Kolachy Cookies are a traditional Hungarian Christmas Cookie made with a cream cheese dough and stuffed with fruit filling. You will love this delicious Christmas cookie recipe and will be requested to make it every year!
This Kolachy Cookies recipe is most definitely my most popular Christmas cookie recipe, so it was time for a much needed make over. New photos, a step by step guide, and a video! Hopefully these photos and video help to make this recipe even easier. This recipe is made by thousands of people every Christmas season, and I am so glad. This is that type of traditional cookie that brings comfort and makes people feel like its the holiday season.
What are kolachy?
What to fill kolachy with?
How to Make Kolachy Cookies
This is a light and fluffy dough, made with cream cheese. The dough does need to be refrigerated, so plan ahead! You start with four basic ingredients for the dough. Butter, cream cheese, flour and salt and then of course your filling choices. If you are using cream cheese in your filling, you will need to add some powdered sugar to the filling.
You cream the cream cheese and butter, slowly add the flour and salt and then roll into a ball, then refrigerate. After chilling, roll your dough into a square and cut into squares. I like to use a pizza cutter for easy cutting.
Next, you add your filling to the middle of each square. Fold the corners in and then you can seal with egg wash or water.
And bake! Once baked, you add a beautiful dusting of powdered sugar.
And then move to a cooling rack. I store these cookies in the fridge or they can be frozen for 2-4 weeks.
And then you will be fighting people off to stop eating them before Christmas! These are always a fan favorite and go quickly because they are just so good. The dough is light and fluffy and almost more pastry like than cookie like. They are perfect with a glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee.
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These delicious Kolachy Cookies are perfect for Christmas.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups AP flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 oz. cream cheese softened
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar plus more for dusting
- 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple drained very well
- 1/2 cup red raspberry preserves
Add cream cheese and butter together into a bowl of a stand mixer. Cream together butter and cream cheese, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add in the flour and salt, mixing until incorporated but don't overmix. Roll dough into two balls and covered with plastic wrap. Chill for at least two hours.
After two hours, remove from fridge and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. If using cream cheese and pineapple, rrepare filling by mixing the powdered sugar with the cream cheese.
Roll out one ball of dough until very thin. You want it to be as thin as you can make it.
Using a pizza cutter, cut your dough into a big square, removing the edges. Then cut your big square into small 2 by 2 squares.
On the diagonal of each square, smear a bit of cream cheese then add 1 tsp pineapple. If using preserves, add 1-2 tsp of preserves. Fold one edge in and then the other. Seal seam with water.
Bake on baking sheet for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Remove to cooling rack for at least half an hour. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for up to four weeks.
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146 thoughts on “Kolachy Cookies”
This recipe is amazing! Just made these this morning with strawberry and cream cheese filling. Can’t wait to impress my in laws with these tomorrow.
I’m so glad you loved them!! Thank you for letting me know!
Hi can you tell me how much is 2 sticks of butter, thanks lyne
Hi Lyne! That would be 16 tablespoons!
Equals 1 cup as well.
Can you use lemon curd as a filling? I’m asking because I did know if you could bake lemon curd.
Yes Dionne, Lemon Curd would be great!
What size is the canned pineapple?
20 oz. can!
Can you pre make this dough and freeze it
I’m sorry Amanda I have never tried it so I can’t get you a definitive answer. It is a more delicate dough so I think making it fresh would be best.
I use the same recipe and I make a double batch of dough and freeze half in 2 disks, wrapped tightly, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. I only know that because I miss placed one for 3 months and it was fine. I don’t know about longer.
Thank you for sharing Deb!! I have never frozen my dough so it is good to know it is possible, thank you!
I have prepared these in advance and froze on a tray and then put them in zip locked.bags and baked the day of our bake sale. Received raved reviews and requests for more.
I am so glad they turned out well for you and that you shared the freezer information!
Hi Amanda, i made kolacky cookies the other night. They are gone!! I always wanted to make these cookies but was intimidated by the thickness to roll out the dough. I pretty much eyeballed the thickness of the dough. The cookies cam out sooo good!! I rolled mine in granulated sugar. They were so good!!!
What you made is a pretty pastry but definitely not a kolache. They are a chezh pastry eaten for breakfast, round, about the size of a donut, & made like a thumbprint cookie with cream cheese or fruit filling in the indention. Never seen them with powdered sugar either. They are not a cookie either. Please get your info correct before you post
Hi Jere. I live in an area with a lot of people of Eastern European descent and everyone calls them kolachy around here! I myself am Lebanese and hadn’t had this cookie before getting the recipe from my friend (who is a professional baker!), but her family calls them Kolachy and she has been making them for years.I also looked on Pinterest before posting and many others have a similar shaped pastry topped with powdered sugar as I shared. The pastry you are referring to is what we call a danish. And I agree with you on the cookie part, I added that so the title would be easier for people to search for when looking for traditional Christmas cookie recipes. Thank you for your opinion though!
You handles that quite well
haha, thank you Lillian!
haha, but its not a cookie – and it is a Czech pastry/Danish, not Hungarian. My grandmother made these when I was a little girl – it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle icing sugar on top when using fruit – poppy seed kolache was my fav-just saying
I agree Cheryl that it’s not a cookie, but for search results sake, I added cookie to the title so people can better find it in Google!
Agreed! I know this post was from over a year ago but i was looking for a kolachy recipe and this is exactly what i know a kolachy is. I’m in California. I used to buy them at a grocery store in Southern California and they had a different name but the baker told me she knew they as kolachys growing up. So yeah… there’s that. Hahah.
Cant wait to try this recipe!
Thanks Kat! It is the nice comments like yours that make the mean ones easier to take! 🙂
I have this recipe and it was given to me by a Polish lady and yes I spell it kolacky. I do know different areas have similar cookies with different names. I also use almond, prune and apricot fillings.
My husband’s old neighborhood had a few Hungarian’s who made these also.
I bet almond filling is amazing!!
The almond are my families favorite. We use the Solo fillings because I think they are a little thicker. Can’t wait to try the pineapple!
A cookie in Canada is called a biscuit in Australia….YUP doesn’t make it any less a cookie. They are Kolachy is you want them to be.
Life is too short…
I am making these amazing Kolachy!
Thank you for sharing your recipe Amanda.
Thanks Darlene! I hope you love them! And I agree, I can all them whatever I want! They still taste yummy no matter the name!
I was raised with eating Kolaches, and they are definitely Czech. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolach.) Eastern European would be right,k but wrong country. In Nebraska, they are made to look similar to a danish, but the dough is different. In MN, they are made more similar to a hot cross bun, but with the Kolach fillings. Either way, I would love to try your recipe and judge for myself. I have never seen them folded and sprinkled with powdered sugar, but the look good. Thanks for your recipes.
Thank you for sharing Carol! I love hearing how different cookies are made across the country! I hope you try this version!
Kolache, kolačky, kolachy…the only different on is the Czech “kolache” it round and filled in the center. Basically a czech cheese danish. Slovaks and polish as well as other slavs have cookies similar to the ones in this recipe. I lived in the czech republic and have family in Slovakia. Trust me…its not just czech. Its a slav word for cake or cookie. Czech food is slightly different from other slav nations due to heavy German influence. These cookies can be made with either cream cheese dough or yeast dough as well. Best cookies ever! I remember making them with my grandma.
Thank you for sharing!! I would love to try them with the yeast dough!
I had to chime in and say that my husbands grandparents are Polish and Hungarian. His grandmother would make these and we ALWAYS called them Hungarian cookies. Such an old recipe can be interepreted differently by so many and I’m sorry that the other reviewer tried to “correct” you when you needed no correcting. I was looking for a recipe online after I misplaced mine and yours is very close to what I do including the way i shape the cookies. The only thing I do differently is leave out the cream cheese filling but maybe I’ll try that now! Thank you for posting this recipe and being so gracious in your comments <3 Happy Holidays!
Thanks Heidi! You’re right, when it is an old recipe, there is bound to be tons of names and versions and disagreements 🙂 I definitely recommend the cream cheese!
Whom ever the person was that said they are not kolachy is absolutely wrong!!! I have family on my mom’s side who are 100% Czechoslovakian, cousins who live in the now separated country and grew up making them. The dough is different than what I grew up with, the shapes are on point. I am excited to make this version of kolachy! I can’t wait to taste the dough. Thank you for sharing this KOLACHY recipe. 😁
Thanks Donna, I think they are pretty authentic too 🙂
Hi- I was so excited to find this recipe. My mom used to make a similar version of this and always called them “Swedish Cookies”. Her original recipe was with apricot jam but she used strawberry too and also just a cream cheese/powder sugar/vanilla combination mixture for the filling. She passed eight years ago and this is one of her recipes I couldn’t find! She also used to make them in a small crescent shape and pinched the edges so the filling was totally enclosed. But this is the same dough recipe! And yes it freezes beautifully as she used to say! Thank you for posting!
I’m so glad this recipe reminds you of your mom!! That’s what I love about food!
Amanda…they look lovely, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try them. I love anything with cream cheese! 😉 I’m sure they taste as good as they look. I love your twist on a Kolachy, by the way. And, the sprinkle of powdered sugar is a lovely touch. Merry Christmas! And, keep the recipes coming.
Anything with cream cheese is a favorite of mine as well! Thank you so much for your kind words and I hope you try these!
Why attack her? It’s a great recipe. Leave it at that. Or share your recipe. We’re all here for entertainment. Let’s not be so critical of each other.
My whole family is from Poland and these sure look and taste like all the kolachy I have ever had, and it matches every other recipe called kolachy. Maybe you should double check your facts before criticizing someone.
Thanks so much Cassir!
Yes, my family is Polish and these are exactly what I know as Kolachys. I think there are different spellings. We usually had two different fillings, apricot and cream cheese. My personal favorite is apricot. Apparently, there is also Chech version of Kolachy. What they call Kolachy is totally different.
Thank you for sharing! I love hearing how different families and cultures identify different foods!
I agree Kolaczki are originated from Poland. Other Eastern European countries just made their own versions and altered the name slightly.
I live in the Chicago area, which has a huge Eastern European population, and that cookie is also called a kolachky! They also sell the round ones that you referenced and they are also called kolachky. The only difference is the shape, but the ingredients are the same. Different parts of the world call the same exact cookies by different names, for example….Russian Tea cookies are also called Snowballs, Pecan Balls, Mexican Wedding cookies, etc…..There is no wrong or right!! Don’t be so snippy and critical of others, please!!!
You seem fun.
Hi! I am Polish and we call them Kolochy. There is another form of kolochy that is made with a yeast dough. In this Polish household these were always called kolochy and always will. Amanda I am great full that your father requested the pineapple and cream cheese I never thought of that and can’t wait to try them! Merry Christmas
The pineapple and cream cheese are definitely my favorite! I hope you love them 🙂
These are definitely kolachi cookies. My mother is polish and she would make these all the time for our family. HUGE family favorite!!! She made the fold over style mostly, but when in a hurry, she would cut them into circles, no thumbprint, and she put the preserves in the center. She ALWAYS dusted every cookie with confectioners sugar!
I grew up in Indiana & made these cookies every year with my Aunt. Kolachky’s (unsure of spelling) but I did said cookie because that is what we called them. The recipe was handed down from my uncle’s Polish family and they looked exactly like these. If you google Kolache you’ll find many different varieties so just because this recipe isnt what you think it should be doesnt mean it’s wrong.
I love pineapple and am making these tomorrow. But if i want to do some strawberry too, would you recommend strawberry jam/jelly/preserves or something else? Assuming NOT fresh, but let me know since it looks like in your pictures you have some strawberry or perhaps raspberry. And thanks in advance these look delicious!
Yes Patty, you can definitely use strawberry! I recommend preserves as they are a little thicker!
Oops never mind, i re-read your post and see that you used preserves and it was raspberry. But they still look delicious and I’ll be making them tomorrow. Merry Christmas!
You could definitely substitute strawberry preserves if you’d like! Or even black raspberry!
They are delicious! Do the cookies have to be refrigerated? I didn’t do the cream cheese filling ones so just curious if they still need refrigerated.
no, they do not!
Great pictures- they look relish! Do you think leaving the dough in the fridge 24 hours before rolling and baking would impact the cookies? Thanks!!
Hi Kara! Thank you, my only fear is that the dough would get really cold and be hard to roll out. You could try it, but make sure to sit your dough out so it gets a little time to soften before you try rolling it!
How long do you leave the dough out of the fridge before rolling? My dough is quite stiff!
You don’t want it to get warm. It needs to be cold when you roll it out. I would let it sit for no more than half an hour before rolling.
HI, I have tried making these a few times. For me, I cannot get the dough to stay sealed in the oven. It keeps opening. Help. Does the touch of water help.
Hi Karen! I always have a few that open up, but they all shouldn’t be. The water does help seal it! Here are some tips, make sure you take the edge and fold it all the way over and then under the cookie and then seal with water. Try smoothing that wet dough in with your finger to really help the seal form. I hope this helps!
Do you store these at room temp or in the fridge?
Room temp is fine!
Your….watch me turn this old house into something beautiful….got me….lol and I am mixing up the cookies….to fill and bake later with my 2 granddaughters..
Aw, thanks Tammy! I hope you have a great time making these with your grandkids!!
Thank you for this. This sounds like the cream cheese kolachy recipe my MIL used that she would never share. She was a brilliant baker, but she was afraid someone else might outdo her. Nevertheless, can’t wait to try these.
I’m so glad you found this recipe! I hope they turn out like your MILs!
Every time I’ve tried these the seedless jelly melts and makes a huge mess. I was always told to use seedless…I guess that’s my mistake. I’ll use preserves next time.
Hi Dana! Definitely try preserves! It shouldn’t run out!
We make them with ground walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and evaporated milk as the filling.
Michelle, that sounds delicious! I am definitely going to try that!
omg yum!!! trying this version.
My mother was Hungarian and my mother-in-law was Polish. They both made this cookie, as I do now but it is an entirely different cookie from each other. It is called Kifli. My Mother’s recipe used sour cream which makes it a light pastry. My MIL used yeast and rolled the cookie in granulated sugar before baking Her recipe makes a very hardy cookie that freezes well and does not crumble easily. However both are delicious. They may look similar but are entirely different.
I love how so many different cultures have such variations on cookie recipes! I bet the cookie with sour cream in it is delicious!
My mother (German) makes a dough like this, filled it with a pecan-pie-like filling and calls it a kipfel. I’m enjoying the different cookie names in this thread.
Our local Wegmans supermarket sells a version of these – they are made with sour cream and are in the shape of logs. Deborah – how would the recipe be modified to incorporate the sour cream?
YUM! Sour cream would give these a great tang!
My husband’s family is from Hungary his aunt makes a sour cream and yeast recipe. The fruit filling and rolled them in granulated sugar . I found a recipe similar to yours that I use but have never added the cream cheese curious to try. PS. we just call them hunky cookies. Haha
My favorite fillings are prune (lekvar) and apricot. This is a favorite cookie from my childhood!
These look delicious, I can’t wait to male them. Approximately how many cookies can I get from one batch?
It makes approximately 2 dozen! I hope you like them!
If I use preserves do I use cream cheese with it? How about with the lemon curd?
I want to make them for this year for Christmas. I make different batches of cookies and give them to friends. This cookies sound like they would be awesome to add to the mix.
Hi Laurie! It is up to you! You could definitely do both the preserves and the cream cheese as well as the lemon curd. It is your personal preference!
Once baked, do these need to be refrigerated for storage?
They do not need to be refrigerated. I kept mine in an airtight container.
Do you use self rising flour?
Nope, just regular AP flour!
My grandmother made these, except that she didnt put filling in them, but cut them into circles and wrapped them around wedges of apple, and baked them that way
That sounds so good! Like mini apple pies!
These will bring back wonderful memories of my time spent in Hungary. Thank you, and keep-up the great work. 🙂
Thank you Michael!! I hope you love them!
I have made these cookies for Christmas also. I had one Question. How do you keep the tops from popping open during baking. I pinch the two sides together and when I bring them out of the oven the pinched part has opened. This causes problems. Thanks for your reply
Hi Sharon! I hope they still tasted good! You can use a little bit of water to help seal them, and then smooth the dough together. I do always have a few that open and I keep those for myself!
1 beaten egg white and 1 tablespoon of cold water on the point where the corners meet works every time for me. Hope this helps.
Thank you for sharing! This is a great suggestion!!
These look delicious! I need to bake a bunch of cookies for a wedding and I would like to add these to the list! How long in advance do you think I could bake these? Thanks!
Hello! I wouldn’t make them any more than a week in advance!
My family has made these for years with different jellies depending on which family member makes them. I used this recipe one year with chocolate hazelnut spread, changed the fold, and made dirty diapers for a baby shower. Didn’t expect anyone to eat them but they were the first snack home!
Thanks for sharing.
lol! I love the dirty diapers idea! I bet they were delicious!!
Hi Amanda,. I have been baking (and cooking just about everything you can imagine) for 55 years and never made Kolachy! I am of the “old school” and prefer more exact measurements for my baking efforts. What would you suggest for amounts for “a smear of cr. cheese” and “anything you want” for the additional filling? My 14 grandkids (and there parents) will love your Kolachy!
Many thanks. Nancy B.
Hi Nancy! For the smear, I would use about 1 scant teaspoon! For the filling, you can use any type of preserves! Strawberry, raspberry, any fruit you like!
You could also do nuts or poppyseed filling or apricot preserves!
After I make the coo!ies, do you think I can freeze them?
Yes, you can!
These are the same cookies we bought at a Bohemian bakery in a suburb of Chicago. I’ve been making them for years but I never made them with cream cheese filling. Can anyone tell me how to make it?
There are instructions in this recipe for the cream cheese filling!
let me know if you have any other questions on the cream cheese filling, Kathy! Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean!
Can u freeze these?
I make these ahead and freeze them until the day I make them. They turn out perfect
Whatevery people call them–I call them delicious. Used egg wash insteam of water to stick the corners together. Only had a couple pop open. Used canned fruit pastry fillings, apricot and raspberry. Delicious.
There are always a couple that pop open, those are for the chef to sample!!
I make these because my mother was Hungarian, so my Grandmother from Hungary and my Aunts made these cookies. We call them Hungarian cookies. I double the recipe / Mom made lekvar (prune), walnut/ and apricot. I choose to make only Apricot and am trying cherry this year. My recipe is doubled. 2 lbs or 8 sticks of unsalted butter . 4 (8 ounces) of cream cheese which is 2lbs , 2 tablespoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 12 egg yolks YES 12. 9 cups of flour YES 9. Cream butter and cream cheese room temp. in a large bowl. I cut up the butter and cream cheese into small chunks. Mix with a mixer. Watch your mixer doesnt get hot and burn out. Then add baking powder, vanilla , egg yolks . I stirred with a big spoon. Then mix in the flour a little or 2 cups at a time. by now you will be using your hands to mix this enormous pile of ingredients. In about 5 minutes or less you will start to have the correct texture. Have 5 or 6 sheets of plastic wrap ready. Ball up that dough when it appears mixed well into balls. I had 5 big ( larger than a snowball ) balls. Wrap each in plastic dont touch the dough anymore use the plastic to pick it up after you wash your hands. Place these balls in freezer if you are making the cookies the same day. In Fridge overnight if not. Ok Filling. TO make your own filling buy a container of dried apricots chop them up cover with water and slow cook and stir add sugar to your own personal taste. When they are soft they are done. Cool and put aside. I am going to use maraschino cherries and do the same to make cherry filling. If you buy jelly or preserves they will run out of the cookie when baking. Ok when ready to bake put dough in fridge. Take out , flour a large cutting board or marble surface. Sprinkle with flour, Cut hunks of dough and roll out when kind of thin cut into squares. Spoon in a small plop of filling and pinch two ends together. Put on cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven @ 375 for 10 to 20 minutes . Now watch these cookies, I take them out a little soft , look at them in the oven take them out before they start to turn brown or the filling gets done or runny. Filling should stay put puff out a little not run. If you made these when cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover with foil, or plastic or put in a container. Congratulate yourself you did the the Eastern European way. A lot of muscle and patients . Play music to stay cheery.
Thanks for sharing Debbie!! Sounds like a wonderful recipe!
I’ve made a similar recipe and formed a log with dough. i then refrigerate and slice dough into rounds before adding filling to the center–easier then rolling out—-
what if it filled with chocolate jam?
You can do that.
HAVE MADE THESE SEVERAL TIMES BUT NEVER TURN OUT AS BEAUTIFUL AS YOURS. MY FILLING ALWAYS MELTS AND SPILLS OUT ALL OVER THE COOKIE. BUT I WILL TRY AGAIN. I HAVE A FRIEND THAT IS SEVERELY GLUTEN FREE. AND HER MOTHER USED TO MAKE THESE WITH A GLUTEN-FREE RECIPE. DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A GLUTEN-FREE VERSION? I FOUND ONE BUT WAS NOT GOOD AT ALL. TOO STICKY AND TOO THIN. I WOULD SO LOVE TO MAKE HER SOME FOR CHRISTMAS.
Could crisco be used instead of butter? and if so how would it effect the dough and flavor, I’m just curious…. thanks
I would stick with butter!
What kind of flour did you use, self rinsing or all purpose flour?
Hi Amanda can you make a video making this cookies
Yes, I can do that!
Can these be made with a lemon pie filling, or would that be too wet/sloppy? Lemon with a few raspberries in it or a drop of raspberry perserves sounds divine. Thanks.
It may be a little wet, but I think its worth a try!
What is AP flour used in your recipe?
just regular all purpose flour!
interesting article and interesting pictures, thank you
Hi Amanda, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I tried making these cookies. I love them but mine came out ugly.I really had a hard time cutting them in 2″ squares. Don’t know why but I do every time. Is there an easier way to cut them into squares. I just used a knife. They taste good but was not a pretty cookie
Hi Ann, try using a pizza cutter. It cuts really nicely and evenly! I’m glad they taste good!
Thank you for nice information
Question does either filling start with the cream cheese and powdered sugar or do I only do the cream cheese and powdered sugar with the pineapple. (Ie not with the jam)
You could definitely do the cream cheese mixture with jam if you like but it traditionally only used with the pineapple!
Can you use jam for a filling? And do they freeze well after baked?
Sandra I like preserves bc they are thicker. You could use jam but it may run. Yes, you can definitely freeze!
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