Hungarian Kiffles

Hungarian Kiffles

Kiffles are traditional Hungarian cookies made from cream cheese dough and filled with various flavors of pastry filling. They're delicate, rich and a beautiful addition to any holiday cookie platter. Being of Hungarian descent, kiffles (kiflis) have always been on hand at our family gatherings during the holidays. They take a little bit of work to prepare, but one bite will prove they're well worth the effort.

Hungarian Kiffles

  • Ingredients:
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup additional flour (to prevent sticking during rolling)
  • 2 12-ounce cans of pastry filling (see notes)

Prepare the dough:
Whisk the 2-1/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until very smooth and creamy.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour-salt mixture slowly, mixing just until combined. The dough will be quite moist, but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of lightly floured wax paper and flatten into a square about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4 equal pieces and wrap each separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, a minimum of 2 hours.

Assemble the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a well floured sheet of wax paper. Dust the top of the dough with flour and top with another sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness. You should end up with about a 10-11" square.

Remove the top sheet of wax paper and trim dough into a square with a pastry wheel or sharp knife. Cut the square into fourths lengthwise and crosswise to get 16 squares. (Save your scraps for re-rolling.)

Working as quickly as possible, place about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of filling in center of each square. Pinch together two opposite corners in the center and fold that "point" over to one side and smooth down very gently. This helps to prevent the cookie from popping open as it bakes.

Arrange cookies 1-1/2 inches apart on the parchment lined sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then carefully transfer to cooling racks. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 portions of dough, using different filling flavors if desired.

Store between layers of waxed paper in a tightly closed container and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature (30 minutes out of the fridge), arrange on a plate and dust lightly with powdered sugar just before serving. It's not advisable to top them with powdered sugar before storing.

Makes about 5 dozen

Hungarian Kiffles

Recipe Notes:
About the filling:
It is very important that you use fillings that are made specifically for pastry. Pie filling will be too loose and jams and preserves can produce unpredictable results. We've always used Solo Brand Cake & Pastry Filling and have never been disappointed. Solo makes a variety of flavors in 12-ounce cans. Prune, or "lekvar" in Hungarian, and poppy seed are the most traditional Hungarian choices. Pictured here are poppy seed, raspberry, almond and apricot.

About the dough:
Because of the high fat content, this dough tends to become soft and difficult to work with rather quickly. During the rolling process, you may need to remove the wax paper and sprinkle on a bit more flour once or twice to keep it from sticking. I added about 1/2 cup of flour total throughout the rolling process on this particular batch. If you feel the dough has become too soft after rolling, just put it back in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 minutes before cutting.

Special Note: Recipes such as this vary from family to family and region to region, and they continue to evolve as they are passed down through the generations, often depending on changes in personal tastes, access to ingredients and sometimes even dietary restrictions. We welcome constructive feedback about recipe variations and family traditions, but insulting, purely contradictory comments will not be published.

comments & replies

great cookies! thanks for sharing!

merry christmas and happy 2009

My Taste Heaven

those look delicious... the only thing is, where do you get pastry filling? i have never seen it so I was thinking i could make my own using jam and possibly thickening it up by cooking it down a bit or something.

Always make your own lekvar! (Hungarian fruit paste) Lekvar is great and so easy to make. I make prune and apricot lekvar (sometimes peach, but those two are the best). Also, Hungarian poppy seed filling is scrumptious. Go for it.

try looking at your local deli at the market.. they sell apricot, raspberry and the lekvar in containers...

I found the Solo filling that was mentioned in the recipe in my local Giant Foodstore. It was in the baking section next to the pie filling and pumpkin puree... it was on the bottom shelf and semi hidden, so keep that in mind :)

Wow, my granddaughter has a social studies project that involves family customs. One of the millions of traditions we have is making cookies. We have drawn the recipes only from family or recipes that we make up ourselves. My husband's Mom lived in Allentown, PA, and every Christmas she made gazillions of kiffles. Who knew they were a part of PA culture from Austrian-Hungarian-Slovak traditions. Now my oldest daughter has gotten very good at duplicating Grammie's Kiffles. I don't know if I would have had the patience to make them, as they are very time consuming, and of all the cookies we make, she is happiest when she finishes the kiffles. Grammie always bought the filling, apricot was everyone's fav, in the Farmer's Market in Allentown, PA, as it was just "apricots," no sugar added. So now I make it that way. Buy a bag of dried apricots (buy good ones, they are not so dry), add water and gently boil. Keep adding water just enough to not have the bottom burn, keep cooking until the apricots are mush. Add nothing else. When they are all mushy, beat them with anything. There you have it...Grammie's apricot filling. She also made what she called nut rolls. It was a HUGE kiffle, and you can use the prunes that Solo makes, or I guess make then the same way I make the apricot. I have never made that. The walnuts she ground, mixed with egg white and sugar. Not so much sugar. She believed in something tasting like the main ingredient, not sugar. Love to everyone who had a grandmother, mother who cooked with or for them. It makes me know how loved I was.

Our local supermarket chain regularly carries Solo pastry fillings, which is the brand we used. These fillings are usually available in grocery chains - check here for a location near you:

Also, the fillings are available for purchase online from

These look just like the Slavic Kolachy my family makes every year. The dough also contains cream cheese and butter. I make different fillings out of dried fruit rehydrated with water and cooked until soft. We always have prune with cinnamon, apricot, and cranberry orange for the holidays but you are only limited by your imagination and the dried fruit available at your local grocery store. Mine are filled, rolled and folded. They are addictive! I made 14 dozen this Christmas.

Amazing pastries, they just look like fun and tasty too...very colourful and excellent photography ...thanks for sharing...Saw you on FoodBuzz

I love these! My in laws make Hungarian Cookies every year, and they look just like this. We use apricot, raspberry, and poppy seed fillings, and YES! we use the Solo brand too. My mother-in-law insists on it :) Gorgeous pictures!

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My late grandmother passed away very suddenly (in a matter of weeks after being diagnosed with cancer) She was the youngest of 8 siblings first generation hungarian american. As these recipes generally go nothing was written down and I have spent a good deal of time trying to match up recipes and what I remember in steps while cooking with her. These were one of my favorite as a child (she used to make some filled with nut roll filling as well, yum yum) I plan on piecing these recipes together in a cookbook with family photos for my daughter. Thanks again as I never knew their actual name, they were always Nana's hungarian cookies!

Jen, was your grandmother's last name Kolatt? My mother in law (Loretta) talked about how her mother Elizabeth was the oldest of 8 first generation Hungarian siblings. I'm wondering if it's the same family.

If you want to make kiffles ahead and freeze them, here are the guidelines: Place wax paper between layers to prevent sticking and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.


I have been making kiffles since I was a young girl and walnut kiffles are one of my favorites! Off hand, all you have to do is beat egg whites, sugar and vanilla then fold in the ground walnuts. We would also make walnut roll using the same dough and filling. Hope this helps.

Jess if would be willing to share your recipe I would be thrilled. My mother always made the one with nut filling when I was a child. She has since passed and none of us have her recipe :(

Jess how many eggs, sugar and vanilla do you add. I've lost my recipe for the walnut mixture.

My mom used to make these with a nut filling made of finely chopped pecans, a bit of sugar and just enough cream to hold the nut mixture together. And of course the traditional apricot filling (boiling down dried apricots until they form a thick paste). In my opinion, the pastry fillings don't have the same rich flavor as those made from scratch.

HI, My grandmother was from Rohrbach An Der Teich, Austria. It's right near the border of Hungry and at one time was part of Hungry.
I grew up on these cookies and have made them every year since I was 25 (now 70). My grandmother also made the bread that was rolled with nuts, fruit filling, poppy seed, etc. I loved her Kraut Flakel which was caramelized cabbage and flat egg noodles. Also loved her paprika chicken and dumplings (dumplings made with chicken livers).
You wouldn't happen to have any of those, would you?


Great recipe, thanks for sharing


My cookies will not stay closed no matter what I do. Pinch, fold over, etc, etc.
Any suggestions? They look like little pies instead of cookies.

maybe your dough is too thick.. it should be rolled fairly thin...i spread the filling all over the little square and roll it up starting at one corner like a cigar.. then I roll it in granulated sugar. makes it have a crunchy topping on it.. don't need to use powdered sugar. any more problems just ask... my grandmother taught me how to make these... and she was the best....

I grew up with these cookies and we called them "hungarian cookies" or "hunkie cookies".
My mom used to make these on Christmas Eve day fresh and always made her own apricot jam to use.
We have kept the tradition for my family also. My husband insists on these cookies each year!

These are so delicious and pretty! I love the raspberry filling, especially.

These cookies were called "kolaches" (pronounced klach-keys) by my entire in-law family members. They were of Ukrainian/Polish descent. I love to use WONDRA flour (but it's a little tricky to work with) to bake these. They come out especially delicate when you use Wondra flour! And also I have successfully made these with CHEESECAKE filling, only I make it thicker)!

I grew up with these cookies. At every holiday these were always at my grand mothers kitchen table,I had lost her recipe but now tradition goes on with this recipe. It's exactly as I remember "nanny"s. Thank you!

This recipe has been lost since my Grandmother died seven years ago. She always made kiffles and kulatch for holidays. I have been looking everywhere for the recipe. As you know the "old school bakers" never measured. My grandmother would use her hand for measuring. I miss her so much. I will now start making these hungarian cookies and dedicate them to my nugmama.

My mother made these cookies every year for Christmas. She added a little extra touch though. Dip the top of the unbaked cookie in whipped egg white and then into a mixture of finely ground walnuts and sugar. Bake as directed above. Makes a crisp nutty crust on top. Delicious!

I can't find my Hungarian cookie recipe. I have it but it's on a floppy disk. I've made the cookies for years, my mother and grandma before me. My recipe is similiar. We called them Oleo Cookies. You use a lot of oleo. In my recipe, you make the dough, roll it out, spread little pieces of oleo on half the dough, fold the dough, spread more oleo, fold and spread again. Ref for about an hour, take out, roll out again and spread the oleo the same way as before. Ref, take out and roll out. This time you cut the dough in little squares and put your filling on. Fold like your is, and bake. We used ground walnuts and sugar for filling or German prune preserves. When I find the recipe, I'll post it. We also had Colach but it was a bread roll with walnuts and sugar. Looked like a cake roll, sort of.

Why cream cheese and not following the traditional sour cream recipe? To keep closed, use a drop of egg wash.

Easy way to make dough: 1/2 of dough recipe at a time mixed in the food processor: 1 cup of flour, 1 stick real butter, 4 oz. cream cheese. Process till ball forms (so easy). Repeat recipe without washing the equipment. I roll into sm balls. Next day roll each ball out in 10x sugar fill with a little pineapple jam, roll up jelly roll fashion and shape into a crescent before baking. If using a nut mixture- ground walnuts, sugar and egg white.

My mother is Austrian and has always made kifli. Her mother had made a cheese filling and poppyseed. I grew up with the walnut filling. My dough, though, is made with sour cream. The dough is very silky and soft. My mother also used yeast sometimes.


We made a Slovakian version using sour cream, not cream cheese in the dough. Also, all cookies are brushed with whipped egg white before going into the oven.

Filling was the preferred cooked apricots, or walnuts (crushed and mixed with egg white and sugar), and lekvar (prune).

My husbands' family were Hungarian and I wish to learn more of some dishes.

I was wondering if i could roll the dough and cut into piece stack in parchment paper in the fridge over night then bake the next day? this would make the baking process easier on me.

We made a Slovakian version using sour cream, not cream cheese in the dough. Also, all cookies are brushed with whipped egg white before going into the oven.

Filling was the preferred cooked apricots, or walnuts (crushed and mixed with egg white and sugar), and lekvar (prune).

My daughter, who lives in Philadelphia, fell in love the Kiffles at her local Wegmans. She asked about going to get some for Christmas...

Buy cookies for Christmas?? That would be a last resort. So, I started looking online. This is the recipe I used.

Filled half with apricot and half with strawberry pastry filling. They are FANTASTIC!

Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I know it will be a family favorite!

I am looking for a receipe for Keffli Bars.I read that they are wonderful and a fast cookie bar for working women. Thanks

My grandmother, who was born in Austria when it was still one country with Hungary, made cookies like this, with all the fillings stated - also ones filled with pineapple. But we always called them "slap doughs" because you "slapped" each square piece of dough between the palms of your hands a couple of times before filling and folding into the diamond shap. Before baking, the folded side was brushed with egg and sugar was sprinkled over them. don't know if there's a difference between these and hers, but the cookie dough of these definitely looks thicker than what I remember. Anyone ever hear of this? Of course there is no recipe, but I think I might try this recipe incorporating her "slap" method.

Kiffles, kolachki, whatever you call them (my Grandmom was Czech married to a Slovak) -- nectar of the gods! Throw in the pizzelles from the Italian side of the family and it's no wonder that I have adult-onset diabetes. But with goodies like that while growing up -- who cares. Such memories. You have answered my questions -- now my sister, who makes Killer Jewish Apple Cakes can make me kiffles, too! What do I make? Reservations!!!!!

Regina, your comment made me smile. You have mentioned some of the most delectable foods ever created! Savor those delicious foods. (By the way, I would love if your sister would post her Jewish Apple Cake recipe. I have lots of apple cakes recipe, but nothing compares to a slice of Jewish Apple Cake I was given in college. I have never been able to trace down the recipe or find something on the internet that matches it.)

Dried fruit will work just fine with these Hungarian cookies. We prefer the California apricot variety because it is tangier than the Turkish variety. What ever dried fruit you prefer to use, just soak them overnight, and I cut them up before I cook them the next day, until the fruit is soft and pliable, usually about an hour. Drain off excess water and add about 1/2 cup of sugar to every 8 oz. of dried fruit used after they are done cooking.

Grandmom used to have me put a dab of egg white in order for them to bake together. She is the only ingredient I haven't been able to duplicate.

My grandmother Elizabeth was from Hungary and she made these when I was a child. My Aunt Jean died July 28th 2014 and was 102. She made these with sour cream.

I take dried prunes and apricots, simmer them in a little water, til pulp. The walnut ones are also good. Sprinkle powdered sugar when cool. Don't refrigerate. They revert back to butter.

Here’s my Kohut-family recipe for Kyflies….(or Kiffles) VERY EASY!!


2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour (I use King Arthurs)
1 8 ounce cream cheese
2 sticks of butter

Blend well.. this goes into my mixer and it doesn’t need a delicate touch.
You can cool dough for a while but I usually don’t.
Roll out thinly, cut into 2x2 or larger squares.
Fill with prune/apricot/nut mixture…..I love the prunes and apricots best….
Bake in 375 oven for 20 minutes or until LIGHTLY brown around the edges.
Cool and sprinkle with Powdered Sugar.

I ate about 10 of these last night. Burp.
I LOVE this recipe….

Trying to get back on this thread...I inadvertently unsubscribed.


Great recipe

This looks like an amazing cookie recipe! However, being Hungarian (born and raised), I have to tell you, these are NOTHING like kifli (which are yeast rolls shaped into a crescent, kind of like a croissant, typically spread with butter or jam and eaten with breakfast). But they do look delicious! And lekvar means "jam" not prunes. Prune jam is "szilvalekvár". Apricot jam is "baracklekvár" and so on. And yes, Hungarians really do love their poppy seed filling! (mákos)

Not at all happy....made 2 pans of cookies, and every one opened up when cooking, even though I followed your directions. Made them for a cookie exchange, but had to buy store bought to bring instead. Bummer!