Croatian Cooking: Makovnjača – Poppy Seed Roll

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Post author Vedran

Written by our local expert Vedran

Vedran is a total food lover from Croatia. He creates recipes from his kitchen in Zagreb using fresh produce from his garden.

Makovnjača or poppyseed roll is actually a traditional Croatian dessert that doesn’t have an actual historical story. There is no specific time when this dessert has become “Croatian” or where it was made for the first time.

A few countries in central and eastern Europe claim the poppyseed roll as their own national dessert. Regardless we Croatians love it.

In Croatia, Makovnjača is considered to be a Christmas time dessert, although we do eat it during the entire year in many households across Croatia as well as in many restaurants.

There are also similar desserts that look like makovnjača, though these are instead filled with walnuts, cacao powder, different types of jam, hazelnuts, or also with carob. There are no limits to what flavors you can make, so get creative and try one for yourself.

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Croatian Makovnjača Recipe (Poppy Seed Roll)

Here is an easy Makovnjača recipe. This poppyseed roll is actually a traditional Croatian dessert that doesn’t have an exact historical story, but tastes oh-so-good!


Poppy Seed Roll

  • 600 g all-purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 40 g cube of fresh yeast (2 1/3 tablespoons)
  • 100 g sugar (0.5 cup)
  • 120 g butter, softened at room temperature (8.5 Tbls)
  • 250 ml milk (1 1/8 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt

The filling:

  • 200 g poppy seeds (1 1/2 cups)
  • 70 g sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 200 ml hot milk (3/4 cup)


  • Butter for coating the dough
  • Powdered sugar


  1. Mix the yeast with half of warm milk and sugar. Let it rise a little
  2. In a separate large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt, softened butter and eggs. Mix well and then add the rest of the warm milk and the yeast mixture
  3. Knead it by hand for a few minutes until you get a smooth and soft dough
  4. Cover the dough with a towel, and set it aside to rest in a warm place for a one hour or until it doubles in size
  5. Roll out the dough in a square shape, approx 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick
  6. For the filling, take a medium bowl, and mix together the poppy seeds and sugar and cover them with heated milk. When I say heated, I mean like really hot milk. Mix it well
  7. Spread out the poppyseed filling evenly onto the rolled out dough, and then roll the dough into a loaf, starting from the wider side (refer to the step-by-step photos)
  8. Brush the roll with melted butter and place to a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 40 minutes
  9. Once cooled, dust the roll with powdered sugar and serve with a cup of Croatian coffee

More Tasty Croatian Recipes From Vedran

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