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You’ll fall in love with each layer of deliciously sweet and addictive Nutella babka. It’s beautifully swirled and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles. Make this New York bakery favorite in your own kitchen! Follow my step-by-step photos and helpful tips for best results.

Nutella babka

Let’s travel deep into the layers of babka today. Located somewhere between bread and decadent dessert, this irresistible treat uses the dough from my cinnamon rolls recipe as the base, is filled with Nutella, and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles.

Babka has a rich history. When I read more about the treat as I worked on this recipe, I learned that it originated in the early 1800s with the Polish Jewish community. Leftover challah dough was filled with jam or cinnamon, rolled up, and baked. The babka we see all over the place today, I read, is much richer and sweeter than its ancestor. You can find it filled with chocolate or almond paste– this is a delicious chocolate babka recipe— or the newer babka variations with pizza fillings, nutella, pesto, and more. Food52 has an in-depth article all about babka if you want to read more about its history and popularity today.

overhead image of 2 loaves of Nutella babka

Tell Me About This Nutella Babka

I include lots of step-by-step babka pictures showing you how approachable homemade babka truly is. (If you’ve ever made my raspberry twist bread, cinnamon crunch bread, or homemade cheese bread, you’re already familiar with the shaping method.) This is a fun starting point for yeast baking– just wait until you see how it all comes together. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that babka is totally something you can (and should) pull off!! Nothing to fear, I promise.

There are many ways to make babka, and today we’re using dough based off of my cinnamon rolls. This babka recipe makes 2 loaves– freeze one or gift it to someone special. Trust me, someone will want this gift!

Nutella babka in loaf pan before baking

While babka may look a little intimidating, follow these simple steps for perfect babka every time. Let’s review:

  1. Make the dough. This is a soft, rich, puffy, and very buttery yeast dough– we’ll review the dough below.
  2. Let the dough rise. Let the babka dough rise in a warm environment until (roughly) doubled in size, about 90ish minutes. I use my oven to help with rising– it’s very simple. Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the dough inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door slightly cracked open. Leave it alone, watch it grow!
  3. Punch down the dough. This helps release the air bubbles. You’ll be left with super soft and supple dough.
  4. Divide dough into 2 pieces.
  5. Roll them out. Spread with Nutella. You can also fill babka with a homemade chocolate filling– or really anything at all– but I reached for Nutella. I want today’s main focus to be on the dough and process, so let’s use a little shortcut for the filling. Bonus that it’s NUTELLA and it’s fabulous.
  6. Shape the babka, then let it rest.
  7. Add with crumble topping. I know what you’re thinking. Is the cinnamon crumble really necessary? The answer is YES. Isn’t cinnamon crumble always necessary? You’ll just need some brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter.
  8. Bake. The only thing better than eating babka is smelling babka as it bakes– just wait until you experience that.
  9. Enjoy. And get lost in the layers!!! Some recipes instruct you to brush the baked babka with sugar syrup when it comes out of the oven, but I skipped this step. It ensures a super crisp crust, but I liked the babka without it, too.
2 images of babka dough in a glass bowl and rising in the oven

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

2 images of babka dough punched down and 2 balls of dough on the counter

Nutella Babka Uses a Rich Dough

We use a rich dough for homemade babka, which means that it’s prepared with fat like milk, butter, and eggs. Rich doughs make soft breads such as monkey bread, dinner rolls, and glazed doughnuts. Lean doughs, on the other hand, are made without much fat and produce crusty bread such as bagels and pizza dough.

Today’s babka dough is egg rich, butter rich, calorie rich. It comes together with 7 basic ingredients: milk, yeast, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and flour. You likely have them all in your kitchen now. Let’s review the importance of each babka ingredient:

  1. Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. Whole milk or even buttermilk is ideal for this dough. You can get away with 2% or 1%, but I do not recommend skim.
  2. Yeast: You can use an instant or active dry yeast– the rise time will be a little longer if you choose the latter.
  3. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  4. Butter: Butter promises a rich and flavorful dough.
  5. Eggs: Eggs provide structure and flavor.
  6. Salt: Salt adds flavor.
  7. Flour: All-purpose flour is the structure of the dough.
babka dough rolled out into a rectangle and topped with a layer of Nutella

babka dough rolled into a log

babka dough filled with Nutella and sliced in half

twisting Nutella babka dough

It’s a little messy, but don’t all of the best foods need a little clean up? Place the twists into loaf pans, cover them up, and set them aside as you make a cinnamon crumble topping. This gives the dough time to rest before baking. Brush the babka with beaten egg white + milk (egg wash), then top with your cinnamon crumble.

brushing babka with egg and milk mixture before baking

2 images of cinnamon crumble topping in a glass bowl and topping on 2 babka loaves before baking

slice of Nutella babka
zoomed in image of Nutella babka

Want to know why this Nutella babka is so irresistible? Because each bite is different. Some bites are overflowing with gooey Nutella and others are full of soft flaky dough and cinnamon crumbles. Each twist and turn is unique, no loaf will look the same, and the whole thing stays moist for days. Good luck with it in your house!

Do you have a favorite babka recipe? How do you usually fill yours?

Print
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Nutella babka

Nutella Babka

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Deliciously sweet and addictive bread swirled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) whole milk, divided*
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (1 standard size packet)*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/4 cups (531g) all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled) plus more for dusting/rolling
  • 2 cups (600g) Nutella, divided

Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Heat 1 cup of milk to about 95°F (35°C). You can use the microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer or no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). Manually whisk in the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the granulated sugar. Cover the bowl with a clean towel. The mixture should be frothy and foamy after 5 minutes.
  2. On low speed, beat in the remaining sugar and the softened butter until butter is slightly broken up. Next beat in 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white) and the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing in, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.
  3. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. If you do not have a stand-mixer with a dough hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  4. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. (I just use the same mixing bowl that I made the dough in– remove the dough, grease it with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the dough back in.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door cracked a bit.
  5. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut dough in half. Work with only half of the dough at a time. Place a clean towel over the dough you aren’t working with.
  6. Generously grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans with butter or nonstick spray.
  7. On slightly floured work surface, roll one dough half out into a 9×13 inch rectangle (approximately). Spread with 1 cup of Nutella, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered.
  8. Tightly roll the dough into a 13-inch log. Place the log on its seam. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. I find a serrated knife works best. Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half– forming an X. Twist the two together. Place in prepared loaf pan and cover with a clean towel. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. This step can get a little messy! (If you need a visual for this step, see the video tutorial for homemade cheese bread starting at the 2:54 mark.)
  9. Allow both shaped (and covered) loaves to rest for 20-30 minutes as you prepare the crumble topping and preheat the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  11. Make the crumble topping: Mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the brown sugar mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Set aside.
  12. Whisk the remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk with the leftover egg white. This is your egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the babka loaves with egg wash. Do the best you can as some Nutella is exposed. Top each loaf with crumble topping.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until babka is golden brown on top. Gently tap the loaves– if they sound hollow, the bread is done. Remove from the oven, place each pan on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  14. Cover and store leftover babka at room temperature for a couple days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. (It won’t last that long!!) You can also freeze the baked babka for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Or warm it up in the oven.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: After dough has risen two hours in step 4, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 5. OR freeze for up to 2 months, then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 5.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, KitchenAid Stand Mixer Glass Bowl, Dough Scraper, Pastry Cutter, Rolling Pin, Loaf Pan, and Pastry Brush
  3. Milk: Whole milk or even buttermilk is ideal for this dough. You can get away with 2% or 1%, but I do not recommend skim. You’ll need 1 cup in the dough and you’ll use the other 2 Tablespoons for the egg wash in step 12.
  4. Yeast: Active dry or instant yeast work– if using instant yeast (such as Red Star Platinum) the 1st rise time will be a little shorter. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Filling: Instead of Nutella you can try a homemade chocolate fudge filling. This one is excellent. But I really love how the Nutella tastes in this!

Keywords: babka, nutella babka

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. This is in the oven right now. Couldn’t wait to make it! I didn’t have enough Nutella so used cinnamon and brown sugar to fill the second loaf. The dough was great to work with and your video was a huge help with shaping the dough. I can’t wait to try it, the house smells wonderful.

  2. Made this tonight. I wish I could post a picture. It’s beautiful. Thanks for your hard work

  3. Looks delicious! Cannot wait to try! Is there a reason the recipe is for 2 loaves? Planning on testing it out this weekend but I live by myself and only really need one. Although I’m sure I could eat 2 to myself based on how good it looks haha!

    1. You can try to halve the dough recipe, but this volume of dough rises beautifully and is easy to work with. Too much for only 1 loaf though. 🙂 You can freeze the other half!

  4. I’m planning on making this today and had one question! I only have one loaf pan but wanted to bake both today. Is it okay to leave the second half of dough out while the first is baking, or should I put it in the fridge? Thanks!! 🙂

  5. Hey Sally! I made the Nutella Babka today. Your detailed instructions and video made it easy. The taste is amazing. I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the satisfied zone. However, I did think that I’d harmed my new 5 Quart Kitchenaid stand mixer. Even though it’s a 325 watt , manual instructions advise not to knead double batches of dough or knead dough on higher than position 2. Well for about 6 min I had that mixer cranking at level 4 and (yikes ) maybe higher… only then did I check manual …sometimes I’m just dumb. You must have the more powerful professional model. Nevertheless, I’ve learned  2 lessons… take utmost care and follow Kitchenaid operating  manual AND trust Sally to deliver extremely tasty recipes!

  6. I followed your recipe and it tasted great out of the oven, but the next day the dough was kind of dry. Any ideas why this may have happened? Too long on the dough hook? Too long proofing? I did set timers for everything and followed the directions to a T. It’s delicious and I’ll probably turn it into French toast but would love to learn what I did wrong and try again this weekend. Thanks!

  7. This recipe makes 2 loaves, but if I use a Bundt pan would I use all, or still spilt dough into 2?    This recipe sounds, and looks so goo I can’t wait to try it. Thanks 

    1. Hi Diane! Honestly, I haven’t tried this babka in a Bundt pan so I can’t say for sure. But I don’t foresee any problems. Let me know how it goes.

  8. Hi Sally! I am planning on making this today but I was thinking about melting chocolate chips for the filling instead of Nutella. Do you think that would work or would it be too runny? Thanks! 🙂

  9. I made this for my husband’s birthday today and it was delicious! I have a question though. It sunk in the middle after baking even though it seemed to be fully baked. Do you have any idea why that happened and what I can do to keep it from happening next time? Thanks!

  10. Your preciseness, talent and dedication is admirable. Your recipes, to die for to say the least. Have the dough rising in the oven currently, i can’t wait to bite into it 😀 

  11. I just baked them! Looks amazing! Thank you for great directions! Babkas smell delicious and look delicious. 

  12. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make babka. Made this today and it turned out great!! Thank you!

  13. I made the Nutella babka today and it turned out beautifully. Your recipes have never failed me and this is an impressive one, but actually easy. Thanks!

  14. Sally this babka is amazing!
    I am enjoying my first slice right now and can see how it won’t last long around the house.  
    Great recipe and instructions, totally worth the time and effort.  
    Thank you!

  15. I just made half the recipe in a bundt pan and it worked beautifully. Filled the bundt pan to the top.

  16. I baked this beauty this weekend after several weeks of coming back to the web page and salivating over the pictures. What a simple and AMAZING recipe! I followed the recipe exactly as written. This turned out wonderfully flaky and tender and the Nutella filling just brought it over the edge. Only difference is that I baked it for about 35 minutes– maybe my oven is a little hot. I will definitely be trying out different filling variations!!

    I’ve also always been a little nervous to make dough and recipes requiring a dough base but this recipe gave me the confidence. Love it! Recommend a hundred times over!

    1. I’m so happy that you found time to try this out! Now that you have more confidence working with dough I can’t wait to see what you make next!

  17. Hi Sally! I made this recipe last night, WOW!! I posted some pictures. I also just learned that my husband isn’t a huge nutella fan, do you think I could use the ganache recipe instead of the nutella? I plan on using a variety of different fillings and making several of these and freezing them for Holiday gifts! Thank you Sally!

    1. Hi Kelly! I’m so glad that you loved the Nutella babka!! 🙂 Thank you so much for reporting back about it. You could definitely try a ganache instead of the Nutella. Make sure the ganache has cooled down and thickened. Here is a good recipe for ganache: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2018/09/28/butter-cookies-chocolate-ganache/

  18. Just made this and it is incredible! As mentioned, a stand mixer is best for his recipe . I don’t think I would have been able to pull this off without my stand mixer . this recipe can get a bit messy , especially the forming part . ( Nutella messiness – I’m not complaining ! ). Although my babka didn’t look exactly as the video – I winged it and it came out amazing . At first everything looked like a hot Nutella mess but it came together really well . I made one with the crumble topping and one without. You will not regret making this !!! So good . Thanks sally !

  19. I tried these and they were oh SO delicious! The dough was so soft and tender and with Nutella, it was fabulous! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  20. I made this today for my cousin’s birthday (nod to Seinfeld), and it turned out perfectly!! I used a different chocolate filling in place of the Nutella. Loved the dough so much, I’m going to try a cinnamon filling soon.

  21. I have made this twice now. I had to make it a second time because my husband was nearly finished the second loaf and I hadn’t had any. The first time I made it with the filling as listed, then the second time I did one loaf with the chocolate hazelnut spread, and the second with the strawberry roll filling from your book and some white chocolate. I added a few white chocolate chunks to the top too, and limited the crumble. Amazing recipe as always!

  22. Hi Sally,

    I would love to make this recipe but only have one loaf pan. Do you have any suggestions about how I could do this with only one pan? I’m not sure if leaving the second loaf out to rest for an extra 50 minutes (on top of the 10-20 it’s already resting) while the first one bakes would be too long.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel! Stick the 2nd shaped babka in the refrigerator while the other one bakes. It won’t over-rise in the refrigerator during that time.

      1. Hi Sally,
        I just wanted to tell you that I made this for Father’s Day for my dad, who is a real babka connoisseur and, in his words, it was “unbelievably terrific.” He said it’s the best babka he’s ever had. Thanks for helping make my dad happy on Father’s Day! 🙂

  23. This recipe came out perfectly (as usual with your recipes!) and the video and pictures were very helpful! This one is a keeper and I’m already looking forward to trying it again and trying different fillings too!

  24. I made myself a baking bucket list and Nutella babka was the first thing I checked off it! Sally this bread is amazing. I ate half of a loaf to myself throughout the day today and I DON’T EVEN FEEL BAD. I left off the cinnamon crumbles because I didn’t want anything to take away from that Nutella flavour. YUM! My 19 month old loves it too 🙂 I wouldn’t make it regularly because it’s a bit TOO addicting but what a lovely treat! I’m not sure how you got your loaves so neatly into the pans though because mine were just giant Nutella messes lol

  25. Hi Sally! Can i use Biscoff cookie butter instead of Nutella? Thanks in advance for replying.

  26. I would never classify myself as a baker and don’t even own a dough mixer. I was looking for an interesting bread recipe and since I’ve never had Nutella before I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve made this recipe 3 times and I absolutely love it.

  27. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! I let the dough sit in the fridge for 2 days and then made one nutella-filled loaf and one cinnamon-filled loaf. They were both fantastic, I am thrilled with how it all came together. Thank you for having such delicious, approachable recipes! I have been able to successfully tackle my hesitation with yeast and dough because of you!

    1. Hi Lacey, you’d just have to mix the dough ingredients by hand in a large mixing bowl until it forms a soft and uniform dough. I recommend a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. In step 3, knead the dough by hand on a floured work surface for a few minutes.

  28. This babka tasted great! When it was warm it was perfectly moist and soft, but the next day at room temp it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It still tastes good, but I guess I was expecting more of a brioche texture. Wonder if you have any suggestions for making the dough softer?

    1. Hi Sarah! I wonder if the babka was simply over-baked? That’s easy with such a large loaf (laoves). I recommend lowering the oven rack, slightly lowering the oven temperature, and tenting foil over the top of the babkas halfway through bake time to prevent the tops from getting too dark/dried out. They may take a bit longer to bake. I hope this helps!

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