Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Roll, is very popular in southwestern Pennsylvania where Ed grew up. My mother-in- law, and most other bakers in the area, would often make Makowiec and similar rolls with a nut or apricot filling.
It’s a must have for Easter and Christmas in Polish homes, but it’s not saved for these special occasions. You might see it offered regularly for drugie śniadanie, second breakfast. It’s jus the time to have with coffee or a cup of tea.
Janet recently asked on the PH Facebook page if I had a Makowiec recipe, which prompted this post. This recipe is adapted from OlgaSmile.com, a popular Polish food blog.
Makowiec, especially this truly Polish version, isn’t very sweet, so American palates may prefer it with a little glaze poured over the top to add a little sweetness to each bite.
Like all traditional recipes, every family will put their own spin on Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Roll. I even had a glazed twisted donut like pastry in Poland that reminded me of Makowiec. You’ll find variations in the recipe notes, and this is a similar (but different) rolled pastry from my kitchen.
Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Roll
- Yield: 2 rolls 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Polish
A soft yeast bread wrapped around a poppy seed filling
- for the dough:
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- 4 teaspoons (15 g) sugar
- 2 packets (14 g) yeast
- 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (50 g) butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- for the filling:
- 10 ounces (300 g) poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon oil
- for glaze (optional);
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- Cover the poppy seeds in boiling water and let sit for a few hours or overnight
- Heat the milk to 110 F (43 C), pour into a large bowl
- Stir in the sugar and the yeast, let sit for 5 minutes
- Stir in the flour, salt, egg yolk, butter, and vanilla, kneading my hand to work in all of the flour
- Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let rise until doubled in size about 90 minutes
- While the dough rises, strain the water from the poppy seeds using a paper towel lined colander
- Grind the poppy seeds in a spice (clean electric coffee grinder) or a food processor, you’ll get the best results with a spice grinder, but you’ll have to process in batches
- Mix sugar, butter, egg whites, honey, ground raisins (process in your spice grinder or just add to the food processor and mix) and almond extract
- Punch down the dough, and divide in two
- Roll each piece into a 14 inch x 10 inch rectangle
- Spread half of the poppy seed filling in each rectangle, avoiding the edges
- Roll up (on the long side), pinching to seal the dough, tucking the end underneath and pinching to keep the filling from leaking out
- Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down
- Cover with dish towel and let rise 35-40 minutes
- Preheat over to 350 F (175 C)
- Brush with egg beaten with oil, bake for 35 minutes
- (Optional) stir milk into powdered sugar and pour/drizzle over the rolls
- Cut into 1/2 inch slices
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
I boil the poppy seed in water for 20 minutes, drain then boil it for another 30 minutes in milk. Just another way of accomplishing the same task. Here In Ottawa, we can buy canned poppy seed from Poland that has already been boiled and ground. I have to admit that I am using this more and more. Makes the process much easier. Thanks Lois.
I was just thinking that I’d make this more often if I used a canned filing! 😉
This recipe is good, but it calls for way too many poppy seeds. The amount of poppy seeds should be cut in half to achieve a spiral and prevent filling from leaking out.
I remember discussing this kind of roll with you when we had coffee together! (We are due for another coffee date soon!) I like that it isn’t too sweet, and plan to make this for Christmas… and maybe a nut roll, too!
Looking forward to our next coffee!
Me, too! After October is done!
Both my families (mom’s & dad’s) are Polish. I’m the second generation in both. My dad’s family made Halushki. One item in the ingredients was stressed, the potatoes to be grated were to be red skinned “snow whites”. Since, at the time I lived in the mountains of western PA which was potato growing land, I had no trouble getting them. Now that I live in Florida, I just buy new red potatoes. They do keep whiter longer. Who wants to eat grey or black potato dumplings? Hope this helps with the potato pancakes.
Andrea, that makes good sense. I believe tthe new red potatoes have less starch. Thanks for the tip.
Can u please share your potato pancake Recipe ?
I was born and raised in Poland and never, ever heard anything like Halushki, what is this ??? This clearly sounds Ukrainian, not Polish.
In our home, halushki was what we called sautéed cabbage and onions mixed with buttered noodles. IOW, it was a meatless main course or side dish and not a dessert. Both sides of my family were Polish (all grandparents born in Poland).
My partner was born and raised in Poland and never heard of haluski. I grew up I. Western Pa with Polish and Slovak grandparents and thought haluski was Polish until I met him. I think a lot of Eastern European dishes got mixed together in this area where a lot of immigrants from that area settled.
You make an excellent point. I’d also like to add that the food one is exposed to can be limited by regional differences, family preferences, and scarcity. A lot of countries make the same dishes with slightly different names. Think of how people and borders have moved over time. I’m just sharing recipes that I came to love when I lived in Poland. I’m not a culinary ethnographer, and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but it would be interesting to try to discover them. 🙂
Makowiec is a favorite for our little Wigilia crew. I used 14 grams of yeast (which is the equivalent of two standard packets) rather than the 40 grams listed above, and it was more than enough for this batch of dough.
Janice Marie Ward
Hi Lois, I just tried printing your recipe for the poppyseed roll, but it’s not letting me expand the file and when I print it, I only get what you see printed in the dotted line box….mmmmm……
I don’t know what happened there. The recipe plug-in had gone wonky! I’ve copied and pasted into a fresh, new recipe box, so I hope it’s better now.
My grandmother ground the poppy seed in a Porkert poppy seed grinder I purchased from the Czech Republic without boiling it. We only put poppy seed and sugar in our filling.
I make this every holiday and made 48 coffee cakes for my grandson’s wedding, serving it on the groom’s table. It was a Polish wedding.
Thanks for the tip, Carolyn. Sounds like a lovely wedding. ❤️
My grandmother made Potica, very similar to this. She made both poppy seed (using 1-2 cans Solo Ground Poppy Seed, depending on how large a roll she was making)) and walnut (without raisins). Instead of rolling the dough (usually a double batch), she would begin with the roller but then switch to using her fingers to stretch the dough thin enough to see light through it but no holes. It covered the top of the kitchen table. After spreading the filling over the whole thing, not too thin, not too thick (it breaks through the dough during baking). She would then take her fingers along one edge of the dough, long side and just barely get a roll going. She would then take the table cloth underneath and whip across the table. I was always afraid it would fall off the other side, but, it was was Grandma and it always stopped with just enough dough on the other side to pinch closed. She buttered a 9x13x3-inch pan and holding the roll (part of it was still on the table) she began to twist it into the pan. With only a small space between the rows, when the dough raised, it went mostly up and filled the pan almost to overflowing! She only made it at Christmas and Easter and the whole family enjoyed the holidays that much more. Thank you for sharing your recipe and bringing back those wonderful memories!
Your grandmother’s Potica sounds like an amazing labor of love. Thanks for sharing! <3
Thank you for the wonderful poppy seed bread recie
pe. My mother adele czezlock suitch was from weedville pa. In desolate tyler county. She made these wonderful breads for the holidays. I just happened to stumble on this wonderful website. Thank you agaon. I cant wait to try this one and many others. Johnny suitch
Delighted to connect you with happy memories!
Can I used the powdered (packet yeast)?
Would I dissolve it first? Or would I just add the powder straight in?
Thank You for the amazing recipe!!!
I also use the packets of powdered yeast. You add it to the warm milk and sugar. It will dissolve in the liquid. Happy baking!
Wonderful!!! Thank You so much!
Is the flour sifted? My dough seems to be dry.
I usually don’t sift. Add a little more liquid if it seems to need it. Sometimes flour is more dry than others, but I do recall the dough being a little on the dry side.
My mom taught me to use this canned filling, but my Baba boiled her poppyseeds. I admit to using the canned like my mom. I’m not much of a corner-cutter, I just like them better. A childhood thing, I guess. Thanks for this great recipe!
I agree, Asher, I think in this case the canned filling is really good!
Thank you for your recipe. I am using dry yeast in a can. Will 5 Table spoons of dry yeast be enough for the dough? I love Makowiec so do my kids. It reminds us of our family tradition. Thank you again. Happy New Year. Halina
Hi Halina, 4 1/2 teaspoons would be the same as two packets called for in this recipe. Happy baking!
My family came from the area around the Black Forest we have a tradition ( in my family) of poppyseed kuchen. It seems similar to the Makowiec only it’s a sweet dough rolled out to large rectangle ( jelly roll sheet pan ) filled with good amount of filling, dough is pulled over filling- pinch edges) then topped with psipka? ( mixture of butter sugar and flour. Is this familiar to you??im thinking the topping I might be something added once they immigrated to Minnesota?
I made the recipe today. I think the ingredient amounts may be slightly off. Almond is mentioned in the instructions but no amount was given in the ingredient list. Is the butter amount 2 teaspoons or tablespoons? My filling leaked out a lot during baking. I had to keep taking the pan out and scoop the excess into another bowl so it wouldn’t spill onto my oven floor. Can you please tweak the recipe a bit? Overall, the Makowiec tasted good but I lost a lot of filling during the baking process. I just discovered your website and love it since it’s one of the very few that are authentic. Thanks.
My poppyseed rolls leaked out the side. Any helpful hints? Thanks
Perhaps working with the dough a little thicker and/or leaving more of a clear margin around the edges.
My mom made mushroom soup at Christmas Eve with sawerkraut juice and dried mushrooms she died and I never got her recipe do u have one Betty
One way to keep the filling from leaking out of the roll is to cut a few slits on the top of the roll before baking.
I make the slits on the diagonal to be more decorative. This allows the steam to escape, but lets the filling stay inside the roll.
Thanks for the tip, Yvette!
You mention using almond extract in the instructions but there is none in the ingredients. How much is used?
1/2 teaspoon – Thanks for letting me know it was missing. I’ve made a correction.
Just curious – what does the boiling/soaking of the poppyseeds do? Is it meant to soften them?
I think the idea is that it softens them, making them easier to grind, to release flavors, etc. How well it actually works, I’m not sure. I’m buying poppy seed filling when I can.
Unfortunately this recipe did not work for me. he dough was so dry,, I had to add liquid to form it. Once cooked, the bread/cake came out to yeasty and like bread consistency instead of more on the cake side. there was too much filing. I also think it wasn’t sweet enough. I think I would try it with the canned poppy seeds next time.
Taka z ciebie chujowa gosposia !!!
This was so much fun!To make
Why do mine split open when baking?
I wish I had a simple answer for you, Tom. It happens to me sometimes too. Maybe using less filling would help. Maybe making small decorative slits in the top to give steam a way to escape.
I’m going to try your recipe for sure. I love that yours isn’t too sweet. I’ve had some that are far too sweet. For me, the more poppy seeds the better.
I’m in Poland. This is a favorite dish at Easter. It is covered in white icing and has slivered almonds and raisins sprinkled on top as well as inside the filling. SO GOOD!
How far in advance can this be made for Christmas eve? How would you store it? Sorry, I never use yeast!! So just to clarify, is it 2 of the red packages of fleischmanns active dry yeast? I see there is also rapid rise packs. This is my first Polish Christmas eve and my boyfriend and I are hosting his family! I’m going to try your kalaczki and sernik recipes as well. This Irish, Italian and Puerto Rican girl needs all the help I can get!! You’re recipes are well written and I don’t have to convert everything. Thanks for your help!!!
Hi Jennifer, You could make this up to a couple of months in advance and freeze it. It is two packets of dried yeast, you can use active dry or rapid rise (it will just rise more quickly).
I live in Colorado. I am having trouble with dough rising. Any helpful hints.
Hi Kathleen, here are some ideas on baking with yeast at high altitude. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/baking-yeast-breads-at-high-altitudes/
After pouring boiling water over the poppyseeds, letting them sit, and then draining them, they are too wet to grind, even after draining for several hours. And I have a good spice grinder. Do you dry them out before grinding?
Is there a particular brand of bread dough you recommend?
I apologize. My question was meant for someone else on a different blog.
Hi Mariska, I’m afraid I’ve never tried to make this with purchased dough. I’ve always made my own. I have two recipes for this kind of rolled bread. This one, the one you’ve commented on and this one, which is a little lighter dough. https://polishhousewife.com/kolachi/
I love poppy seed bread – my grandmother used to make them … sadly I never learned to make them with her. When you say “leave to rest” do you mean in a warm place? I have a steam oven with an option for ‘proving dough’ would that work or not?
We make the poppyseed roll and nut roll, here’s the rub; My mom’s family was Rusyn, and my dad’s Polish. My wife’s family was Ukrainian and Polish.
The poppyseed role was/is made for Christmas and Easter along with other times through the year. Seems like the same recipe, difference is using a coal stove. Both poppy and nut had raisons. Black and golden as called for. I can’t attest to what they were called in the different languages. I believe as with many recipes these were originated by Jewish bakers. They re an Eastern European treat. We use the Solo caned poppyseed and make the nut filling from scratch, canned is too sweet.