How to Make PoppySeed Filling (2 ways)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
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).
Author: Natasha of
Skill Level: $6-$7
Cost to Make: Easy/Medium
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.


  1. Rinse poppy seeds thoroughly in a fine mesh colander, then drain them and transfer to a medium sauce pan.
  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.
  3. 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.
  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.
  5. 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.