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Hungarian Kifli Cookies

Hungarian Kifli Cookies – Rich and flaky traditional Hungarian cookies filled with a light walnut filling. Perfect Christmas cookies!

Hungarian Kifli Cookies

Hungarian Kifli Cookies

If you haven’t tried kifli cookies, then you are sure in for a treat! I hadn’t had them either until I made this batch but after hearing stories about how incredible these cookies were, I knew I had to give them a shot.  This kifli recipe that been passed down through the family for generations and is actually authentic. It was first posted in a Michigan newspaper a few decades back and a copy was passed down to me recently.

Hungarian Kifli Cookies Recipe

Now don’t be intimidated, the recipe is a lot easier than it sounds! What I liked the most was how these kifli cookies had such a light flavor.  They weren’t overly sweet and would honestly be wonderful for breakfast too as they are very reminiscent of a pasty!  You can make the filling sweeter but I choose to just use about 3/4 tbsp of sugar and I’m glad I went that route.  After all of the really sweet cookies recently, these kifli were a welcome change!

Kifli Cookies

Common Questions About Making Kifli Cookies

What are kifli cookies?

Kifli cookies are a rolled cookies made with a yeasted dough filled with a walnut filling.

Do I have to use walnuts?

Usually, kifli is made with walnuts but almonds are a popular filling outside of Hungary.

What is the difference between rugelach and kifli?

Rugelach and kifli are very similar rolled cookie desserts but the biggest difference comes down to the fillings with kifli usually being filled with walnuts while rugelach can be filled with fruit preserves, chocolate, etc.

What does kifli mean?

Kifli (or kipfel) refers to the crescent shaped-dough.  There is a range between kifli being more of a bread roll and a cookie depending on the recipe.  This recipe leans more towards being a “vanillekipferl” which has a nut filling and is more of a cookie rather than being a bread roll.

Kifli Recipe

Tips on hungarian kifli cookies recipe

  • Yes, you dissolve the yeast in sour cream.  I know, it caught me off guard too, but it works!
  • Make sure to grind the walnuts up pretty fine.  I would actually go finer than I did on this batch.
  • This recipe is actually halved, it makes about 16 cookies.  If you want more, just double it!

Kifli Cookie Recipe

Looking for more cookie recipes? Check out these recipes!

Hungarian Desserts

Yield: 16 Cookies

Hungarian Kifli Cookies

Hungarian Kifli Cookies

Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Rich and flaky traditional Hungarian cookies filled with a light walnut filling. Perfect Christmas cookies!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes



  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  • 2 egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • 3/4 cup ground walnuts
  • sugar to taste
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and butter, cutting together with either two knives or a pastry cutter.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine sour cream, yeast, and sugar.  Mix until well combined and let sit while yeast dissolves.
  3. Add yeast mixture into the flour mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks.  Mix dough together by hand until it is well combined.  Split dough in half and wrap up in either plastic wrap or wax paper.  Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.
  4. Right before dough comes out of refrigerator, combine ingredients for filling.  Set aside.
  5. On a large cutting board, sprinkle 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup sugar.  Roll out dough into a thin circle before cutting into 8 triangles. 
  6. Place 1 tsp of filling on each triangle and roll up starting on the wider end.  Place on a lined cookie sheet with the open end down and bend the cookie a bit so it looks like a crescent.  Repeat with process for all of the triangles from both things of dough.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

This nutritional information can vary depending on the specific products you choose so this is a general guess of the correct nutritional information based on the products I used. Please keep that in mind when making the recipe.

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Hungarian Kifli Cookies

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Saturday 7th of August 2021

My grandmother did use yeast got it fold and rolled it out in powder sugar. Flour, butter, and sour cream. Rolled out in powder sugar. Flaky pastery with ground walnut filling

WEEKLY MENU 05.02.21 - The Well Seasoned Mom

Saturday 1st of May 2021



Thursday 29th of April 2021

My parents are Hungarian and my mother used to make Kifli all the time, but she never used yeast and I have never heard of it in a traditional recipe. I think at that time yeast would not have been readily available. My mother is 92. The sour cream would have been used in a lot of recipes. I am not saying that it would not be good with yeast, but it would seem to me like it would turn out more like a nut roll also called a kalacs or Bejgli.

50 Most Delicious Desserts From All Around The World – SOLOWOLO

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

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Tuesday 19th of May 2020

I’m polish and my My in-laws are Hungarian and this recipe is pretty close to what it should be. Us Europeans make these quite often, it’s not just a “holiday recipe” we just triple or quadruple the batch size LOL. For anyone that’s never made these before don’t be afraid to play around with flavours for example you can Change up the filling flavours if you want ......Basically any type of ground nut {almond, hazelnut Etc} would work, never tried peanuts so I’m not sure about that. If you don’t like nut filling Jams like plum jam’s or apricot jam are delicious in this recipe.

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