Hamentashen Life Hack: How to Make Hamentashen Without a Rolling Pin

February 11, 2015

I have confession to make. I have been making hamentashen wrong my whole life. That isn’t to say they don’t come out tasting delicious. They always come out looking and tasting wonderful. I love experimenting with all different flavors of hamentashen, and making tons of hamentashen to share with friends and family. But I have to admit, after all that rolling, and chilling, and cutting, and rerolling, and rechilling, not to mention the filling and folding, by the time Purim comes around I am relived that I don’t have to do it again for another year.

Well it turns out there is a much easier way. And it doesn’t even require a rolling pin. Hear me out. Rolling out cookie dough to use with cookie cutters is always a bit of a pain. The dough needs to be both sturdy enough and chilled enough that it won’t stick and can be transferred to the baking pan. There are always scraps that need to be rerolled, but if you reroll them too many times the finished cookie is tough. Adding more flour makes the dough easier to work with, but also makes the cookie less tender. It is worth it to go through the process of rolling out cookie dough to make wonderfully decorated cookies in cute shapes like hearts or dreidels. But here is the thing I can’t believe I never thought of before. The dough for the hamentashen is not a fancy shape. It is round. And round slice and bake cookies are a whole lot easier to make than rolled cookies.

Think about it for a second. Instead of chilling, then rolling, then cutting the dough you simply shape the dough in a log and chill it like that. When it comes time to make the hamentashen all you have to do is slice quarter inch slices of the dough off the log and lay them on the baking tray. I stumbled upon this discovery when making my Neapolitan Zebra Hametashen which had to be made by slicing the log in order maintain the stripes. But when I ended up with 60 perfectly uniform dough circles ready to be filled in less than 10 minutes I realized that this was a better method all around. I have been making all my hamentashen this way this year and trust me when I say it is a game changer. Not only is it faster, by slicing the dough off a log I am able to use recipes that are more tender and delicious because it doesn’t matter if they are easy to roll. This hamentashen life hack has forever changed the way I will make my purim treats.

Here is my standard hamentashen dough recipe (the one I use for most traditional and fruit fillings), with this method for assembling the hamentashen in the directions.

Note: I have been experimenting more with this method and discovered that it works best with hamentashen that are on the smaller side. I do not recommend making the dough log larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Also, if you chill the dough overnight you will need to let it stand quite a while after slicing before it will be warm enough to fold without crumbling. It is not quicker start to finish than rolling the dough but the time is much more hands off. I prefer to be able to cut the dough and let is sit while I make dinner or clean up the kitchen then to spend that whole time rolling and cutting, but it does take a bit more total time start to finish.

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Ingredients & Quantities

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) margarine, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) shortening, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups (13.5 oz, 380g) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (7.5 oz) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2-4 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water, lightly beaten
  • Fillings of choice

Preparation Instructions

Pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, nuts and orange zest in the food processor until well combined. Add the margarine and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add the beaten eggs and pulse until combined.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and pour it into a large bowl. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of orange juice and mix until it comes together into a ball. If the dough seems dry add the remaining orange juice.

Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape it into a log approximately 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter. This will be the size of the finished dough circles so make the diameter bigger to make larger hamentashen. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and lightly roll the dough log on the counter to make it as round as possible. Chill until firm enough to slice, at least 2 hours.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and slice 1/4 inch circles from the log. Turn the log slightly after every few cuts to keep one side from becoming flat. Transfer the circles to a parchment lined baking sheet. Fill each circle with a small amount of filling. (For 2 inch circles use about a teaspoon of filling). Brush each circle with the egg wash and fold two sides together, pinching tight to make a corner. Fold up the remaining side to make a triangle with the filling showing in the middle and pinch the other two corners well. It is important that they are well pinched, so that they do not come open in the oven. If the dough cracks slightly when folding let the dough sit for a few minutes and then try again. Since the dough doesn’t warm as you roll it like in a standard recipe it may need to warm up just a bit before folding it.

Bake the hamentashen at 350 until they are slightly firm to the touch, about 11 minutes.

Recipe Times


20 Minutes


10 Minutes


30 Minutes

Recipe Yield

3 dozen

Recipe Categories


  1. Wow! What a great idea!!! One question, though: if I don’t want to use the nuts in the cookie dough, would I just add 1/2 cup additional flour? Thanks

    • I have found that in terms of texture it works fine to leave them out. However, the nuts add flavor to the dough so it is a bit bland tasting without them.

  2. Awesome! I make freeze-n-slice cookies all the time (a bit tough in our Israeli freezer, but oh well), and this is a great way to adapt the idea.
    I’ve been saying for a while now that what everyone calls “life hacks” is just a slightly less dusty way of referring to what our mom and grandma called “household hints.” 🙂

  3. That is funny. I looked at the neapolitan cookie recipe and I was thinking the same thing. Do you think it would work for the smore hamentashen recipe? I made several hamentashen recipes last year and that was the favorite so I wanted to do it again.

    • I just made a batch of the s’more hamentashen last night using this method and it worked well. The key is slicing the cookies very thin. I found the s’more dough was a bit stickier than this dough so I floured the board lightly and rolled the outside of the dough log in a bit of flour and that helped.

  4. Amazing! I have been making my cookies from a log instead of rolling for the past 8 years, ever since a car accident made my back ‘non-compliant to the rolling pin activities’. I am sure going to try the hamantacshen this year. Do you think I can use White Whole Wheat flour to replace at least half of the AP flour? Also, what type of shortening do you use? I usually use Earth Balance margarine or oil for baking, but yours calls for both margarine and shortening. Thank you very much for all the terrific recipes.

    • I think white whole wheat flour should work fine in this recipe. I always use spectrum organics palm shortening and earth balance margarine so that is what I used in this recipe.

  5. Shosh, as I read your introduction, it hit me, you were doing ice box cookie hamentaschen. Fabulous idea, now I am kicking myself for not figuring it out on my own. Think I might try it with my GF hamentaschen dough [based on almond flour] with Maya. Thanks for helping make our lives easier. Chodesh tov!

      • I made the dough, rolled it into a 2″ log wrapped in a plastic bag, refrigerated overnight. In the morning, I cut the roll into 1/4 inch slices, filled and folded into hamentaschen. The dough was a bit crumbly and a challenge for my 6 year old granddaughter helper. I would do it again this way.

        GF Hamentaschen from elanaspantry,com


        3 cups blanched almond flour
        ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
        ½ cup grapeseed oil or palm shortening
        1 egg
        2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
        1 tablespoon vanilla extract

        In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt
        In a smaller bowl, mix together oil, egg, agave, and vanilla
        Mix wet ingredients into dry
        Roll dough into 1 inch balls; place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then press flat into small circles
        Scoop one teaspoon of filling into each circle of dough
        Fold the dough in from three sides and pinch the corners to form a triangle shaped cookie
        Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until dough is golden brown

        Makes 18 hamantaschen

  6. I do not have shortening in my pantry. if I use parve margarine for both, how will that effect the the outcome of the Hamentashen?

    • The texture will not come out right, and the dough will collapse in the oven due to the different melting temperatures of margarine and shortening. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe without the shortening.

  7. Hi, I made these today. Although they came out yummy, I had 2 issues: I rolled the dough into logs, and refrigerated it for over 2 hours. But I still felt that it was too soft when I started to slice it, so I needed to place it in the freezer for another hour. Secondly, although I made very pretty Hamentaschen-shaped cookies, they spread in the oven. They came out very flat. Any idea why this happened? Like I said, the taste was great, but they aren’t dainty and pretty like yours!

    • I don’t know why two hours wasn’t enough, perhaps my fridge is colder than it should be! In terms of the spreading I find that happens if I slice the dough too thick. In order for these not to spread too much they need to be smallish and not too doughy. If you want extra insurance against spreading you can also decrease the baking powder a bit. The finished cookies will be a bit crisper and not quite as chewy but still delicious.

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