How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen

How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen - Recipes and Tips for Dough, Fillings, Folding and Shaping by Tori Avey

Having trouble making hamantaschen for Purim? Maybe your hamantaschen are spreading or opening when they bake. Maybe they’re losing their shape. Maybe the filling is leaking. Maybe you’re having trouble folding your cookies into neat triangles. Or maybe you’re just looking for an easy hamantaschen recipe that will get you perfect results, every time. Whatever your question, I’m here to help!

I compiled this list of tips to help people who are new to baking hamantaschen. It took me several years to master the proper technique and develop some terrific dough recipes. I now have a firm understanding of what it takes to make pretty and delicious hamantaschen. I want to share that knowledge with you, so you can avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered over the years. Hopefully my tips will help obtain a tasty and beautiful result from the very first try!

How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen - Recipes and Tips for Dough, Fillings, Folding and Shaping by Tori Avey

Tips for Creating Perfect Hamantaschen

1) Find a great dough recipe. Often, the problems people have with baking hamantaschen can be traced to an inferior dough. Here are two foolproof, tasty dough recipes that I highly recommend. They are easy to handle and shape, and they provide great results when baked:

Dairy Free Hamantaschen Dough

Buttery Hamantaschen Dough

2) Roll your dough out to 1/8 inch thick (or less). You want your dough to be as thin as possible, while still being thick enough to maintain the cookie’s structure. 1/8 inch seems to be the magic number; sometimes I roll mine out even thinner than that. For a more doughy texture you can roll it thicker, but remember– the thicker the dough is, the harder it will be to handle and shape. Thick dough is also more prone to opening/spreading in the oven.

3) Use a thick filling that won’t run/weep from the cookies while baking. Knowing the proper consistency of a hamantaschen filling takes experience, because each type of filling is slightly different. Poppyseed filling has a very different texture than fruit filling, for example. A good filling should be somewhat thick so that it doesn’t run. However, you don’t want it too thick, or it will bake up dry or tough. It’s best to follow a tested and proven recipe. Here are some of the filling recipes available on my site, all of them have been thoroughly tested and I recommend them with confidence:

Caramel Apple Filling

Poppyseed (Mohn) Filling

Prune (Lekvar) Filling

Apricot Filling

Nutella Filling

Rabbi Olitzky’s Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Filling

4) Cut your hamantaschen dough in 3-inch circles (or larger) before filling and folding into triangles. Anything smaller than 3 inches will be difficult to fold around your chosen filling.

5) Most fillings can be chilled before using to fill hamantaschen. I’ve found that fruit, poppy seed, and cream cheese-based fillings tend to be easier to work with when they’re chilled in the refrigerator. The chilling process thickens the fillings and makes them less sticky, which makes them easier to handle with when you’re assembling your hamantaschen. Not all fillings are helped by refrigeration, however– particularly chocolate-based fillings like Nutella, which will harden with prolonged refrigeration. Check your filling recipe to see if refrigeration is recommended.

6) Do not overfill your hamantaschen. Use 1 teaspoon of filling per hamantaschen cookie. Do not use more than 1 teaspoon. However tempting it might be to put lots of delicious filling in the middle of your cookie, using more than 1 teaspoon can cause your hamantaschen to spread open and leak in the oven. 1 teaspoon is plenty, especially when you cut your dough circles to 3 inches… it’s the perfect amount of filling.

7) Fold your triangles the right way! Using the proper folding method will help your hamantschen hold together and create a beautiful shape. I’ve provided detailed, illustrated, step-by-step folding instructions below.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be creating beautiful batches of homemade hamantaschen in no time! What are your favorite hamantaschen fillings?

How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen - Recipes and Tips for Dough, Fillings, Folding and Shaping by Tori Avey

How to Fold Hamantaschen

You will need

  • Hamantaschen dough (dough recipes linked in blog above), rolled out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles
  • Filling of your choice (filling recipes linked in blog above)
Servings: Varies
Kosher Key: Varies
  • Roll dough between 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or glass rim that is at least 3 inches wide. Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle. Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.
  • Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.
  • Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
  • Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under-- it creates a "pinwheel" effect. This method if folding is not only pretty-- it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
  • Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape.
  • Repeat this process for the remaining dough circles. Bake according to recipe instructions.

Comments (302)Post a Comment

  1. Thank you for this. When I made my first batch of hamantaschen, I didn’t fold them correctly and you can imagine the results!!! Can’t wait to try your method.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    hi tori! I made a test batch of 10 last night with the apricot filling…the filling is awesome! the dough was almost awesome..taste was great and form too but a little too hard to bite into…how can I make the dough a bit softer without reverting to the butter recipe? looking forward to making them with nutella today 😉

    1. Hey Addi! This particular recipe does bake up a bit more crisp than some other recipes do, which is the way our family prefers them. If you’d rather not try the buttery dough, which bakes up a bit softer, here are a few tips– make sure you keep any extra dough moist under a damp towel when you’re not working with it. Keep the dough as moist as possible. You may even want to keep your assembled hamantaschen under a damp towel till they’re ready to bake. Also, don’t excessively flour your surface when rolling out, more flour = drier, crisper cookie. Keep the dough as moist as possible. Finally, don’t bake your second batch quite as long as you did the first. Just bake them till they barely begin to turn golden. The longer you cook them, the crisper they’ll be. Only bake them long enough to make sure they’re cooked through. Hope these tips help. Good luck!

  3. Thank You for showing how to make the Perfect Hamantashcen…we love them,always bought them for the bakery…and I always wanted to try them myself…I actually printed out your recipe.We love Apricots.Thank You for sharing.

  4. So I’m a week behind on reading blogs. And I wish I’d read yours before Sophie and I made Hamentaschen today. They don’t look nearly as perfect as yours. But they do taste good.

    1. Leah, I’m so happy you made hamantaschen with your daughter! They don’t have to be perfect to be special– as long as they’re baked with love, that’s all that matters!

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made these with the apricot filling for my hubby. He loved them. Very tasty and not hard, just a little time consuming, but well worth the effort.

  6. Wish I had read this earlier. My recipe said to make the dough 1/4 of an inch thick…..they totally opened up. Taste great, but looks less l ike Hamen’s ears and more like his sandals.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi tori,
    I ran into your website by accident and am happy I found it. What a great site. I too am from a mixed marriage. I will be following your cooking recipes. I cook Jewish Bbq on my website the one and only brisket ,regular bbq and lately I am
    cooking thai food


  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Your Buttery Hamantaschen Dough recipe is awesome! Delicious & easy to work with. The hamantaschen came out perfect the first time! This will be my go-to recipe in the future. The recipe for Rabbi Olitzky’s Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Filling is also incredible. I look forward to trying your other filling recipes at some point. (This time I just went with jarred fruit fillings, which worked out fine.)

  9. Hi, Like Alan I came across your website by accident and I decided it is a keeper! I’m looking forward to trying your recipes.

  10. Does anyone have a recipe for hamantshen made with yeast dough? As far as my family is concerned, these are the real ones rather than those with the cookie dough.

    1. I actually use my regular Challa dough recipe for all baked goods like chocolate buns and choc yeast cake/babke, cinnamon buns, cheese danishes and hamantaschen and they all taste great!
      The brilliant thing about these are that whenever I make Challa I take off some dough to make something delicious in the cake line too!
      My Challa Recipe is easy and delicious and calls for:
      1 bag flour (1.5 kilo)
      3 eggs
      3/4 cup sugar
      3/4 cup oil
      2 oz fresh yeast (3 tbsp dried)
      1 pint water (add most of it and only add more if the dough seems dry)
      1.5-2 tbsp salt
      Knead, leave to rise until double in size.
      Braid into challos or form cookies or rolls.
      Leave to rise until doubled in size again.
      Bake 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 20-30 minutes or until golden!

      Of course you can use any challo dough/yeast dough of your choice!

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This is an amazing tutorial and exactly what I have been searching for. I love Hamantaschen and make them all year round because my grandchildren are crazy about them too. My problem has always been the cooky losing it’s shape when baking and the filling seeping out. Love the tips on folding and I will definitely try your recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Thank you for these tips. I just made hamantaschen for the first time this weekend, and mine were so ugly. The triangles didn’t hold up, and my filling leaked. I will remember your tips the next time I bake these!

  13. Hi Tori,

    I made hamentashen using the poppyseed recipe you recommended, but the biggest problem I found is the poppy seeds separated from the butter, milk mixture. When mixed back together it was extremely runny and made it horribly difficult and messy to assemble the hamentashen!

    Please help !

    1. Hi Jason, I have never encountered this issue in all my years of making poppy seed hamantaschen. Did you grind the poppy seeds before adding them to the hot liquid? Did you temper the egg, as suggested? Both steps help to thicken the mixture and will help to keep it from separating. When followed precisely, the recipe shouldn’t present any problems. I’ve had many readers tell me that the recipe works for them, so I’m not sure where it might be going wrong for you… I wish I had a better answer for you!

  14. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    You’ve done an amazing job coming into the religion and mastering cultural subtleties like hamantaschen that don’t fall apart. I give you lots of respect for these accomplishments.

    (I’m a cultural transplant in a different sense and realize there’s so much no one tells you, but everyone expects you to know.)

    This entry also gives me lots of respect for women of past generations and all the un-noticed things they have accomplished (whether Jewish or not).

  15. Many, many years ago I had a nice cookie dough recipe that I used for hamentaschen. At that time I used to buy prune filling (already thickened) at the local appetizing store that scooped it out of giant containers. My father was a baker and he said to get a good filling you have to use “puvatol”, which is what the bakers used. Do you know this product and/or where you purchase it?

    1. hi! povidol is a sticky prune jam with – a delicious and excellent filling for hamantaschen. you can probably buy it at the kosher deli store.

      toby thanks for the origami 😉 tutorial !

  16. Hi Tori,
    I’m neither Jewish nor a very accomplished cook, but your pictures are stunning, and so simple, I’m going to get up my courage and try the hamantaschen. You might like my review of Alex Witchel’s new book, ALL GONE (A MEMOIR OF MY MOTHER”S DEMENTIA, WITH REFRESHMENTS). It’s at my blog, (“For the Love of Lit”), if you’re interested. Thanks!
    All good things,
    Kathy Love

  17. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tory,
    Thank you so much. I made this recipe with the poppy seed filling! Its amazing!!!! I have never made a better hamentashen! The only thing was the baking time for mine should have been a little shorter, i think 14 minutes would have been enough. 😀 Thanks again.

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Yum – can’t wait to make these! A quick question – how long would you say they stay fresh? Can I make them Friday and eat them Sunday? Or should I wait until Sunday morning?

    Thanks for all the great tips, this will be my first foray into hamantaschen.

    1. Hi Mia! They will stay fresh for about 5 days if you seal them in a Tupperware after they’ve cooled completely. Separate each layer of cookies by a piece of parchment or wax paper. Enjoy!

    2. @Mia, these freeze beautifully so if you need to make them far in advance you can :-)

      @The Shiksa, I used the Hamanteschen recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen (one of the many commenter’s (#115) responses brought me to you!). Then used YOUR technique which worked fabulously. Thanks for the tutorial…it was perfect timing that I found you!!

  19. made hamantashen today with a friend a recipe she is very familuar with , we quadrupeled it and the cookies melted in the oven FLAT, any trouble shooting ideas would be greatly apprecieted, thanks beth

    1. Hi Beth! I really recommend using one of my dough recipes next time, issues with hamantaschen are often the fault of the dough. My non-dairy dough is the easiest to manage. It’s possible that quadrupling your friend’s dough recipe may have caused your issue… I try not to make more than one batch of dough at a time when baking (or at most two). It can be difficult to manage a large quantity of dough, making it tough to mix evenly and get good results. Try the folding techniques I listed here, they’re less likely to pop open and melt flat. Also be sure not too overfill the cookies, just a teaspoon of filling will do it. Good luck!

  20. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tory,
    I just discovered your blog and love it! I tried your hamentashen recipe and the dough was sooo delicious with the orange zest and vanilla…never had better flavor in a hamentashen! Where I went wrong was that I took a shortcut and used jam as filling…apricot and raspberry…and it kind of poured out and looked messy – my fault!! But delicious flavor – thank you!

    1. Jam won’t be thick enough and will “weep” during baking. You’ll need to thicken it somehow, or you’ll need to make one of the filling recipes I’ve suggested. You can also buy canned filling at the grocery store in the baking section, some grocery stores carry it.

  21. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    We made a test batch of the pareve hamantasch dough. As I usually prefer cookies that are not as sweet as most recipes, I cut the sugar down to a half cup. The dough was very easy to work with. Your fold method made prettier hamantaschen than my old pinch method, and they stayed together. And you were right on the sugar – 1/2 cup was not enough. We then made a quadruple batch of the dough with the correct amount of sugar. Very nice pareve hamentaschen. Y’yasher cochaych!

  22. Hi I came across your website when I was trying to figure out a way to keep my hamantashens from exploding or opening up in the oven. I tried your pin wheel method and it did not work, in fact it made it worse. I couldn’t help but notice that the dough for the hamantashens didn’t stick together very well at all, so that could have been a problem as well.

    1. Hi Rebecca, I’m sorry to hear that. You may have rolled the dough too thick. Did you use one of my dough recipes? Most of my readers have been very successful with the pin wheel fold, so I would need more details to help you troubleshoot what went wrong.

  23. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi! I found some “cheaters” recipes using sugar cookie dough or crescent roll dough and I tried both. I also used pizza dough and filled it with pizza toppings. The sugar dough was way too soft and of course way sweet. Everything else tasted delicious but all three dough types opened up in the oven so I came looking for tips. Your tips look really great and I can’t wait to try them!!

    I did have one question though, one of the reasons for cheating recipe was time, so I wondered, can I make your dough recipe and freeze it for future use? If so, how long will it keep?

    Thanks again!!

    1. Hi middleschooler– I saw all your other comments on the other filling recipes asking the same question. No need to ask multiple times, if I have the answer and the time I will always respond. :) For a school project, it depends on your goal. Poppy seed is probably the most “traditional” old fashioned flavor for hamantaschen (to keep it nut free use regular milk, not almond milk). However for middle school kids, you’d probably want something a little sweeter/more fruity, so I’d go with apricot, which is also very traditional.

  24. Muchísimas gracias por compartir tu receta, realmente no sabría cómo doblar la masa sin tu ayuda, parece mentira, pero a veces lo más simple resulta ser lo más complicado.
    Un abrazo grande de Chile.

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