Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies

Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies

The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
159 Calories
7g Fat
22g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 3g
Calcium 28mg 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.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Fillings of choice such as poppyseed, prune (lekvar), apricot, Nutella

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Cream together sugar and margarine

    The Spruce / 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 / Bahareh Niati

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

    Add flour to the margarine mixture to form hamantaschen dough

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Hamantaschen dough wrapped in plastic

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

     Line baking sheets with parchment paper

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Roll pieces of the dough into balls

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Press ball between 2 pieces of wax paper

    The Spruce / 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 / Bahareh Niati

  11. Pinch to form a 3-cornered hat.

    Pinch the dough to form a 3-cornered hat

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Hamantashcen cookies baked on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / 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 / Bahareh Niati

  14. Store cookies in a tightly covered container.

    Jewish Hamantaschen cookies in a glass bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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.
  • Rose Water Pistachio Hamantaschen Recipe: This is another dairy cookie because the dough contains butter flavored with rose water. The surprise? A filling made with pistachio marzipan.

Why Are Hamantaschen Eaten for Purim?

Despite the name, it's unclear if Haman ever wore a 3-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.

How to Store and Freeze Hamantaschen

These cookies will keep in a covered container for 3 to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap them in wax paper and transfer to a covered container or zip-close freezer bag up to 3 months.