Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cookies (Dairy or Parve)

Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cookies for Purim

The Spruce / Giora Shimoni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 60 to 80 servings
Yield: 60 to 80 cookies
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
56 Calories
2g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 60 to 80
Amount per serving
Calories 56
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 16mg 0%
*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.)

These dairy-free poppy seed cookies have a vintage feel, and pair pleasantly with afternoon tea or coffee. (Kids will love them with a tall glass of milk.) The recipe is simple to prepare (no mixer required!), and makes a large quantity, so it's a great choice for parties and potlucks. 

Want to dress them up a little? Sandwich them around homemade lemon curd, or strawberry ice cream. Or serve them alongside fresh berries and sorbet or raspberry whipped cream. 

We like to make these cookies for Purim, when poppy seeds make an appearance in traditional holiday foods like hamataschen (Queen Esther is said to have eaten seeds while living in King Achashverosh's palace in order to keep kosher). 

If you have 20 free minutes in the days leading up to Purim, make a batch of these poppy seed cookies and stick them in your freezer. Then you can pull them out on Purim day to serve for dessert...or you can put them in your Purim food baskets.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup milk, or soy milk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C / Gas 4). Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar.

  4. Add the eggs, milk or soymilk, and vanilla and stir to combine.

  5. Add the poppy seeds and mix until they are evenly distributed.

  6. Stir in the flour and baking powder, and mix just until smooth.

  7. If you'd like to bake the cookies immediately, use clean, floured hands to break off walnut-sized pieces of dough. Roll the dough gently between your hands to form a ball, then flatten and place on the prepared cookie sheets. 

  8. Divide the prepared dough into 4 parts. Shape each into a disc, wrap in parchment or waxed paper, place in a freezer bag, and chill for at least 1 hour.

  9. When you are ready to shape the cookies, unwrap a disc of dough, place it on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to 1/8-inch (3-millimeter) thick.

  10. Cut with cookie cutters and transfer carefully to the prepared cookie sheets. Continue with the remaining dough, gathering and rolling any scraps. 

  11. Bake on the prepared cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 12 minutes to 15 minutes, or until edges are golden.


  • Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. 
  • Thanks to their oil content, poppy seeds can go rancid, so taste yours before making this recipe. If they're pleasantly nutty, you're good to go, but if you detect bitterness or off flavors, ditch them and buy new ones before making this recipe. As a rule of thumb, unless you frequently cook or bake with poppy seeds, it's best to buy them in small quantities and store them in a cool, dark place. 
  • This recipe makes a lot of cookies. Unless you have a double oven, you'll need to bake in 2 to 3 batches. If you don't need need lots of cookies on hand, shape some of the dough into logs, wrap it well, and store it in the freezer for up to three months. When a cookie craving sets in, simply slice and bake!

Recipe Variation

  • For sliceable icebox cookies, divide the dough evenly into 4 parts. On a floured surface, shape the dough into logs, wrap in parchment or wax paper, place in a freezer bag, and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to bake the cookies, slice into 1/8-inch (3-millimeter) slices, and arrange on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake on the prepared cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 12 minutes to 15 minutes, or until edges are golden.