This is my favorite easy Hamentashen recipe. The cookies are crunchy, crumbly, just sweet enough. Shaped into triangles and filled with sweet poppy seed or fruit fillings, they’re a popular treat for the Jewish holiday of Purim. I love this oil-based dough because it is very easy to handle.
I feel like I’ve tried just about every hamentashen recipe out there, but this one is my all-time favorite. The dough, which uses oil instead of butter, is easy to handle and holds its shape well during baking.
These crunchy filled cookies are gorgeous to look at, especially if you use an assortment of fillings. Some of my favorite fillings to use with this hamentashen recipe include the very traditional poppy seed filling, strawberry jam, peach jam, or blackberry jelly. Nutella makes is a break from tradition, but a delicious one!
What is Purim?
Purim is sort of a raucous Jewish holiday with a good story. This guy named Haman was King Ahaseurus of Persia’s top minister. This other guy, Mordecai (who happened to be Jewish), was also high ranking, but not as high Haman.
Mordecai thought Haman was full of it, so he dissed him and Haman got super pissed. But the king loved Mordecai because he had once saved the king’s life. In fact, the king ordered Haman to honor Mordecai for this good deed, which really ticked Haman off.
Haman got so mad that he concocted a plan to not only kill Mordecai, but to kill all of his people (the Jews). Knowing the king was partial to Mordecai, he made vague accusations about a group of dangerous people within the kingdom. And he convinced the king to sign an order to allow Haman to kill all of them.
But Queen Esther, who happened to be Mordecai’s niece/adopted daughter and also a Jew, found out about his plan. And she concocted a plot of her own to stop it.
Esther convinced the king to throw a party to “honor” Haman. Once the party was underway, she revealed, in dramatic fashion, that that she was Jewish. And also that she was the niece/adopted daughter of Mordecai. And finally, that Haman had tricked the king into approving Haman’s plan to kill all the Jews so that he could kill Mordecai.
In the end, the King had Haman executed. And guess who got Haman’s job? Yeah, obv. It was Mordecai.
I guess it’s a bit of grisly story. But it’s commemorated with much merry making, drinking, dressing in costumes (it’s sometimes referred to as the Jewish Halloween or the Jewish Mardis Gras), exchanging gifts of food, and eating these delicious filled triangle cookies!
Why is hamentashen triangular?
Have you ever heard the phrase “ask 2 Jews, get 3 answers?” We Jews love food symbolism, and we also love to debate all the possible interpretations of a thing. There are at least three different answers for the question of why hamentashen are triangular.
Some say the three-pointed cookies represent a three-pointed hat Haman wore. To take a bite out of Haman’s hat is to defy him and, well, to say screw you, Haman. We see your evil plan and we’re stopping it. But… did Haman wear a three-pointed hat? Who’s to say? There’s no mention of it in the original story.
Others say the cookies represent Haman’s ears that (trigger warning!) were cut off of his head before he was hanged. Apparently they used to do this in medieval Europe—cut off a man’s ears before they executed him. Whoa. That’s intense. And, um, gross.
The more plausible explanation is that they were originally called “mohn tashen” in German. Mohn meaning poppy seeds and tashen meaning pockets—cookie pockets filled with poppy seeds!
These poppy seed-filled cookies became a popular Purim treat among European Jews in the early 19th century.
Mohntashen sounds a lot like hamentashen, doesn’t it? Makes perfect sense!
Fruit jams and preserves, chocolate, and other fillings are also common these days but were introduced more recently.
When these cookies got popular as a Purim treat, apparently the rabbis felt they needed to provide symbolic meaning. In Hebrew, tash means “weakened.” So they said, well, we eat these cookies because Haman was weakened. I mean, I guess I can see the logic, but I’m not buying it.
Personally, I’m going with the hat explanation.
What makes this Easy hamantaschen recipe the best?
I love this recipe because the dough is super easy to handle. Most hamentashen dough is made with butter. While buttery dough is delicious, it can be hard to shape and handle.
This dough uses oil instead of butter. It is every bit as delicious as the buttery kind, but in my opinion, much easier to deal with.
Using oil instead of butter also makes this recipe parve if that is important to you. These dairy free oatmeal cookies are also parve.
Vargebeles is another fun dessert for the holidays. It’s not a Jewish recipe, but it reminds me of noodle kugel!
For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.
What ingredients do you need to make this easy hamentashen recipe?
The ingredients for hamentashen are simple pantry ingredients, similar to any basic cookie recipe. You can use any type of jam or preserves for the filling, or use poppy seed filling. You can even use something like Nutella!
Here’s what you need:
- Oil (any type of neutral flavored oil, like sunflower seed, safflower, corn, vegetable, or canola oil)
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Filling (jam, preserves, jelly, poppy seed filling, etc)
How do you make it?
This hamentashen recipe is super easy to make. Because the dough uses oil instead of butter, it is much easier to handle than other the dough in other recipes.
It also means that you can make it in one bowl with nothing but a spoon or whisk for mixing. Here’s how:
- Mix the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until well combined in a stif dough.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour (or longer).
- Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into circles.
- Dollop the filling onto the circles and fold up the sides to form a triangle around the filling.
- Bake until lightly golden brown.
Tips for success
These Hamantaschen are especially easy to make since the oil-based dough is so easy to handle. Here are a few more tricks to making perfect hamentashen:
- Be sure to roll the dough out to an even thickness. I find that somewhere between 1/8 and ¼ inch is perfect—thick enough that it doesn’t fall apart instantly when you try to shape it, but thin enough that it cooks thoroughly and evenly.
- For the ideal size and shape, use a 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. If you don’t have one, you can use a drinking glass that size.
- Don’t add too much filling. As tempting as it is to load up on the jewel-colored, sweet-tasting jams and preserves, too much filling will prevent the cookies from holding their shape. The triangles will bust open and filling will bubble out all over the place. About a teaspoon of filling is just right if you’re using a 2 ½-inch round cutter.
- Place the filling on the dough round before folding up the sides.
- There is an endless variety of possible fillings. Poppy seed filling is the most traditional. I like the Solo Poppy Seed Filling. Or you can make your own poppy seed filling!
- You can also use fruit jams, jellies, or preserves. Some modern-day bakers have strayed far from tradition to use fillings like Nutella or peanut butter.
- Use an assortment of fillings for a particularly attractive display, or if there is one filling you just love, just go ahead and use that for the whole batch.
- Pinch the corners and sides of the dough together well when you create your triangle. This will keep them from opening up during baking.
More cookie recipes you’ll love
If you love making cookies, try these Honey Cookies, Flourless Chocolate Cookies, Kolacky, Ginger Snap Cookies, Rhubarb Cookies, Black Sesame Cookies, Salted Toffee Cookies, or Lemon Coconut Macaroons.
If you want to cook multiple batches of cookies at the same time but only have one oven, you can make Air Fryer Cookies, like these Air Fryer Peanut Butter Cookies or Air Fryer Hot Cocoa Cookies.
More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love
- Honey Cake
- Honey Cookies
- Lemon Coconut Macaroons
- Jewish Beef Brisket
- Meat-Filled Borekas or Pastelicos
- Passover Orange Sponge Cake
- Passover Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew
- Kreplach with Beef Filling
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Check out all of my Jewish Recipes!
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup neutral-flavored oil safflower, sunflower seed, canola, etc.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup filling of your choice Solo Poppy Seed Filling; fruit jam, jelly, or preserves; or a non-traditional filling like Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar,
and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir with a
wooden spoon (or feel free to use an electric mixer), until well combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a disk. Wrap the dough disk in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to about
1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter.
- Place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each of
the dough rounds. Fold up three sides and pinch them together to form a triangle around the filling, making sure to leave the center open so that the filling is visible.
- Bake for 12 to14 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly
browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
10 thoughts on “The Best Easy Hamentashen Recipe”
I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work for you. I have made it dozens of times and many others have used the recipe and reported good results, so I wonder if perhaps you mismeasured something? It is so hard to know what might have caused the problem without knowing exactly what you did. Sometimes it is a matter of an ingredient being mismeasured or even different weather. What I love about this dough is how easy it is to handle—much easier than the butter-based doughs I’ve used—and this is one of the things that my recipe testers have remarked on about it.
Made this twice! Love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing!
Currently using this recipe and trying to make hamantaschen and it’s going terribly. As another commenter said, the dough just completely falls apart. I followed everything to a T and it just crumbles. The moment I try to fold one the dough breaks. I’m so upset 🙁
I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you. If the dough is crumbling, it probably means that you have too much flour, which is the opposite problem of the other poster. I would add a bit more oil or a bit of water, like a teaspoon or two at a time, until the dough comes together. This can happen if the air is very dry or depending on how you measure your flour.
The dough kept falling apart when rolling it out & shaping the cookie. I generously added more flour, about 3 handfuls more, to the surface. I rolled the dough out over the floured surface, the dough sucked the flour up, I then shaped the dough back into a ball and tried the whole thing out again. This seemed to do the trick because it no longer fell apart when shaping. It’s really yummy.
I’m glad it worked after you added more flour and that it was tasty! Sometimes weather can affect dough–how much moisture is in the air for instance. Also how you measure the flour can affect this. If the dough is too loose or sticky, you can also try just popping it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
Excellent tasting recipe. However, when I followed exact directions the dough was too dry and did not cohere. I added 1 egg and 1/4 cup oil and then it worked great and rolled out well.
I’m glad it worked out for you! Baking is so particular. Ingredients will act differently depending on weather (like how much moisture is in the air, temperature, etc.) Also fresher flour will have more moisture (and even if you just bought a bag of flour yesterday, it could have beeen sitting on a shelf already for months). Or it could have to do with how the ingredient was measured (when you scoop flour, for instance, you can pack it down and may end up with more flour than intended). A recipe like this where you need to be able to roll out the dough but have it hold together enough to shape is especially susceptible to issues like these. But your solution was great! It’s what I would have done, too.
I haven’t made my own Hamentaschen since I worked at the synagogue, it was just easier to order from the Sisterhood and write the check. I LOVE this recipe, but refrigerator time for my dough needs to be overnight. One hour was not long enough, I live in FL!
Just made these and they came out perfect! Such an easy recipe! After reading the reviews ahead of time, I added an extra egg to help ensure the dough would come together, plus my eggs were on the small side. It was perfect! My young daughter and niece helped me fill and shape them. We loved it and can’t wait to make them again!