Mom's poppy seed roll has been a family favorite recipe for generations! Absolutely delicious and although this recipe makes a big batch - it goes fast!

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This is my Mom’s recipe for poppy seed roll and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. I’ve always been intimidated by this classic roulade, but I’ve come to find it’s not as complicated as I thought it would be.

Mom makes these at least once a month and always makes enough to share. They go fast! If you are going to make Rouletti (a half-a-day process; most of which is dough rising time), you may as well make 4 and share them with your family and friends. They will sure appreciate it!

I’m not a fan of using “special” ingredients but this recipe is really best with flour that is made in Canada; you’ll have the softest dough with Canadian flour. P.S. have any of you tried canned poppy seeds for this?

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Roll:

1 and 1/3 cups 1% milk
1 Tbsp active dry yeast (I used Red Star Brand)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1  stick (8 Tbsp) salted butter (or unsalted butter plus 1/4 tsp salt)
4 cups bleached all-purpose flour (I used flour Made in Canada, which is best for this recipe) *measured correctly
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1 cup poppy seeds (you will need a food grinder to prepare these)
1 egg white, for egg wash
8 oz sweetened condensed milk (from a 14 oz can)
1 cup raisins


Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-2

How to make Russian Poppy Seed Roll (Roulette):

1. Heat 1 1/3 cups milk in the microwave until it’s luke-warm. Pour milk in a large mixing bowl (preferably the bowl from your KitchenAid mixer). Add 1 tbsp yeast, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 cup flour. Mix until flour is well blended. Let stand in a warm oven (100 degrees) for 1/2 hour or put it on the counter for 1 hour at room temperature if you have all the time in the world.

(My oven doesn’t set that low, so I heat it to the lowest setting, then turn it off and let it sit in the warm oven with a towel underneath it. I also put a wooden spoon in the door to prop it open a bit. Quite the set-up!).

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll

Dough should rise about 1.5 times in volume. Stir dough lightly.

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-3

2. Melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter (until it’s just melted – it should not be hot). Add butter to the batter. Add 2 whole eggs. Add the rest of your 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 cups flour. Whisk together.

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-4

3. Using the dough hook (on speed 2), add the remaining 2 cups of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. After all the flour is in, let it continue mixing 15 minutes. Dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Finished  dough will be soft. It will feel sticky to the touch but should not stick to your fingers.

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-5

4. Place dough in a very large mixing bowl (our Kitchenaid bowl is 6 Qts so I left it in the same bowl), cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place (in a 100 degree oven or in the sun) Let sit 2.5 hours to rise (until about 3-4 times in volume) Carefully peel off cellophane when it’s done.

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-6

Prepping the Poppy Seeds while dough is rising:

1. Fill medium saucepan with 1 cup poppy seeds and add enough water for impurities to float to the top, drain off the water and repeat.

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.

Russian Cake Truffles-1

3. Return to a simmer (don’t boil). Turn off. Cover and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Drain poppy seeds by keeping lid on and put cheese cloth on lid to catch stray poppy seeds, or if you have a fine mesh sieve like this OXO Strainer, use it!

Russian Cake Truffles-2

4. Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder using the fine grinding plate. You can also use a coffee grinder and do it in smaller batches. With the 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.

5. Mix 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk into ground poppy seeds.

Russian Cake Truffles-3

Assembling Poppy Seed Rolls (Rouletti):

1. Line an extra large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Russian Cake Truffles-15

2. Put dough onto a clean, dry, non-stick surface (a sheet of parchment paper works well). Divide into 4 equal pieces.

Poppy Seed Roulette-21

Poppy Seed Roulette-22

3. Roll out the dough into an 11″ x 8″ oval-ish shape; similar to a thin crust pizza dough. It should not stick to your rolling pin. Spread 1/2 cup poppy seed mixture over the dough and sprinkle about 30-40 raisins over the poppy mixture.

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-7

4. Roll the Roulette (not too tight!) and place side-by-side on the lined baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash (1 egg white, 1/2 tsp sour cream, 1/2 tsp sugar – whisked together). Let them rise on the counter for 1 hour (or in a 100˚F oven for 30 minutes).

Poppy Seed Roulette-26
Poppy Seed Roulette-28

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-8

Poppy Seed Roulette-33

5. Preheat Oven to 360°F and bake  28-30 min until the tops are deep golden (but not brown; I over-baked just a tad, but they were still great. My husband was raving about them. See the picture below; he couldn’t wait long enough for me to take a picture of all 4).

Mom’s Poppy Seed Roll-9

Enjoy! 🙂

Mom's poppy seed roll has been a family favorite recipe for generations! Absolutely delicious and although this recipe makes a big batch - it goes fast!

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Mom's Poppy Seed Roll (Roulette) Recipe

4.93 from 55 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Mom's poppy seed roll has been a family favorite recipe for generations! Absolutely delicious and although this recipe makes a big batch - it goes fast!
This is my Mom's recipe for poppy seed rolls and it's one of my husband's favorites. I've always been intimidated by this classic roulade, but I've come to find it's not as complicated as it looks.
Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 Poppy Seed Rolls
  • 1 and 1/3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast, I used Red Star Brand
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick, 8 tbsp salted butter (or unsalted butter plus 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 4 cups bleached all-purpose flour, I used flour Made in Canada, which is best for this recipe
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 1 cup poppy seeds, you will need a food grinder to prepare these
  • 1 egg white, for egg wash
  • 8 oz sweetened condensed milk, from a 14 oz can
  • 1 cup raisins

Instructions

How to make Russian Poppy Seed Rolls (Roulette):

  • Heat 1 1/3 cups milk in the microwave until it's luke-warm. Pour milk in a large mixing bowl (preferably the bowl from your KitchenAid mixer). Add 1 tbsp yeast, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 cup flour. Mix until flour is well blended. Let stand in a warm oven (100 degrees) for 1/2 hour or put it on the counter for 1 hour at room temperature if you have all the time in the world. Dough should rise about 1.5 times in volume. Stir dough lightly.
  • Melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter (until it's just melted - it should not be hot). Add butter to the batter. Add 2 whole eggs. Add the rest of your 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 cups flour. Whisk together.
  • Using the dough hook (on speed 2), add the remaining 2 cups of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. After all the flour is in, let it continue mixing 15 minutes. Dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Finished dough will be soft. It will feel sticky to the touch but should not stick to your fingers.
  • Place dough in a very large mixing bowl (our Kitchenaid bowl is 6 Qts so I left it in the same bowl), cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place (in a 100 degree oven or in the sun) Let sit 2.5 hours to rise (until about 3-4 times in volume) Carefully peel off cellophane when it's done.

Prepping the Poppy Seeds while dough is rising:

  • Fill medium saucepan with 1 cup poppy seeds and add enough water for impurities to float to the top, drain off the water and repeat.
  • 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 by keeping lid on and put cheese cloth on lid to catch stray poppy seeds, or if you have a fine mesh sieve, use it!
  • Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder using the fine grinding plate. You can also use a coffee grinder and do it in smaller batches. With the 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.
  • Mix 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk into ground poppy seeds.

Assembling Poppy Seed Rolls (Rouletti):

  • Line an extra large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Put dough onto a clean, dry, non-stick surface (a sheet of parchment paper works well). Divide into 4 equal pieces.
  • Roll out the dough into an 11" x 8" oval-ish shape; similar to a thin crust pizza dough. It should not stick to your rolling pin. Spread 1/2 cup poppy seed mixture over the dough and sprinkle about 30-40 raisins over the poppy mixture.
  • Roll the Roulette (not too tight!) and Place side-by-side on the lined baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash (1 egg white, 1/2 tsp sour cream, 1/2 tsp sugar - whisked together). Let them rise on the counter for 1 hour (or in a 100˚F oven for 30 minutes).
  • Preheat Oven to 360°F and bake 28-30 min until the tops are deep golden (but not brown).

Notes

Because my oven doesn't heat to 100˚F, I heat it to the lowest setting, then turn it off and let it sit in the warm oven with a towel underneath it. I also put a wooden spoon in the door to prop it open a bit.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: Poppy Seed Roll, Roulette
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Irene
    May 9, 2024

    Can I use your chocolate babka recipe and use the canned poppy seed mix to make this poppy seed bread?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 9, 2024

      Hi Irene, I haven’t tried that, but I imagine that may work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Diane R.
    December 29, 2022

    Another fabulous recipe, equally good to your kulich! I made this for my Dad (88) this Christmas and he said it was just like what his Mom made when he was a little boy. I cannot get Canadian flour, and used King Arthur bread flour. The resulting dough was smooth and elastic, rolled out like a dream, and produced 4 beautiful loaves. Definitely a keeper!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 29, 2022

      Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Diane! That’s so special. I’m all smiles!

      Reply

  • Lynnette
    November 6, 2022

    Hi Natasha your a gal after my own heart! You said, best with flour that is made in Canada; !! And I totally agree with you! My cousin live in the states and when her mom goes to visit; she always takes Canadian flour with her!!!!! Other wise her baking never turns out!!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 6, 2022

      Yes, glad you agree to that!

      Reply

  • Ella
    October 22, 2022

    it s like coming back to my childhood in Kiev. My babushka always made this pirog, just like you describe it, and it was so good with tea in the cold evenings!!!! I don’t think she used Canadian flour, hahahaha, but still came out delicious!!!! I am not a baker but will dare and try to make it…..Thanks

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 22, 2022

      You’re welcome! I hope you love it.

      Reply

  • Gladys G.
    October 13, 2022

    I have a can of Helcom poppy seed filling. Can I use it in place of the poppy seed filling in your recipe? Are there any other changes that I would have to make to the recipe if using the canned filling?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 13, 2022

      Hi Gladys, Some of our readers have used canned poppy seed. One reader writes “The brand is SOLO (I’m sure there are others). It’s very good and you don’t need to add condensed milk it’s already very sweet”. Honestly, haven’t tried any other substitution so it is difficult to say. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Ruslana Chesbro
    June 4, 2022

    Hi Natasha. I just wanted to say that this poppy seed roulette recipe is amazing. I have been making it for years as well as many other of your recipes. My mother-in-law has a very good recipe of it, but she wouldn’t share it. Once I found your recipe, I no longer need her to share hers. Yours is so much better! I use Canadian flour as well. It comes our so airy, fluffy and stays fresh for days, not like some other baked goods that are great only on the day they were made. Four roulettes make it easy to share with family, friends, and neighbors. I also like the other one of your poppy seed rolls, the one covered with chocolate ganache. My husband wouldn’t mind it that would be the only dessert I would make, lol. It takes only 1 and half hours to make those two long rolls, but the end product looks like it took hours to make! Your recipes have great directions and you pay attention to details in your explanations, making it easy to follow. I have made several of your recipients and have never been disappointed. My husbands favorite is your chicken fritters recipe and of course ALL of the deserts 😂. Thank you! May God bless you and your family.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 4, 2022

      It sounds like you both have amazing taste! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Ruslana! I hope you get to try more of my recipes soon! Blessings to you!

      Reply

  • Eugenia
    April 22, 2022

    Natasha, I made this bread yesterday. This bread is so delicious and so easy to make, I finally used my kitchen aid mixer for this reason 😁 I added whole milk and regular flour as this is what I had and everything came out sooo beautiful and tasty. Next time I will use the ingredients as you advise and will see if there is any difference. Thank you again for sharing with us these recipes and make us look like superwomen.🥰🌺

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 22, 2022

      I’m so glad it all worked out, Eugenia! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!

      Reply

  • Vika
    March 13, 2022

    An other amazing recipe!
    Used fresh yeast … truly amazing results ! Made poppy seeds / cinnamon brown sugar and raspberry jam . Serves a few people and everyone had thirds and fourth helping 😂wish I could add photos !
    Spasibo !

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 13, 2022

      So glad you enjoyed how the recipe turned out! Feel free to share some photos on our Facebook page or group next time so others can see some of your creations too.

      Reply

  • Jen
    December 27, 2021

    Hi Natasha,
    Love your website; thank you so much for the work you do!
    This is my third time making your makoviy rulet, and I’m still getting the hang of the filling. Hoping you can share some advice on how to get the right consistency.
    After soaking the poppy seeds, I put them through the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment. However, it immediately jammed. Do you have to dry the poppy seeds before grinding?
    My filling always comes out too liquidy and spills out; I noticed that to another reader you commented that the poppy seeds should be dried after their soaking. How dry do you get them? Do you find that the fine-meshed strainer is enough?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 28, 2021

      Hi Jen, my first thought was maybe your poppyseed were too wet. My fine mesh strainer is enough and I don’t do anything special aside from using that. Just make sure it is well-drained. You should not see water dripping from the bottom. Let as much drip off as you can before pushing them through. Also, you do need to apply pressure with the little plunger that comes with the meat grinder attachment for them to get crushed properly inside.

      Reply

      • Liz Walter
        January 13, 2023

        If I may I’d like to add alternate way to grind the poppy seeds. I used to have my mother’s poppy seed grinder and it did a wonderful job until it wore out. I guess that 40+ years of use will do that. The plates got worn down and the poppyseeds wouldn’t grind any more. I used my VitaMix! The job took less than a minute and the results have been very satisfactory. My filling recipe is different than yours (the ground poppyseeds get cooked with milk, sugar, a bit of butter and then vanilla is added after cooking-seems like the end result is very similar though) I grind my seeds dry and the VitaMix has an extra jar that is for grinding grains and that’s what I use. If I was following your recipe I’d cook (simmer) the poppyseeds and condensed milk together for about 20 minutes (after grinding) perhaps adding some water to it maybe around 1/4 cup? Love your site and recipes Natasha and you are a delight to watch on your videos. One final thought about the VitaMix-it turns regular sugar into confectioner’s sugar (or fruit sugar) in seconds! No need to buy the specialty sugar.

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          January 14, 2023

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Liz!

          Reply

  • Marika S
    December 28, 2020

    I’ve made similar with my own recipe. Although I am going to try yours and make my own poppy filling from your recipe (I usually buy this prepared at my church bazaar). I’ve made it with poppy filling (we call it Makivnyk) prune butter, appricot butter (that’s my favorite) and nut spread. They’re all great.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 28, 2020

      I hope you love this recipe! Thank you for that great review.

      Reply

  • Angela
    December 24, 2020

    I have not made your recipe but I have made the same thing using my grandma’s recipe which I grew up eating. I have made my dough in a breadmaker for convenience. I used walnut mix (ground walnuts in a food processor, 2-3 TB white sugar, 1 tsp rum essence, 2-3tsp water to bind the mix), chocolate mix (minis chocolate chips + ¹/4 cup white sugar & dark cocoa powder) and a Cinnamon mix (1 TB cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup small chopped walnuts or pecans). I brush each dough sheet with a bit of melted butter to make the filling stick a bit, then roll it up and let it rise in a baking pan. Baking in a metal pan will be faster than in a glass dish.

    As far as the poppy seeds mix, here is how my grandma does it: first, we never, ever wash the seeds. I used to pick impurities out of the poppy seeds we grew in the garden but we never washed them. They are ground in small batches (2-3TB) in a hanf held coffee grinder until they turn into a powder. Ten she adds regular sugar to it, vanilla sugar (or essence) and a bit of water to bind it all loosely. No boiling, no condensed milk but the grinder is a must. I don’t have one where Iive now so I have yet to make it with poppy seeds filling but it is by far my favorite one with walnuts a close second. My grandma still makes these and she churns them out in 2-4 hrs depending on how fast the dough rises.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 27, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing your tips on making the poppyseeds in the coffee grinder.

      Reply

  • Karen B
    December 23, 2020

    Natasha, Have you ever heard of putting coconut in with the poppy seeds? I keep getting this recollection of my mother’s roll with coconut in it. I can almost taste it. Or I’m just crazy!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 23, 2020

      Hi Karen, I have not tried that yet but sounds like a good idea. I think it’s worth experimenting with, if you try it please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

    • rosemary merrill
      December 24, 2020

      I always add 3/4 cup coconut to home made poppy seed filling..
      If you want, chop it even smaller than it is in the bag. It’s a wonderful addition if you like coconut. 3/4 cup coconut to 1# ground poppy seeds….

      Reply

  • nancy
    December 16, 2020

    CAN YOUR RECIPE BE USED FOR NUT ROLL ALSO?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 16, 2020

      Hi Nancy, I haven’t tested that to advise. If you happen to experiment, I would love to know how you like that.

      Reply

  • Dot Milsom
    December 15, 2020

    Mine came out on side- maybe too much poppy seed mixture— will try again ..

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 15, 2020

      That could be the culprit. Please make sure that the ingredients are measured exactly as it is in the recipe, please let us know how it goes on your next try. I hope you get a perfect seed roll next time.

      Reply

  • David
    April 10, 2020

    Also another thing, I have 2% milk instead of 1% milk. So can I use 2% milk instead?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 10, 2020

      Hi David, 2% would work fine.

      Reply

  • Alina
    March 25, 2020

    My go to recipe for poppy seed roulette. Instead of making the poppyseed filling, I buy a pre-made one at the Russian or Polish store.
    Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 25, 2020

      That’a a good one too! Thanks for sharing that with us.

      Reply

  • Ana
    November 25, 2019

    it’s difficult for mixer to do 2 portions at once?

    Reply

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