Croatian Cooking: Orahnjača Recept – Walnut Roll Recipe

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Post author Ana

Written by our local expert Ana

Croatian born Ana is an avid traveler who is always looking for the next travel story from the Balkans to share. Her passion is creating travel itineraries and in-depth guides.

I’ve eaten many walnut roll slices  – far too many. And now I have this walnut roll recipe in my Croatian cooking bag of tricks, thanks to a dear reader who kindly shared it with me; I fear I may eat many, many more…

It is often served at Christmas time and just as great on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea, just like a makovnjača poppy seed roll; this walnut roll recipe is easy to make.

Orahnjača Recept - Walnut Roll Recipe

Here is another post that shows you how to layer and roll this the best.

Orahnjača Recept - Walnut Roll Recipe

Orahnjača Recept – Walnut Roll Recipe

Here is how to make Croatian walnut roll. This easy to make recipe comes from a Croatian reader who lives in Canada. Thanks so much.


For the Dough

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or two teaspoons of vanilla essence)
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon rum, dark
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon warm butter

For the Filling

  • 2.5 cups walnuts, ground
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons plum jam
  • 1/2 a cup raisins (optional)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon rum, dark
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • Egg wash


The Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl place warm milk, vanilla sugar, and the dry yeast. Let it activate (should take around 10 minutes)
  2. Then to that mixture, add 1 egg, salt, white sugar, melted butter, lemon zest, rum and mix all ingredients with an electric mixer for 30 seconds
  3. Add 1.5 cups of flour and beat for two minutes at medium speed with a paddle beater, then change to a dough hook and slowly add more flour spoon-by-spoon until it pulls away from the bowl. It should take around an extra 2 cups of flour, but if you need less do not add it all
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it into a bowl, and then massage the surface with warm butter. Cover with plastic wrap a let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hours. It should double in size

The Filling

  1. In a saucepan warm the milk, then add the walnuts, honey, plum jam, raisins (optional) and the lemon zest and mix
  2. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and cook on low for approx 10 minutes until the milk is incorporated into walnuts. Watch that the milk does not burn! The mixture should be thick like porridge
  3. Remove from the heat. Add in the rum and butter and mix
  4. Place in a bowl and cool in the fridge. It’s easier to spread if it’s cool so this step is a must!

Get Ready To Roll

  1. Knockdown the dough, which has risen, cut in equal halves – either use a baking scale or eyeball it if you have the skills
  2. Roll out each piece to 20 inches (50 cm) by 14 inches (35 cm)
  3. Note: The dough will fight you back as it is very elastic, so be patient

Get Ready To Assemble The Walnut Roll

  1. Remove the filling mixture from the fridge and separate it into two equal halves. Spread one half of the filling, onto one piece of the rolled out dough. Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) on 3 sides and two inches (5 cm) on the back seam
  2. Roll into a sausage roll, and on the last two inches (5 cm) use a pastry brush and apply an egg yolk wash to seal it. Then transfer it to a well-greased (or lined with paper) 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan
  3. Repeat the same process for the second roll
  4. Poke both rolls all over with a toothpick, then glaze with an egg wash
  5. Leave uncovered, and allow it to rise for one hour for it to double in size


  1. Bake uncovered at 300°F (150°C) for 20 minutes, then bake for an extra 40 minutes covered with aluminum foil (covering the rolls prevents the tops from burning)
  2. You’ll know the rolls will be done when you hear a hollow sound as you tap the top of them
  3. Allow the walnut roll to cool slightly in the pan for 20 minutes
  4. Then, remove from pan, dust with icing sugar and serve warm

Note: You can freeze the rolls if you wrap them individually, tight in cling wrap and then again with aluminum foil

If you have any tips to improve this walnut roll recipe, please let us know in the comments; we love to hear your suggestion.

More Tasty Croatian Recipes

Comments (18)

  1. I’m trying it tonight… i remember my mother making this, but I think she also folded in some whipped egg whites to the filling (can’t remember how many)… and there was orange zest as well as lemon…. but I’m doing it your way… fingers crossed!

    On another note, do you know of any tree house accommodations in Croatia?

    Enjoying your site,

    Kindest regards,


    1. Ohhh that sounds great too. This is a blog reader’s recipe and from what I have seen there are so many variants. So I’d love toknow what you thought of it.

  2. From the very first day I arrived I want to taste it but I haven’t seen any place where you have have just a pice and not the whole pie, is there any place in Split or Dubrovnik? Thanks!!

  3. My mother’s mother Anna Stanicic Grochowski from Zupanja Croatia made potica and my father’s mother Danica Ruzic Kucan from Hreljin, Croatia made orahnjaca but it was the same sweet nut bread. My daughter, their great-granddaughter and I make it For Easter in their honor.

  4. Wow so happy to find a recipe to compared to my Grandmother’s!! She too folded in the whipped egg whites, the yokes went into the dough. I don’t recall the rum, jam or raisins…and she used more cinnomon. So delicious! Thank you for sharing!!

  5. I read the recipe twice and I don’t see anything about whipped egg whites. Am I missing something?

    1. I’ve folded whipped egg whites into my nut mix like my gram used to, but the mixture gets so wet that I’ve stared omitting the egg whites completely

  6. This cake is delicious! I found this recipe made two very large rolls. In the future I plan on baking them on a baking sheet with plenty of room in between the rolls. Baking them both together in a 13X 9 pan they mushed together & the middle turned out very pale. I hope using a baking sheet & separating them a nice even color will appear.

    1. Sorry, I can’t help you with that level of detail. I suggest you contact the guest houses directly to ask.

  7. Merry Christmas and thank you so much. I have been searching since my mother-in-law passed away in 1996. She was the one who always made it and hadn’t taught us to make it or shared the recipe. I’ve found others, but this has now passed the family test for two years and I have you to thank. We all so appreciate you sharing!

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