Poppy seed roll (makowiec)

So after months of excitement, preparation, Christmas shopping, Christmas cooking, Christmas is officially over. Thursday was my first day at work after the Christmas break. Christmas decorations were taken down and Christmas tree was left naked in the corner. It was quite a sad sight. I feel in between seasons now, we had winter, then Christmas, and now are we back into the winter time? Some of you probably still eat leftovers. I know I would if I didn’t freeze some of them. I still have a few recipes that I didn’t manage to post before Christmas, but they will be pretty handy next year, or even this year.

We spent New Year Eve with a few Italian friends and in Italy if you want to be wealthy in an upcoming year you should eat lentils and pomegranate. In Polish tradition poppy seed is doing the same for you, you should just eat it during Christmas Eve, but I think if you catch up in January it will still work.

Poppy seed roll (makowiec)

  • Servings: Makes 2 rolls
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Traditional Polish poppy seed strudel, usually made for Christmas. Poppy seed is said to bring luck.

Recipe adapted from Moje Wypieki

Poppy seed filling

  • 330g poppy seeds
  • 112g light brown sugar
  • 65g raisins or sultanas
  • 33g walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup candied orange zest
  • 4 egg whites


  • 30g fresh yeast or 14g instant yeast
  • 320g plain flour + extra for sprinkling
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp strong alcohol like vodka or rum
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla paste
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 120ml milk, lukewarm
  • 100g butter, melted and cooled down

Poppy seed filling

Place poppy seeds in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over it (you just want it to be covered). Leave it to cool.
Remove the access of water and ground it in a meat grinder twice.
Add sugar, raisins, walnuts, honey, almond extract, cinnamon, butter, candied orange zest and stir until well combined.
In a separate bowl whip egg whites until stiff, add it into poppy seed mixture and gently fold it in.


If you are using fresh yeast – mix yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar (it will turn into liquid). Add 2 tablespoons of flour and all milk, stir and leave aside for 20-30 minutes until you see bubbles on the surface. Follow the steps below, adding the yeast mixture in place of the milk.
If you are using dry yeast – in a big bowl mix together yeast, flour and sugar.
Add alcohol, vanilla paste, egg yolks and milk and knead until well combined (around 5-10 minutes).
Pour slowly butter and knead until incorporated.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave it to rise in a warm place for an hour or longer until it doubles in size.


Divide the dough in two.
Roll each part of the dough on a floured surface. You want to have rectangular dough around 3mm thick.
Spread the filling on each of the rectangles, leaving around 2-cm edge.
Starting at the long edge, roll the dough like a jelly roll.
Turn ends under so filling will not leak out.
Place the rolls on a parchment-lined pan.
Bake in a preheated oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan for 30-40 minutes. (The dough get golden very quickly, so cover it with a parchment paper so it wouldn’t burn).
Leave it to cool.
You may decorate it with icing and candied orange zest.

42 thoughts on “Poppy seed roll (makowiec)

    • You probably know that Polish really love poppy seeds, Christmas and Easter are the most popular times to use it. Your was delicious as well, the only thing stopping me from making is straight away was lack of buttermilk 😉


  1. You’re absolutely right about the day after Christmas being a bit anticlimactic after so much time preparing for the day, and then suddenly it’s over? What?

    Your poppy seed roll looks super delicious! 😀


  2. Ah… jak ten twoj makowiec wspaniale wyglada!!! Nawet ma skorke z pomaranczy! Podajesz wszystkie moje ulubione przepisy! Makowca jeszcze chyba nigdy nie robilam moze raz wiec zawsze zlecam innym. W tym roku moj znajomy piekl i nawet do wczoraj jeszcze mialam maly kawalek do kawy. Wiec mam nadzieje ze ten 2014 przyniesie me duzo “wealth:”:) bo jadlam go prze caly tydzien albo i dluzej!


    • Dziekuje. Ja doszlam do wniosku, ze jednak nic nie przebije sernika 😉 U mnie w domu zawsze tata robi, ale w tym roku postanowilam sprobowac sama.
      W zamarazarce ciagle mam jeszcze pol, wiec tez troche bogactwa mam szanse doznac 😉


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      • Sorry to ask but I am making this for my Polish girlfriend as a surprise treat. Could you clarify 1/3 cup of candied orange onto grams please? Also since I shall be making the candied orange myself, approximately how many oranges would this equate to roughly?

        I really want to get it right and as authentic as possible 🙂

        I also intend to use a well washed Porlex burr hand coffee grinder for the poppyseeds. Do think this will work just as well?

        Thanks for the recipe and your time.

        Best wishes


      • Hi Chris,
        I hope you managed to bake the cake. I’m sure your girlfriend was delighted. Each family makes makowiec their way. Most don’t make the candied orange, they just buy it (but it’s nowhere close to homemade). I haven’t done it for a while so I can’t help you with measurements.
        I hope you haven’t broken your coffee grinder, but it should be enough, otherwise, I would use a blender.


  4. Hi Magda

    I am so excited to find your recipe but we are vegans and would like to know if any of the animal ingredients can be successfully sbustituted.

    (BTW my grandmother was Polish born Nuklat from Koenigsberg)

    Kind regards


  5. Can you advise me why we need 2 rectangular pieces of dough? Do we need to put the 2nd piece of dough on top of the first and only then roll them together?

    Thank you


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  8. I am planning on making this for my sisters boyfriend who is Polish. Can you tell me how far in advance i can make this? How long before it starts to go stale?


    • Well it keeps pretty well, usually I would say up to a week, but if you know it won’t be eaten straight away you may consider to freeze it.


  9. Hi! Thanks for this recipe – the roll is very delicious, I have baked it four times in the last two weeks 🙂
    Do you have any special hints to prevent it from bursting during baking?


    • Hi Evgenia,
      As far as I know there are several reasons why the roll may burst during baking. One is you put too much filling, or you rolled the dough too finely. I’ve read that you can roll it into parchment paper, just leaving a small space for the roll to grow. I hope it helps


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  11. Magda,
    Jakże się cieszę , że znalazłam Twoją stronę i przepisy w języku angielskim.
    Pozwalam sobie podesłać znajomym ☺


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    • K, it wouldn’t hold together. Egg whites glue it together. If you can’t eat eggs look for egg substitutes. I’ve never tried it, but it could work


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  16. Hi Magda,

    Can you use a food processor to grind the poppy seeds and do you need to use particular types of poppy seeds?



  18. Dear Magda, The finished dough looks beautiful in your photos, but the true test is in the eating. How tender and moist is the finished dough in this recipe? I’m looking for a recipe that duplicates my Polish grandmother’s. She died when I was young and left no recipes. Her poppyseed roll was unlike any other. After baking, her finished dough was incredibly moist and tender, and I’m trying to figure out the science behind achieving that. Any suggestions? Thank you for posting this!


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