Hamantaschen Cookie Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Hamantaschen are almost like festive tarts in a yummy cookie crust! The crust has a delicate orange scent and is absolutely irresistible with some jam baked into the center. Whether they’re fruit-filled or packed with poppy seed filling, these rich shortbread cookies will be a hit.

overhead: plate filled with hamantaschen cookies

Hamantaschen are festive shortbread cookies that are shaped into triangle tarts and baked with a variety of fruit, chocolate, or nutty fillings. These colorful “hat-shaped” pastries are also known as “Haman’s ears,” a reference to the story of Purim a Jewish holiday. 

This whole hamantaschen recipe takes less than an hour — with most of that time spent waiting for the dough to chill! While you wait, be sure to check out the video below in the recipe card for a walkthrough on how to shape your hamantasch cookies.

closeup: hamantash cookies

In addition to jam, hamantaschen can also be filled with poppy seed paste. It’s a very common filling in a variety of Purim desserts, including rugelach, sweet buns, and poppy seed rolls.

A little more tender and even nuttier are these spicy-sweet maamoul cookies. These are also often served during Purim and might be a nice change of pace!

Tip From Kevin

Oil? Why not butter…

  1. Dairy-Free Option: Many traditional Hamantaschen recipes are made for the Jewish holiday of Purim, where observant Jews may not mix dairy and meat products. Using oil instead of butter makes the cookies pareve (neither dairy nor meat), allowing them to be served with any meal.
  2. Texture and Consistency: Oil produces a different texture in baked goods compared to butter. It tends to make the dough more tender and crumbly, which can be desirable for Hamantaschen cookies, giving them a lighter and more delicate texture.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Eggs – Set aside three large eggs for the batter, and then one extra for an egg wash. 
  • Sugar I use regular cane sugar, but any solid sugar or sugar substitute is appropriate — just don’t use a liquid sweetener as it will throw off the dry-to-wet ratio in the dough. 
  • Oil – I use extra virgin olive oil, but you could use canola or another neutral-tasting oil. 
  • Vanilla A small yet mighty addition to this hamantaschen recipe that both balances and enhances the fruity and sugary flavors in the dough.
  • Orange Zest – Just one small-to-medium-sized orange will give you plenty of zest. Feel free to substitute with lemon.
  • Baking Powder – My hamantaschen recipe is leavened with baking powder to a beautiful golden brown, cakey cookie. 
  • Flour – All-purpose flour also serves this purpose just fine — and it’s almost always the best choice for homemade cookies. 
  • Fillings A fruity center of apricot or strawberry jam is a common, colorful choice for hamantash. Another popular, more modern choice is Nutella, and the most traditional filling is mohn paste, or poppy seed filling. It’s a creamy, sweet, and nutty paste with a very unique taste.

How to Make Hamantaschen

  1. Mix the Wet Ingredients. Crack the eggs and pour the sugar into a large bowl or stand mixer. Whisk until combined. Pour the oil in and whisk for another minute until the mixture thickens. Now whisk the water, vanilla, and zest into the mixture.
  2. Add the Dry. Add the baking powder, salt, and 2 cups of flour to the bowl. Mix with a spoon until the dough starts to form. Stir the rest of the flour in until no dry flour remains. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut Circles. Roll the dough out until it’s ¼” inch thick. Cut circles with a cup or 3-inch cookie cutter, working the scraps back into the dough and repeating until you have 3 dozen rounds.
  4. Fill & Shape. Dollop a teaspoon of your chosen filling (or fillings) into each circle. Pull up the 3 corners and pinch them together to form the triangle, leaving the filling exposed. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat until all are filled.
  5. Bake & Serve. Bake the hamantaschen at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes until the bottoms brown. Let cool before serving.
overhead: my hamantaschen recipe ready to bake on a pan
Strawberry, apricot and poppy seed filled
  • Stand Mixer – If you do a lot of baking, it’s worth investing in a stand mixer to save yourself some arm strain! 
  • Cookie Cutters – While cups and bowls can do the trick, it’s always easiest to shape dough with tools specifically designed to do so. And the shapes always come out clean!

Storing and Freezing

If hamantaschen are filled with apricot jam, strawberry jam, or Nutella, then they can be safely stored at room temperature. If they’re filled with milk-based poppy seed filling, they’ll need to be refrigerated. Either way, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Hamantash can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw for a few hours in the fridge or for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

overhead: ready to serve hamantaschen cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my hamantaschen dough too dry?


Did you make the dough with butter or margarine instead of oil? If so, it will always turn out a little dryer than an oil-based mixture. 

In general, dough turns out dry when there isn’t enough fat or liquid in the mix. It could also be because you overmixed it — make sure you mix it just long enough for all of the dry ingredients to get worked into the dough.

How can I keep my hamantaschen cookies from opening up after baking?


The best way to keep the dough together is by applying an egg wash to the corners of each cooking. Do this after adding the filling so you don’t risk opening the corners back up by filling afterward.

Can I make this hamantaschen recipe ahead of time?


The cookies themselves can be kept at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If we’re even further ahead of time, then the dough itself can be frozen for a few weeks. Defrost completely before filling and baking as instructed in the recipe card.

closeup: hamantash with filling ready to eat

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5 from 2 votes
Make colorful triangle shaped hamantaschen cookies at home with my tender, orange-flavored dough and your favorite jams and poppy seed filling
Servings: 36
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total: 57 minutes

Ingredients 

Dough

Fillings

Instructions 

Dough

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer whisk eggs and sugar until blended. Add oil and whisk for a minute, it should thicken. Whisk in water, vanilla and orange zest.
  • Add baking powder, salt and 2 cups of flour, mixing with spoon or spatula until the dough starts to come together. Stir in remaining 3 cups flour and mix until dough forms and there is no dry flour. Cover and refrigerate for an 30 minutes.

Assembly

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, and using a cup or 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Gather dough scraps and roll them out again and repeat cutting circles for about 3 dozen.
  • Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Bring up the 3 corners and pinch dough firmly together to form a triangle, allowing filling to be exposed. Place on cookie sheet. (See Note 1)
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes and bottom is golden. Let cool on wire rack.

Video

Notes

  1. To ensure the corners from not splitting you can use an egg wash. After forming the Hamantaschen cookies with the filling, brush all sides and corners of each cookie before baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: desserts
Cuisine: Israeli, Jewish
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): jewish hamantaschen cookies

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Shalom, I made this recipe and the cookie came out delicious!. I shared some hamantaschen with my neighbors. Your recipe is a gem! Thanks for sharing.