Old World Poppy Seed Roll


This poppy seed roll recipe makes two loaves of soft, sweet yeast bread swirled with a creamy homemade poppy seed filling. Growing up, my mother and aunts always made this Eastern European bread for Easter and Christmas. Looks complicated, but is easy enough to make. I like it best after the second day.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
2 loaves


Poppy Seed Filling:

  • ½ pound poppy seeds

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup hot milk

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • ½ cup warm water (100 degrees F/38 degrees C)

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 large egg, separated - white reserved


  1. Make the filling: Place poppy seeds into a food processor; process until seeds are ground, about 1 minute.

  2. Mix poppy seeds, 3/4 cup sugar, hot milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and lemon juice together in a bowl until combined; cover and refrigerate while making bread. The filling will set up and thicken as it chills.

  3. Make the bread: Pour warm water into a small bowl; add sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand until yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.

  4. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut in butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add yeast mixture and egg yolk; stir to make a soft dough.

  5. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and slightly springy, about 5 minutes. If dough is too sticky, knead in more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a 12x16-inch rectangle.

  6. Spread half of the poppy seed filling over each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the 1-inch border back over the filling on all sides and press down. Pick up the shorter side of a dough rectangle and roll it like a jelly roll; repeat with second rectangle. Pinch ends together or tuck ends under to prevent filling from leaking out.

  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; place filled loaves seam-side down on the baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Beat egg white in a bowl until frothy; brush loaves with beaten egg white.

  9. Bake in preheated oven until dark golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from the oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool to keep crust soft. Cool completely before slicing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

216 Calories
11g Fat
27g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 216
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 220mg 17%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 142mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love