Apricot & Walnut Poppy Seed Rolls (video)

several poppy seed rolls, buns on a tray

These fluffy sweet bread rolls are a real treat! Inspired by Ukrainian ‘roulette with poppy seeds’, these apricot and walnut poppy seed rolls will be an instant favorite! They’re made with a soft and fluffy yeast dough; filled with a poppy seed, walnut, and dried apricot filling; then glazed with a simple sugar syrup. Enjoy them any time of day with a cup of coffee or tea! These rolls are simply divine!

Find my traditional recipe for Ukrainian poppy seed rolls in my cookbook, Beyond Borscht.

Watch My Poppy Seed Rolls Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube poppy seed rolls video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and all the details. Plus, learn how to shape the rolls! Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for the Recipe

Here are my tips for the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. Find the full list of ingredients in the printable recipe card below.

  • Active Yeast: for making the dough. You can use various types of yeast, including fresh yeast or fast-acting yeast.
  • Whole Milk: while a low-fat milk will work in a pinch, using whole milk make the bread richer and more flavorful.
  • Butter: use unsalted butter for both the dough and the filling.
  • Poppy Seeds: most stores will carry these in the spice aisle. However, I recommend purchasing them in bulk on Amazon or a local Eastern European market. They will be much cheaper!
  • Nuts: I like to add walnuts to this recipe, but pecans, almonds or hazelnuts will also taste great. If you are allergic to nuts, just omit them from the recipe and add more poppy seeds or dried fruit.
  • Dried Apricots: another great pairing with poppy seeds. You can substitute these with dried cranberries, or even dried dates.

Supplies & Tools for Your Kitchen

Need some supplies or tools to make these delicious poppy seed rolls? Shop my Amazon Affiliate links for the items I use in my kitchen. Using these links won’t cost you extra and I’ll earn a small commission.

a metal tray on a marble table, topped with several poppy seed buns

Making the Soft Yeast Dough

For these apricot and walnut poppy seed rolls, I’m using my go-to sweet yeast dough recipe. I use it for my ‘Cinnamon Rolls Recipe’ and many others. You’ll want to start by making this dough.

  1. Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until it reaches between 120F and 130F. Sprinkle in the yeast, whisk, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, into a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk for a minute, until the eggs are well beaten. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture and whisk it in.
  3. Gradually begin adding the flour, whisking it in at first, then switching to a spatula once the dough starts to form. Once a dough ball forms, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.
  4. The dough should be super soft and just slightly sticky. Knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s very smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed.
  5. Drop the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover it with a towel, and set the dough into a warm corner of your kitchen to proof until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours (on the stovetop is great!).

How to Make the Poppy Seed Filling

While the dough is proofing, it’s the perfect time to make the filling for these poppy seed rolls!

  1. Place the walnuts and dried apricots into a food processor and pulse them until they’re finely diced. You should have a crumbly mixture. You can also do this step with a knife.
  2. Next, add in the poppy seeds, sugar, vanilla paste (optional), and the softened butter. The butter should be super soft, but not melted! Pulse again until a thick and chunky paste forms. Set the filling aside until ready to use.
a close image of poppy seed bread rolls

How to Make Poppy Seed Rolls

Once the yeast dough has proofed and doubled in size, it’s time to shape these apricot and walnut poppy seed rolls!

  1. Punch the dough down to release the trapped air, then turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large, 20×20-inch square.
  2. Drop spoonful’s of the prepared filling over the dough, then use an off-set spatula to spread the dough evenly to all the edges.
  3. Gently lift the dough from one side to the other, folding it in half. Watch my video tutorial for step-by-step instructions. Using a long knife, score the dough vertically into 1 to 1 ½-inch segments, then cut the dough into strips.
  4. For shaping the rolls: lift a piece of dough from the work surface and gently stretch it a little bit. If the dough is sticking, simply slide a spatula underneath it. Start twisting the dough from both ends, creating a rope. Next, starting on the thicker side (where the fold is), roll the rope into a spiral and tuck the end underneath.
  5. Place the shaped rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Use two baking sheets to spread the rolls at least 3 inches apart.
  6. Next, brush the rolls all over with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Simply break an egg into a bowl and whisk it vigorously.
a tray on a table filled with apricot and walnut poppy seed rolls

Baking Instructions

Allow the rolls to stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, until they’ve doubled up in size. At this point, you can also start preheating your oven to 350F. I like to keep my rolls next to the oven where it’s nice and warm.

Bake the rolls at 350F for 37 to 40 minutes, until they’re a rich, golden-brown color. Once the rolls start to get some nice color, after about 25 minutes, lay a sheet of foil gently right onto the rolls to prevent the bread from burning.

Since you’ll need to bake two sheets at a time, space the oven racks apart by at least 6-inchs and rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure they bake evenly. If your oven can only accommodate one pan at a time, place the second baking sheet into the refrigerator to keep the rolls from over-proofing.

Easy & Simple Sugar Syrup Topping

While the rolls are baking, you can prepare the simply sugar syrup for coating the rolls. This syrup will give the poppy seed rolls a nice shiny finish on the outside.

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice needed for the syrup. Give the mixture a good whisk and bring it to a boil on the stovetop.
  2. Reduce the heat to a medium and let the syrup simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it stand at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Once the rolls are done baking and are still hot, use a pastry brush to apply the syrup generously.  
a close up of a pastry bun on a tray - poppy seed rolls

Serving Suggestions for Poppy Seed Rolls

I love enjoying these rolls while they’re still warm and fresh with a cup of tea or coffee! These are great any time of the day – for breakfast, brunch, mid-day snack, or after dinner.

If you need to store these for the next day: allow the rolls to cool to room temperature. Wrap each roll individually with plastic food wrap, then place the wrapped rolls into an airtight container. These rolls can dry out quickly so it’s important to keep them well sealed.

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this recipe for my delicious poppy seed rolls? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

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a pinnable image of bread buns, with text overlay - 'Poppy Seed Rolls with Walnuts and Apricots'

Apricot & Walnut Poppy Seed Rolls (video)

30 mins prep + 40 mins cook + 1 hr 30 mins Proofing Time
12 rolls
Delicious Ukrainian apricot and walnut poppy seed rolls recipe! Soft, yeast dough filled with a sweet poppy seed filling!

Ingredients 

For Yeast Dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For Filling:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, or pecans, almonds, hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft but not melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, optional

For Sugar Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Making the Yeast Dough:

  • Begin with the dough. Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until it reaches between 120F and 130F (49C-54C). Sprinkle in the yeast, whisk, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, into a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk for a minute, until the eggs are well beaten. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture and whisk it in.
  • Gradually begin adding the flour, whisking it in at first, then switching to a spatula once the dough starts to form. Once a dough ball forms, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.
  • The dough should be super soft and just slightly sticky. Knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s very smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed.
  • Drop the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover it with a towel, and set the dough into a warm corner of your kitchen to proof until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours (on the stovetop is great!).

Making the Filling:

  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Place the walnuts and dried apricots into a food processor and pulse them until they’re finely diced. You should have a crumbly mixture. You can also do this step with a knife.
  • Next, add in the poppy seeds, sugar, vanilla paste (optional), and the softened butter. The butter should be super soft, but not melted! Pulse again until a thick and chunky paste forms. Set the filling aside until ready to use.

Shaping the Rolls:

  • Punch the dough down to release the trapped air, then turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large, 20×20-inch (51cm) square.
  • Drop spoonsful of the prepared filling onto the dough, then use an off-set spatula to spread the dough evenly to all the edges.
  • Gently lift the dough from one side to the other, folding it in half. Watch my video tutorial for step-by-step instructions. Using a long knife, score the dough vertically into 1 to 1 ½-inch segments, then cut the dough into strips.
  • For shaping the rolls: lift a piece of dough from the work surface and gently stretch it a little bit. If the dough is sticking, simply slide a spatula underneath it. Start twisting the dough from both ends, creating a rope. Next, starting on the thicker side (where the fold is), roll the rope into a spiral and tuck the end underneath.
  • Place the shaped rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Use two baking sheets, spreading the rolls at least 3 inches apart.
  • Next, brush the rolls all over with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Simply break an egg into a bowl and whisk it vigorously.

Baking Instructions:

  • Allow the rolls to stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, until they’ve doubled up in size. At this point, you can also start preheating your oven to 350F/177C. I like to keep my rolls next to the oven where it’s nice and warm.
  • Bake the rolls at 350F/177C for 37 to 40 minutes, until they’re a rich, golden-brown color. Once the rolls start to get some nice color, after about 25 minutes, lay a sheet of foil gently right on top of the rolls to prevent the bread from burning.
  • Since you’ll need to bake two sheets at a time, space the oven racks apart by at least 6-inchs and rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure they bake evenly. If your oven can only accommodate one pan at a time, place the second baking sheet into the refrigerator to keep the rolls from over-proofing.

Making the Syrup:

  • Next, prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice needed for the syrup. Give the mixture a good whisk and bring it to a boil on the stovetop.
  • Reduce the heat to a medium and let the syrup simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it stand at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.

Serving & Storing:

  • Once the rolls are done baking and are still hot, use a pastry brush to apply the syrup generously.  
  • Enjoy the rolls warm with a cup of coffee or tea. For storing allow the rolls to cool to room temperature. Wrap each rollind ividually with plastic food wrap, then place the wrapped rolls into an airtight container. These rolls can dry out quickly so it’s important to keep them well sealed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 669IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 3mg