basic hamantaschen recipe best hamantaschen recipe cookies jewish purim
Photo credit Shannon Sarna

The Best Hamantaschen Recipe Ever

This tried-and-true hamantaschen recipe comes out perfect every time.

Hamantaschen weren’t always my favorite cookie to enjoy. The ones I grew up with were dry, would sort of crumble in your hand, and had a sad apricot, prune or poppy schmear in the middle that just wasn’t enticing. My grandma would bring them home from her synagogue’s sisterhood each year and I would do my best to smile and take a bite. Fast forward, and the quality and variety of hamantaschen have come a very long way. You can find hamantaschen these days in every flavor imaginable: stuffed with hot dogs, dulce de leche, strawberry cheesecake and so on. There is no end to the creativity that bloggers, bakers and chefs have infused into these traditional Purim cookies.

These triangular treats are enjoyed for the Jewish holiday of Purim, when the wicked Haman (BOO!) was defeated through the brilliant intellect of a Jewish woman, Queen Esther. There’s a bit more to the story, of course. But we were blessed with hamantaschen cookies as one of the many ways we are encouraged to celebrate the holiday. My other favorite part about Purim is that you are commanded to “drink until you cannot tell good from evil.” Consider it done.

However, hamantaschen do not actually date back to Queen Esther; they are a far more recent addition to Jewish cuisine. Triangular yeasted dough pastries filled with poppy seeds (known as mohn) were common in Germany during the 18th century, which is when Jews adopted them and began enjoying them for Purim; the triangle shape a nod to the hat supposedly worn by Haman.

My recipe below (which, yes, is one of the best hamantaschen recipes you will ever try) is inspired by my dear friend Rachel Korycan and her mom Susan, who took me under their wing to show me their recipe, which yields a far more delicate and delicious hamantaschen than many other old-school versions. It is not made with a yeasted dough, but rather a sugar-cookie like dough, which bakes up sweet and tender.

My favorite fillings include raspberry jam with mini chocolate chips, cookie butter, chocolate-hazelnut spread and store-bought poppy seed filling (you can find it in the baking aisle near the cherry pie filling). But really, the sky is the limit, and the most important thing is to have fun.

Hamantaschen can be tricky to make sometimes — they are notorious for leaking or losing their shape —so make sure to check out my one genius hamantaschen trick you need to ensure you have picture-perfect cookies every time. Or if you want to try and make hamantaschen baking even easier, you can try this hack using store-bought cookie dough or this hack using a box of cake mix!

Notes:

  • You need to chill the hamantaschen dough for 1 hour, or up to overnight if you want to make it a day ahead.
  • You can freeze the dough for 1-2 months wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap. I would not suggest freezing already baked cookies with fillings inside.
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Mixed flavor hamantaschen purim cookie recipe jewish
Photo credit Getty Images

The Best Hamantaschen

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4.9 from 12 reviews

A foolproof ticket to the perfect hamantaschen.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16-20 cookies

Ingredients

Units
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  2. Add egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated. Note: If the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by a few Tbsp at a time until firmer.
  5. Form dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  6. Dust surface with flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼-inch thick.
  7. Using a round 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in flour before each cut.
  8. Fill each round with ½ tsp of your favorite filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly.
  9. Pop into the fridge for 10 minutes, or freezer for 5 minutes, to ensure hamantaschen hold their shape.
  10. Bake at 400°F for 7-9 minutes.

Notes

  • You need to chill the hamantaschen dough for 1 hour, or up to overnight if you want to make it a day ahead.
  • You can freeze the dough for 1-2 months wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap. I would not suggest freezing already baked cookies with fillings inside.
  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour chill time
  • Cook Time: 7-9 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Holiday

29 comments

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  • Joanna Jost

    Love this recipe. I’ve now made, collectively, probably over 1,500 hamantaschen using this recipe. I bake 500+ each year for our synagogue. The mohn filling and apricot filling recipes are fantastic as well.






    • The Nosher

      Hi Suzy, a standard 3-inch round cookie cutter.

  • Bubbe

    What size cookie cutter? How much window to show filling? And that is barely any filling at all 1/2 tsp? If I use salted butter can I skip salt in dough?Haven’t tried it, yet.

    • The Nosher

      Hi Debbie, this calls for a standard 3-inch round cookie cutter. We’d recommend sticking with unsalted butter and added salt, as it’s easier to control the salinity this way, but you can use salted butter in a pinch!

    • The Nosher

      Someone used orange juice with great results!

  • Alan J Winters

    The raspberry with chocolate chips sound really good. Why do you not recommend not freezing them after they are baked?






    • The Nosher

      Hi Alan, the texture of the filling can get a little funky in the freezer. Enjoy!

  • Xander

    Can I use almond extract instead of vanilla? I’m wondering if that makes it worse

    • Mark

      If you substitute oil, use about 3/4 of the amount of butter in the recipe (this is because oil is 100% fat while butter is about 80% fat). Coconut oil or vegetable shortening are good substitutes (1:1 ratio).

      The substitution will affect the texture and crumb of the final product, not to mention the taste (obviously not as “buttery,” and this applies to margarine as well).

  • Susan cohen

    Can I use both almond milk and Orange juice and if so how much of each?

  • Anonymous

    I had so much fun 🤩 baking them 🫶🏻🫶🫶🫶🫶🫶🫶🫶






  • Mikail

    Shalom. Todâh! Thank you for the recipe, though I have not tried it yet, I appreciate the time and care you put into sharing this for everyone. I know that your recipe will be an enjoyable experience, along with the trial and error of both personal taste Preferences and Getting the recipe down to a science.






  • Merle

    Great recipe. I highly recommend adding the lemon zest to the dough, and might even suggest orange zest as an alternative. One thing: The baking time was not accurate. After preheating the oven and baking for 7-9 minutes on the middle rack (right out of the refrigerator), mine needed almost twice as long as the recipe states. Hmm…






  • Michele

    Thanks so much for this fantastic and delicious recipe!

    It is going to be the only hamantaschen recipe that I use from now on!

    Oh my goodness, it is so gratifying to spend all of the time shaping the hamantaschen and they keep their shape whilst baking!

    The hamantaschen are beautiful, light and crispy, and everyone is really enjoying them!

    Chag Sameach Purim! 🙂






  • Amy Hartnett

    Used this recipe for the first time and I’m never looking back!! Putting them in the fridge made all the difference, this was the first time ever they didn’t fall apart on me. This is a keeper.






  • Ruth Daggers

    First time I’ve ever made Hamantaschen. I used your recipe, and in the Hamantaschen competition at the Purim party at synagogue I got first prize (I used a dolce de leche filling), so thank you very much The Nosher!






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