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Czech Kolacky with Poppy Seed Filling

Czech Kolacky are flaky, golden brown rounds of cream cheese pastry filled with a sweetened poppy seed filling. They are a perfect addition to your Christmas cookie platter!

several poppy seed filled pastry rounds filled on a white plate.

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These delicate cream cheese pastry rounds are filled with just-sweet-enough poppy seed filling. A dusting of powdered sugar is the finishing touch.

These jam filled cookies are a perfect addition to your Christmas cookie platter.

When my Czech father-in-law, who we call Deda (Czech for Grandpa), passed away several years ago it left a hole in the family—in our hearts, and also in our tummies.

I believe the first words Deda said to me when we met were, “I hear you like to cook.”

He quickly put me to work helping him cook a holiday feast for the family. (Don’t worry, I was thrilled! Nothing I love more than cooking alongside a master.)

Deda loved to cook meaty dishes, potato pancakes, and rich, cold cucumber soup. He was a big fan of anything meaty, salty, or fatty.

Pickles, cheese, anchovies, and salami star in many of Deda’s famous savory dishes.

His preferred cooking fat was lard. And if it wasn’t lard, it had to be good, old fashioned butter.

Deda loved baking sweets, too. One of my favorite cookie recipes that always came out at Christmas was this recipe for kolacky.

I’m so glad he taught me to make these lovely little pastries. It’s almost like having a little piece of him hear with us around the holidays.

low angle shot of a plate of kolacky cookies with red and gold ribbons and a baking sheet with more cookies behind.

How do you pronounce kolacky?

It’s a funny looking word in English! I say it like “co-LOTCH-key.”

What are Czech kolacky?

The kolacky my Czech father-in-law taught me to make use a cream cheese-based pastry that is delicate and flaky. And they are cut into rounds using a simple round cookie or biscuit cutter.

A dimple in the center holds a glistening black poppy seed filling. You can use any number of fruit fillings, but my favorite has always been the poppyseed. I use Solo poppy seed filling.

Solo makes fruit fillings as well, or you can use fruit jam—raspberry, strawberry, apricot, or any flavor you like.

These cream cheese kolacky have a Solo poppy seed filling, just like the ones my father in law taught me to make. They remind me of the rugelach popular with the Jewish side of my family.

Rugelach also uses a cream cheese-based pastry and often a poppy seed filling, but the dough is rolled around the filling.

low angle shot of the pastries on a baking sheet with powdered sugar on top.

Variations: Kolacky, kolache, kolace, kolaczky, kolachky, and more!

If you think you’ve had these before, but the name or presentation was slightly different, you’re not wrong!

There are many variations on this type of pastry and they come from all over Eastern Europe.

They come in different shapes and sizes and various textures, and they even even vary in the spelling of their names.

Kolacky, kolache, kolace, kolaczky, and kolachky are all common spellings.

Some kolachky recipes use ice cream in place of cream cheese to make the rich, flaky pastry dough.

Other variations are more bread-like, made with a yeast dough. These are popular in the Midwest, where they contain various fruit fillings.

And sometimes they are denser and more cookie-like, with the dough folded up around the filling.

And in Texas, where they call them kolache, they contain either sweet fruit fillings or savory meat-and-cheese fillings. What?!

Of course, because I learned this kolacky recipe from a Czech baker, I’m certain the Czech way is the right way!

A list of ingredients for making kolacky.

What ingredients do you need?

Except for the poppy seed filling, the ingredients of my kolacky recipe are pantry staples. You can find both Solo poppy seed filling and prune butter in European groceries or online. Or you can substitute any fruit jam you like.

A series of pictures showing how to make kolacky cookies.

How do you make them?

I find this dough to me more or less foolproof. The cream cheese ensures that it is wonderfully tender and bakes up to a beautiful flaky, golden brown.

  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and milk or cream together.
  2. Add the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually add the flour and baking powder until it comes together in a tacky dough.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness and cut with a 2-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet.
  6. Mix the poppy seed filling with a bit of prune butter, if using, and vanilla extract.
  7. Make a dimple in the center of each dough round and spoon about a teaspoon of the filling mixture into the center. I use the wooden handle of an unidentified tool in my cooking utensil drawer, but you can just use your thumb!
  8. Bake until puffed and golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

More Dessert recipes you’ll love

I love serving these Kolacky on a cookie platter with my Black Sesame Cookies, Toffee Cookie Bars, Honey Cookies, Hamentashen, Lemon Coconut Macaroons, and other sweets like this Hungarian Bejgli or Honey Cake. These melting moments and Danish butter cookies are other great cookie platter additions!

A plate topped with black and white kolacky pastries with powdered sugar.
low angle shot of kolacky on a white plate

Czech Kolacky with Poppy Seed Filling

Robin Donovan
Flaky dough rounds filled with poppy seed filling make these pastries the perfect addition to any cookie platter. They're perfect for Christmas or Hanukkah, but are delicious and welcome any time of year!
4.60 from 27 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 37 minutes
Course Dessert Recipes
Cuisine Czech
Calories 77 kcal


For the dough

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup Solo poppy seed filling or fruit jam
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons prune butter optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and milk until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy, about 4 minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high speed.
  • Add the egg yolks, sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat to incorporate well.
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl (my father-in-law insisted on sifting them together, but I will admit that I am pretty lazy and I never sift!)
  • Add the flour to the creamed mixture in 2 or 3 batches, beating to incorporate after each addition.
  • Once the dough comes together in a tacky blob, turn it out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the ball of dough up in the plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (you can leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days).
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Using a 2-inch round pastry or cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Arrange the rounds about 2 inches apart on a large baking sheet (you’ll likely need to bake 2 batches).
  • Using your thumb or another implement, press a dimple into the middle of each round.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the poppy seed filling, prune butter if using, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • Spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of each dough round, filling the dimple you made.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes, until the pastries puff up and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


1. If you don’t like poppy seed or can’t find the filling, use any type of fruit jam you like. Raspberry, strawberry, apricot, plum, or even something like lemon curd will all be delicious.
2. These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked, but they’ll keep, uncovered at room temperature, for a day or two. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw them for a few hours or overnight on the countertop before serving.


Serving: 1Calories: 77kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g
Keyword cookies, czech, desserts, kolacky, pastries, poppy seed filling
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on December 8th, 2020
Photo of Robin Donovan

About Robin Donovan

Robin Donovan is the creative force behind All Ways Delicious. She's a writer, recipe developer, photographer, and cookbook author with more than 40 books to her name, including the bestselling Ramen for Beginners, Ramen Obsession, and Campfire Cuisine. Her work has been featured in major publications, both print and digital, including MSN, Cooking Light, Fitness, Buzzfeed, and Eating Well. More about Robin

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10 thoughts on “Czech Kolacky with Poppy Seed Filling”

    • Oh goodness, I did! Thank you so much for letting me know! I’ve fixed it in the recipe card–1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

    • Oh that is so interesting! My father in law was born in Chicago but his family moved back to Czech Republic when he was still a child. Then he returned to the US as an adult. I haven’t tried the other Solo fillings. My father in law always used the poppy seed, so anything else feels wrong to me, but I’m sure the others are delicious, too!

    • It could be any number of things. Too much flour (did you spoon and level to measure the flour? Sometimes when you scoop the flour, you can end up packing more flour into the measuring cup than needed. Or perhaps the dough got overworked? Did you chill it for at least an hour before rolling out? This is a pretty simple recipe, but there are so many ways baking can go wrong!

  1. My dad was of Czech extraction, though his family had been in the States since the 1890’s. My dad used to make kolachys every Christmas as well as a Czech cookie that I can’t remember the name of but it had strawberry jam or jelly in the middle. I’m so glad that I found this site.

    • You can leave it out or substitute something else–you could use apple butter or some kind of jam. I’m sure it will still be delicious.


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