Grandma’s Homemade Kolaches

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Homemade pastries are just something special. And these delectable treats are nothing short of amazing.

Grandma Longwell was an amazing cook and baker. She was also 100% Czech, as are these pastries. This recipe is in honor of her and the joy she and Grandpa Longwell brought to the entire family. These were her specialty, along with her homemade cinnamon rolls.

An overhead view of a baking pan filled with freshly baked kolaches topped with poppyseed filling and cream cheese filling.

How To Make Homemade Kolaches


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The Ingredients You Will Need

As with any pastry, you’ve got to start with a good dough. Grandma made lots of baked goods, and she used the same dough for most of her pastries and breads.Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Dough:
Milk – Whole milk is best, warmed to 105 to 115°F.
Sugar – Granulated.
Unsalted butter – Melted and then cooled.
Yeast – Either Instant (aka Rapid Rise) or Active Dry.
Flour – All-purpose.
Salt – Table salt or Kosher

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
Cream cheese – Room temperature.
Sugar – Granulated.
Egg – Just the yolk.
Vanilla extract – Go with good quality, if possible.

For the Poppyseed Filling:
Poppyseeds – Found in the ‘spice’ section of most well-stocked supermarkets.
Flour – All-purpose.
Unsalted butter – Chilled.
Ground cinnamon – Can substitute vanilla extract, if desired.

EXPERT TIP: For the first round of proofing, we recommend placing the dough in an oil bowl and then covering it tightly with plastic wrap and then placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If you are pressed for time, you can cover the dough and then place it in warm, non-drafty area for 1 to 2 hours, or, until the dough almost doubles in size.

A large ceramic bowl filled with risen bread dough.

Tips for Making Perfect Kolaches

Allow Enough Time for Proofing the Dough – Ensure the dough is soft and pliable by using the right amount of flour and allowing it to rise properly. Overnight for the first proofing and then 90 minutes to 2 hours for the second rise is recommended. This will result in light and fluffy kolaches.

Properly Seal the Fillings – When forming the kolaches, ensure the fillings are well-sealed within the dough to prevent any leakage during baking.

Brush with a Glaze and Top with Struessel – Before baking, brush the kolaches with melted butter and then top with a simple struessel. This will add a shine and a touch of sweetness to the finished pastries.

EXPERT TIP: Place the cut dough onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper and then allow to rise again. Don’t worry if they don’t completely double in size, they will expand considerably during the baking process.

A person using a spoon to transfer a mound of cream cheese filling into a well of an uncooked kolache pastry.

The Best Kolache Fillings

As mentioned, we love making cream cheese and poppyseed fillings.

However, other delicious fillings for homemade kolaches include prunes, apricots, cherry, blueberry, and even cottage cheese.

Create a small well in the center of each dough ring and then fill it with the prepared fillings.

NOTE: The fillings can easily be made 1 to 2 days in advance of baking.

An overhead view of poppyseed and cream cheese filled kolaches sitting on a baking rack with a blue linen napkin underneath it.

When to Serve Homemade Kolaches and How To Store Them

These pastries are incredible when served fresh out of the oven or even at room temperature with a warm cup of coffee.

Grandma would have numerous Tupperware containers filled with all types of pastries, pies, and more.

These are perfect for serving at breakfast, but also make a wonderfully sweet ending to a delicious dinner.

Wondering about the history of Kolaches and why they’re so popular in Texas? Read about the history

A straight-on view of a poppyseed filled kolache sitting on a baking rack next to more kolaches and a mug of black coffee.

Other Classic Baking Recipes to Try

Everyone loves a baked goodie, right? Especially when it’s made from scratch and homemade. Here are some of our favorites that we’re certain you’ll love, too:

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Orange Sweet Rolls
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Monkey Bread
Blueberry Hand Pies (Pop Tarts)
Country White Bread
Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Butterscotch Bread
Jumbo Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Banana Nut Bread
Zucchini Bread
Bacon Parmesan Gougéres

These are all amazing and delicious in their own special way. But, in the meantime, isn’t the grabbing your eye?

A straight-on view of a half-eaten poppyseed filled kolache on a white dessert plate with a fork next to it.

Ready to make the best pastry this side of Prague? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a baking pan filled with freshly baked kolaches topped with poppyseed filling and cream cheese filling.

Homemade Kolaches

Nothing conjures memories of special times with family more than when I'm making a batch of Grandma's Homemade Kolaches.  They take a little TLC, but they are so worth it.  Make sure to let the dough double in size, once in a lightly oiled bowl, and then again once the pastries have been formed.  Pastry perfection. 
4.91 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast and Dessert
Cuisine: Czech
Keyword: homemade Czech pastries, how to make kolaches
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Proofing: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 48 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 636kcal


Kolach Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk lukewarm, 105° - 120°F
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter melted and then cooled
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • tsp active dry yeast or Instant Yeast (aka: Rapid Rise)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted, for brushing the uncooked kolaches

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry Topping

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cherry Topping

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 15 oz can pitted sour cherries (Drain, but save the juice)

Poppy Seed Topping

  • cup poppyseeds
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Streusel Topping

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter chilled, cubed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon ground


Prepare the Dough

  • Add the lukewarm milk, sugar, cooled butter, eggs, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix everything together using the paddle attachment.
    1 cup whole milk, ½ cup sugar, 5 tbsp unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • Add 4½ cups flour and salt to the mixture. Mix on low just until the dough starts to come together. Use your hands to remove the dough from the paddle attachment. Remove the paddle and replace it with the dough hook. Mix (knead) on medium for 6 to 7 minutes until the dough is soft and is starting to pull away from the bowl, adding another ¼ to ½ cup of flour as needed.
    5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and smooth it into a ball with your hands. The dough will be quite sticky. This is normal. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough over to coat with oil all over. If desired, brush melted butter over the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, non-drafty area until it has doubled in size, usually about 2 hours. Or, place in the refrigerator for overnight or up to 12 hours.
  • On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness.
  • Using a 2½-inch cookie cutter, an inverted metal can, or an inverted glass, cut rounds from the dough. Re-roll the scraps, and cut more rounds.
  • Place each round on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart from each other, cover with a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using your thumb, press 1 large indention into the center of each round, leaving a 1/2-inch wide rim. Spoon about 1 tablespoon topping into the indentions. Liberally sprinkle the streusel over the tops of the kolaches. Brush the melted butter all over the edges of the kolaches.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the size of the kolaches). 
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool

Cream Cheese Topping

  • Place all of the cream cheese topping ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Or, mix with a hand mixer.
    8 oz cream cheese, softened, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry Topping

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. 
    ½ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Add the blueberries and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
    2 cups fresh blueberries, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool. 

Cherry Topping

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch.
    ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Stir in the reserved cherry juices and cook, stirring often, over medium heat, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.
    1 15 oz can pitted sour cherries
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries. Let cool. 

Poppy Seed Topping

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the poppy seeds, sugar, and flour.
    ⅓ cup poppyseeds, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, add the poppy seed mixture and stir constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Let rest for at least 15 minutes (it will thicken as it cools off).
    ¼ cup whole milk, 1 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ tsp vanilla extract

Streusel Topping

  • In a medium-sized bowl, add all of the ingredients. Use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers to create a crumbly texture. Set aside.
    ¾ cup sugar, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon


See the video near the top of the post for visual guidance.  If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
The fillings can be made several days in advance.
The kolaches will keep in an air-tight container on the counter for 4 to 5 days.  They'll keep in the fridge for up to a week.  They can be frozen for up to 2 months.


Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in January, 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe, new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in November, 2023!


  • 5 stars
    I’ve been seeing kolaches around lately, but I actually don’t think I’ve ever had one! Your photos are so pretty that I suddenly feel like I need to sample some kolaches immediately! I love that blueberry filling 🙂

    • Thank you so much! These are the real deal! And yes, the blueberry filling is my favorite…well, the cherry is super good, and the cream cheese? Okay, they’re all pretty tasty. Thanks so much! xo Kris

  • I’ve never heard of kolaches before! I love seeing recipes like this that are passed down from generations and then shared with the rest of the world. These pastries are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  • 5 stars
    The pastry looks so flaky, pure perfection! I would love some with a cup of coffee in the morning. I can also see serving these at a nice tea party. Grandma’s recipes are the best! A true treasure for sure.

  • 5 stars
    Oh my gosh I haven’t heard of these in SO long!! My grandmother was Czech, too! And my dad was a certain percentage, that I don’t remember now, but I have (unfortunately) vague memories of these! These look sooo amazing!

  • 5 stars
    Grandma’s….or in my case and your too baba’s….we awesome ladies. They could work magic in the kitchen, and everything was ALWAYS so delicious. I know for sure if baba was here, she could run circles around me….and I wish we could have their delicious foods forever. What a great post.

  • 5 stars
    We were staying in Prague for a few years and got to taste these amazing dessert there. I cannot wait to try your recipe and refresh my memories of that beautiful place. Thnx for sharing 🙂

    • Top of our bucket list of places to visit is Prague. I hope this recipe helps transport you there. We really love it, and hope you do, too. Thank you!! 🙂 Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I’m so glad tomorrow is Sunday because that means I have a little extra time to make these! Yay – they look fabulous, I’m always searching for a delicious homemade unique recipe.

    This dish is always a good idea, no matter what season it is.

  • I am also Czech and my grandmothers kolaches were amazing. I am 50% Czech so I’m a half-hunky . I can’t wsit to try this recipe. Thank you for all the fantastic recipes.

  • I have a few different recipes for kolaches. I’m going to try this one for an upcoming family gathering. My mom and my grandma made them often, and they made poppyseed, pineapple, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry fillings. I remember how hard it was to choose when they were placed on the table.
    Thank you for the recipe.
    Do these freeze well of wrapped individually?

    • Yes! That is the challenge…which flavor to go with. You probably do like we do…go with ’em all! These do freeze just fine. Although, I believe they are best when made fresh. But, you’ll still enjoy them even if they’ve been frozen. Let us know how they turn out!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    My Great-Grandma and my Mom used to make these (Great-Grandma’s family was from Prussia). The poppy seed were the favorite in the family. I loved lemon. My mom would drizzle icing on hers. I am saving this recipe and I will be making these. I miss those two ladies.

  • 5 stars
    Look good! I too come from, on my moms side, a line of czechs. So I am well acquainted with kolaches… though never hurts to take a look at another recipe. One thing I noticed missing was the little crumbly topping that we always top ours with. I forget what it’s called, but it it’s very much like streusel, and just adds that little something extra (not that they need any extra, but still… it’s good).

    • Thanks Shikha! There are other types of toppings you can use, too. From poppyseed to apricot…I remember my grandmother even sometimes used cottage cheese with raisins…(those weren’t my favorite). 🙂

    • No, it should be at room temp. Thanks for that point. I’ll update the recipe. I hate when recipes leave that piece of info out…and then here I went and did it myself!

  • I can’t wait to try these – my history is Czech so I am always looking for good recipes from the ‘old’ country.

  • As a kiwi living in Japan I’ve vaguely heard about these but never seen or eaten one which means I need to make them this instant. However it’s 7pm so I should probably make something containing vegetables for dinner? Well, at least I have a plan for Saturday, now. Question; just the 2 of us, it would be fun but probably not a good idea to polish them off before Monday, so how well do they keep? Then I could make alliances at work through pastry….

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