Vegan Brioche Bunnies are the perfect addition to any Easter brunch table! These step-by-step instructions will teach you how to make bunny-shaped brioche bread from dairy-free and plant-based ingredients.
Finally! Fluffy and buttery brioche without the eggs and dairy. This vegan brioche recipe combines flavorful egg-free and dairy-free ingredients to make sweet brioche-style bread with a moist, delicate crumb.
Of course, you can bake the dough into a loaf or rolls, but if you’re looking for the perfect Easter-themed pastry, is there anything more precious than Easter bunny-shaped brioche? Adults and kids agree; these vegan brioche bunnies are almost too cute to eat! Almost.
Serve them up for your Easter brunch with these creamy carrot cake smoothies or a bowl of vegan carrot ginger soup.
Ready to make homemade vegan brioche Easter bunnies? Let’s HOP into the ingredients.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the vegan brioche dough:
- Instant dry yeast + lukewarm plant-based milk: Unlike quick bread, vegan brioche typically needs yeast to rise and become soft and fluffy. Instant dry yeast makes this process much quicker.
- Plant-based milk: I used almond milk, but any vegan milk works here. Keep in mind flours absorb moisture differently. Since all-purpose flour generally has less protein content, you might need less liquid when using it.
- Flour: Strong white bread flour or all-purpose flour works best for brioche.
- Granulated brown sugar: Not to be confused with regular brown sugar! Granulated brown sugar is less processed and isn’t as moist and clumpy. Coconut sugar is another option.
- Extra olive oil: This is great with extra-virgin olive oil, but oils like walnut or hazelnut lend incredible nutty flavor.
- Salt: Salt strengthens the dough, builds texture, and enriches the naturally sweet and buttery flavors.
- Vanilla: Vanilla bean powder or pure vanilla works here.
- Orange zest: This is optional but recommended. You won’t believe the difference it makes. Your home will smell delightful, and your vegan brioche will taste divine!
To decorate the bunnies: A simple syrup made with water and brown sugar (or coconut sugar) enhances the sweet flavors and gives the rest of the decor something to stick to. I used pearl sugar for the ears and melted dark chocolate for the eyes and nose, but feel free to get creative.
How To Make
- Activate yeast: Stir the dry yeast and lukewarm milk together in a small bowl. Set aside for a few minutes.
- Mix ingredients: While the yeast blooms, mix the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and olive oil with a heavy spoon. Then, add in the milk mixture and stir.
- Knead the dough: This can be done by hand or in a stand mixer.
- To knead the dough by hand – Knead until it has a smooth, sticky consistency (this will take at least 10 minutes). If the dough seems dry, add a small amount of milk a little bit at a time until the dough is nice and moist.
- To knead the dough in a stand mixer – With the dough hook attached, knead everything together until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic. If the dough seems dry, add a touch of milk in intervals, mixing in between until the dough loosens up.
- First rise: Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a fresh bowl greased with a bit of oil. Cover with a damp tea towel (or lid) and then place in a warm spot (like in the microwave or oven with the light on). Leave it be for at least an hour or until the dough doubles in size.
- Shape dough: When the dough is ready, divide it into 8 equal-sized pieces (6 for the heads and 2 for the ears). For the bunny heads, shape 6 pieces into balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between them. For the ears, divide the last 2 pieces into 3 smaller balls (making 6 total). Then, cut each ball in half to make ears. Place the ears on the heads.
- Second rise: Cover the bunnies with a tea towel and return them to the warm spot until the dough rises by about half (30 to 40 minutes). Meanwhile, you can preheat your oven to 340 F (170 C).
- Bake: Once the bunnies are plump, brush the tops with milk and bake until golden (12 to 14 minutes). You may need to cover them with a sheet of foil if they’re browning too quickly.
- Make sugar syrup: Meanwhile, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer until the sugar dissolves and thickens into a syrup.
- Decorate bunnies: Fresh out of the oven, brush your bunnies with the sugar syrup, so the decorations have something to stick to. Then, sprinkle the pearl sugar over the ears.
- Draw chocolate eyes and nose: Allow them to cool down a bit more, and then use a toothpick to make the eyes and nose with melted chocolate.
- Serve: When ready serve them up warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
How to Store
Storing: Store the vegan brioche bunnies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Freezing: You can also keep them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to serve, thaw, and then reheat in the oven for a few minutes.
Weigh the ingredients: I included metric units and cups because the dough isn’t forgiving. Using a scale and metric measurements ensures you’re using the precise amount of each ingredient and your vegan brioche bunnies bake up perfectly.
The dough should be sticky: Brioche dough should be moist but cohesive. Coat your hands with olive oil to make the dough easier to knead. If it seems dry, add more milk.
Cover with foil: Sneak a peek in the oven about halfway through. If it appears the tops of the vegan brioche bunnies are baking quicker than the centers, cover them with a sheet of foil.
Cooling: Fresh from the oven, your bunnies will be very soft, so leave them be for at least 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Absolutely, but you’ll need to increase the baking time. Begin checking for doneness between 30 and 35 minutes.
Yes, with a minor modification. Instead of placing the dough in a warm place for the second rise, set it in the fridge for up to 2 days and then bake.
Why I Love This Recipe
- The dough is egg-free and dairy-free, yet just as delicious as classic French brioche.
- They’re the perfect cross between a sweet pastry and baked bread.
- The bunnies are super cute, but the dough can also be baked into a loaf or rolls.
More Easter Recipes You’ll Love
If you try this Easter Vegan Brioche Bunnies recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Easter Vegan Brioche Bunnies
- 3/4 cup almond milk - or any other plant-based milk – see note 2
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups strong white bread flour - or all-purpose flour see notes 1 & 3
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil - or walnut/hazelnut oil – see note 4
- 1/4 cup brown granulated sugar - or coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder - or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1/2 orange - optional see note 5
- 4 tablespoons almond milk - for brushing
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar - or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons pearl sugar
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate
- Mix the active dry yeast in slightly warm milk and stir well. Let it rest for a few minutes.
- If kneading by hand: In the meantime, add the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and olive oil to a bowl and mix with a spoon. Add the milk, mix with a spoon, then start kneading the dough by hand for at least 10 minutes until it is nice and smooth. The dough should be pretty sticky to begin with. If it feels a bit too dry, add a touch more milk. Avoid adding more flour, and if you need help handling the sticky dough, use some extra olive oil on your hands.If using a mixer: Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place it back into a clean bowl greased with a bit of oil, and cover it with a slightly damp tea towel or a lid (this will prevent the dough from drying out). Place the dough in a warm place (I usually place it in the microwave or the oven with the light bulb turned on) and wait for it to double in size. It should take at least 1 hour to 1 hour and a half.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 8 equal-sized pieces. You will use 6 pieces to make the bunny head and 2 pieces to make the ears. Shape 6 pieces into smooth balls and place them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Make sure to space the balls well, as they will grow in size.
- Divide the last 2 balls into 3 smaller balls each, cut them in half to form the ears, and place them on each dough ball.
- Cover again with the tea towel and leave it in a warm place to rest for 30-40 minutes. The dough should increase by 50%.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 340 F (170 C).
- Brush the bunnies with almond milk. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until the top is golden. If the bunnies are browning too quickly, you can cover them with aluminum foil.
- While the bunnies are baking, make the sugar syrup. Add the sugar and water to a pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until you reach a syrup consistency.
- Remove from the oven (note 6). While the brioche bunnies are still warm, brush the top with the sugar syrup. Decorate the ears with pearl sugar. Melt the chocolate. Once they've cooled down a bit, decorate the bunnies with eyes and nose with the help of a toothpick.
- Serve the bunnies warm or at room temperature. Store the brioche bunnies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. To serve the brioche bunnies, reheat for a few minutes in the oven.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!
These look super cute! Has anyone tried making them with vegan butter (like Miyokos, etc.) rather than oil? I think of brioche as being buttery and I was wondering if a vegan butter would work okay.
Sara @ Gathering Dreams says
Yes, vegan butter will work!
Lisa is Planted365 says
These are adorable!!
Sara @ Gathering Dreams says
Thanks so much, Lisa 🙂