Makowiec: A Sweet Treat

William Newman
July 26, 2023

Makowiec: A Sweet Treat

Makowiec, a traditional Polish pastry, has a history deeply rooted in Polish culture and culinary traditions. The word "makowiec" comes from "mak," which means poppy seeds in Polish. The use of poppy seeds in culinary practices dates back to ancient times when they were considered symbols of abundance and prosperity. The popularity of Makowiec as a festive treat during holidays, especially Christmas and Easter, can be attributed to its association with good luck and happiness. Originally, Makowiec was a simple yeasted dough filled with ground poppy seeds, honey, and dried fruits. Over time, variations emerged, incorporating ingredients like nuts, spices, and sometimes even sweet cheese or apples. Today, Makowiec remains a beloved dessert, cherished by generations, and continues to be a delightful centerpiece of Polish holiday celebrations.

Ingredients for Makowiec:

For the Dough:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (7g) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups ground poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruits (raisins or dried apricots)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the center and add the melted butter, beaten eggs, and the yeast mixture. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  4. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, combine the ground poppy seeds, milk, sugar, honey, chopped nuts, dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and orange zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a baking sheet.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the risen dough into a rectangular shape, about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Spread the cooled poppy seed filling evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
  8. Carefully roll up the dough from the longer side, forming a log. Pinch the edges to seal.
  9. Place the Makowiec on the greased baking sheet, seam side down.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Let the Makowiec cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy this delectable Polish pastry, a festive delight steeped in tradition and history.