This homemade gluten free chocolate babka is going to brighten your day! Every bite will taste incredible, light, and fluffy with lots of delicious chocolate swirls. I include simple directions so you can easily make this, too!

We used to eat babka often before going gluten free. Mr. Fearless Dining’s grandmother used to make it with a sweet poppy seed filling. It was one of our favorite recipes, and she always seemed to have it when we visited.

Going gluten free changed that, and it has been so many years since I have been able to enjoy babka. When my friend, Beth at OMG Yummy published her new cookbook, The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook, there was a chocolate babka recipe featured on the cover.

One look, and I knew I needed to find a way to make a gluten free version. It took a couple of tries, but my gluten-free chocolate babka is so close to the real thing!

If you love gluten free bread, you will want to check out all of my delicious gluten free bread recipes!

Why This Recipe is Amazing:

  • This sweet gluten free babka bread recipe is light and fluffy.
  • You can make the chocolate filling or use a traditional sweet poppy seed paste from the Solo brand. It is available in most grocery stores.
  • You can mix and rise the dough in a bread machine to make it super easy!
  • It is perfect for Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashana!
A sliced loaf of babka on a cutting board.

Ingredient Notes:

Photos of the gluten free babka ingredients.
  • Gluten free flour blend – For this recipe, I used Better Batter Artisinal Blend. Cup4Cup and Authentic Foods Steve’s GF Bread Blend will also work, but you may need to tweak moisture levels. (Steve’s blend can’t get mixed in a bread machine.) Other gluten free flour blends will work; I just haven’t tested them yet.
  • Xanthan gum – Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  • Bittersweet chocolate – I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips because I like how they melt.
  • Cocoa powder – Most cocoa powder is gluten free. My favorites are Ghirardelli, Hershey, and Anthony’s.
  • Yeast – most brands of yeast are gluten free, but do not use Red Star Platinum because that one variety has gluten.

How To Make Gluten Free Babka:

Making gluten free babka photos of steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: For this recipe, I made the dough in my bread machine using the dough setting. You can totally mix this up in a bowl and then cover the bowl to let it rise on the counter. Add the wet ingredients to your bread machine. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, then add the yeast on top.

HINT: If your house is colder, preheat your oven to 200º F. Turn it off and rise your dough in the oven. Crack the oven door open.

Step 2: Let the bread machine run. I turned it off after the second mix cycle because there isn’t a need to knead the dough. I kept the lid closed to keep the heat in after turning it off so that it stayed warm for the dough to rise.

Making gluten free babka photos of steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Rise your dough in the bread machine, or let it rise for one hour on the counter.

Step 4: Carefully move the dough to a flour-dusted piece of wax paper. This dough is wetter than a normal dough, so you definitely want to dust gluten free flour over the wax paper before putting the dough onto it.

Making gluten free babka photos of steps 5 and 6

Step 5: In a saucepan, add the chocolate-filling ingredients. Cook on low to melt the chocolate all together.

Step 6: Remove from the stove and allow to cool.

Photos of steps 7 and 8 making babka.

Step 7: Press the dough flat to about ¼ to ½ inch thickness. Dust with gluten free flour blend as needed to prevent sticking.

Step 8: Spread the chocolate mixture around the dough. Avoid the edges. Do not worry if this tears up the dough slightly. Because gluten free dough needs to be softer, it can happen, so just keep gently spreading the chocolate.

Photos of steps 9 and 10 making babka.

Step 9: Roll the dough just like you would in making cinnamon rolls. Place the roll onto parchment paper.

Step 10: Use a serrated knife to cut the dough gently in half lengthwise.

Photos of steps 11 and 12 making babka.

Step 11: This is where it gets a little tricky. The dough is soft and not easy to move. You need to move one half over so that the open-cut sides face outward. I used a spatula to gently help me lift one-half of the dough over. One fell apart slightly, and this is okay.

Step 12: Gently twist the dough. Again, this is tricky, and do not worry if it doesn’t look pretty as a regular babka dough…gluten free dough just isn’t as pliable as its gluten counterpart. Just do your best and the next rise will help sort out some of the odd bulges.

The babka rising in a loaf pan.

Step 13: Gently lift the parchment paper with the twisted babka dough and set it with the parchment paper into a large loaf pan. Let it rise for 30-45 minutes.

A baked loaf of babka on parchment paper.

Step 14: Bake at 350º F for 40-45 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on how tall the babka dough is.

Step 15: In a pan, melt the sugar and water together and then brush this glaze over the baked babka. You may also love this easy Gluten Free Czech Poppy Cake.

Variations:

  • Add in chopped pecans or walnuts and sprinkle over the chocolate mixture before rolling.
  • Add in mini white or chocolate chips. Sprinkle them over the chocolate mixture.

If you love Jewish bread recipes, you will also want to try this yummy Gluten Free Challah recipe!

Tips and Recipe FAQ:

Why is it called babka?

This cake was originally named Baba, meaning grandmother. There are many different versions from Babi to Babka, meaning little grandmother.

What does babka taste like?

Babka is technically a bread, but sweeter thanks to a sugar glaze brushed over the loaf.

Where did babka originate?

Babka is a Jewish bread with origins in Jewish communities in Poland and the Ukraine. It is popular in Israel and often served for Rosh Hashana and other Jewish holidays (except Passover.)

Can you make this babka dairy-free?

You can make this babka dairy-free with vegan butter and

How long will this gluten free babka keep fresh?

This bread will keep fresh for up to 3 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.

If you love this sweet bread, you will also want to try my Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread recipe.

Slices of chocolate babka sliced in a stack.

If you love to bake, you will also love this easy Gluten Free Brioche recipe!

More Gluten Free Cake Recipes:

A slice of gluten free chocolate babka on a white plate.

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Babka

Sandi Gaertner
A delicious sweet gluten free babka with chocolate swirled throughout. This recipe is from the cookbook, "The Jewish Essential Cookbook" by Beth A. Lee and converted to gluten free by me.
5 from 9 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 18 minutes
Course Gluten Free Bread Recipe
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 10 slices
Calories 317 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Dough:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend * see notes
  • 2 teaspoons yeast * see notes
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs * size large
  • ½ cup milk warm (105-115º F)
  • 5 tablespoons butter room temperature

For the Chocolate Filling:

  • ½ cup chocolate chips * I prefer semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts – optional

For the Glaze:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions
 

  • For this recipe, I made the dough in my bread machine using the dough setting. I find dough rises best in my machine. You can totally mix this up in a bowl and then cover the bowl to let it rise on the counter.
  • Add the wet ingredients to your bread machine. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, then add the yeast on top.
  • HINT: If your house is colder, preheat your oven to 200º F. Turn it off and rise your dough in the oven. Crack the oven door open.
  • Let the bread machine run. I turned it off after the second mix cycle because there isn't a need to knead the dough. I kept the lid closed to keep the heat in after turning it off so that it stayed warm for the dough to rise.
  • Rise your dough in the bread machine, or let it rise one hour on the counter.
  • Carefully move the dough to a flour-dusted piece of wax paper. This dough is wetter than a normal dough so you definitely want to dust gluten free flour over the wax paper before putting the dough onto it.
  • In a saucepan, add the chocolate filling ingredients. Cook on low to melt the chocolate all together.
  • Remove from the stove and allow to cool so it is warm, but not hot.
  • Press the dough flat to about ¼ to ½ inch thickness. Dust with gluten free flour blend as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Spread the chocolate mixture around the dough. Avoid the edges. Do not worry if this tears up the dough slightly. Because gluten free dough needs to be softer, it can happen so just keep gently spreading the chocolate.
  • Roll the dough just like you would in making cinnamon rolls. Place the roll onto parchment paper.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut the dough gently in half lengthwise.
  • This is where it gets a little tricky. The dough is soft and not easy to move. You need to move one half over so that the open-cut sides face outward. I used a spatula to gently help me lift one-half of the dough over. One fell apart slightly and this is okay.
  • Gently twist the dough. Again, this is tricky, and do not worry if it doesn't look pretty as a regular babka dough…gluten free dough just isn't as pliable as its gluten counterpart. Just do your best and the next rise will help sort out some of the odd bulges.
  • Gently lift the parchment paper with the twisted babka dough and set it with the parchment paper into a large loaf pan. Let it rise 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 350º F.
  • Bake at 350º F for 40-45 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on how tall your babka dough is.
  • In a pan, melt the sugar and water together and then brush this glaze over the baked babka.

Notes

  1. Gluten free flour blend – For this recipe, I used a combination of Better Batter Artisinal Blend and King Arthur Measure for Measure. I did this because King Arthur’s Measure for Measure isn’t great for yeat recipes. I love Better Batter flour, but it is gum free and my baking tends to turn out a dull beige color. I did the blend so this babka would turn out golden. Other gluten free flour blends will work, I just haven’t tested them yet.
  2. Xanthan gum – Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. Bittersweet chocolate – I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips because I like how they melt.
  4. Cocoa powder – Most cocoa powder is gluten free. My favorites are Ghirardelli, Hershey, and Anthony’s.
  5. Yeast – most brands of yeast are gluten free but do not use Red Star Platinum because that one variety has gluten.
  6. This babka will keep fresh for up to 3 days.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 317kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 218mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 452IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been making GF desserts to be like our non GF desserts for my niece when we all get together ever since she’s needed to be GF . One tip for ease of cutting the roll in half is to freeze it for 15 minutes. Get a clean cut and able to criss cross better. I do have a question though: what is to be done when dough hook can’t get GF yeasted dough into a ball? Is it hydration due to addition of xanthan gum? Dough just goes around in big clump.

    1. Hi Sha, thank you for the tip to slightly freeze the dough. As for the dough hook, I find for gluten free, I have better luck using a paddle attachment. What gluten free flour blend are you using? That will help me help you with what you are describing.

  2. 5 stars
    This was great! I used the steve’s bread flour with great results. I also don’t have a bread maker, so I mixed it up following the method in your challah recipe and it worked great.

  3. Hi Sandi! I am Gluten Free 20 years and all those years ago when I would go to a restaurant and ask if something was GF, they’d say what’s that? They were so clueless even after explaining…they’d lie and say yes! I was sick all the time!!!
    I grew up in NY with all the Baked Breads Goodness you can imagine. My Great Grandmother had a bakery in Ukraine and with that knowledge I grew up with a love of baking all my life. So that Dx was absolutely a curse.

    I have been cooking GF and baking GF breads with a mix (now having a Celiac kid as well) but there are still some things that pain me… No Challah… No Babka…No Pierogi … No decent Pizza! All I can say is if this is good…Gd Bless You!!!

    1. I miss the good stuff in NY too! This babka is really good. I suspect which gluten free flour blend used will make a difference as starchier blends tend to need more liquid and can bake dry. Keep me posted when you make it.

  4. 5 stars
    That is one amazing accomplishment – to make the babka gluten-free. The texture looks fantastic and I am quite sure Mr. Fearless Dining must be very happy indeed! Thanks for sharing the info about my book and making this classic recipe available in a gluten-free version!