Hamantaschen – the secrets behind the ultimate Purim cookies!

Why are they specifically associated with Purim? What are the best recipes? All the secrets behind the Purim cookies!

Hamantaschen are triangular pastries, filled with sweet fillings traditionally eaten during the Purim holiday. Hamantashen is the traditional Purim cookie, such as donuts on Hanukkah, dairy foods on Shavuot, apples in honey on Rosh Hashanah, etc. These Purim cookies have many sweet fillings like Poppy, chocolate, jam, halva, dates, and more. And surprisingly – They are called in Hebrew – Haman’s ears – after the villain of Purim! So – What is the true story behind Hamantashen and what is the origin of the name?

The origin of Purim Hamantashen

One explanation for this unusual name is that this might be a case of linguistic evolution. Originally, these pastries were called “Mohntashen”, in Yiddish “poppy-seed pockets״. The transition from “Mohntashen” to “Hamantashen” is likely because a mistaken belief that there was a link between the villain of Purim to these treats. The analogy between Man and Haman turned the name of the dish into “Haman-Tashen” (man pockets).

A different theory proposes that the tradition of eating “Haman’s ears” may have originated in a Christian custom. On “Good Friday”, the Friday preceding Easter, Christians would consume triangular, stuffed pastries known as “Judas’s ears” to commemorate the day Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. It’s conceivable that Jews adapted this practice in a contrasting manner. Instead of marking a day of mourning, they chose to celebrate the defeat of Haman through a similar pastry, but with a twist – eating it on a joyous occasion, the holiday of Purim.

A third theory suggest that the origin of the famous cookie is the custom of cutting off the ears of criminals from ancient times. Some of the commentators believe that the mention “And Haman’s face was covered” (Esther; 7:8) shows that Haman received the severe punishment, and in the Midrash, it is written that Haman was “mourning and bareheaded, his ears were plucked and his eyes were dark”.

Other sources suggest that Haman wore a triangular hat, which resembled the European officers’ hat, like the one worn by Napoleon and many other nobles.

Alright, let’s get to the fun part – the recipes!

Nuttela and Halva Hamantashen

Best and Easy recipes for Hamantashen

Not keen on baking? Try this easy Hamantaschen recipe, perfect for those who find baking a bit challenging:

Ingredients for the hamantashen:

Soft Butter: 7 ounces
Sugar: 3.5 ounces (or about 1/2 cup)
Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
1 Large Egg
Sifted Plain Flour: 12 ounces (or about 2 3/4 cups)
Baking Powder: ½ teaspoon

Ingredients for the poppy seed filling:

Freshly Ground Poppy Seeds: 1 1/2 cups
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Butter: 1 ounce (or about 2 tablespoons)
Ground Almonds: 1/2 cup
Honey: 1 tablespoon

kitchenware to make hamentaschen Hamantashen ingredients

How to prepare Hamantashens?

  1. In a mixer with a dough hook, beat together butter and powdered sugar for a minute.
    Add an egg and vanilla and continue to chill together.
  2. Stop the mixer and add flour and baking powder.
  3. Process until a dough is formed. No more than 1 minute
  4. Cool the dough for half an hour in the refrigerator.
  5. Roll out thinly (important) and cut into circles.
  6. Fill with spread. And close to the
    shape of Haman’s ear.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Poppy filling:

Boil milk, sugar, butter and honey
Add poppy seeds and ground almonds. Cool well.

Hamantashen dough Making a Hamantashen Folding the Hamantashen

How to fold a Hamantashen

Folding a Hamantaschen into its iconic triangular shape requires a gentle touch. Begin by placing a small amount of filling in the center of a circular dough cutout. It’s crucial not to overfill; too much filling can cause the pastry to form a very wide triangle, losing its distinctive shape. Next, carefully fold the dough in three sections towards the center, creating a triangle while leaving a small window of filling visible at the top. The key to a perfect Hamantashen lies in ensuring that each corner of the triangle is firmly pinched together. This step is vital as it prevents the filling from oozing out during baking and maintains the integrity of the triangular form. With each corner securely mashed together, your Hamantashen will not only hold its shape but also encapsulate the perfect balance of dough and filling, ready to be baked to golden perfection.

How to fold a Hamantashen

Best recipes for Hamantashen

how to make hamantaschen? If you are up for the challenge, here are some of the best and diverse recipes for Hamantashen:

Hamantashen with different fillings and different doughs

Feel free to get creative with the doughs and the fillings – the possibilities are endless!

Here are a few ideas to customize your Hamantaschen dough:

Poppy Seed Dough: Mix in 2 tablespoons of whole or ground poppy seeds with the flour.

Cinnamon Dough: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the mixture.

Almond-Enriched Dough: Substitute half a cup of flour with ground almonds.

Chocolate Dough: Substitute 3 tablespoons of flour with sifted cocoa powder.

Black and White Zebra Dough: Divide the dough in half, mix 3 tablespoons of cocoa

into one half, and follow the layering instructions given in the subsequent recipe.

Hamantashen filling
Hamantashen filling

Customize your Hamantaschen fillings:

  • Nutella Filling: To prevent the Nutella from oozing out during baking, thicken it with a “dry” ingredient. Warm the Nutella in the microwave for a few seconds to soften, then mix in biscuit flakes, chocolate cake crumbs, or coarsely chopped hazelnuts until the texture becomes thicker and less likely to run.
  • Halva Chocolate Filling: Combine crumbled halva or halva strands with chocolate spread, adding enough to thicken the mixture. You can also mix in crumbled chocolate cake or cookie crumbs to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Dates and Nut Filling: Combine date paste with a dash of cinnamon and chopped nuts for a sweet and textured filling.
  • Jam and Nut Filling: Stir chopped nuts into povidal jam or your preferred jam. If the jam is too stiff, warm it slightly in the microwave. Note that jam can be trickier to bake with as it may leak out, resulting in flatter pastries, but they will still be delicious.
  • Hazelnut Filling: Boil a cup of milk with a cup of sugar, then mix in 20 grams of butter until dissolved. Add 1 heaping cup of roasted and ground hazelnuts and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool. If it’s too runny after cooling, thicken it by adding more ground nuts or cookie crumbs until you reach a thick consistency.
  • Maple Pecan Filling: Create a rich filling by mixing ¾ cup of ground pecans with ¼ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1 egg white until well combined.

Eating Hamantashens

Hamantashen decoration before serving

Powdered sugar, cookie crumbs, flower petals, sprinkles or jam.

And for those managing diabetes or following a diet, rest assured – we’ve got you covered with a sugar-free recipe option.

Sugar free Hamantashen


2 cups of sugar substitute
2 1/4 pack (200 grams) of butter
4-5 egg yolks
4-5 cups of flour
Half a glass of milk
1 packet of baking powder


Half a cup of sugar substitute
A quarter teaspoon of lemon zest
200 grams of poppy seeds
40 grams of butter


  1. In a food processor with a steel blade, cream the sugar substitute and butter together.
  2. Gradually add the egg yolks, followed by the milk, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Combine the flour and baking powder, then add to the mixture all at once. Mix until a dough forms, be careful not to overmix.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours to rest.
  5. For the filling, bring the milk and sugar substitute to a boil, then add the lemon zest and poppy seeds and bring to a boil again. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Refrigerate the filling until it’s cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  7. Roll out the dough to a 2 mm thickness and cut out rounds using a cookie cutter or a glass.
  8. Place a small amount of filling in the center of each round and fold into a triangle shape, ensuring the edges are sealed.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown.


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