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The Best Easy Hamentashen Recipe

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.

hamentashen cookies piled on a white plate with more cookies on a rack in the background. There is jar of jam with a spoon in it in the background too.

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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.

low angle shot of baked hamentashen cookies. There are a bunch of cookies piled up on a white palte, more cookies on a cooling rack in the background.

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.

overhead shot of a bunch of hamentashen cookies piled on a white plate. Tehre is a jar of jam next to the cookies and a wire rack with more cookies cooling on it.

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.

Vargebeles is another fun dessert for the holidays. It’s not a Jewish recipe, but it reminds me of noodle kugel!

Possible filliings for hamentashen. The photo shows jars of peach jam, blackberry jelly, strawberry honey jam, and a can of solo poppy seed filling.

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:

  • Eggs
  • Oil (any type of neutral flavored oil, like sunflower seed, safflower, corn, vegetable, or canola oil)
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • 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:

  1. Mix the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until well combined in a stif dough.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour (or longer).
  4. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into circles.
  5. Dollop the filling onto the circles and fold up the sides to form a triangle around the filling.
  6. 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.
Overhead shot of baked hamentashen on a baking sheet.

More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love

Yield: Makes about 30 cookies

Hamentashen

Overhead shot of a pile of hamentashen cookies on a plate.

Hamentashen are crunchy, crumbly, just sweet enough triangle shaped cookies with a center filled with sweet poppy seed or fruit fillings. They're a popular treat on the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 34 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar,
    and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir with a
    wooden spoon (or feel free to use an electric mixer), until well combined.
  4. 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.
  5. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to about
    1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake for 12 to14 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly
    browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition Information

Yield

30

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 89Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 12mgSodium 31mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 0gSugar 3gProtein 2g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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Hamentashen Story

By on February 15th, 2020

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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6 thoughts on “The Best Easy Hamentashen Recipe”

  1. 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 🙁

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

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