Chocolate babka bread sliced to display the swirl inside.

A few more of my best yeast bread recipes

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Homemade chocolate babka on a wooden board with a French press coffee pot.
4.75 stars (4 ratings)

Chocolate Babka

Servings: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time:: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Easy chocolate babka recipe! Moist & pillowy bread swirled with rich dark chocolate in every bite. Follow this simple step-by-step tutorial!


For the Bread

  • 3 1/3 cups (416.67 g) bread flour, divided (you may need slightly more or less)
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 g) kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (162.67 g) milk, warm, not hot (aim for 105 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup (79.33 g) heavy whipping cream, warm, not hot (aim for 105 degrees F)
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 tablespoons (36 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 g) dry active yeast, (1 packet or 1/4 ounce)
  • 2 (88 g) eggs, large

For the Filling

  • 6 ounces (170.1 g) chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (59.5 g) heavy whipping cream


To Make the Bread

  • Stir about half the flour together with the salt in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center, and pour in the milk, cream, melted butter, and sugar.
  • Sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquids and allow it to dissolve (approx. 5 minutes).
  • Stir together until combined, then add the eggs.
  • Stir until fully incorporated, then add the remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. (It should gather itself into a ball and pully cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. You may need slightly more or less flour.)
  • Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (approx. 1 hour).
  • Punch the dough down and roll it out to a thin, wide rectangle.
  • Spread the filling on top, leaving a bare margin around the edges for sealing.
  • Starting at one of the short sides of the rectangle, roll into a short, tight log.
  • Starting near the top of the log, slice the log in half lengthwise.
  • Twist the two long halves around one another and place in a loaf pan.
  • Cover lightly and set in a warm place to rise a second time until doubled (approx. 1 hour).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the bread until it registers an internal temperature of around 195 degrees F (approx. 1 hour).*

To Make the Filling

  • Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-safe bowl.
  • Heat the cream (either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat) until steamy.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
  • Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth and combined.


*Tent with foil if the babka is getting too brown on top.
Serving: 1loaf, Calories: 3625kcal, Carbohydrates: 456g, Protein: 80g, Fat: 175g, Saturated Fat: 102g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 49g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 624mg, Sodium: 2014mg, Potassium: 1489mg, Fiber: 21g, Sugar: 137g, Vitamin A: 4187IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 461mg, Iron: 10mg
Cuisine: Eastern European
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.


  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.