Poppy Seed Kolache

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

Poppy Seed Kolache
Elise Bauer

My father gets a faraway look in his eyes when he remembers his Minnesota Czech grandmother's poppy seed pastries.

Called "kolache" (koh-LAH-chee), "kolacky" (koh-LAH-kee), or how my dad pronounces it, koh-LAH-chkey, these Czechoslovakian yeast-based pastries can be filled with any sweet pie or pastry filling.

Dad loves poppy seed filling, and armed with an old Better Homes and Gardens recipe, he set out to recreate the kolaches of his childhood.

I think he was successful (after quadrupling the filling to dough ratio in the recipe), so much so that the day after making and eating these, he announced that he had gained 2 pounds, prompting him to give up dessert for two whole days. (Please God, in my next life, could I have my father's metabolism?)

My father makes these kolaches with canned poppy seed filling. If you want, you can make the filling from scratch; I've included a filling recipe that I found online.

Poppy Seed Kolache

Total Time 0 mins
Servings 16 kolaches


  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 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 tablespoon milk

Filling Ingredients (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 cinnamon


  1. Combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and nutmeg or mace in a large mixing bowl:

    Set aside.

  2. Make the dough:

    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°F to 130°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. Knead dough and let rise:

    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. Prepare filling:

    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.

  6. Roll out dough, cut into squares:

    Roll each dough half into a 16x8 inch rectangle, about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into 8 4x4 squares.

    cut kolache dough
    Elise Bauer
    add poppyseed filling to kolache squares
    Elise Bauer
  7. Add filling, fold and press dough corners:

    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.

    fold kolache dough over poppyseed filling
    Elise Bauer
    fold kolache
    Elise Bauer
    secure kolache
    Elise Bauer
    secure kolache with toothpick
    Elise Bauer
  8. Second rise:

    Place on well greased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 35 minutes).

  9. Brush with egg wash:

    Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk.

  10. Bake:

    Bake in a 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.

    Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Remove toothpicks.

Adapted from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens, 1997.


Lisa Fain's kolaches from the Homesick Texan

Poppy Seed Kolache
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
261 Calories
9g Fat
39g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 211mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 132mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.