This homemade Chocolate Babka is soft, fluffy, and swirled with decadent ribbons of chocolate ganache that melt into every groove. It’s the ultimate breakfast treat or light dessert to enjoy with the family.

Like our Banana Bread, Cranberry Bread, this Chocolate Babka recipe is one of our favorite sweet homemade bread recipes. We just know you’ll love it, too!

Close up of chocolate babka with a slice cut from the end.

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Homemade Chocolate Babka

Enjoying a slice of chocolate babka is like biting into a decadent, jumbo-sized chocolate croissant, or a giant, chocolate-filled cinnamon roll, minus the cinnamon. It’s really something special. The sweet crumb is irresistibly tender, and the simple homemade ganache is such a treat.

Since the best things come in pairs, this recipe makes not one, but two chocolate babkas. You might as well make two at once – it takes about the same amount of time as making one. Babkas are one of my favorite baked treats for gifting around the holidays as they look beautiful and taste even better. 

What Is a Babka?

A babka is a traditional braided bread that originated among the Eastern European Jewish communities of Ukraine and Poland. ‘Babka’ means grandmother. It is like a sweet Challah or Brioche Bread with ribbons of chocolate (or sometimes cinnamon) throughout. These swirls of ganache separate the buttery crumb into melt-in-your-mouth layers. It’s a truly delicious baked treat that we love to make for the holidays, from Easter to Christmas.

Chocolate babka in loaf pan.

Ingredients

Let’s have a quick look at the ingredients you’ll need to make your chocolate babkas. Below is an overview, with the full details available in the recipe card below.

  • Milk – The milk for the dough should be warm, but not hot.
  • Active Dry Yeast – Don’t forget to check the dates on your yeast packets to ensure it’s not expired.
  • Sugar – Sugar helps feed the yeast, and sweetens the dough.
  • Flour – I’ve had the best results with regular all-purpose flour.
  • Eggs – remember let them come to room temperature.
  • Butter – You’ll need melted butter for the batter as well as for brushing the top of the babkas before they’re baked. You can also brush the tops with Coconut Oil after baking if you’d like.
  • Salt and Vanilla – use pure vanilla extract. Salt helps to balance and enhance the flavors of the dough.
  • Chocolate Ganache – a combination of heavy cream, sugar and semi-sweet chocolate chips make the decadent chocolate sauce.
The ingredients for Chocolate Babka

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a kitchen scale, the best way to measure flour correctly is to spoon it from the bag into a measuring cup. Afterward, use a knife to level off the top. Learn more about measuring dry ingredients in our video tutorial

How to Make a Chocolate Babka

Making a gorgeous and glossy homemade chocolate babka takes some time because you can’t rush the dough rising, but the results are worth it! Begin by preparing the dough for your babkas:

  1. Activate the Yeast – Combine warm milk with yeast, and rest for about 7 minutes. Whisk in flour and sugar, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise until puffed up and foamy. Doing this in a 100ºF oven can help speed up the process.
  2. Combine the Ingredients – Whisk in eggs, melted butter, additional sugar, salt, and vanilla. With the dough hook attachment, gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough in the mixer on low for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Rise – Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled. This can take about an hour in a warm oven, or two hours at room temperature.
Step by step photos of the babka dough making process.

Pro Yeast Tips: Yeast works best in a warm environment. Bring the yeast to room temperature before using it. Also, make sure your milk and oven (if using the oven for proofing) are between 100-115 degrees F. If it’s hotter than that, you can deactivate and ruin the yeast.

Making the Chocolate Ganache

While the dough is rising, you’ll make the chocolate ganache. This is based on our go-to Chocolate Ganache recipe.

  1. Heat the Cream – Combine heavy cream and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar while the cream reaches a simmer.
  2. Combine – Pour the hot cream into a bowl filled with chocolate chips. Make sure that all the chocolate is covered. Place a lid over the bowl and leave it to sit for a few minutes while the chocolate softens. Next, whisk the chocolate until smooth, then let it cool and thicken.
Photo collage showing the process for making chocolate ganache.

Shaping and Baking a Babka

When your dough has doubled in size and your chocolate ganache is ready, it’s time to shape and bake the babkas. Line a pair of loaf pans with parchment paper and give them a quick greasing with some butter. Here’s how easy the loaves are to assemble:

  1. Roll – First, divide the dough in half, and turn it out on a floured surface. Roll each half into a rectangle, roughly 12” by 16”. 
  2. Chill – Spread about a third of the chocolate ganache over each dough rectangle. Next, roll the dough up into logs starting with the short side, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 
  3. Twist – After 15 minutes, remove the chilled rolls from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving the top half-inch intact. Next, twist the two halves together. Repeat with the second roll, then transfer the dough to your lined loaf pans. Let the loaves to rise one more time.
  4. Bake – When the dough has risen and looks puffy, brush the top of the babkas with melted butter. Bake the babkas for 30 minutes at 350ºF, until the tops are golden brown.
Photo collage showing how to fill, roll, and cut the dough for a chocolate babka.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to give your baked babka loaves a glossy sheen, brush them with coconut oil when they’re still hot from the oven. You can even drizzle or spread the last of the ganache over the top.

A hand brushes butter over chocolate babka dough inside a lined loaf pan.

Common Questions

Is babka bread or cake?

Technically, it’s sweet braided bread that’s also sometimes considered a cake. We’ll call it both.

Is babka eaten hot or cold?

Homemade babka is best when served slightly warmed up, or at room temperature.

Is brioche and babka the same?

Brioche and babka are very similar. A babka is often filled with chocolate, cinnamon, or other sweet fillings and shaped into a loaf, while brioche is twisted and baked into a knot.

Why is my babka dry?

Overbaking is the main reason a babka would be dry. Also, make sure not to overproof your dough which exhausts the yeast and results in tough and dry bread.

Overhead view of two chocolate babka loaves in two lined loaf pans.

What Do You Eat With Chocolate Babka?

With its buttery crumb and decadent chocolate filling, a babka can be eaten as either a dessert or as a sweet treat at breakfast. Slices of babka pair perfectly with a warm cup of coffee or tea. 

These babkas also make a great addition to a brunch table and more than satisfy as an afternoon snack. It’s rare that a babka lasts long enough to go stale in our house. But if it does? Well, that’s my excuse to turn leftover slices into Bread Pudding or French Toast.

Make-Ahead

A freshly baked chocolate babka is hard to beat. If you need to store your babkas, however, they do keep for a couple of days. I suggest storing it without the added chocolate sauce on top. Here’s how to do it:

  • To Store: Seal the cooled chocolate babkas in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Store loaves at room temperature and enjoy them within 2-3 days.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the baked and cooled babkas, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 months. Thaw the loaves in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
  • To Reheat: If you’d like to warm up babka slices, you can zap them for a few seconds in the microwave. You can also pop them into the toaster oven wrapped in foil.
Overhead view of chocolate babka with two slices cut from one end.

We’ll admit, a perfect chocolate babka takes a bit of time, but the payoff is so worth it. We hope this recipe becomes a new holiday tradition for you!

More Homemade Bread Recipes

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Chocolate Babka Recipe

4.98 from 40 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Chocolate Baba with chocolate sauce
This homemade Chocolate Babka is a buttery, braided bread swirled with decadent ribbons of chocolate ganache that melts into every groove.
Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 16 (makes 2 babka loaves)

Ingredients for Chocolate Babka:

  • 3/4 cup warm milk (NOT hot)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided (3 Tbsp for batter, 1 Tbsp to brush tops)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Coconut oil to brush over babkas, optional

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache:

Instructions

How to Make Chocolate Babka:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add warm milk, sprinkle top evenly with yeast and let sit for 7 min. Whisk in ½ cup flour and 2 Tbsp sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm oven (100˚F) for 25-30 min or at room temp 35-45 min until puffed.
  • Whisk in eggs, 3 Tbsp melted butter, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using the dough hook on speed 2, add the remaining 3 cups of flour (1/2 cup at a time, letting it incorporate between additions). The dough should feel barely sticky to the touch but should not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. Add an extra 1-2 Tbsp flour if needed. Once all flour is in, continue kneading on speed 2 for 8-10 min.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm oven for 1 hr or at room temp 2 hrs, until doubled in size. Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache (instructions below).
  • Once the dough has risen, divide it in half. Generously dust flour on a clean work surface and place 1 piece of dough in the center. Sprinkle dough with flour and roll into a 12" wide by 16" long rectangle. Spread with 1/3 of the ganache. Roll the dough up tightly starting with the shorter side.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 min. Cut each chilled roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, keeping the top 1/2" of the roll connected. Twist halves together a few times.
  • Butter and line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 min or at room temp for 1 to 1½ hours or until puffy. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Brush loaves with remaining 1 Tbsp melted butter and Bake at 350˚F on the center rack for 30 min or until golden brown. Brush hot loaves with coconut oil to give them a sheen or spread the remaining chocolate ganache over the tops.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup sugar, stirring until dissolved and cream reaches a simmer then remove from heat.
  • Add chocolate chips to a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over the top, wiggling the bowl around to ensure the chocolate chips are covered. Cover the bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and whisk starting from the center and moving outward until a smooth chocolate sauce has formed. Cool completely to room temperature or until the sauce has thickened. To speed set, refrigerate the ganache for 10 minutes at a time, whisking to check the consistency.

Nutrition Per Serving

300kcal Calories36g Carbs6g Protein15g Fat9g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat4g Monounsaturated Fat0.1g Trans Fat47mg Cholesterol93mg Sodium164mg Potassium2g Fiber12g Sugar354IU Vitamin A0.1mg Vitamin C41mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Babka Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
300
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Saturated Fat
 
9
g
56
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Cholesterol
 
47
mg
16
%
Sodium
 
93
mg
4
%
Potassium
 
164
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
36
g
12
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
12
g
13
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
354
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
0.1
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
41
mg
4
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Bread, Dessert
Cuisine: Polish, Ukrainian
Keyword: babka bread, babka recipe, Chocolate Babka
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 300

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Bridgette
    April 28, 2024

    Hi Natasha, thank you for this recipe, I am Polish and always wanted to learn how to make chocolate babka, and finally did. My only question is… should the babka stay on the counter top or in the fridge?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 29, 2024

      Hi Bridgette! You’re very welcome, thank you for trying my recipe. See the section in the blog above titled, “make-ahead” for storage instructions.

      Reply

  • Ales
    March 17, 2024

    Unfortunately this recipe was a failure. There was just not enough butter and liquid for this amount of flour, and the dough turned out to be very stiff and unworkable. I bake often, and was looking for an easier and faster babka recipe. Unfortunately this was not it.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 20, 2024

      Hi Ales, it sounds like maybe too much flour was added. Check out our post on how to measure flour for baking. If you push the measuring cup into the flour bin, you can get up to 25% too much compacted flour. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • evelyn
    March 5, 2024

    If ⅓ of ganache goes on loaf 1, and ⅓ of ganache goes on loaf 2, then where does last ⅓ of ganache go?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 5, 2024

      Hi Evelyn, we mention this in step 7, “spread the remaining chocolate ganache over the tops.” I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Jenny
    February 16, 2024

    hi Natasha, can I make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours ? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 16, 2024

      Hi Jenny, I have a few options on making them ahead under the “Make-Ahead” section of the recipe. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Natela
    December 19, 2023

    Can I substitute the chocolate chips because I don’t have them?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 19, 2023

      Hi there, I haven’t tried any substitution for choco chips but feel free to experiment.

      Reply

  • Irene
    November 15, 2023

    Hi!
    Can I prepare it the night before, refrigerate and bake it in the morning?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 15, 2023

      Hi Irene, I have a few options on making them ahead under the “make ahead” section of the recipe.

      Reply

  • Lee
    February 21, 2023

    Made this yesterday and it’s delicious! Came out beautiful!! I’ll post pics on Instagram. Tastes like those chocolate croissants from traders joes and I LOVE those!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 21, 2023

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Lee!

      Reply

  • Michelle
    January 29, 2023

    Hi Natasha, Made your Babka for the first time, and it came out great! Two thumbs up from my husband and he keeps going back for another piece. Your instructions are always so easy to follow.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 29, 2023

      Thank you, Michelle! That’s great. I’m so glad you find my instructions helpful.

      Reply

  • Mary Ann
    January 4, 2023

    This was a mess definitely need a video to watch I now have a gooey mess in my frig hopefully it will firm up not for a novice

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 4, 2023

      Hi Mary Ann! I’m glad you gave this recipe a try! I always recommend prepping all the ingredients and reading through the entire post before starting it. I hope you love the outcome!

      Reply

    • Daniela
      February 18, 2023

      Dear Mary Ann
      instead of 1 cup of heavy cream, use half a cup. Works great and no gooey mess.

      Reply

  • Jenna
    January 3, 2023

    I was gifted a bread machine and wondered if anyone has Made this recipe in a machine? If so, any suggestions, recommendations? I always trust Natasha’s recipes, so would love to adapt it!!!

    Reply

  • Kathy Beavers
    January 1, 2023

    Great recipe! Perfectly tender, moist and full of chocolate goodness! So delicious with a cup of coffee! Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 1, 2023

      Wonderful to hear, Kathy! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Natalie
    December 23, 2022

    Hi, I have yet to try this recipe but a video would really help please!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 23, 2022

      Hi Natalie! This recipe does not have a video at this time. Sorry. I hope you still try the recipe.

      Reply

  • Olivia
    December 20, 2022

    I cannot get over how delicious this was! Everyone loved it so much, thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 21, 2022

      Yay, that’s excellent feedback! Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

      Reply

  • Anna
    December 20, 2022

    I always make babka for Christmas and this recipe is the best! The filling is so delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 20, 2022

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Anna!

      Reply

  • Patricia Barnett
    December 20, 2022

    Love your recipes, having a Polish grandmother, lots of them, such as the Babka recipe, bring back delicious memories.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 20, 2022

      Hi Patricia! Thank you! So glad you love my recipes.

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    December 20, 2022

    I have found a new weakness!! This is so good!! I mean bread & chocolate together?! It’s too hard to resist!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 20, 2022

      Haha! Yes, that combination is marvelous! 🙂 So glad you loved this recipe.

      Reply

  • harriet
    December 19, 2022

    love all your recipes….when I feel really brave, I would like to make the bobka!!
    Harriet

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 19, 2022

      I hope you try it and love it very soon, Harriet!

      Reply

  • Tanya
    December 18, 2022

    Hi Natasha, I just made this babka for a Christmas gift. It turned very festive and delicious! I doubled the recipe and made four babkas, will definitely made it again. Thank you for your lovely recipes.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 19, 2022

      I’m so glad you loved it, Tanya! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Renata
    April 1, 2021

    Hi Natasha,
    I just recently discovered you so I am looking forward to try some of your recipes. Today I made your babka and it turned out great. I used nutella and also cinnamon walnuts as a filling. I am Croatian and my dough for nut roll is similar except I always add some lemon and orange zest and little bit of rum. It gives a nice aroma. Can’t wait to try something else. Happy cooking!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 2, 2021

      Hello Renata, thank you for your great review. I hope you’ll love every recipe that you will try!

      Reply

  • Lisa
    January 19, 2021

    Hi Natasha!
    If making only 1 loaf, would you do just 1 egg, or keep 2 eggs?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 19, 2021

      Hi Lisa, I would scale proportionally.

      Reply

      • Lisa
        January 19, 2021

        Thank you! When I make challah bread and I 1/2 the recipe I still keep 2 eggs, so that’s why I wanted to make sure ❤️

        Reply

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