Poppy Seed Kolache

Classic Czechoslovakian kolache pastry, with a poppy seed filling. Minnesota style, the pastry is folded up on itself.

  • Yield: Makes 16 kolaches.


  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace or ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Canned poppy seed filling (or make your own*)
  • Raisins (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk

*Poppyseed filling (if you want to make your own filling, otherwise, you can use canned)

  • 1 cup poppy seed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • Dash of cinnamon


1 In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and nutmeg or mace; set aside.

2 In a medium saucepan heat and stir the 1 cup milk, the 1/2 cup butter, the granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the two eggs and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and as much of the remaining flour as you can.

3 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (for 1 to 1-1/2 hours).

4 If you are making the poppy seed filling from scratch, combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until it thickens, stirring often. Set filling aside to cool.

5 Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Grease 2 baking sheets.

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6 Roll each dough half into a 16x8 inch rectangle, about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into 8 4x4 squares. Place a large, heaping tablespoon of poppy seed filling onto the center of each square. If you want, add a few raisins to the top of the filling. Brush the four corners of each square with water. Draw the corners up and gently press together. Secure with a toothpick. Place on well greased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 35 minutes).

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7 Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Remove toothpicks.

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  • Zina Pittrova


    I would just like to add a little note regarding “kolace” (pronounced /kola:tʃe)/ a “satecky” (pronounced /ʃa:tetʃki/; see the International Phonetic Alphabet that ELT teachers use in case you don´t know how to read the symbols).

    This recipe should actually be called ´SATECKY´ (and perhaps spelt “shatechki” to reflect the pronunciation).
    Here you can see the difference. Notice the round shape of “kolace” or “kolacky” (“kolacky” tend to be smaller, “kolace” bigger, although not necessarily) here: http://www.apetitonline.cz/recepty/8500-tlacene-kolace.html
    and “satecky” here:

    I´ve heard the same mixed-up stuff from people who have been to places like Pilsen or Prague in the USA. They got really confused and surprised when they saw bakery products they know as “satecky” called “kolace” in the USA. Apparently, words like “kolace” a “satecky” got mixed up along the way, when some old grandpas and grandmas born in good old Bohemia had passed away. If people in the Czech community in the USA are used to using these words this way, I do not mind at all, but please bear in mind that you might be disappointed or confused when you come to the Czech Republic, or speak to someone from Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and even Slovakia. No big deal as long as some traditions survive, though, and as long as even women in the USA cook and not just pop into a fastfood chain “restaurant” like the Golden Arches. Here in the Czech Republic women still cook a lot.
    So, keep on the hard work and cook, wherever you are and whatever you call it :).
    All the best
    Zina Pittrova, nei Jerabkova.
    (I was born in Pilsen, the Czech Republic, and have lived here all my life.)

    • CAROL

      Jak Se Mas Zina
      It is interesting how you explain the differences in the names of Czech pastries. My great grandparents came to Minnesota many years ago and my grandmother who grew up here in Minnesota was always taught by her mother that the ones above that have the corners folded in are actually called Buchty which is pronounced Bootka. I have often heard that a true Kolachke is round with a thumbprint in the middle which is filled with fruit filling. It is interesting how there are so many different names for these pastries. The one thing we can all agree on is that they are so….good! I wonder if it is a regional thing from the old Czechoslovakia? What do you think? My great grandparents were from Ceske Budejovice area.

  • johanna

    How funny, I recently had a request for a kolache recipe, we call them golatschen in Austria. I love them especially with powidl, the incredibly thick plum jam that’s stewed overnight for an unbelieveably intense flavour… wow. I should make them more often!

  • J.P.

    Hello. This is the second time around following the recipe, but I’m unsure of when I’m supposed to add the tsp. of vanilla. Do I add it along with the lemon zest in step two? The poppyseed recipe is better than the jarred paste you find at the grocery store in my opinion.

    Yes, thank you. I’ve now clarified that in the recipe instructions. ~Elise

  • wendy

    This is wonderful! My Bohemian grandmother never measured anything, but made delicious ko-LACH-key. As a child, my favorite was prune–I would lick out the filling, throw away the pastry and move on to the next one (who was supposed to be watching me?)! I remember driving from store to store with my mom & grandma searching for dry cottage cheese for the filling. We lived in L.A.–NOT a large Czech population there. My only critique on this recipe is that kolachky are supposed to be round–the name even means “circle”. Grandma took her recipe to the grave, so thanks for supplying this one!

  • BARB

    You say in the kolache recipe “canned poppyseed” but you do not say how much or what size can. Can you please post the amount of poppyseed? Thanks.

    Most cans I think come in about 12 ounce sizes, which should be enough for this recipe. ~Elise

  • Elena

    I read about “little Lady” in Snook, TX and realize, that I new her!!! This wonderful lady’s name was-Ella. I and my daughter were working with her at this bakery 15 years ago. I’m Russian, and learn to bake form yester dough from my grandparents, who were Ukrainians.
    I’m an engineer, but when I first came to TX, I went to work Snook Bakery. I was a good cook, but learn from Miss Ella how to make puppy seed role, kalachi. People loved it! She was the only one who helps me to go through tough time there.We still remember her!!!

    Hi Elena, what a coincidence! By the way, I’m sure others would be ever so grateful if you remembered how those kolaches were made and could share the recipe. ~Elise

  • E. Carlson

    Wow! Someone who actually makes the kolache
    the way my Czech grandmother and mother did…..using square pieces of dough and folding to the center. Visited family in Iowa some years ago and I was surprised to see them making them round with a depression in the center for the filling. Our family made poppyseed filling and prune filling. By the way, we are kola”chee” people.

  • Cindy

    Where in the world do find canned poppy seed filling? I have never heard of it.

    Me neither until my father told me about it. Turns out they have it at all the major grocery stores around here (Raley’s, Safeways). ~Elise

  • Karen

    I am having so much trouble with making the kolacy sweet dough, my dough is so dry and tastes like card board. I follow the receipe but can’t knead it to much, because I have trouble with my hands.
    I just got a new stand kitchen aid mixer, can anyone tell me how I can make this dough in it? what receipe should I use for it.
    Thank you in advance for all your help.

  • Barb

    These were exactly as I remember them from my childhood hometown of New Prague, MN! I changed the filling to prune, however. Thanks for the receipe!

  • Anil

    Grinding the poppy seeds before cooking can help make a smoother texture (from the Montgomery Minnesota tradition of Kolacky baking).

  • Bobbi

    My Czeck mother in law used to make kolachi dough that had vanilla pudding in it – if anybody knows the recipe and is willing to share – my daughter would love to have the recipe.

  • avital

    Hi Elise!
    Exactly 1 year ago, I baked these wonderful pastries and i have to say these were one of the best sweet dough i’d ever made (and that means alot!). Mine were round buns with a depression in the center filled with jam, the only shape I knew for kolache until now.
    And surprislingly (or maybe not considering that those countries are so close), the pocket shape of your father’s kolache remind me of another yeast dough pastry from Slovenia wich is also so soft and good: the Buthteljni that you can find here:

    How lucky you are to have a father who bakes AND have such a metabolism!!

  • nini

    Wow, thanks Belinda, for the recipe from the Journal Star! It was spot-on for the type of kolache my husband is used to from NE. We were a little wary of the recipe calling for 2 Tbsp(!) of salt, but it turned out ok. Next time we may cut the salt a bit, and add a little more sugar. It didn’t say how many the recipe would yield, but we turned out 32 kolaches using half the dough (we freezed the other half…any idea if it will be ok?). Thanks again for the recipe!

  • Belinda

    Here’s a recipe for the same thing, published in the Lincoln, NE Journal Star newspaper on August 1 this year (http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2007/08/01/living/food/doc46afb9fa3ac37837596706.txt):

    Ceske Kolache

    3 cups scalded milk

    2 packages active dry yeast

    ¼ cup sugar

    2 tablespoons salt

    2 egg yolks, beaten

    ½ cup melted lard

    6 cups flour (about)

    Dissolve yeast and half of the sugar in 1½ cups scalded milk, which has been cooled to lukewarm. Add 1½ cups flour. Mix and put in a warm place to rise until bubbles appear (about 1½ hours). Add egg yolks, salt, rest of sugar, melted and cooled lard and remaining lukewarm milk. Beat well. Gradually add rest of flour, mixing well after each addition until smooth and elastic.

    Cover and place in a warm place, until double in bulk. When dough is light, stir with a spoon and let rise again. Shape into small balls about the size of a large walnut. Put into well-greased baking pans, well spaced, about 15 on a 10×15-inch pan.

    Brush top with melted fat and let rise in warm place until light. In center of each bun, make a small indentation with fingers and fill each with 1 tablespoon of filling. Return to warm place to rise again. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until brown. Remove from oven, brush with melted fat and remove from pans.

    Source: Recipe by Mrs. Clarence Zajicek from the cookbook “Favorite Recipes of the Nebraska Czechs”

    Kolache facts:

    * Kolache are pastries consisting of a sweet dough and fruit or cheese filling that originated in central Europe.

    * Also spelled kolace, kolach or kolacky

    * Prague, Okla., and Caldwell, Texas, both have annual festivals celebrating kolache

    * Montgomery, Minn., claims to be the Kolacky Capital of the World

    * Verdigre, Neb., claims to be the the Kolach Capital of the world.

    * Nebraska’s Prague was home to the world’s largest kolache, and also a cafe called the Kolache Korner.

  • nini

    Couple of quick questions, for an East Coaster who is less familiar with kolache making. Where does one find canned poppy seed filling? Can I get it at a regular grocery store? If so, where should I look?

    Also, Phoebe from Nebraska, when you mentioned a recipe that is “soft and not dry” do you mean the recipe here, or another one? If its another one, would you mind sharing it? My hubby is from Lincoln, and would FLOORED if I surprised him with an “authentic” recipe that reminds him of home. Thanks much!

  • Noel

    These look wonderful! I love the filling and I’m going to buy some today. Do you think you could substitute puff pastry or already made dough in this recipe?

  • Anh

    These are one of the most delicious things on Earth! I haven’t tasted them again for ages. Thanks for the lovely recipe!