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Sweet Buns with Poppy Seed Filling

The Sweet Buns are made with a universal Sweet Yeast Bread dough that is easy to make and so delicious. My poppy seed filling recipe keeps the filling in place and the delicious powdered sugar glaze makes the poppy seed sweet buns look like they came from a professional bakery. You’re going to love making and eating these!

Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds set on a baking sheet, top view.

Sweet Buns

Poppy seeds are very popular to use for fillings for sweet buns and pastries in many European bakeries, especially those in the Slavic countries. Growing up in Ukraine my grandma used to make poppy seed rolls all the time. They were my favorite!

The poppy seed sweet buns can be made into individual rolls (cinnamon roll style), or one large roll (cinnamon roll before they’re cut up), filled piroshki style, or any other shape you can come up with. I love to make them into the beautiful twisted sweet buns because they just look so pretty! But feel free to change it up to fit your liking.

Anything made with yeast is going to take time. When making the sweet buns make sure not to rush the process. Allow the buns to proof to the recommended volume and if yours take longer than mine, do not rush the process. Allowing to proof to full specified volume will reward you with fluffier and lighter sweet buns. Rushing the process will yield denser, heavier, and less delicious end result.

Side view of poppy seed buns with twisted layers filled with poppy seeds well displayed, on a baking sheet.

The Poppy Seed Filling

The poppy seed filling sold in cans is typically made with whole poppy seeds. I grew up eating poppy seed pastries made with ground poppy seeds in the filling. Breaking down the poppy seeds makes them softer and more enjoyable to eat.

If you’d rather not go through the hassle of grinding the poppy seeds you’re welcome to leave them whole. But I hope you follow my recommendation at least once and grind them to see the difference.

Sweet Buns with Poppy Seed Filling, set on a parchment lined surface, top view.

I have been perfecting this version of sweet buns with poppy seeds for a long time and I have finally got to the best version that I have ever made. So, I’m here to share all of the details you need to make to replicate my result.

The sweet buns are made with my universal Sweet Yeast Bread dough, which as I’ve mentioned in that recipe, I use anytime I make any kind of pastries or sweet buns. It’s one dough that you can make with different fillings to get a variety of flavors.

The yeast dough is easy to work with, produces soft, fluffy pastries that stay soft for several days. If you use Platinum Baking Yeast your end result will be even softer, more fluffy, and yield in a bigger pastry.

Overview: Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds

  • Make a batch of the Sweet Yeast Dough Recipe and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile make the poppy seed filling by cooking the poppy seeds, then grinding them and mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Roll the dough for the sweet buns into a 24×24 square. Spread the filling in a thin even layer. Fold two outer edges towards the middle, envelop style.
  • Cut it into strips.
  • Twist the strips and join the ends. Set on a baking sheet, pressing the ends together.
  • Let rise until doubled in size.
  • Bake in the oven until golden in color
Step by step process of making the twisted pastries.
  • Make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk.
  • Dip the top of sweet bun pastries into the glaze, shake off excess, and set to dry.
Step by step view of dipping the pastries into the powdered sugar glaze.


Also check out these other yeast baked favorites –

Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds

4.8 from 10 votes

Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds are delicious pastries that are light and fluffy with lightly sweetened filling and a beautiful sugar glaze.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Bread, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Russian
Keyword: poppy seed rolls, sweet buns
Calories: 309 kcal
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 16


Sweet Yeast Dough for Sweet Buns

Poppy Seed Roll Filling

Powdered Sugar Glaze


  1. Makes 16 medium sized pastries.

  2. Click the link for Sweet Yeast Bread recipe and prepare 1 batch of dough according to those instructions, cover and allow it to proof until doubled in size (~2 hrs).

Prepare the poppy seed filling

  1. Prepare the filling while the dough is proofing.

    Alternatively, you can use 2 cups of store-bought canned poppy seed filling. You'll need a little less than two 12 oz cans. Skip to "Shape the Sweet Buns" section if using store-bought (Note 2).

  2. Rinse: Place the poppy seeds into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with running water until the water runs clear.

  3. Cook: add the rinsed poppy seeds to a pot with 4 cups of water. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the poppy seeds in a fine-mesh sieve again. Shake off excess water as much as possible.

  4. Mix the softened poppy seeds and the rest of the ingredients (Note 3) until a smooth filling forms.

    Using the grinder: Put the poppy seeds through a meat grinder, then repeat the process one more time. This will break up the poppy seeds making the poppy seeds softer and more pleasant to eat. Then add the condensed milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.

    Using a blender: add the cooked and drained poppy seeds to a high-powered blender, then add the egg whites and the condensed milk. Grind on medium speed using a pusher to push the poppy seeds down, or stop as needed to scrape down the sides.

    Set aside.

Shape the Sweet Buns

  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Once the dough has proofed until doubled in size punch it down by pressing with a closed fist downward in the middle of the dough.

  3. Turn out the sweet bun dough onto a lightly floured surface.

    Roll the dough into a 24"x24" square using a floured rolling pin. Keep lifting the dough and checking that it does not stick underneath as you roll it. If at any time the yeast dough sticks to the surface use a bench scraper to free it from the surface and add a light dusting of flour as you continue rolling. Adding too much flour will toughen the pastries, keep that in mind.

  4. Spread the poppy seed filling all over the dough staying away from about 1-2 inch edge closest to yourself.

  5. Fold the dough: visually divide the dough into thirds. Fold 1/3 of the dough furthest away from yourself over the middle third. Next, fold the last third over the middle and pinch the end sealed.

  6. Shape the pastries:

    Cut the folded dough into 16 strips widthwise using a long, sharp knife.

    Shape: Working with one strip at a time, hold the opposite ends of the strip and pull slightly to make the strip a bit longer. Then, twist it twice. Overlap the ends and press them together by pushing down with a floured tip of the wooden spoon handle. Use a bench scraper to swiftly pick up the pastry and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

    Repeat with the rest of the strips and transfer to the prepared baking sheet spacing the sweet buns with poppy seed filling evenly (~about 8 per baking sheet).

Proof & Bake

  1. Proof: Cover the shaped poppy seed sweet buns with a tea towel and allow them rise until doubled in size. A better way to determine if the pastires are proofed enough and ready to go in the oven is described in Note 4.

  2. While the pastries are proofing preheat oven to 350F with the baking rack centered.

  3. Once the pastries have risen, bake them for about 20 minutes or until nice, golden and baked through. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle should read 200F°.

Powdered sugar glaze

  1. Prepare while the oven is preheating and the buns are proofing.

    In a bowl stir 2 cups of powdered sugar, 3-4 tablespoons of milk, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract together until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

  2. Once the sweet buns have cooled slightly, they should still be warm, but not hot (~5 minutes), dip the top into the powdered sugar glaze, then lift it up and allow excess to drip off. Then turn over and set back on the baking sheet or cooling rack.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: What Yeast to use for Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds

  • This sweet bun recipe calls for Instant Yeast. I use Platinum Superior Baking Yeast in all my yeast goods because it is the best Instant Yeast. It produces fluffier, softer, and bigger baked goods since the dough conditioners added to the yeast improve the dough’s texture making it able to hold on to more air as the dough rises. Use it if you’re able to get some, if not regular Instant Yeast will do as well. 
  • Instant Dry Yeast can be added dry into the flour or mixed with liquids before adding. 
  • Active Dry Yeast will always need to be mixed with liquids and allowed to proof for 5-10 minutes before using to activate. Active dry yeast also takes longer to rise. To compensate you can add about 1/4 more of active dry yeast than you would Instant Yeast.

Note 2: Canned Poppy Seed Filling notes

  • Keep in mind that while the store-bought poppy seed filling is more convenient, it is different in texture and sweetness than the one indicated in the recipe. The store-bought poppy seed filling is a lot sweeter, therefore you’ll likely need to skip the powdered sugar glaze that is mentioned towards the end of the recipe.
  • Also, when baking, the canned filling tends to spread and burn, so keep an eye on the pastries as they bake.

Note 3: Whip the egg whites if you’d prefer stiffer poppy seed filling

  •  Adding the egg white as-is will create a runnier filling. If you’d rather have a more firm filling whip the egg whites on medium speed with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks. With this amount of sugar it is easy to overwhip the egg whites and make them break (they’ll look broken instead of smooth), so take care not to overwhip. 
  • Once whipped, fold the whipped egg whites into the ground poppy seeds with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Regardless of the texture before baking, this filling will firm up once baked.

Note 4: How to check if the sweet buns dough is properly proofed

  • Press the sweet buns dough with your finger about 1/2 – 1 inch deep.
    • Still needs more time: If the indentation springs back and fills up quickly, and flattens out, the dough still needs more proofing time.
    • Perfect: If the indentation fills up slowly and still leaves a little bit of an indentation, the dough is ready to be baked.
    • Overpoofed: If upon pressing the indentation stays indented and does not fill in at all, the dough has over-proofed and the pastries will most likely deflate upon removing from the oven after baking.
Nutrition Facts
Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds
Amount Per Serving
Calories 309 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 76mg3%
Potassium 171mg5%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 269IU5%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 161mg16%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Jackie M.

    The recipe for sweet bread is great, I would give it 5 stars. I used the breadmaker method, finding I did need to add a few more tablespoons of flour to bring the dough to workable consistency. The filling however was a disaster! I chose to follow the original recipe, and not the “option” to whip the egg whites first. I ended up with a soupy consistency filling that poured out when I shaped my twists. I was able to salvage, and the end result is tasty, but half my filling poured out on the counter. Suggestions?

    · Reply
  • Lana Ryabchuk

    Delicious results! Thank you for sharing!

    · Reply
  • NB

    Where do you get good poppy seeds?

    · Reply
    • The dry poppy seeds are found at the bulk section of the grocery store. The prepared filling can be found next to other pie fillings or the baking section of the stores.

      · Reply
  • Mary Ann

    Have you made this recipe with cake yeast? If I use cake yeast how would I adjust it? Anxious to try these. They look delicious!!

    · Reply
  • Nelli

    This recipe is a keeper! Made it a couple of times already and everyone that has tried these have loved them!! Dough is soft, simple to make (even easier if you have bread machine) and it’s also very easy to roll out and work with! The only adjustment I make is that I cut it into 24 strips instead of 16, otherwise they’re just a little too big for my liking. Other than that, this is an A++ recipe that I’ll continue to make again and again!

    · Reply
  • Richard Tunner

    Thank you for this recipe! I have made this dough recipe three times and it has not failed me!!!love it, super fluffy and great with the poppy seed filling or jam filling or just on its own!!!

    · Reply
  • Jesse-Gabriel

    Die Fotos sehen so lecker aus, ich würde am liebsten gleich zugreifen!
    Schade dass das Rezept nicht auch in Gramm Angaben ist.
    Viele Grüße,

    · Reply

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