Honey Challah

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. + rising Bake: 30 min.


2 loaves (24 servngs each)

Updated: Feb. 10, 2023
I use these shiny, beautiful loaves as the centerpiece of my spread. I love the taste of honey, but you can also add chocolate chips, cinnamon, orange zest or almonds. Leftover slices of this sweet challah recipe work well in bread pudding or for French toast. —Jennifer Newfield, Los Angeles, California


  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey, divided
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 to 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water. Separate 2 eggs; refrigerate the whites. Place egg yolks and eggs in a large bowl. Add 2/3 cup honey, oil, salt, yeast mixture, 3 cups flour and remaining warm water; beat on medium speed 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Pour boiling water over raisins in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Knead in raisins. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Divide 1 portion into 6 pieces. Roll each into a 16-in. rope. Place ropes parallel on a greased baking sheet; pinch ropes together at the top.
  4. To braid, take the rope on the left and carry it over the 2 ropes beside it, then slip it under the middle rope and carry it over the last 2 ropes. Lay the rope down parallel to the other ropes; it is now on the far right side. Repeat these steps until you reach the end. As the braid moves to the right, you can pick up the loaf and recenter it on your work surface as needed. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. For a fuller loaf, using your hands, push the ends of the loaf closer together. Repeat process with remaining dough. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk the 2 chilled egg whites and honey with water; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 30-35 minutes or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool.

Sweet Challah Recipe Tips

Can you let challah rise overnight?

Yes. You can leave your challah in the refrigerator overnight during the first rise for a slower process that will help the bread develop a great flavor. Be careful with the second rise, though—leaving it for too long can cause the loaf to collapse and give it a dense texture. 

Why is my challah dry?

If your challah is dry, it could be because you added a little too much flour. Next time, let your dough stay sticky! It may be a little harder to work with, but sticky dough means you've used just the right ratio of water, oil and flour. 

How can I use leftover challah?

This sweet challah recipe is a blessing in the leftover department. Slice it up and use it in challah French toast, cube it for a bread pudding or toast it and use it to add a sweet note to a savory egg sandwich

What makes challah bread different?

Ingredient-wise, the eggs and honey in challah make it different from a standard bread. Culturally, challah is an important part of the Jewish Shabbat ritual, as well as other holidays such as Rosh Hashanah. Braided loaves can symbolize love or represent other aspects of Jewish tradition.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 125 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 19mg cholesterol, 107mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.