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. I make Kolahky all the time and I use Solo brand fillings found in the kosher section of the market. They are made for baking and they have the most delicious flavors. I also sprinkle some powdered sugar on after they come out of the oven — very pretty and just a nice touch.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just wanted you to know, Tori, the ladies loved the demo and the hamantaschen! I made the apricot filling, which made more than enough to make four dozen cookies, about 1/2 a cup to do the demo with, and a pint jar full which I gave away as a door prize! I also used Nutella for some, but added some confectioner’s sugar to it which made it more like a truffle! Delicious! Some of the ladies even tried their hand at making them. Thank you again for all your hard work! Can’t wait to see your Pesach ideas!

  3. In St. Croix, our long time dear Rabbi Marna Sapsowitz is using locally available fruits to bake “Mango”, “Carambola-Prune” and “Guava” filled Hamantashen. Don’t they all sound exotically YUMMY!

  4. I love your step by step instructions – you cover off all bases – everything from folding to what to do if your dough cracks! I haven’t had a lot of success with hamantaschen in the past but these came out pretty well – loved the tip of 1 teaspoon of filling. I used rose petal jelly and a chocolate strawberry and balsmaic jame – sublime!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Doris, I usually store them in a sealed Tupperware container. With stickier fillings I like to separate each layer of cookies with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. You can also use a sealed plastic bag with the air removed.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made these for the first time last night and they were AMAZING! They didn’t fall apart at all and look (and taste) delicious. Thanks!

  6. im not the best baker but i decided i must make hamantaschen this year. i loved how you described how to shape it so i made your recipe and it came out really good and nice! they did not open up! i was so impressed! thanks so much!

  7. Alrighty then, these are on my list for experimentation.
    Someone(cough,cough) has a significant birthday celebration this year and the theme is Dessert Buffet (with a few savory items for those who can’t have sweets).

    The assorted sweets must include a few cookies (of course!) and I’ve narrowed it down to China Moon’s Cappucino Coins (with the white chocolate drizzle), Macaron (haven’t figured out the flavour yet), Port soaked Cherry Brownies (from a Fine Cooking issue) and Hamantaschen.

    I’m going to try cocoa nibs in the dough with 64% chocolate filling, vanilla beans ooo or cardamom in the dough and a complimentary filling. Hmmm maybe a jasmine tea infused filling? The rose petal filling sounds intriguing, maybe that would be a good match for the vanilla bean dough.

    Hmmm should check out Pure Desserts to see if Medrich includes a Hamantaschen variation…

  8. I love the carmel able filling. But, I’m having problems with the dough. It seems to fall apart as I am trying to shape them. It doesn’t seem to matter how think or thin I make the dough when I roll it out. Is my dough too wet? Too dry? Help!

  9. The butter one. I’ve made a couple of batches of this recipe and the same problem each time. It falls apart when I try to fold it.

    1. Hi Jennifer! Your dough is likely too dry, but I will say that butter doughs take an experienced hand, they are not as easy to roll out and work with as some other doughs. My recommendation if you’re starting to panic is to switch to the dairy free dough recipe. The two recipes taste virtually identical and the dairy free dough is much, much easier to work with. Good luck!

  10. HELP!!!! My Hamantaschen are baking flat and the filling is running out. I used a cream cheese dough recipe that I have never tried before. First I found out that the dough was too thick. Then I think the apricot pineapple jam is running out because it is not home made filling–it has corn syrup and just melts and runs. I don’t EVER remember having so much trouble with the cookie dough recipe my mother used. Ok. the mohn just came out and they are almost just as horrible. Does anyone have any suggestions on using this dough? Or just starting over?

    1. Julie, start over and use the Dairy Free dough recipe linked in this post (it’s the easiest dough to work with), and any one of the filling choices. Follow the instructions very carefully, read each and every step. Trust me, they’re solid recipes, you should have no problems.

  11. After searching for many years for a reliable recipe, your parve version is a keeper. Dough works better for me if I add extra flour. I rolled the dough thinly and cut out the rounds. I let the dough dry for a couple of minutes. I made sure each round was loose. I brushed each round with a little water before adding a teaspoon of filling. The water made the dough sticky so ALL OF THEM held their shape. Rave reviews were received. Thanks so much!

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