Russian Walnut Shaped Cookies – “Oreshki”

Oreshki are an iconic Soviet walnut shaped cookies, made by cooking them in a special skillet. The crisp, golden exterior of the cookies hold a very creamy, caramely filling made with dulce de leche. 

Oreshki - walnut shaped cookies with dulce de leche filling

Oreshki, these beautiful, walnut shaped Soviet cookies, are one of the most classic Slavic desserts. They are an iconic Russian treat, especially during holidays, weddings and other special occasions. I can remember watching my Mom making them in our small Belarusian home. I would sit at the kitchen table, keeping her company as she would spend hours making these special but very tedious desserts.

The crisp, golden exterior of the cookies hold a very creamy, dulce de leche filling. Slavic people love using cooked condensed milk in lots of desserts and in Oreshki, it is definitely the star. You can use the excess cookie crumbs or crushed nuts in the filling, for added flavor and crunch. 

Oreshki are a labor or love and always the sign that this is a holiday or special occasion. They are wonderful to give as gift – so pretty and delicious. You can make them in advance and they even freeze really well.

How to make Oreshki Video

Ingredients:

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Printable Recipe with measurements)

Cookies:

  • eggs (large), room temperature
  • granulated sugar
  • melted butter
  • sour cream
  • mayonnaise
    • this may seem like a strange ingredient for cookies, but the combination of sour cream + mayonnaise gives the cookies the iconic texture and flavor
  • baking soda dissolved in vinegar
  • all purpose flour
Ingredients For Oreshki

Filling:

  • dulce de leche (cooked condensed milk)
  • butter, softened to room temperature
  • cream cheese, optional (also softened to room temperature)
    • not in the original recipe, but I like the addition for more flavor and texture, but it’s not necessary
  • vanilla extract
Ingredients for Oreshki (filling)

Oreshnitsa – the skillet needed to make oreshki

Oreshki require a special skillet, called the oreshnitsa, to cook them. The one I use is my mom’s that she brought from Belarus and it’s older than I am. It’s extra special and still works just as well. There are also electric oreshki makers. I have an in depth review and comparison of both. The recipe is the same for both.

Oreshnitsa Soviet design

How To Make Oreshki

  1. Make the cookie dough.
    • Mix the eggs with the sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Use a hand held mixer or a stand mixer.)
    • Add the melted butter, mayonnaise, sour cream until evenly mixed.
    • Next, add the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and mix again until combined.
    • Lastly, Add the flour and mix, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium, until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be really soft but not stick to your hands. Add a few tablespoons more if it needs it, up to 1/4 of a cup. However, don’t add too much flour, or the cookies will be too hard. Keep in mind that the dough will get thicker the longer it stands.
  2. Shape little balls from the prepared cookie batter, about 1/2 – 3/4 of a teaspoon of batter for each walnut shape. (slightly more than 1/2 teaspoon for the stovetop oreshnitsa and slightly less than 3/4 teaspoon for the electric oreshnitsa)
    • Don’t make them any bigger, because the excess batter will ooze out of the skillet.
    • It’s very helpful to shape a lot of the cookie balls before you start cooking them.
    • You may want to cover them with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
  3. Heat the oreshnitsa on medium heat on the stove until hot or preheat the electric oreshnitsa.
  4. Cook the Oreshki.
    • Quickly place a cookie ball into each of the cookie wells, close the lid and tightly hold the two ends, squeezing them as tight as you can. Immediately wipe away any leaking butter or any cookie dough that comes out from the sides, if you have any.
    • Cook each side until golden on both sides, flipping the griddle over halfway through. The time really depends on the type of griddle you are using, on your stove and the heat that you use. I cooked mine for only 1 – 1 1/2 minutes per side, but you might need to cook them longer, up to 3 minutes per side.
  5. The cookie batter will spread when you’re squeezing the two sides together and that’s a good thing, since it makes sure that the entire walnut shape is completely covered and you will also use all the leftover cookie scraps in the filling.
  6. Cook all the cookies, making sure to lay them flat while they are cooling.
How to make Oreshki tutorial

Assembling Oreshki

  1. Break off each of the walnut shaped cookies and remove the excess to make a neat shape. I like using a vegetable peeler to go around the edges of the cookies. Set aside all the scraps. Crush all the cookie scraps into small crumbs, using a ziplock bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor.
  2. Make the dulce de leche filling.
    • In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, combine the dulce de leche, butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract until evenly mixed.
    • Add the cookie crumbs to the filling and mix again to combine.
    • Instead of the crumbs, you can use crushed nuts, but I prefer the taste and texture of the cookie crumbs.
  3. Fill and assemble the cookies.
    • Fill the inside of two walnut shaped cookies with the filling and place two of the cookies, filling side down, toward each other, gently squeezing, and scrape off the excess filling with a small paring knife.
    • Continue to fill the cookies, gently squeezing the two halves of the cookies together. You should have a total of about 120-140 oreshki. (If you measure out the dough balls perfectly and don’t have any dough coming out of the skillet, you can even get up to 146 filled cookies.)
How to make Oreshki 
Assembling and filling Oreshki

Storing the Cookies

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can serve them immediately, but they will stay fresh for at least 1 week. (With this recipe, they should stay crisp even at room temperature.)

  • If you want the Oreshki to be as crisp as possible, store them in the refrigerator.
  • You can freeze the cooked, filled and assembled Oreshki in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Oreshki Cookies

Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Butter is leaking out of the pan. What should I do?

It is normal for some butter to leak out of the oreshnitsa. The dough contains a lot of butter and some sour cream and mayonnaise, so as the cookies start to bake, it’s normal for some butter to leak out.
It’s important for each of these ingredients to be there in that amount because this prevents the dough from sticking to the oreshnitsa skillet, but also to give the cookies a golden color and crisp exterior.
As soon as you add the dough and squeeze the two sides together, wipe the butter coming out of the sides and any excess dough before returning it to the stove. The most leaning butter will be in the beginning, so if you clean up the skillet right away, it will be much less messy.

How to prevent excess dough from coming out of the pan:

Don’t overfill the pan with dough. If you measure out the cookie dough and add the perfect amount, you shouldn’t have any excess dough oozing out of the sides.
For the stovetop oreshnitsa, I used slightly more than 1/2 teaspoon of dough per each walnut cavity and for the electric oreshnitsa, I used slightly less than 3/4 teaspoon of dough.
If you do have some dough coming out, scrape it off with a butter knife.

For the neatest shape and to make sure you don’t have gaps in the cookies after you assemble them, make sure you use enough dough to cover each cavity completely.

That is why I measure out the dough precisely. It will give you the neatest shape and make sure you don’t have any gaps when you fill the cookies.
I also like using the crumbs in the filling, so i want to make sure I have crumbs. Win-win!

Oreshki, Russian walnut shaped cookies with dulce de leche filling
Print

Oreshki – Russian Walnut Shaped Cookies

Oreshki are Russian walnut shaped cookies, made by cooking them in a special skillet. The crisp, golden exterior of the cookies hold a very creamy, caramely filling made with dulce de leche.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 115 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

Scale

Cookies:

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled (16 Tablespoons)
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 44 1/4 cups all purpose flour (start with 4 and only add more if you need to)

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 (14 oz) cans dulce de leche (cooked condensed milk (21 oz total))
  • 1 cup butter (or 16 Tablespoons, room temperature)
  • 4 oz cream cheese (room temperature), optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, mix the eggs and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  2. Add the melted butter, mayonnaise, sour cream until evenly mixed. Add the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and mix again until combined.
  3. Add 4 cups of the flour and mix, (switch to a paddle attachment) starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium, until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be really soft but not stick to your hands. Add a few tablespoons more if it needs it, up to 1/4 of a cup. Keep in mind that the dough will get thicker as it stands, so don’t add too much flour.
  4. Shape little balls from the prepared cookie batter for each walnut shape. It’s very helpful to shape a lot of the cookie balls before you start cooking them. For the stovetop oreshnitsa, I use slightly more than 1/2 teaspoon of dough and for the electric oreshnitsa, I use slightly less than 3/4 teaspoon of dough. (You may want to cover the dough balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.)
  5. Preheat the oreshnitsa on medium heat until hot or turn on the electric oreshnitsa until it’s preheated.
  6. Quickly place a cookie ball into each of the cookie wells, close the lid and tightly hold the two ends, squeezing them as tight as you can. Cook each side until golden on both sides, flipping the griddle over halfway through. The time really depends on the type of griddle you are using and on your stove. I cooked mine for only 1 – 1 1/2 minutes per side, but you might need to cook them longer, up to 3 minutes per side.
  7. The cookie batter will spread when you’re squeezing the two sides together and that’s a good thing, since it makes sure that the entire walnut shape is completely covered and you will also use all the leftover cookie scraps in the filling. Wipe the outside of the pan right away, getting rid of any melting butter and scrape off any excess dough too.
  8. Cook all the cookies, laying them flat too cool off. Then, gently break off each walnut half, and use a vegetable peeler to make the sides smooth and even. Crush all the cookie scraps into small crumbs, using a ziplock bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor.
  9. For the filling, in a large bowl, using a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, combine the dulce de leche, butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract until evenly combined. Add the cookie crumbs to the filling and mix again to combine. Instead of the crumbs, you can use crushed nuts.
  10. Fill the inside of two walnut shaped cookies with the filling and place two of the cookies, filling side down, toward each other, gently squeezing, and scrape off the excess filling with a small paring knife.
  11. Continue to fill the cookies, gently squeezing the two halves of the cookies together. You should have a anywhere from 110-146 cookies total, filled and assembled. It depends on the oreshnitsa that you use and if you have any excess dough wasted if you overfill the oreshnitsa.
  12. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can serve them immediately, but they will stay fresh for at least 1 week. They get softer as they stand, but still remain crunchy on the outside if you use this recipe.
  13. To keep them as crunchy as possible, store the filled cookies in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Keywords: oreshki, russian walnut shaped cookies

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This recipe was originally published on May 4, 2016. I have added a video to make it even more easy to follow the recipe. The recipe is still exactly the same and has been enjoyed by our family and many readers for years.

66 Comments

  • Olga T

    OMG you call this tedious? LOL. We still do it with individual pieces that you shape with your hands and it takes days to make lots of them. I really need to buy myself one of these. I had no idea these exist. Thanks 🙂 They look so good now I want some!

    • olgak7

      I’ve made oreshki with the individual molds too, and they are really tedious, you’re absolutely right, Olga:). I’m not sure which is more work, since you have to take the time to shape the oreshki individually in the molds, but you have to stand there at the stove holding the skillet tightly closed the entire time you are cooking the oreshki, and then you still have to carefully cut out the oreshki. Either way, it’s totally worth it:). Lol. I prefer the texture of these, since they are really crisp. The recipe I have for the individual molds, the oreshki turn out softer and sandier in texture, which is great too, but I like the crisp ones best.

  • Olena@iFOODreal

    OMG I had to comment! THESE were my absolute TOP treats a kid. My mom never made them as she never baked but my grandma would make them once a year. OMG they are so good. These and Muravejnik I care for!

    • olgak7

      Since the one I use is my mom’s and is about 30 years old, you probably won’t be able to find the exact one that I have, but there are many oreshnitsi for sale that you can find online. Look on Google or Amazon; type in “oreshnitsa”.

  • Olya

    Ladies, just an advice if you ever want to buy yourself an electric oreshnitsa make sure to do so from them! http://www.oreshnitsa.net/Pages/default.aspx their oreshnitsa works the best, I have been making oreshke many times, with my mother-in-law recipie & always get compliments on them! I tried a few other brands of electric oreshnitse & they don’t last & don’t work as well as the one from the website. Also, would like to give you a tip to clean & shape each of the walnut best if you do after they cool off & using a potato peeler. It’s easier once the walnuts are cooled of bcuz they don’t break as easy when you’re trying to shape them out.

    • olgak7

      Thank you so much for sharing, Olya. I’m so glad that you took the time to write from your experience, especially since I’ve never used the electric oreshnitsa.

  • Barbara Rita

    I would love to try these but don’t see myself making these! But they look so tasty! I admire your patience! I have patience for knitting and crochet and cross stitch but not for baking!
    Love Barbara

    • olgak7

      They DO take some patience, Barbara. I prefer cooking to baking, and the only way I don’t mind some of the more tedious parts of baking is if I’m listening or watching something at the same time. It sure helps to pass the time.

  • Julie

    Now a days their is also an electric oreshki maker, I heard it’s a lot easier! I’ve been wanting to get one for a while now!!

  • Natasha

    Omg, the memories! I have exact same oreshniza that you have, passed down from my mom too. I look at it once in a while but hesitate to make oreshki. I might make them and feel some of them with peanut butter, my kids would love it.

  • Tzivia

    Mmmmm yummmm love caramel I remember my great aunt Shirley talking about her father buying cookies that were shaped like a walnut and had cream in the middle she remembers them @ walnut cookies and looking @ these beautiful stunning tantalizing cookies reminds me of aunt Shirley who has such a sharp mind for a woman her age she will be turning 95 this summer bless her must remember to order an oreshnitsa skillet sounds challenging and time consuming but would like to challenge myself and make these for her sometime thanx so much for sharing this really cool recipe olya u totally rock gurl have a gr8 week ahead cheers

      • Tzivia

        Ditto yup I think so Olga darlin just need that special skillet and then must most definitely gotta take the plunge whooshhhhh @ usual u don’t disappoint love this site lots

  • Inna

    Thank you for the recipe! Since the filling contains cream cheese, is it safe to keep the oreshki at room temperature for an extended period of time? Or is it safer to refrigerate them?

  • Inna

    Hello, for the filling is it supposed to be 1 cup of butter or 8 tablespoons? In the recipe says 1 cup ( or 8 tablespoons). If it’s 1 cup then it would be 16 tablespoons. Thanks!

    • olgak7

      It’s 16 Tablespoons, or 1 cup. Sorry for the typo in the printable version. It was correct in the recipe at the top of the post:).

  • Denis

    This is the best! I tried another recipe before this one and that was not good. These are amazing. I don’t have the oreshki maker that you use on the stove but I have a Teflon (my preference to aluminum) multi mold (a single mold with 12 oreshki holes) I found on Amazon and I do these in the stove.

    I wish I could attach photos for reference but here are a few tips if you do these in the oven. I used 350F placing the molds at the top rack (highest position) for 8 minutes and they come out golden brown. The times will vary depending on your oven and molds. Spread the dough fairly thin with your finger over the mold – if there is too much dough it will rise too high and you will not have a place for the filling (my first attempt). But I also adapted a technique where if I did use a bit much I would put one mold on top of the other right after I remove them from the oven (I have two molds) and press and that would actually compress the dough and create a dip for the filling but it’s even better to use the right dough amount for the molds (mine are about 1/2 a tea spoon worth of dough each).

    And let me tell you as much as I love the results and these sweets it takes forever: about 4 hours and I would never even finish all the dough. I’ve recently been on a roll making these for multiple friends and family occasions and boy was I tired – I have pictures with loads and loads of these things out of the oven.

    Another thing is I don’t mix the Dulce DE Leche with anything (I think this has enough butter) and it’s still super yummy. I take a slightly warm dulce de Leche put it in a small ZipLock bag cut out the corner and use it to fill the cookie halfs by squeezing the filling into each one.

    Unlike the other recipe where the cookies barely held together because they were too crumbly these are perfect and can be handled safely.

    I also learned that I can split the work load by storing the dough in the fridge for a couple of days (I have gone as long as five) and it didn’t really affect the result on any negative way.

    These are best after a day in the fridge and two even better. I love them but I am taking a break and pelmeni is the next experiment on my list.

    Thank you Olga this is the ultimate recipe for me.

    • olgak7

      I actually haven’t cooked condensed milk in years:). We have dulce de leche in all the stores in our area and I use it instead. However, when I was cooking condensed milk before, I poured the condensed milk into a mason jar and cooked it in a slow cooker. Check out natashaskitchen.com for all the details.

    • Nadia

      Oreshki freeze very well. I usually make them ahead of time, fill with cooked condensed milk and freeze until the day of the party. I just take them out an hour before serving.

  • Masha V

    Hi,
    Ive made ur oreshki, the cookies turned out great, but the filling is a bit runny, followered the recipe to a t, and still runny

    • olgak7

      I’m not sure why Masha. It’s never been runny for me. Maybe the dulce de leche/cooked sweetened condensed milk was a thinner consistency.

  • Vicki

    This is the best oreshki recipe I found online. Thanks dear. To made oreshki extra soft I also added secret ingredient 2 spoons of VODKA😁

    • Angie

      Is there a way I can make these less crispy? growing up in ukraine I am used to eating the softer ones. I tried these for my parents and they agreed that it is too crunchy. I let them sit in the fridge for a few days and they got a bit less crunchy but they still are not soft. Any suggestions for how I can alter it to make them more soft? The filling is great!

      • olgak7

        There is a completely different recipe if you want to make them soft. You would also need to use a different mold for the cookies, individual molds that are baked in the oven, not on a skillet, like I use. The skillet contributes to them being really crispy.
        I don’t have the recipe for the soft cookies posted on my website yet. Maybe I’ll post it when I have some time.

  • Lidiya Denishchich

    These are so delicious. I’ve made them twice already and definitely thinking about a third time haha.. I love that the filling is not super sweet! I do have a question though, are they supposed to be super crunchy? Seems like I have a hard time biting into them so I wonder if it’s because I overbake them? I have an oreshnitsa from nakkitchen.com that goes in the oven and I do about 30-35 min at 375 degrees.

    • olgak7

      I’m so glad you are happy with this recipe, Lidiya.
      The cookies should be crunchy, but definitely not too crunchy to bite into easily, especially after you add the filling. I use the oreshnitsa that you use on the stovetop, so I don’t cook them anywhere near that long. When I use the mold that goes into the oven, I actually use a different recipe and I don’t bake it that long either.

  • Sorina Morgan

    Love these! They have the most perfect soft texture and they’re so delicious. Thank you for this recipe! The only one I’ll ever use!

  • Galina

    Hello, many thanks for the recipe. Just a few questions. Is there a replacement for the mayonnaise? Also: could I freeze these once they are finished? Would like to make an extra large batch and then have them handy.

  • Peggy Koskiniemi

    Excellent recipe. I made these for a reception held after a piano concert with a Russian theme. I bought the stove top iron because the size was correct for a 2-bite cooky, while the individual molds were much too large. I will use the individual molds sometime for a stocking stuffer size treat but not for dainty tea cookies. I made the dulce de leche from scratch from Alton Brown’s online recipe with a quart of whole milk, 1-1/2 c sugar, 1 vanilla bean, and 1/2 tsp soda. It takes about 2-1/2 hours of careful simmering but it’s worth the extra time to be sure there are no preservatives or residue of heavy metals that you may have when using canned mills. The Russian pianist at the event shared with me that the finest version of this traditional cooky is when you place a walnut inside.

    • olgak7

      I’m so happy to hear that you were happy with this recipe, Peggy. What a lot of dedication to make the dulce de leche from scratch – good job! I remember that episode from Good Eats by Alton Brown too:).
      Thank you for taking the time to write.

  • Regina Kiperman-Kiselgof

    I prefer soft oreshki over crispy. How can I make the oreshki soft? Please advise me.

    • olgak7

      You need to use a different recipe and use individual molds for the cookies that are baked in the oven instead of the traditional stovetop skillet.

  • Oksana

    Olga, you state that this recipe makes 115 oreshki. Is that 115 oreshki put together or does it account separate halves so for a total of 58 cookies put together?

  • Iryna

    Absolutely the best recipe!!! Thank you for pouring your heart into it! Love the oreshki, made it for the first time ever, and I can’t wait for my kids to try it. Best ever.

    • olgak7

      I use mayo and sour cream because this is a recipe that has been in my family since before I was born and is a family favorite. I did not come up with this recipe, but I do know that both mayonnaise and sour cream add more richness and texture to the cookies and add their own unique flavor additions.
      I have tried other recipes without the mayo and I prefer the taste and texture of the cookies that have the mayo and sour cream in the batter.

  • Shinee

    I made this recipe yesterday, and they turned out so good!! Nostalgic treats from my childhood… Thanks, Olga, for sharing all the tips, they were super helpful!

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