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Jewish Poppy Seed Cookies Recipe

If you are looking for poppy seed cookies you have come to the right place. There aren’t many Purim foods I haven’t heard of, but I hadn’t heard of these. This simple drop cookie, that isn’t too sweet, is a fun change from hamantaschen and much quicker to make. Loaded with poppy seeds, chocolate and dried fruit, this soft little cookie is perfect with coffee or tea!

I just discovered this recipe for poppy seed cookies in an old Jewish cookbook.

While Purim is the holiday to eat hamantaschen, it is also traditional to eat poppy seeds, such as these savory bialy style poppy seed hamantaschen.

This version of poppy seed cookies was a new one for me, and both Manservant and I just love them.

As simple as can be to make, this drop cookie is nutty and loaded with the flavor of fruit and chocolate.

Yes, there are also currants in this poppy seed cookie recipe and chocolate chips and walnuts.

A little bit of everything and it all comes together in this soft and not overly sweet cookie recipe.

These poppy seed cookies are perfect with your cup of tea or coffee and Manservant loves them with the ice cream he eats every night!

Don’t feel like making hamantaschen? Make these easy Jewish poppy seed cookies and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I know they aren’t the prettiest cookie, but the next time I make them I have already thought of ways to make their pretty factor go up!

You could also call these poppy seed laced cookies Mohn cookies, because mohn is the German word for poppy.

After research I also found these labeled as Munn cookies.

There are lots of recipes for this simple cookie but many are rolled and are crisp and contain lemon.

Others have orange juice. and many like hamantaschen, have a poppyseed filling.

So one question you may have about this cookie:

poppy seed cookies on baking sheet

Why are poppy seed cookies a traditional food for Purim?

Hamantashen are said to be shaped like the hat Haman wore and other’s say that they are shaped like Haman’s pockets or even his ears.

Hamantaschen are known as poppy seed pockets and if you see them you, will see that this triangular cookie is filled with many fillings, one of which is almost always poppyseed.

These poppyseed cookies or mohn cookies contain a lot of poppy seeds.

Some say the poppy seeds symbolize Haman’s fleas, which doesn’t sound very appetizing to me.

Another reason it is said that we see poppy seeds on Purim is because Esther is said to have survived on grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to avoid breaking the kosher dietary laws.

Need Purim Gift Basket Ideas?

In some Jewish communities gift baskets of Mishloach Manot are often given to friends and family.

They could contain hamantaschen, chocolate bark, nuts, bialys, roasted chickpeas, fruit and wine. Sounds good to me!

I think these poppy seed cookies would be perfect for giving too!

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Cookies:

Poppy Seeds




Vanilla Extract or try some orange or lemon zest

All-purpose Flour

Baking Powder



Currants or Raisins

Semi-sweet chocolate chips


poppy seed cookies

How To Make Poppy Seed Cookies:

Soak poppy seeds in warm milk that has been heated in the microwave. While they are soaking cream the butter and sugar until light colored and fluffy..

Add the vanilla extract.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Add to the butter mixture and beat well.

Add in currants, raisins, chocolate chips and some walnuts.

Drop scant tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake until golden, about 16 minutes in my oven.

Store in a zip lock bag or freeze and thaw as needed.

Do poppy seeds go bad?

Because of their high oil content, poppy seeds can become rancid if kept too long.

Store them in the freezer, like I do!

Poppy seeds are very popular in Eastern Europe where they were often used as a more economical substitute for nuts.

Turkey and the Czech Republic are the top producers of poppy seeds.

poppy seed cookie recipe

But what is the holiday of Purim?

Purim is the Jewish holiday that usually falls in March.

It has a good guy and a bad guy and a beautiful queen.

(The Purim story can be found in the book of Esther.)

In a nutshell, Esther was an orphan raised by her relative Mordechai.

Taking place in the 5th century BCE, Esther who was considered quite beautiful, was chosen in a beauty contest to join the king’s court where she became his wife after he divorced his wife Vashti.

Haman was the king’s minister and wanted all the Jews in the land to bow to him and obey the laws of the kingdom.

Mordechai would not bow so Haman decided he would go before the king and ask that Mordechai be hung from the gallows and that all Jews be destroyed.

The king did not know that Esther was Jewish. She courageously approaches him and asks that her people be spared and the king grants her wish.

Haman is sent to the gallows and the Jews live another day.

Purim is celebrated with much happiness.

The fourth century rabbi, Rava said, “One must drink on Purim until that person cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai”.

poppy seed cookies

Purim Traditions:

Every year the Purim story is read in synagogue and one cheers for Mordechai and yells loud everytime Haman’s name is mentioned, so that it can not be heard.

The girls dress as Esther and the boys as the villain Haman or as Mordechai or the king.

In Israel everyone dresses up much like Halloween in the US.

It is a fun holiday and one that still resonates today as anti-semitism has certainly not been banished.

And that’s it! Go enjoy this fun Jewish cookie that I never even knew existed.

Give some to a friend with a bottle of wine because why not?

Life is always worth celebrating!

Purim Foods:

chocolate covered orange peel recipe

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Meatballs

sweet and sour cabbage with meatballs

7 Sacred Species Salad

whole grain salad recipes

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poppy seed cookies on baking sheet

Poppy Seed Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 Minutes
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
  • Yield: 36 Cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies/Bars
  • Cuisine: Jewish


Poppy seed cookies or Mohn cookies are traditional for Purim. I just discovered this simple drop cookie and am so happy I did!


Units Scale

1 c poppy seeds (do not need to be ground)

1/2 c milk, warmed

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/2 sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder (1/2 t at altitude)

1/2 t cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/2 c raisins or currants

1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Soak poppy seeds in warm milk. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light in color. Add vanilla extract.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture and beat.

Stir in poppy seeds and milk, raisins or currants, chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by scant tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake about 16 minutes or until light golden on the bottom.

Store in zip-lock bags or an airtight container.



Thanks to A Taste of Brandeis from at least 40 years ago.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Thursday 28th of March 2024

We love, love poppy seeds cakes and it is not that often I find a new idea! Printing to make!


Thursday 28th of March 2024

Yes, these were new to me also. My daughter made them also and loved them! ENjoy!