Three years ago, I set out after work every night of the week before Purim to find the best hamantaschen in New York City. I tasted my way through the Upper East and West Sides, all the way to The Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and Midwood, Brooklyn and never once got sick of these delicious, poppyseed-filled cookies (my favorite!). This year, there are some new contenders in town who bring innovative, new-school approaches to these three-sided treats.
As we approach Purim, consider embarking on your own hamantaschen tour of NYC. Plus, you’ll finally have a reason to take the Second Avenue subway as you trek up to Orwasher’s. Here are the places you won’t want to miss.
The 100-year-old Orwasher’s Bakery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is one of our favorite destinations for Jewish pastries and breads. Naturally, their hamantaschen are incredible, made with soft cream cheese-enriched dough and filled with freshly made apricot or raspberry preserves. (photo above from Orwasher’s Bakery)
William Greenberg Jr. Desserts, Upper East Side
Since the 1940s, William Greenberg Jr. Desserts has been among NYC’s most celebrated kosher bakeries. Their hamantaschen are made with a rich butter dough, or with a yeasted dough (the old fashioned way), and filled with classic apricot, poppy, prune and cherry. If you find yourself in the Upper East Side, this is the place to go!
Photo by Paul Wagtouicz
Bread’s Bakery is world-famous for it’s chocolate babka, but at Purim, you won’t want to miss out on their hamantaschen. Every year at Purim, they make prune, apricot, poppy seed and chocolate hamantaschen, and this year they’re unveiling two savory flavors. Covered with black and white sesame seeds and filled with either roasted beets (above) or potato and caramelized leeks, they’re just as beautiful as they are delicious!
Seed + Mill is getting ready to celebrate Purim🤡🤡. We decided to collaborate with the talented chef Lior Lev Sercarz @la_boite and we created HALVATASHEN! From the 6th of March we will be offering 13 Middle eastern style Humentashen in a gorgeous jar! The Humentashen are stuffed with halva and tahini and the dough is made from chickpea flour and sesame seeds! Available at our store @chelseamarketny @la_boite, Monday 6th of March until Sunday the 12th. Please note there is limited amounts and they are going to sell out quickly… Comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want us to reserve a beautiful jar of halva + tahini Humentashen. Please include the date you want to pick up. We will try to accommodate as many of you as we can! Delivery services available in Manhattan 🗽Happy Purim!!
Seed + Mill
This year, Seed + Mill, a local tahini and halvah maker in New York City, is teaming up with Israeli-born chef Lior Lev Sarcasz of La Boite biscuits and spices to make what they call “halvataschen”–hamantaschen filled with halva and tahini. Made with artisanal ingredients, sesame seeds, and chickpea flower, these are surely the most fashionable hamantaschen in town.
This charming Israeli-owned bakery in the East Village makes date and walnut and classic poppyseed hamantaschen every year for Purim. You can also get your fix of Israeli no-bake truffles and delicious, old-world-style rugelach and babka.
Moishe’s Bake Shop
Not much has changed at Moishe’s Bake Shop, an East Village destination for hamantaschen and dozens of other old-school Ashkenazi sweets, since it opened its doors in 1978. These super crunchy hamantaschen, filled with prune, apricot, raspberry and chocolate, are must-tries. The no-frills bakery harkens back to an East Village not yet crowded with million-dollar condos and upscale boutiques, which is reason alone to visit!
Russ & Daughter’s
Russ & Daughters earns high scores in smoked fish and bagels, so it’s no wonder their hamantaschen are top notch as well. These delicious bite-sized treats–apricot, prune or poppy seed fillings enclosed in a soft, tart-like dough–are often named the best in the city.
Hungarian Pastry Shop
A favorite among Columbia students, this old-school cafe is the perfect place for cozying up with some tea, a plate of hamantaschen, and a book. They’re one of the only bakeries in the city that makes a spiced walnut hamantasch, so if you can’t decide between cookies and their homemade baklava, this is a true winner.
Sander’s Kosher Bakery, Williamsburg
Dozens of small shops and kosher markets and bakeries line the bustling Hasidic corridor of Lee Ave, but the best shop for hamantaschen is Sander’s Kosher Bakery. Their cookies are made with shortbread-like dough, and filled with a creamy chocolate filling or sweet blueberry jam. At 50 cents a cookie, it’s a bargain!
Isaac’s Bake Shop, Midwood
A trip out to Isaac’s Bake Shop in Midwood rewards you with some of the best kosher poppyseed hamantaschen in the city. It’s worth noting that their poppy filling isn’t pureed or blended, celebrating the satisfying crunch of poppy seeds.
All photos by Aly Miller unless otherwise noted.