How to Make Hamantaschen, for Purim or Anytime

Hamantaschen are traditionally eaten at Purim, but you can bake up a batch of these triangle-shaped cookies any time of year. Customize your hamantaschen with your favorite filling.

The Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated with drinking, dancing and lots of eating. No Purim festivity is complete without hamantaschen, a triangle-shaped cookie baked with different fillings. The not overly sweet cookie is one of our favorite Jewish desserts—and unlike a flaky babka or rolled rugelach, hamantaschen are simple to make at home.

To make golden-delicious hamantaschen, ask your bubbe for her secret recipe, or read on for our customizable version.

What Are Hamantaschen?

These filled shortbread cookies are named after Haman, the villain in the story of Purim. He was the chief advisor to King Ahasuerus and proposed killing all the Jews in their kingdom. But Esther, the Jewish queen, foiled his plot. Purim is a celebration of the salvation of the Jewish people.

Hamantaschen are shaped to resemble Haman’s legendary three-cornered hat and are traditionally stuffed with a poppy seed filling, fruit preserves or chocolate.

Check out the story behind challah bread, too.

How Do You Say Hamantaschen?

It’s pronounced huh-min-tah-shun. The word “hamantaschen” is plural; if you want to refer to a single cookie, that would be a “hamantasch.”

When Do You Eat Hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen are eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Of all the Jewish holidays, Purim is one of the most fun to celebrate!

How to Make Hamantaschen

The hamantaschen recipe below is inspired by our recipe for apricot-filled triangles.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 pound dried apricots (2-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the dough:

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Step 1: Make the filling

In a small saucepan, cook apricots and water over low heat until the water is absorbed and the apricots are soft. It should take about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Cover and process the fruit filling until it’s smooth. Add the sugar and cover and process until blended. Set the filling aside.

Editor’s Tip: You can swap in your favorite fruit preserves for the homemade apricot filling. Or, try chocolate or a dollop of Nutella.

Step 2: Make the dough

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the shortening with the almond milk. Remove from the heat. Next, stir in the sugar. Add one egg at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in the lemon extract. Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to the saucepan and mix well.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 4 hours or until it’s easy to handle.

Step 3: Roll out the dough

Dough, Jam, Sugar, Butter, Rolling Pin on Gray Stone Table. Purim Celebration, Jewish Carnival Holiday Concept.Metkalova/Getty Images

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon of apricot filling in the center of each circle.

To fold the hamantaschen, bring three edges together over the filling, overlapping slightly. You should have a triangle, with a small portion of filling showing in the center. Gently pinch the edges together to seal the dough.

Place the cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Editor’s Tip: Be careful not to overfill your hamantaschen, or you’ll end up with blobs instead of triangles!

Step 4: Bake

Bake the hamantaschen for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Put them on wire racks to cool.

Tips for Making Hamantaschen

What other hamantaschen flavors can you make?

Poppy seed filling is a traditional choice for hamantaschen. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, look for it at a Jewish bakery or deli (pick up a sweet kugel while you’re there!). Other popular hamantaschen options include fruit fillings like cherry, raspberry or prune, or chocolate. Make sure whichever filling you choose has a thick consistency so it won’t spill out of the dough while baking.

How do you keep hamantaschen dough from getting crumbly?

Add a bit of water or butter to the hamantaschen dough to keep it from getting crumbly. If the dough is crumbling when you roll it out, let it sit on the counter for a few extra minutes to warm up slightly.

How do you make sure hamantaschen stay closed?

To prevent hamantaschen from opening while they’re baking, make sure you don’t overfill them. When assembling the cookie, fold each corner and give it a good pinch. If the cookies are still opening in the oven, next time try chilling them in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.

How do you store hamantaschen?

Store hamantaschen in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the hamantaschen for a few weeks by putting them in an airtight container with parchment paper separating each layer. Defrost before serving, and enjoy them alongside other Jewish foods everyone should learn to cook.

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Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.