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Kolache Recipe

Homemade kolaches make for an impressive and delicious breakfast, dessert, or snack. While they may look intimidating to make, this kolache recipe is a cinch and great for cooks looking to try a new spin on classic pastries!

overhead view of 12 baked kolache in blueberry cheese and raspberry on black plate o

What Exactly Are Kolaches?

Pronounced “koh-lah-shee,” the word kolache is derived from the Czech word, kola, meaning “wheels” or “rounds,” referring to the shape of the pastry. A staple of Czech culture, kolaches gained popularity in the United States in the 1880s when thousands of Czech people immigrated to Texas. 

Kolaches were traditionally made in the homes of Czech families with a sweetened yeast dough that was hollowed out in the center and filled with fresh or frozen fruit as a common afternoon snack. Fillings were typically made from apricots, poppy seeds, prunes, and cherries — all of which are common and available in Eastern Europe.

I first heard of kolaches when I decided to make them myself. I was intrigued by the similarity in appearance to danish, but they are very different. These are make from a yeast-based dough, and when baked, they taste like a filled sweetened bread.

So, Aren’t They Just Donuts?

The short answer is … no!

The long answer is that while they do resemble donuts and even danishes, kolaches have mistakingly become synonymous with donuts and donut shops. In fact, they feature several differences from their delectable dessert counterparts, including:

  • Kolaches are baked, not fried.
  • They don’t contain much added sugar or a sweetened glaze, like many jelly-filled donuts and danishes.
  • The fruit fillings are made from fresh fruit compotes instead of preservatives like jellies or jams.
  • Traditionally, they were served as an afternoon snack and even reserved for celebrations like weddings in Czechoslovakia, as opposed to donuts which are a typical American breakfast item. (Although there’s no wrong time to eat a kolache, in my opinion!)

Key Ingredients for Homemade Kolaches

dough ingredients for kolache all measured out
Kolache dough ingredients (top left, clockwise): egg yolks plus whole egg; melted butter; flour; yeast; sugar; salt; whole milk
  • Whole Milk: You’ll use a cup in this recipe to help activate the yeast and yield a fluffy pastry dough.
  • Butter: Ten tablespoons total. That’s right; 10! This gives the dough a rich, velvety, buttery flavor that perfectly compliments the light sweetness and the fillings.
  • One Large Egg + Two Yolks: The egg white helps bind everything together and the yolks give the dough rich flavor and a yellow color, as well as help it rise.
  • All-Purpose Flour: You’ll use between three and a half and four cups for this recipe.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is best for this kolache recipe because it doesn’t discolor the dough. Plus, you only need one-third cup. Trust me!
  • Instant Yeast: This is a fast-acting rising agent that will result in the fluffiest pastry dough.
  • Salt: Just half of a teaspoon helps balance out the richness from the whole milk, eggs, and butter and the sweetness from the sugar.
  • Bonus Ingredient: Sprinkle a streusel topping over the kolaches to add a sweet, crunchy element to every bite! Simply mix 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter (chilled and cut into eight pieces) in a small bowl with your fingers until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

How To Make Kolache Dough

kolache dough in mixing bowl
Kolache dough just mixed, in bowl, is a very soft and slightly sticky dough
  • Combine wet ingredients — milk, butter, and eggs — in measuring cup (It will be lumpy; don’t over-mix.)
  • Combine dry ingredients — flour, sugar, yeast, and salt — in the bowl of a standing mixer, then add milk mixture and knead for two minutes on low speed. (We don’t want splashing!)
  • Increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 8-12 minutes until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and let rise in warm place for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight in a covered bowl.

TIP: Brush the kolache dough rounds with an egg wash made of egg and milk 

How to Make the Fruit and Sweetened Cheese Fillings

kolache filling ingredients for fruit or cheese filling in bowls on wood background
Filling ingredients from top, clockwise: blueberries with sugar and cornstarch; cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar, and ricotta; raspberries, strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch.

For this kolache recipe, we made three versions — a blueberry filling, a mixed berry filling (raspberry and strawberry in mine) (mixed berry makes me think of my favorite pie) and a sweetened cheese filling. The blueberry filling was the winner in our house. It was just the perfect sweetness and thickness. Easy too! Just combine 3 ingredients and microwave!

But that’s not to say the cheese version was bad. Quite the contrary! It was rich, decadent, and delicious. If you’re a fan of cheese danishes, you’ll love these cheese kolaches!

Ingredients for the Sweetened Cheese Filling and How to Make:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest grated
  • 6 ounces ricotta cheese (3/4 cup)
  • Combine all ingredients except for ricotta and mix well for about 1 minute. Add ricotta and mix for another 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until needed. (Makes enough for 16 kolaches.)
sweetened cream cheese filling in white bowl with spoon on wooden background

Ingredients for the Fruit Filling and How to Make:

  • 10 ounces fruit
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Combine all ingredients in microwave safe bowl, and microwave for about 8 minutes (stop after 2 to 3 minutes to mix very well).
fruit filling in microwave ready to be cookies

How to Fill and Bake the Kolache:

  • Divide dough equally into 16 pieces.
  • Form the pieces into balls.
  • Create a circular indentation or well in the center of each dough ball by flattening with a small cup or glass.
  • Brush the sides of the kolache with egg wash, then fill with the cheese or fruit and sprinkle the sides with the streusel topping.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (do not over bake – you want them very pale in color) and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve warm, and enjoy!

How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Kolaches

  • To Store: Keep leftover baked kolaches in an airtight container on your counter at room temperature for 2-3 days. (Consider storing sweetened cheese versions in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before eating since their filling contains dairy.)
  • To Freeze: Freeze pastry dough in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to three months. You can also make the fillings ahead of time and freeze them for up to six months. Allow them to thaw completely overnight in the fridge and then come to room temperature before filling your pastries. We did not test freezing baked and filled kolaches, but like most pastries they should be kept in an airtight, freezer safe container for several weeks. They likely won’t be as good after thawing from frozen as they were fresh.
  • To Reheat: Leftover kolaches are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven or at room temperature. If refrigerating leftovers, allow them to come to room temperature before serving. But trust me, you aren’t likely to have leftovers!
close up view of fruit and cheese kolache on black plate

More Dessert Recipes To Try

If you liked these homemade kolaches, then you’ll love these dessert recipes:

📖 Recipe

close up view of fruit and cheese kolache on black plate

Homemade Kolache Recipe

This is an easy homemade kolache recipe with your choice of fruit or sweetened cheese filling. Fresh out of the oven, your family will swoon over these pastries!
4.99 from 57 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 288 kcal


For the dough:

  • 1 cup (236.59 g) whole milk
  • 10 tablespoons (147.87 g) butter , melted
  • 1 large (1 large ) egg
  • 2 large (2 large ) egg yolks
  • 3.5 cups (437.5 g) all purpose flour (17.5 ounces)* (up to 4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup (66.67 g) sugar (2.3 ounces)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) salt

For the cheese filling:

  • 6 ounces (170.1 g) cream cheese , softened
  • 3 tablespoons (3 tablespoons) sugar**
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest grated
  • 6 ounces (170.1 g) ricotta cheese (3/4 cup)

For the fruit filling

  • 10 ounces (283.5 g) pineapple , blueberries, cherries, or other berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces and chilled

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk


For the dough (makes 16 kolaches):

  • Combine milk, butter and eggs together in measuring cup (will be lumpy)
  • Combine dry ingredients (ie, flour, sugar, yeast, salt) in the bowl of a standing mixer then add milk mixture from step 1 and knead for 2 minutes on low speed
  • Increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 8 to 12 minutes until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight in a covered bowl

For the cheese filling (enough for 16):

  • Combine all ingredients except for ricotta and mix well for about 1 minute. Add ricotta and mix for another 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until needed

For the streusal:

  • Combine all ingredients and mix together with fingers. Cover and refrigerate until needed

For the fruit filling (enough for 16):

  • Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high for about 6 to 8 minutes and stir halfway through cooking.

To assemble and bake

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Divide dough into 16 equal size portions and form balls
  • Arrange on prepared pans, cover with plastic and allow to rest in warm place for 1.5 hours
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease and flour the bottom of a 1/3 cup dry measure or a glass with a 2 1/4 inch diameter and use to make deep indents on top of each ball until bottom of measure touches baking sheet (see photo)
  • Fill each indentation with about 1.5 tablespoons of filling (if you are making both cheese and fruit filling, you will need only half of each filling recipe)
  • Brush tops of each pastry with egg wash, and then sprinkle sides with streusel
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (do not over bake – you want them very pale in color) and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve warm



  • I use King Arthur brand flour, which is 4.25 oz per cup. Other all purpose flour have slightly different weights. Start with 3.5 cups and add a bit more if too sticky
  • I thought the cheese filling wasn’t sweet enough. Try the filling with the recommended sugar (3 tablespoons) but add another tablespoon or two to sweeten if needed.
  • Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
  • Nutrition facts below estimated for cheese filled kolache. 


Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 7gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 196mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 518IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 2mg
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  1. 5 stars
    My grandma used to make kolaches. she was Polish. These reminded me of hers. I really enjoyed making them, too. I’m looking forward to making them again, with my grandma’s poppyseed filling. Thank you, Marie!

    1. I have not tried, but I don’t see why not – I’d wrap them individually in plastic wrap then place into a freezer bag (and press out as much air as you can)

  2. I recently had one of these at Bucee’s (large gas station chain with good food) made with ham and cheese inside. It was awesome! What I liked best was the dough part – it was extremely soft. Does this recipe produce a really soft bread?

  3. I just put the dough in the fridge. Since I’m having to refrigerate the dough overnight should it sit out at room temp in the bowl to rise for a certain amount of time before dividing and forming into balls? Thank you.

    1. Hi Erin, sorry for the late reply! Yes, I would have probably left the dough out for a little more time to warm up and let the dough rise. That’ll result in a puffier, lighter pastry. It’s super hard to say because all of this depends on how warm your kitchen is. And so the more you make these, the better you’ll be at being able to see when there is just enough rise. I hope you enjoyed!

  4. The true Czech proper spelling for “one” of these is spelled koláč, nominative plural is koláče.
    The truest Americanized proper spelling and pronunciation of “one” is called a kolach,
    pronounced “ko lahch”
    Plural or more than one Kolach is typically referred to as Kolache, pronounced “ko lah chee”.

  5. I’m Bohemian(Czech) from the Chicagoland area which has a large amount of Czechs. There is still a Czech bakery there in Berwyn, IL. that has been there for generations that you can get Kolacky. We always pronounced it “ko-la-ch-kee” This was to describe the kalacky pastry which you show in your article AND the kalacky cookie version. Berwyn used to have a very large population of Czechs with many Czech restaurants. Even the local Dunkin Donuts had offered a donut with a sweet poppyseed filling for the locals. There should be a book about the Berwyn/Cicero Czechs of Illinois. I have many fond memories of my Aunt and Uncle’s Bungalow home there. Thank you for sharing and reminding me.

    1. Your Kolache recipe is not authentic! My family recipe calls for potato water not milk with yeast! Potato water gives them starch. Also no butter just lard! I’m a Moravian Moravkova from Moravia, Czechoslovakia. You pull the dough apart with you fingers to fill them with filling! My favorite is Apricot. And also make my own poppyseed filling with raisins, etc! I’ll put mine up to yours any day and mine are the traditional best!

      1. Mary, are you always this rude? or just online? I normally do not approve snarky rude comments (only if they are actually helpful -even critical but helpful) but yours is so mean it kinda makes me laugh. Try doing things to make yourself happy and maybe online recipes that are different from yours won’t send you over the edge.

      2. How, have you tried these before you blasted her? They are very good. Keep up the good work Marie!!!

      3. Slečna Morávková, můžete se jít vycpat.

        The recipe looks great – and is very accessible. I’ve made these a million times using a very similar recipe. Honestly, the dough is just a vessel for whatever fruit you have on hand out growing in your garden!
        If you have farmer’s cheese or can make your own milk curds or tvaroh, that’s an amazing filling (yolk, vanilla sugar, sugar raisins, tvaroh.) And can we call them kolache (plural) and kolach (one)?
        If you have access to polohrubá mouka (a slightly courser ground flour), you can get even closer to the Czech version.
        Bravo on a solid recipe.

      4. 5 stars
        Well, I am full blooded Polish. That doesn’t give me the right to post a nincumpoop reply to an awesome recipe.that is free. Try keeping your comments in your head unless they are of value to someone.

  6. The flour it says 3.5 cups or 17.5 ounces and if that’s by weight it doesn’t add up. Each cup of flour should weight 4 1/4 ounce or 120 grams.

    1. Good point! I probably didn’t notice this because I always weigh – it’s so much easier, and more accurate. That said, I double checked the original recipe and it looks wrong as it states 3.5 cups flour (17.5 ounces). I used the weight so I will update the recipe to reflect 4 cups (actually 4.1 cups) but that wouldn’t make sense. Thanks for pointing that out!

      1. Hey Marie!
        Just wanted to know that as far as I know, CC/ATK used the dip and sweep method for measuring flour, so 1 cup of flour should actually weigh 5 ounces, or 140 grams, which means that 17.5 oz for 3.5 cups is correct.

        Thanks for the recipe! I’m planning on doing it this week.

      2. Thanks, Bunny! According to the King Arthur master weights chart, their AP flour weighs 4.25 ounces per cup, so that is what I go by – I am guessing for most other brands, it would be 5 ounces per cup – good to know!

    1. Hi Aggie – I doubled checked the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated and the milk does not need to be warmed. There is no mention that the ingredients need to be any particular temperature..hope that helps

  7. These look really good!! I am czech and I know how to make those and how thsy taste.
    It makes me feel proud, that you like those and make those !

  8. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday, and they turned out so good! We use to live in TX and really miss kolaches. Thanks for the recipe! My husband has already requested that I make them again next week for a meeting at work.

  9. Such sumptuous Kolaches! Can’t choose which I like better, so one of each would be perfect with my morning coffee!

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