Win an Instant Vortex Plus 10 Quart Air Fryer, Rotisserie, and Convection Oven! →

This sweet dessert is a Polish tradition that you can find in almost any Polish home around Christmas time. We don’t know about you, but we don’t do a lot of cooking with poppy seeds, so this dessert is a really nice departure from the norm and a great surprise for our family members and guests. We love the presentation as well; the logs just seem special and festive, and the poppy seeds offer amazing visual contrast that we can’t get enough of! Plus, they taste amazing! Switch things up this year and serve this at one of your holiday parties. People will love it and you’ll want to make it a new tradition.

Poppy Seed Roll

Yields 2-4 rolls, depending on size



  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water, divided
  • 7-8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, melted, divided
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar, garnish


  • 1 pound raw poppy seeds
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place poppy seeds in a large saucepan and cover with water. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently, until softened. 40-50 minutes.
  2. Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the poppy seeds, then grind by hand or in a food processor. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or glass, shake yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water, stir and let rest 5 minutes. Mixture should be frothy. If not, discard and start again.
  4. In a large bowl or mixer, combine 4 cups flour, sugar, 1/2 cup butter, lemon zest, vanilla and salt, and mix together.
  5. Add eggs, sour cream, yeast mixture and remaining water, and beat (using a dough hook attachment) until sticky dough begins to come together. 6-8 minutes. Make sure to scrape down sides of the bowl.
  6. Incrementally add in remaining flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Turn dough out into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean, damp towel.
  7. Set dough in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  8. In a large bowl, combine ground poppy seeds, butter, sugar, milk, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix together well. Cover and set aside.
  9. Punch dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and mold each half into an equal rectangle.
  10. Roll each rectangle out until it’s slightly flattened, then spread half of poppy seed filling onto each piece of dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
  11. Take the long end of each piece of dough and roll it over itself to create a log. Seal the edges firmly and tuck ends under the log so filling doesn’t leak.
  12. Transfer logs to a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover again with a clean towel, transfer to a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in size. 45-60 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  14. Brush tops of rolls with remaining melted butter and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Optional: dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Channel

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes