Cream Cheese Hamantaschen

Recipe by Sarah Jampel

Hamantaschen, the filled three-sided Purim cookies, come with as many filling variations as they do dough textures and sweetness levels. In these cream cheese hamantaschen, the dough is tender, sweet, and on the soft side, and the filling is the simple and classic poppy seed. For more filling ideas, including straight-up jam, check out the “tips,” below. (And if you’re looking for a very buttery, barely sweet hamantaschen that’s more sturdy-crumbly than supple-soft, check out Zingerman’s Hamantaschen recipe.) 

45 mins
12 to 14 mins
1 hr 30 mins
20 to 25 cookies
Cream Cheese Hamantaschen  - select to zoom
Cream Cheese Hamantaschen  - select to zoom
Cream Cheese Hamantaschen  - select to zoom
Cream Cheese Hamantaschen  - select to zoom


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  1. To make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, milk, sugar, honey, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool until slightly warm, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, cover, and transfer it to the refrigerator to chill completely while you make the dough. (Filling can be made up to 4 days in advance.)

  2. To make the dough: Working in a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, salt, almond extract, and zest; beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour and egg, and beat until a smooth, soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to plastic wrap or your favorite reusable wrap, pat into a 1"-thick slab, then chill in the refrigerator until firm, 2 to 3 hours. (Dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. 

  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Working with a well-floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface, roll 1 piece of dough to 1/8" thick (leave the other piece in the refrigerator). Add more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.  

  5. Use a floured 3 1/2" round cutter or glass to cut as many circles as possible; press the scraps together and reroll until all the dough is used. 

  6. Transfer the dough circles to the prepared baking sheet. Dollop 1 teaspoon poppy seed filling (a leveled teaspoon cookie scoop works well here) in the center of each circle, then brush the perimeter lightly with egg wash. With floured fingers, firmly pinch the 3 corners together to form a triangle. Brush the dough’s surface lightly with egg wash. (If your dough becomes sticky or warm at any point during shaping, transfer it to the refrigerator to firm up.) 

  7. Transfer the baking sheet with the shaped hamantaschen to the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. (It’s possible to skip the freeze if your dough and filling are cold, but the chill-time provides insurance that your hamantaschen won’t splay out in the oven.) While the first tray chills, roll, fill, and form more hamantaschen using the other pieces of dough. 

  8. Bake the hamantaschen, one tray at a time, for 12 to 14 minutes, until the tops are barely golden and the corners are beginning to brown; let them cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, or until firm enough to handle. For the most efficient process, bake a tray of hamantaschen as the next tray chills. 

  9. Serve hamantaschen at room temperature; store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • To make a cream cheese filling: Use the rest of your block of cream cheese to make a rich, cheesecake-y filling. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 6 ounces (170g) softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 egg yolk (reserve the white), 2 tablespoons (15g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract, and 3 tablespoons (33g) mini chocolate chips until smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill; use the filling while it's cold, adding 1 teaspoon per cookie. Use the reserved white, lightly beaten, to seal and wash the hamantaschen.   

  • To make jam-filled hamantaschen: Use a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite jam (it seems scant, but less is more!) in each hamantaschen. Prepare and bake the cream cheese hamantaschen as otherwise described.