Homemade Poppy Seed Filling – Маковая Начинка

Poppy Seed Filling-1-2Russians like baking with poppy seeds.  Cookies, pastries, cakes, yeast breads, we make it all. You can buy poppy seed filling in the store, but many times it tastes stale and hard. I decided to try my hand at making homemade filling. There was a recipe for poppy seed filling on allrecipes.com and it turned out very well. It’s so simple to make and delicious too. Use this for pastries, yeast breads, etc. You do need a coffee grinder for this recipe. Trust me, I tried it in the food processor, blender, mashing it by hand, grinding it with my teeth (just kidding). It just doesn’t work. The seeds are too tiny for anything besides a coffee grinder. Good thing they aren’t expensive.

Yields: about 2 cups of filling


8 oz. poppy seeds (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 stick butter

3/4 – 1 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 eggs, beaten

IMG_0656Use a coffee grinder to process the poppy seeds. IMG_0658You will need to do this in several batches. Meanwhile heat the milk, butter, salt and sugar on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the milk is frothy. IMG_0374Slowly pour in a small amount of the hot milk into the eggs, whisking vigorously with the other hand. This is called tempering, which prevents the eggs from scrambling. Since I don’t have 3 hands and my husband wasn’t home, I only have a picture of the tempered eggs. IMG_0377When you’ve added about half of the milk to the eggs, pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, just like making pudding. IMG_7048Add the poppy seeds. Cool.IMG_0385The filling will thicken up as it cools. Store the filling in the refrigerator.

Poppy Seed Filling-1-2Here’s a link to my favorite recipe to use this poppy seed filling in, Poppy Seed Rugelachs.Homemade Poppy Seed Filling (550x367)

Poppy Seed Rugelachs 2 (550x371)

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  1. Inna Sysa says

    Wow! Just what i needed. I usually use the ready one, but someone gave me some dry poppy seed and i just had no idea how to make it tasty. Thank you again for the great tip. :)

  2. olivehealth says

    I just recently found your blog (through Krystyna’s blog;) and am so glad I did! Your recipes look delicious! I can’t wait to try them out.

    • says

      Hi Alina,
      I’ve never frozen the poppy seed filling. It keeps very well in the refrigerator, and I don’t like freezing food for too long anyway. Try it out. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.

  3. olessa says

    Hi Olga. Love your food blog. Great recipes. Quick question : how does the poppy seed filling get thick. Mine is so watery/liquidy…per instructions you wrote to add half the milk mixture to the eggs then let cool and add the poppy seeds. My concern is what happened to the other half of the milk mixture? I added the entire milk mixture to poppy seeds and am unsure where I messed up. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Olessa!
      Pour part of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking vigorously, so the eggs don’t scramble.
      Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, WITH THE REST OF THE MILK MIXTURE, and cook until the mixture thickens. Then add the poppy seeds.
      I think that you didn’t cook the mixture long enough. Hope that helps.

      • olessa says

        Thanks Olga, appreciate your response! that’s the part where I messed up – it didn’t thicken. assumed when the butter will get cold, the mixture will get stiff. but it didn’t so thank you and will try to do it again.

  4. Natasha says

    Hi Olga,
    Do you think that a food processor would work instead of the coffee grinder. I just don’t have a coffee grinder at home. thank you!

    • says

      No, Natasha. The food processor won’t work. I’ve tried it and many other options. The only option that worked was the coffee grinder. Because the poppy seeds are so tiny, you need something that will grind it really fine. The poppy seeds will remain whole if you use the food processor.

  5. dhurga says

    Hi Olga!
    Hands down one of the best poppy fillings ever!!!!!!!So tasty!
    My boyfriend is Slovak and he loves anything and everything poppy!!i can just feel it!!!!This is going to be a hit!!!!!!!!

  6. Natasha says

    Hi Olga! Do you know how long I can keep it in the refrigerator until it turns bad? Also, would the poppy seed become bad if I grind them and use them like 3 mouths later?

    • says

      Hi Natasha.
      I’ve never had it in the refrigerator for more than a month, so I’m not sure how long it will last.
      As for grinding the poppy seeds 3 months later, it depends on how fresh your poppy seeds are in the first place. They should be fine, but I would keep checking on them every few weeks just in case.

  7. Lena S. says

    FYI: for anyone grinding the poppy seeds in the coffee grinder, not all coffee grinders are the same. I grinded my poppy seeds in a Cuisinart coffee grinder and ruined my coffee grinder. My coffee grinder was fairly new and not cheap but the motor got plugged up by poppy seed residue and stopped working from grinding the poppy seeds. Taking it apart and cleaning it didn’t help fix it. After the fact, I read on the manual that nothing except coffee should be grinded in it. So this is just some information for people to consider before using their coffee grinder to grind poppy seeds.

    • says

      Thank you so much for writing, Lena. That is definitely something to keep in mind. I’ve never heard of poppy seeds ruining a coffee grinder. I’ll have to put in a picture of my coffee grinder, so others will know which one is safe to use.

      • love cooking says

        My mom tried in a coffee grinder and the motor just stopped working.
        Can u tell what brand is your grinder and how many watts is it ???
        Thank you

        • says

          I will try to add a picture of the coffee grinder that I use.
          I heard many other chefs who recommend using a coffee grinder to grind up spices and poppy seeds, so I know I’m not the only one. The brand that I bought was the cheapest one at Walmart, for like $15 or so.

  8. Mary Jo Matey says

    The amount of poppy seed is confusing .. says 8 oz and then ( about 1 1/2 cups ) 8oz is only 1 cup .. what do u mean by the 2 different amounts ???

    Want to be sure of amounts .. cant wait to make this :)

    Thank you ~~~
    MAry Jo

    • says

      I try to include the cup measurements for people who don’t have a scale, Mary Jo.
      8 oz of poppy seeds is equal to 1 1/2 cups. 1 cup of poppy seeds would actually be about 5 oz.
      Even though 1 cup is usually equal to 8 oz, that is not always the case. 1 cup = 8 oz is only true for liquid ingredients. Some dry ingredients are lighter or heavier than others.
      For example, 1 cup of dry mushrooms would barely weigh 1 oz, and 1 cup of long grain rice is about 7 oz.

  9. Cherie Fasbinder says

    Wanted to make my granddaughter some hamantaschen. I’ve only used canned mund (poppyseed filling) before… but she has bad corn allergies and the canned has both corn syrup & corn starch. Did some research and found your recipe… made today with huge success!!! Came out fantastic!! Thank you so much for sharing! I made a double batch and now I’m going to try your rugelach too!!

  10. lillian says

    Ohmygosh! I am Romanian and I grew up on poppy seed desserts too! I am so happy to have found this recipe , finding eastern European recipes is really hard so I am so thankful for your blog! I plan on using this to make cozonac cu mac.

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