Nut Rolls

I am a few weeks behind on the nut roll extravaganza that is usually reserved for the holidays, but as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the holidays just totally got away from me. I did a ton of baking for the week and a half leading up to Christmas, and a lot of cooking for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then I hit a wall. A massive brick wall. I had already ground all 3 pounds of the nuts needed for this recipe and had them in the refrigerator, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed some time off from the kitchen and to give myself a little vacation and time to recharge my kitchen batteries. Now that I’m back at it, I was determined to use those ground nuts and churn out nut roll! Besides, there’s never a bad time for nut roll, right?

This recipe is my mom’s best friend’s and my mom claims that she makes the best nut roll ever. Naturally, I had no choice but to give it a go. Now be prepared. This recipe makes 8, count ’em, 8 nut rolls. There are a lot of ingredients. There is cake yeast. I didn’t have it in me to start to figure out how this recipe could be scaled back. I went all-out. Nut rolls can be frozen really well, so problem solved. And really, once the ingredients are mixed, it’s not all that taxing to get them all rolled and baked. I would estimate that start to finish, these took me about 6 hours to complete. That includes 3 hours of inactive rise time, and an hour and 20 minutes of total baking time. I have included step-by-step photos in the recipe below to help guide you through each phase of preparation and baking.

I believe that my mom’s claim definitely held up. These are spectacular nut rolls. I had a nut roll over the holidays that was way too doughy and dry. The dough for this recipe is very, very soft, and the filling is quite moist. The filling-to-dough ratio is also very high, which keeps everything from drying out and packs a ton of flavor into even the smallest of slices. This is now my official go-to nut roll recipe, which I will churn out for the holidays from here on out!

One year ago: Cannoli
Three years ago: Banana Muffins

Nut Roll Recipe

Yield: 8 nut rolls

Prep Time: 1½ hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes (per pan)

Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes


For the Dough:
2 oz. cake yeast
¼ cup warm water
6 eggs
16 ounces sour cream
16 ounces (2 cups) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
10 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
3 pounds ground walnuts
3 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces (¾ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup evaporated milk
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Soften the yeast by placing it in the warm water and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until combined, about a minute. Add the sour cream, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and the softened yeast. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well-combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated, and continue to mix until the dough does not stick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling, stirring well to ensure that it is completely mixed and all of the ingredients are incorporated.

4. Divide the dough into eight pieces.

On a very well-floured surface and one at a time, roll each piece out into a rectangle roughly 9x-14 inches. Spread the filling to within about an inch of the edges. With the long side in front of you, roll up tightly and pinch the seams shut.

Place on baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper or that have been greased (2 rolls per sheet). Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with all eight pieces of dough. Let raise for 3 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake one pan at a time for 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap. To Freeze: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil.


208 Responses to “Nut Rolls”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Blog is the New Black on January 10, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Love how these look like calzones! :)


  2. Lynn Brown on January 10, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Looks delish!! Another one to add to my recipe to do list! Thanks for the step by step!


  3. Katrina on January 10, 2011 at 7:59 am

    These look kind of like baklava! My, my, these sound tasty.


  4. Marty on January 10, 2011 at 8:04 am

    They look delicious! I love when you have recipes that come from your grandmother, mom or in this recipe your mom’s friend. I am definitely going to make these but not until this weekend as it looks like they take a bit of time. I had made your pillow cookies a couple of times and my sister made them for the first time this Christmas. Everybody raved about them. Told her to get on your blog….there are lots of great recipes. Thanks!


  5. Estela @ Weekly Bite on January 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Yum! These look delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever had nut rolls before. Can’t wait to make these.


  6. Helena on January 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I’ve never had nut rolls before, but they look very good!


  7. briarrose on January 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

    So lovely.


  8. Caroline on January 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Oh my goodness, these look so delicious! I love a good nut roll!


  9. Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie on January 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’ve never had a nut roll before and these look delicious! I can’t imagine making 8 at a time though; maybe you could send me one :) ?


  10. leslie on January 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Nut roll? where have they been all my life???


  11. Erik on January 10, 2011 at 9:53 am

    These look wonderful, I’ll have to try them. Looks like I’m not the only one who’s never heard of a Nut Roll before. Maybe it’s a regional thing? Maybe Italian? Either way, I’ve never come across these on any holiday tables before. Any thoughts on where they come from? Also, I have to confess, when I saw the title Nut Roll and hadn’t seen the photo yet, I expected to see something more like a PayDay candy bar!


    • Darlene on November 22nd, 2012 at 10:21 am

      It is an eastern European thing. I grew up in a Hungarian/Slovak household and Christmas was not Christmas without nut roll. We used the words kolache and nut roll interchangeably but since then I have found out most people think kolaches are the cookies. They are made similarly but there is nothing like the rolls coming out of the oven warm, nut filling mushy and thin flaky crust. This is the thing about nut roll. It is also good sitting on the counter, cold from the refrigerator, any time of day or night. Not too sweet but sweet enough. Thank you for this. I am trying this recipe. I misplaced my aunts’ recipe. They have passed away.

      I used to give these as gifts at Christmas. I never found one person who did not like nut roll. I cannot wait to see how these are. My aunt always used the egg yolks in the dough and the egg whites in the filling. No milk was used in her recipe in the filling. Just egg whites, nuts and powdered sugar.

      Merry Christmas


      • joyce on January 3rd, 2013 at 12:46 am

        I am Slovak too, & we had a similar nutroll (my grandma also added golden raisins, & put powdered sugar on top after they cooled). Kolaches are the little cookies that are folded with a prune or apricot filling.


      • christine on October 3rd, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        This looks (and the recipe reflects the flavors of) my Babcia (Grandmother’s) nut roll…and it was always thought of as a Polish thing at Christmas.


      • Vicki on December 4th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        How thick do you roll the dough before putting on the filling?


        • Char on December 26th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

          Not thin as in almost see through…but about 1/8 to 1/4in, think of the thickness of say a dried black bean. That way you can roll it without ripping but when baked it you have a nice thickness between the dough and filling..


      • E on December 8th, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        My grandparents are Slovak & live in OH; we eat these all the time (their recipe makes 10 rolls). We call them kolache as well (my surprise when I asked for a kolache in a Czech bakery in TX and discovered that they called the fruit-filled cookies and large pigs-in-a-blanket kolaches).


      • Deidre on November 30th, 2014 at 11:48 pm

        My husband is from Austrian/Hungarian immigrants and we have savored the nut rolls, but have never been able to get the recipe. I am very interested in the “yolk-in-the-dough, whites in the filling” recipe! I am bookmarking this page so I can try this recipe and hopefully connect with our family’s recipe somehow.


      • Contiki on December 2nd, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        My mother was full Romanian, her parents having immigrated to America in the 30s. Passed down from generation to generation was the recipe call kaloche (promounced kulock – like the large time-piece that goes on a wall :-) ). The dough recipe you have above is very similar, but the end product is different. When the dough is finished rising, we take a small ball of dough and roll it out like pie dough (only very thin) and then spread homemade strawberry preserves, sprinkle chopped nuts and a thin layer of sugar. Roll up and curl into a circle. After they are baked we mix milk/powdered sugar and drizzle over the nut roll. It’s exciting to see this recipe in a variety of ways. Thank you!


  12. teresa on January 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

    These are a masterpiece!
    I just LOVE your blog!
    Thanks for being such a tremendous resource!
    Happy New Year!


  13. Erin on January 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    This reminds me of slovenian patiza bread! My grandma has never had a recipe for it, and she changes it all the time. But now the slovenian in me needs to make some patiza. I will have to call my grandma! Maybe I will make this as well to compare!


  14. Tracy on January 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Looks great!


  15. Amy @ The Savvy Kitchen on January 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Looks delicious! Eight rolls? I think my New Year’s resolution to diet will have to be put on hold 😉


  16. Island Vittles on January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    How is it that I`ve never heard of a nut roll? Crazy…these look amazing! And since you have 8, you can send one up here, right? Theresa


  17. linda on January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    these look great…i love recipes that come from family & friends…ok…so i need to bake these babies!


  18. April on January 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    This reminds me of poteca, although this recipe is much easier than the one I have. I’m going to try it! Thank-you!


  19. Kate @ on January 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    YUM! I love nut rolls! They do take up a whole day to make, but they are worth it. I like the fact that you can freeze the rolls and pop ’em out whenever you need them.


  20. Maria on January 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Never had a nut roll, but I am sure I would like it:)


  21. Cookin' Canuck on January 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Good for you for taking some time off over the holidays – we all need a little break sometimes. These nut rolls sounds wonderful and I love the promise of a moist filling.


  22. Inna on January 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Oh, my, gosh. I ADORE nut rolls (or as my husband’s Polish family calls them — Kolachi). Every year, we have a huge nut-roll-making party in December. I will definitely be trying out this recipe since I’m always looking for ways to make improvements to recipes that I know and love.


  23. Ilke on January 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Looks like your break was well deserved and your comeback is top-notch :)
    Never had these before but look delicious. I have hard time finding fresh yeast, if I use active dry, then I use less, right?


  24. Leah on January 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Wow…I haven’t seen anybody but my mom and grandma make these nut rolls. They’re Czech/Hungarian and would make them every Christmas (along with a poppyseed filling version). The key to the soft dough is the sour cream, which that part of Europe is infamous for using in a lot of their baking (and even savory sauces). I loved eating these as a child, but have never tried making them as an adult. Thanks for sharing the recipe and rekindling some very fond holiday baking memories!


  25. Maria on January 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    So excited to see these and have directions! I’ve been eating these my entire life as my Croatian mom makes them for the big holidays. Definitely a European traditional treat. All my mom and her friends either have the recipes in their heads or written in another language, so thanks for sharing this with us. Love your site. You have inspired me to start my own, which I did for the new year. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


  26. Anne on January 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I can’t believe that when you got back from taking a break from the kitchen you take on such a task as a 6 hour project!! You go girl!! You got right back in there like a champ!! You just motivated me! I too hit a wall after the holidays, wherein I was asked to make 6 different cheesecakes, one of which was peanut-butter fudge (only the best) But now I feel empowered again! Thanks!


  27. Penny Wolf on January 11, 2011 at 7:11 am

    My Mom always made these and her recipe came from a friend of Eastern European descent. As Mom got older she began making them at Easter instead of Christmas.
    Christmas was full of treats and this is fantastic at Easter morning breakfast! Some people also use a poppy seed filling and top the rolls with a powdered sugar icing.
    These rolls are good memories, maybe I’ll make them some day. Thank you


  28. Katie on January 11, 2011 at 9:18 am

    They look delicious! Perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon.
    I’ve given you an award, please visit my blog for details.


  29. Tiffany on January 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I’ve never had a nut roll! But this looks AMAZING!


  30. Brittany on January 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’ve never seen/heard/tasted nut roll but it sure looks fabulous. What’s not to like about nuts anyway? By the way, your recipe card is super cute.


  31. Jill Lu on January 11, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I grew up on nut roll and poppyseed roll from my wonderful Czech Nana! I was thinking of sending you the recipe; so what a wonderful surprise to see on my email that you made some! They look great, too. Question: how do you roll out the dough in such a perfect rectangle?


    • Michelle on January 13th, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Jill, I have no secret, I just try to roll it in alternating directions until I get it around the right size. I wish I could be even more exact!


  32. Erika on January 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    These look exactly like the Hungarian beigli my mother-in-law makes. Do you know the ethnic origin of the recipe?


    • Michelle on January 13th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Erika, I don’t know the origin of this particular recipe, but nut rolls are generally a European pastry (more eastern European I believe).


  33. Amalia on January 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    This just looks way too good! I think I would have to halve it, I don’t know is too much! but still, nut rolls are of my favorite things ever to eat!



  34. The Kettle Corn Guy on January 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Wow, this looks wonderful! I doubt I can make it myself, so looks like I’ll be begging my wife to see if she can create this. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

    John McConnell


  35. sajtosbrokkoli on January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    In Hungary, we have a very similar traditional christmas dessert. We call : BEJGLI, and filled with nuts, and poppyseeds also.
    Here are my rolls, from 2010 christmas.
    In hungary, there is no christmas without these rolls


  36. Julie McCoy on January 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    This is mostly definitely a Hungarian recipe — Kolach.

    Great post!


    • Penny Wolf on January 12th, 2011 at 7:38 am

      That’s what we called it too!


  37. Lisa @ the Cooking Bride on January 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    This looks like potica – my great grandparents were from Czechoslovakia. This is one of the recipes I remember eating every year around Christmas. I actually tried making this once – didn’t turn out too well. But I am willing to try again! Thanks for sharing.


  38. Diana on January 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Mmmmmm….love nut roll!! Yours looks so moist and flavorful. And I definitely here you on holiday kitchen fatigue – this is an intense recipe to come back to. Kudos!

    Go Steelers!! :o)


    • Michelle on January 13th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Yes, GO STEELERS! :)


  39. Robo Stir on January 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

    These nut rolls look wonderful! Thanks for the recipe.


  40. Jason Phelps on January 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I couldn’t look at these too long for fear that I would make them!



  41. allison reagan on January 14, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Those look delicious-does the dough need to rise before you fill them?


  42. allison reagan on January 14, 2011 at 12:25 am

    i just re-read the recipe and see where it rises.


    • Jane on December 16th, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Other dough I have made requires 2 rising times. Just to make sure, this requires only 1 after they are rolled. Thankyou


      • Michelle on December 17th, 2012 at 10:38 am

        Hi Jane, Yes, only 1 raise.


        • Maria on November 25th, 2013 at 9:04 am

          I have a question… Do you do the rise at room temp. or are you in a proof stage? I have an oven that has a proof phase. I have tried these before my aunt makes them and her recipe I couldn’t get to rise. Now that I have a proof phase in my oven I can make pizza dough other things from scratch.


          • Michelle on November 25th, 2013 at 10:25 am

            Hi Maria, You could definitely use the proof function on your oven!


            • Robin on December 17th, 2013 at 10:57 am

              If you don’t have a Proof phase on your oven – where do you set them to rise? Is it room temperature or warmer? I tried this recipe a couple of years ago after you first posted it and I had trouble with the dough rising – I had one batch that didn’t rise enough and 1 batch that was too much. Appreciate any extra tips here as I know this part of the equation of getting this roll to come out like my husband’s grandmother used to make. (of course recipe has gone with her)

            • Char on December 26th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

              This comment is for Robin…I make these every year, my hubby is Slovak so my mother in law taught me. Yesterday being cold in Ohio my dough was struggling to rise…so I heated water to boiling, poured it in a glass and set it and my dough in the microwave (since my microwave is a big one…it fitted my large bowl with 10 cups-of-flour-dough ok…lol) you may have to do this twice as the water cools down…my dough didn’t bloom like it would in summer but I could tell it rose some…I turned out great! you could do the same in your oven. P. S..just don’t turn the oven on until ready to pre heat and bake. Hope this helped, I’m a little late here.

  43. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on January 18, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Those look delicious, though I’d probably divide by like 8 before making! I wish I had some though :(


  44. Tina on December 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    This looks amazing. Can this recipe be halved? Has it been attempted ?


    • Michelle on December 7th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Tina, I have not attempted halving the recipe, but I imagine that it could be done.


      • Tina on December 15th, 2011 at 8:52 am

        I did halve the recipe! It came out amazing!


  45. Cindy on December 8, 2011 at 1:05 am

    This looks like the Kolachi my mom made. Since her death, I have tried unsucessfully to make them like she did. I have been searching for nut rolls that look like yours! Your recipe is very similar but my mom’s calls for the dough to rise, then punch down and roll out into rectangles and then fill and bake. Everytime I tried them, the roll would bust open in places and the filling would ooze out. NOT at all like my moms. I would like to try these but wanted to double check on the timing of the dough rising. I hope your recipe is the answer I have been looking for. thank you


    • Michelle on December 8th, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Hi Cindy, Yes, the recipe as written above is how I make them! Good luck!


    • JoAnne on December 22nd, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Cindy & Michelle, I too have been trying to make these for years. Every single time my rolls split open when baking. What am I doing wrong? Am I not allowing them to rise enough before baking? They taste good but do not look pretty. Thanks for any insight.


  46. Emily on December 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I have these in the oven now and they are seriously incredible, I think even better than my Hungarian grandmothers! However, my filling did spill out of the sides of each one I have baked so far. I am trying to figure out what went wrong, I am wondering if I rolled the dough too thin or over stuffed? Thanks as always!


    • Michelle on December 12th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Emily, That happens to me sometimes too, I think probably from overfilling. But eating the spillover is one of my favorite parts of baking them :)


  47. Sue on December 15, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Hi! We grew up having these fresh Christmas morning. I don’t see a “resting time” for the dough in your step by step directions. The recipe I use calls for leaving it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. This helps break up the baking marathon.

    I also wanted to let you know that I have used fruit filling – my favorite is shredded apples with crushed walnuts. But I have also done peaches with pecans, pumpkin with walnuts and cranberry with mixed nut fillings. Depending on the density of your filling, you may need to make the dough a little thicker when rolling it out.

    Thanks for posting this – it was just what I needed to get me making them again!


  48. Doreen Sabol on November 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hi, can you please tell me if you used an egg wash or melted butter on the rolls before putting them I. The oven? They look and sound great and would like to try them for the holidays this year.


    • Michelle on November 13th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Dorren, I didn’t use an egg wash or melted butter on these. Enjoy the rolls!


  49. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. on November 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I’m so happy to have found this recipe! When I was growing up, the ladies of our church made nut rolls for the Christmas bazaar every year and they were amazing! This looks and sounds just like them. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!


  50. Darlene on November 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I just want to say thank you again. I made these over Thanksgiving this year and this dough is amazing. My aunt never used sour cream in her recipe. They used to use milk. I tried this recipe and just substituted greek yogurt for the sour cream and the dough was perfect. Thank you. This brought back so many memories because I had lost my aunt’s recipe. This is great nut roll or kolache as we called it…Merry Christmas to all.


    • Michelle on November 27th, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Hi Darlene, I’m so glad you enjoyed these nut rolls. They’ve always been a staple for our family at the holidays, and I’m glad yours are enjoying them now, as well! Merry Christmas to you!


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