How to make the best poppy seed filling. Store-bought versions can't touch this! from @natashaskitchen

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Poppyseed cake and pastry filling is a staple in Russian and Ukrainian kitchens. The good news: it’s not difficult or time consuming to master and you can pre-make it even a week in advance. I just can’t guarantee someone won’t break into your fridge and sneak bites of it during the week. I love that there are just 2 ingredients.

You can find good poppy seeds at Whole Foods and Fred Meyer in the bin/bulk food sections. Most stores carry them but it’s worthwhile to pay a little more for a higher grade poppy seed that tastes sweeter. The cheaper poppy seeds have a slight bitterness to them. Store-bought pre-made poppyseed fillings can’t touch this. It’s wonderful in the poppyseed roulade that I posted awhile back and the recipe that I’ll be posting next (stay tuned!).

Ingredients for Poppyseed filling:

1 cup dry poppy seeds
8 to 10 oz sweetened condensed milk (about 2/3 of a 14 oz can)

Poppy Seeds

Optional Add-ins:

Raisins (white or brown)
Finely chopped walnuts

Tools you’ll need:

A meat/food grinder (preferred method)
– OR – a clean coffee grinder (can be milled in small batches).

Prepping the Poppy Seeds while dough is rising:

1. Rinse poppy seeds thoroughly in a fine mesh colander, then drain them and transfer to a medium sauce pan.

Poppy Seeds-2

2. Add 3 cups water to the pot. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. (Don’t boil). Turn off. Cover with lid and let it sit for 30 minutes. Return to a simmer (don’t boil). Turn off. Cover and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

Poppy Seeds-6

3. Drain poppy seeds well through a colander or by keeping lid on and placing several layers of cheese cloth over lid to catch stray poppy seeds. Life is just easier when you use a fine mesh sieve like this OXO Strainer.

Poppy Seeds-3

4. Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder, using the fine grinding plate. I use my KitchenAid food grinder attachment for my stand mixer. You can also use a coffee grinder and do it in smaller batches. Note: If using a meat grinder, you need to push firmly. The seeds won’t grind well unless they are under pressure. P.S. I’ve tried putting them through a food processor and it did not work. Drain off excess liquid if any has accumulated in the bowl.

Russian Cake Truffles-11

Poppy Seeds-8

5. Mix 8-10 ounces of sweetened condensed milk into ground poppy seeds. I like to add 10 oz because I’m wild like that ;). Add raisins if desired (depending on the recipe you’re making). Store in tupperware and refrigerate until ready to use.

Poppy Seeds-7

How to make the best poppy seed filling. Store-bought versions can't touch this! from @natashaskitchen

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

How to Make PoppySeed Filling (2 ways)

4.95 from 39 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Poppyseed cake and pastry filling in a staple in Russian and Ukrainian kitchens. The good news: it's not difficult or time consuming to master and you can pre-make it even a week in advance. I love that there are just 2 ingredients. You can find good poppy seeds at Whole Foods and Fred Meyer in the bin/bulk food sections. Most stores carry them but it's worthwhile to pay a little more for a higher grade poppyseed that tastes sweeter. The cheaper poppy seeds have a slight bitterness to them. Store-bought pre-made poppyseed fillings can't touch this. It's wonderful in roulades and sweet buns (pirohi).
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 2 cups

For the PoppySeed Filling:

Optional Add-ins:

  • Raisins, white or brown
  • Finely chopped walnuts

Tools you'll need:

  • A meat/food grinder, preferred method
  • - OR - a clean coffee grinder, can be milled in small batches.

Instructions

  • Rinse poppy seeds thoroughly in a fine mesh colander, then drain them and transfer to a medium sauce pan.
  • Add 3 cups water to the pot. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. (Don’t boil). Turn off. Cover with lid and let it sit for 30 minutes. Return to a simmer (don’t boil). Turn off. Cover and let it sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Drain poppy seeds well through a colander or by keeping lid on and placing several layers of cheese cloth on lid to catch stray poppy seeds. Life is just easier when you use a fine mesh sieve.
  • Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder, using the fine grinding plate. I use my KitchenAid food grinder attachment for my stand mixer. You can also use a coffee grinder and do it in smaller batches. Note: If using a meat grinder, you need to push firmly. The seeds won’t grind well unless they are under pressure. P.S. I’ve tried putting them through a food processor and it did not work. Drain off excess liquid if any has accumulated in the bowl.
  • Mix 8-10 ounces of sweetened condensed milk into ground poppy seeds. I like to add 10 oz. Add raisins if desired (depending on the recipe you're making). Store in tupperware and refrigerate until ready to use.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: PoppySeed Filling
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $$

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Tee
    January 12, 2024

    @Natasha,
    Can you substitute Coconut
    Milk or Coconut Cream plus sweetener to make it Gluten Free ??

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 12, 2024

      Hi Tee, are you trying to make it gluten free or dairy free with the coconut substitution? I haven’t tried an alternative to either to advice.

      Reply

  • Gladys Sullivan
    June 23, 2023

    I’ve been making poppyseed roll for years. When I saw this recipe my heart ❤️ said YES. I cannot wait to try it. Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 24, 2023

      I hope you love this recipe, Gladys!

      Reply

  • Ella
    April 8, 2023

    I saw your recipe and was so happy Granny used to make these when we visited but never gave us the recipe. I tried your recipe and it was like stepping back in time. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 8, 2023

      That’s amazing, Ella! I’m so glad you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Jeri
    January 30, 2023

    I am making Kutia for our supper club. I followed the direction for the poppyseeds but after the second 30 minutes, I had a gelatinous mess similar to fishers. My water may have been too hot. I did grind the mess in my Vitamixer and that grinds it but I wound up flushing down the toilet. Will try something else now. Maybe just grind them as is.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 31, 2023

      Hi Jeri, I haven’t had that experience, and it’s hard to say what went wrong without being there. I recommend reading through the post again and ensuring the steps or ingredients were substituted.

      Reply

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