Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll): A Traditional Polish Delight


Makowiec, a beloved traditional Polish poppy seed roll, weaves the rich, nutty flavor of poppy seeds into a sweet, yeasted bread, creating a spiral of taste that's both visually stunning and deliciously satisfying. This festive treat, often reserved for Christmas and Easter celebrations, has earned its place at the table year-round, offering a slice of comfort with each bite. Infused with honey, citrus, and spices, Makowiec is a testament to the art of baking and the joy of sharing.

Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll): A Traditional Polish Delight

Preparation Details

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes (plus rising time)
  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (plus rising time)

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Serving Size: 1 slice

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 330
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Sodium: 220mg


  • For the Dough:
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup milk, warm
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 egg yolks
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
  • For the Poppy Seed Filling:
    • 1 cup poppy seeds
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
    • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks

Detailed Method of Preparation

  1. Prepare the Dough:
    • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and yeast. Add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix until a soft dough forms.
    • Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  2. Prepare the Poppy Seed Filling:
    • Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor. Heat milk, honey, and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add the ground poppy seeds, raisins, nuts, candied orange peel, almond extract, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
    • Once cooled, fold in the beaten egg whites.
  3. Assemble and Bake:
    • Punch down the risen dough and roll out on a floured surface into a rectangle. Spread the poppy seed filling evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
    • Roll the dough tightly, starting from the long edge, to form a log. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, seam side down. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the Makowiec for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
    • Optional: Glaze with a mixture of powdered sugar and lemon juice after baking.

Tips for Culinary Success

  • Ensure the milk is warm, not hot, to activate the yeast without killing it.
  • The filling should be thick enough to spread; if too thin, add more ground poppy seeds.
  • Egg whites are folded into the filling to keep it light and airy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use pre-ground poppy seeds?

Yes, pre-ground poppy seeds can be used, but fresh grinding releases more flavor.

How do I store Makowiec?

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate for up to a week.

Can Makowiec be frozen?

Yes, wrap the cooled roll in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Makowiec is more than just a cake; it's a slice of Polish heritage, rich in flavor and steeped in tradition. Whether enjoyed as a sweet end to a meal or as a special treat with tea or coffee, this poppy seed roll is a delightful way to celebrate the simple pleasures of baking and sharing. Here's to creating and enjoying your own Makowiec, a sweet homage to tradition and taste.