Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies

Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 24 cookies
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
474 Calories
22g Fat
66g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 474
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 24mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 82mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Jewish hamantaschen cookies shaped like a tri-cornered hat is representative of Haman's hat. Haman is the antagonist in the story of Queen Esther who saved her people, the Jews, from being killed by the edict of the evil Haman. The story is detailed in the bible, in the book of Esther. The word "Purim" refers to Haman having cast the pur (the lot) against the Jews to no avail. The cookies are traditionally eaten for the annual holiday of Purim, which usually falls in February or March. The holiday celebrates Jewish survival.

Why Are Hamantaschen Eaten for Purim?

Despite the name, it's unclear if Haman ever wore a three-cornered hat, the reputed inspiration for these cookies that date to Germany in the late 1500s.

The name comes from the German mohn (poppy seed) and taschen (pockets) and the pastries were known as mohntaschen which means "poppy seed pockets" or "Haman's pockets" (hamantaschen). The "pockets" allude to Haman's pockets supposedly being filled with bribe money, represented by "coins" of poppy seeds.

What Fillings to Use for Hamantaschen

These flaky pastries start with a pareve margarine dough (although butter can be used for a dairy meal) and are traditionally filled with apricot, prune, or poppy seed fillings. However, these days, chocolate and other fruit fillings are popular, too. It's easy to find these fillings in the baking aisles—they're typically a canned product—although some grocery stores will sell it packaged in plastic containers, too.

You can assemble these cookies using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.


  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups margarine, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 6 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • Poppyseed filling, prune (lekvar), apricot preserves, Nutella, (your choice)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Jewish Hamantaschen cookies gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Cream together sugar and margarine with a hand mixer.

    Sugar and margarine creamed together in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add eggs and cream until smooth.

    Eggs added to the margarine mixture and creamed until smooth

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Stir in water and vanilla.

    Water and vanilla stirred into the margarine mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Add flour, mixing until dough forms a ball.

    Flour added margarine mixture to form hamantaschen dough

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a few hours.

    Hamantaschen dough flattened and wrapped in plastic

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Heat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Baking sheets lined with parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll into a ball.

    Pieces of dough rolled into balls

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  9. Press ball between 2 pieces of waxed paper and transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spacing about an inch apart.

    Ball of dough pressed between two pieces of wax paper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  10. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough.

    One teaspoon of filling placed in the center of each dough circle

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  11. Pinch to form a 3-cornered hat.

    Dough pinched on the sides to form a 3-cornered hat

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  12. Bake about 15 minutes or until just starting to brown.

    Hamantashcen cookies baked on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  13. Using a thin spatula, carefully remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Cookies transferred to a wire rack to cool completely

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  14. Store cookies in a tightly covered container.

    Jewish Hamantaschen cookies in a glass container

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

How to Store and Freeze Hamantaschen

These cookies will keep in a covered container for three to five days. For longer storage, wrap them in waxed paper and transfer to a covered container or zip-close freezer bag and freeze them for up to three months.

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate Hamantaschen Recipe: This is a dairy dish in the kosher tradition because the cocoa powder pastry dough is made with butter. It can be filled with prune, poppy seed, or apricot, but they taste so much better with raspberry, Nutella, white chocolate chunks, or chocolate peanut butter.
  • Fill the hamantaschen with marzipan instead of a fruit or poppyseed filling. You can find marzipan at most grocery stores or make your own.