These delicious and easy vegan hamantaschen are a fun and tasty way to celebrate Purim, the celebration of defeat over a threat to kill thousands of Jews in ancient Persia.
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Hey Internet, it’s about time I showed you another awesome food that’s part of my heritage. Did you know I have a whole collection of them?
Learn more about my e-cookbook: Plant Based Jewish Recipes. That link also includes a full table of contents.
Today, I’m sharing a recipe for vegan hamantaschen.
Hama-what? Hamantaschen are delicious triangular shaped pastries loaded with sweet fillings (like jam, sweet poppyseeds, or chocolate).
They get their shape from the triangular hat that Haman (the royal vizier to King Achashverosh) who tried to kill the Jews.
I’m not going to go through the whole Purim story, but essentially it’s yet another tale of someone tried to kill the Jews, but they didn’t in this case, so let’s eat and celebrate to stamp out the evildoer’s name.
So many Jewish holidays revolve around food. My kinda people! Maybe this the reason I am the way I am… :)
These delicious pastries are delicious any time of year, and you can always muck around with the shaping and still use the dough recipe.
They even kind of look like Polish kolaczki, a food of … well, some of my people. I have a lot of people, OK? But I’m 25% Polish (also 25% Lithuanian, so almost like 50%) so I might have to make some kolaczki.
Ok I’m digressing again.
Hamantaschen are delicious tender pastries, but they can be difficult to get right. Sometimes they’ll open up on you, spread too much, or the filling might be hard and gross if it’s too tough or dry to begin with.
Well I’ve got a troubleshooting guide for you in here, helping you attain the PERFECT vegan hamantaschen.
This dough is easy to roll out and shape, easy to work with, doesn’t need to be chilled, and won’t open up or spread out while baking.*
*Just follow my tips for the best results!
Let’s jump in so we can stop talking and start noshing.
What You’ll Need
Let’s talk about dough. This is a dairy, egg, and oil-free recipe.
You’ll need flour to start. I recommend unbleached all purpose flour.
To make gluten-free vegan hamantaschen, I recommend a good quality gluten-free blend flour, like King Arthur Baking Company Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour.
You could also try substituting half a cup of the flour for tapioca flour to improve the elasticity of the dough to make up for the lack of gluten.
Note that you may need a bit more liquid to make up for how much the flour utilizes it.
For wet ingredients, this dough only calls for two things: an egg replacer and canned coconut milk.
My favorite egg replacer in pastry is definitely Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. It’s flavorless, does an excellent job of binding, disappears (visually, unlike flax), is lighter than most vegan egg replacers, and it’s fairly easy to find. I can get it online or at my regional chain grocery store.
You can also use flax eggs, chia eggs, or your favorite vegan egg replacer.
I use canned coconut milk as a replacement for oil because it is still high in fat and produces a nice rich and soft pastry dough. I wouldn’t recommend substituting straight water, but you could sub half water and half canned coconut milk to lower the fat.
You could use softened vegan butter instead of the canned coconut milk, but you may want to chill the assembled cookies for a little bit, as I’m not sure if they would spread more or not since I don’t use vegan butter in baking often.
Now for the fun part.
So because there are SO MANY different cultural backgrounds within the Jewish diaspora, it’s really hard to say which fillings are the MOST traditional, much less cover all fillings for these vegan Hamantaschen.
But I gotta try, right?
Disclaimer that the following list was created based on my own experience from growing up in a Sephashkenazi household (I made that up, I think--but I do have both Sephardic and Ashkenazi heritage in my family which I’m told is unusual), living in several different parts of the United States, having worked for a few different synagogues, and doing some online research.
The most common fillings I have come across are a poppy seed filling (this may be from Hungarian backgrounds), prune, apricot (a personal favorite), cherry, and a more modern filling--chocolate (because chocolate, lol).
All are incredibly delicious and there are all these other delicious ideas I’ve heard of like:
- Apple Butter which I’ve used in thumbprint cookies with success so I know it bakes well…
- Vegan nutella (blend roasted hazelnuts with cocoa and maple syrup or pitted dates)
- Lemon curd (some aren’t vegan so be careful or make your own)
- Orange marmalade (some aren’t vegan so be careful or make your own)
- Fig butter/jam
- Peanut butter (or other nut butters)
- Strawberry chia jam
- Fruit preserves like blueberries or blackberries, yum.
I’m gonna say something a little controversial and tell you that I used premade jam for my vegan hamantaschen. I just wanted to see if it would work!
But homemade is still better. I’ll have a section below on how to make a few of these fillings from scratch (cause I did that too when I was testing these), but also how to pick a good store bought filling (spoiler alert: the thicker the better!).
Oh and I did make the poppyseed filling. At least there’s that.
Homemade Filling Recipes
I’m going to give you both the poppyseed filling and the apricot filling here. You can adjust the apricot one to accommodate any fruit filling you’d like to make.
If you want a chocolate filling, it needs to be very thick so that it won’t just melt all over the place--I recommend either mixing the chocolate with a thick nut or seed butter or thickening a chocolate ganache in a saucepan with cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
(Hungarian-ish) Poppy Seed Filling:
- ⅓ pound poppy seeds
- ⅓ cup unsweetened unflavored non-dairy milk
- ⅓ cup coconut cream or vegan butter
- ½ cup organic cane sugar (can sub coconut sugar)
- 2 tablespoon vegan egg replacements (recommend Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer)
- A pinch of salt
Over medium heat in a small saucepan, bring the non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and sugar to a low boil. Using a whisk, stir in the sugar until it resolves. Let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes so it can reduce a bit. While that’s cooking, you may choose to grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder or spice grinder, but I like the texture of the whole seeds. Once the timer dings, stir in the seeds and let cook in the pot 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
Apricot (or other fruit) Filling:
- 2 cups dried apricots (or other dried fruit) (you may use fresh fruit but you will need to reduce it more to thicken it up)
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup organic sugar (can sub coconut sugar)
- Juice of a medium lemon
Bring everything to a boil, then simmer on low (covered) for a half hour, stirring occasionally (every 5 minutes or so). Cook uncovered for the last 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Mash with a potato masher or a fork and leave chunky, or blend well with an immersion blender. It will be kind of sticky but wet. That’s what you want.
How to Properly Measure Flour
We want to measure our flour by weight, not by volume. When you scoop flour out of a bag or tin with a measuring cup, you're packing it in there and not necessarily getting the same amount each time.
What's better is to use a food scale with a tare function (allowing you to zero out the scale after you've put the bowl on it so your bowl isn't playing a factor in your equation).
Working in grams, put your bowl on the scale and zero it out. Scoop the flour into the bowl until you reach the desired measurement.
Tips for Making Vegan Hamantaschen
These instructions assume your fillings are ready. Make sure all your fillings are prepped before beginning the dough process because it doesn’t take long to get to the assembly stage.
- Start by making the dough. To a large mixing bowl, add your flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Give it a good whisk and then use a large spoon to make a small well in the center. Add in the canned coconut milk or softened vegan butter and your prepared vegan egg replacer. Mix until a firm and smooth dough--I find it easiest to use my hands to make it come together once the liquid is mixed through. If it just won’t come together, add just a teaspoon or two of water or canned coconut milk and mix some more. If you accidentally add too much liquid and the dough is sticky, sprinkle on a bit of flour and work that in.
- On a lightly floured work surface (I love a large Boos board for all my baking), roll out your dough with a lightly floured straight rolling pin until about ⅛ inch thick. A slight bit thinner than that is OK, but you want your hamantaschen to stay put when you build them. Thicker is not recommended as it will cause your hamantaschen to push out during the baking process.
- Using a 3 inch diameter biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or glass, cut as many rounds as you can fit, then gather the scrap and ball it up and set it aside for now. We’ll roll that out later.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) and line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Note on fillings: I used 3 different fillings here: apricot, cherry, and poppyseed. I’ve listed some information on how to make the fillings in my homemade filling recipe above. If buying, buy a very thick jam or preserve, the thicker the better. Too thin and it will overflow. A good test is the first spoonful into the jam should hold it’s shape and not collapse on itself. That way, it won’t overflow in the oven. Many folks use cherry pie filling for the cherry. I find it too gloopy and saccharine (too sweet), so I use dark cherry preserves instead. I also use low sugar apricot preserves. I made my own poppy seed filling (recipe in the article above).
- Fill your hamantaschen. If you followed my tip about 3 inch circles, use NO MORE than one teaspoon of filling. In fact, in the preserve-filled hamantaschen I used a scant teaspoon (just under). You’ll have plenty of filling and it will keep the hamantaschen easy to shape and this will also help it keep its shape in the oven. Since I used 3 different fillings, I divided the number of circles I had by 3 and added an even number of fillings according to each group of circles.
- Close the hamantaschen. There’s a few ways to do this, but I’m going to give you what I feel is the best method to keep them from opening up in the oven. See above for a picture, but what I did was fold each layer with one overlapping the other, kind of like a box. Fold the left diagonal side in, then overlap it with the right diagonal side, creating a triangular tip. Pull up the bottom edge--the right side of the bottom flap should lie on top of the bottom of the right diagonal flap, creating a completed triangle (don’t worry if it’s not an equilateral triangle--this isn’t geometry class!). The left side of the bottom flap should be tucked under the left diagonal flap. For me, the picture makes more sense than I can explain. This is a pretty method but it’s also functional in that it helps keep the hamantaschen together while it bakes. Repeat with remaining circles (it gets way easier after the first or second one, I promise).
- Tip: have a cookie spatula handy to transport your completed hamantaschen from your board to your lined baking sheet so you don’t mess up the fragile edges. Place each cookie about an inch and a half to 2 inches apart. They spread a little, not a lot with the canned coconut milk. If you used vegan butter I recommend chilling the hamantaschen about 20-30 min before baking, or you can take your chances and just space them apart a bit more.
- Reroll the dough (you may need to flour it and your work surface again).
- Use a pastry brush (or any brush you only use for baking) to lightly coat the sides of each hamantaschen with vegan egg wash, coconut milk, or coconut oil. I make vegan egg wash by mixing 3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of agave or maple syrup.
- Bake each tray for 12-18 minutes (depends a bit on your oven) until the corners start to turn lightly golden brown and the cookie has firmed up a bit. You should rotate and swap your trays (the bottom rack tray with the top) halfway through. Mine were perfect after 16 minutes.
- Let cool (the hardest part of making them, honestly) and enjoy! Some people dust their hamantaschen with powdered sugar, but I find them sweet enough on their own.
- Store your vegan hamantaschen in a covered container on the counter and they’ll stay fresh for 3-4 days, though their quality will start to decline as will any baked good made without preservatives. However, these freeze great, so wrap in plastic wrap and freezer paper, and freeze up to 3 months. I recommend freezing the covered tray until they are frozen, then you can wrap them up and place in a freezer-safe bag to save space.
More Vegan Baking Recipes
I have fallen in love with baking over the past two years, and though I am not good at baking everything yet, I am learning!
Here’s a few more awesome from-scratch baking recipes you can try!
- Vegan Challah
- Vegan Babka… chocolate! Just putting that out there, hah.
- Vegan Bagels
- Easy Pie Crust - try with my Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Matcha Pound Cake
- Banana Bread
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones
- Coconut Cake
- Cranberry Chocolate Chip Jumbo Muffins
Want More Jewish Recipes?
I grew up eating a ton of awesome Jewish foods. However, I haven't had many of them since going vegan 3 years ago. So I've set out to veganize my favorites!
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As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. One night I tested them and we ate the whole pan in 24 hours. Not even joking!
These vegan hamantaschen are:
- Filled to perfection with the filling of your choice
- Tender with a light crust
- So fun to make and eat (especially fun with kids, a partner, or friends)
- And perfect Purim or just any dessert, and especially for impressing guests or family!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!