A Spicy Perspective

Quickie Kifli Cookies

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This easy sugar cookie recipe is reminiscent of my family’s traditional Hungarian kifli cookies… Sweet, buttery and filled with nutty goodness. If you’ve never tried making kiflis, this is a great place to start!

Quickie Kifli Cookies - Reminiscent of Classic Hungarian Kiflis! #holiday #cookies #thanksgiving #christmas

We all have certain foods that stir up strong memories and strengthen family ties. For me, Hungarian Kifli Cookies are one of those foods. The holidays wouldn’t feel right without these nut-filled little bundles!

When Lt. Dan and I first met, one thing that I found so endearing about him was how much he loved his family.

He would tell stories about family Thanksgivings with enough food to feed an army, Christmases at his Aunt Pammy’s house with more cousins than I could count, and the New Year’s Eve parties his parents would throw with all the neighbors from their block.

He would also tell me stories about his Great Grandma Rosie and Great Grandpa Joe, Hungarian immigrants who came to America looking for a brighter future. The twinkle in his eyes when he described his great-grandparents was all it took for me to know this was a person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Quickie Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Reminiscent of Classic Hungarian Kiflis! #holiday #cookies #thanksgiving #christmas

Although I never had the opportunity to meet Grandpa Joe, I visited Grandma Rosie nearly every year up until she passed away at the ripe old age of 96.

She had lived a full life working as a jet-setting executive secretary to the Studebaker family, as a swing dancer, a diehard Notre Dame fan, and an exceptional cook. She passed along many traditional Hungarian recipes to “Mo” Dan’s grandma, his mother and aunt, his sister, and then to me.

Along with Chicken Paprikas and Hungarian Goulash, one of the most beloved family recipes she shared was Kifli Cookies.

How to Make Quickie Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Reminiscent of Classic Hungarian Kiflis! #holiday #cookies #thanksgiving #christmas

These little rolled bundles of sweet buttery dough hold a rich nutty filling that screams holiday spirit. There’s only one problem with kifli cookies… they are not the easiest cookies to make, nor the quickest.

And with our fast-pace lifestyles and holiday events night after night, some years its hard to find the time to make them.

How to - Quickie Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Reminiscent of Classic Hungarian Kiflis! #holiday #cookies #thanksgiving #christmas

So this year I cheated…

I used pre-made Pillsbury Ready To Bake Sugar Cookies to make a quickie version of Kiflis, without all the fuss, and they were pretty spectacular!

I mixed cream cheese into the nut mixture to act as a binder and replicate the tangy quality of traditional Kifli dough. Then dolloped the nut mixture on top of Pillsbury cookie dough. As the cookies baked, the walnut filling moved to one side. This made it easy to fold the cookies in half as soon as they came out of the oven, forming cute little packages.

A dusting of powdered sugar was all it took to make these “Quickie Kiflis” a great substitute for their slightly-more-daunting counterpart.

Quickie Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Reminiscent of Classic Hungarian Kiflis! #holiday #cookies #thanksgiving #christmas

If you need your holiday Kifli fix, but are short on time, this easy sugar cookie recipe is a wonderful solution. They will be a stand-out at your holiday cookie exchange, but are also a great little treat for Thanksgiving!

Along with your pumpkin pie, why not offer Quickie Kiflis as a dessert option?

I prefer them to pecan pie, any day.

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5 from 3 votes
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Quickie Kifli Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
This easy sugar cookie recipe is reminiscent of my family's traditional Hungarian kifli cookies...sweet, buttery and filled with nutty goodness.
Servings: 24 cookies


  • 16 ounces Pillsbury Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies 1 package
  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + extra for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds to soften. Then mix the walnuts, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla with the melted cream cheese.
  • Place the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough disks on the cookie sheets 2 1/2 inches apart and top each disk with a dollop of walnut filling approximately the same size as the dough.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden, but the centers look a bit under-baked. The walnut filling will shift to one side while baking. Remove from the oven and immediately (while the cookies are still hot) use a spatula to fold the cookies in half over the walnut filling.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes, then dust liberally with powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container until ready to enjoy!


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 130kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 69mg, Potassium: 57mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 25IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Hungarian
Author: Sommer Collier

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pillsbury. All opinions are always my own.

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20 comments on “Quickie Kifli Cookies”

  1. I’m from Elkhart , Indiana and we had these every year . My sister and I made them once , wow what a process fun but we made a huge mess and got few since they’re so delicious. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m hoping they compare to the original. Will comment again once I’ve made them. Thanks so much , I’m impressed with the recipe . Love short cuts.

  2. Thank You!! When I was much younger, my mom would make Kifli cookies during the holidays. I love your recipe and very excited about trying it out!!!

  3. This is a great find for me! My paternal great grandmother and grandmother always baked traditional Hungarian cookies. Every gathering, you never left their house without a “care package” that included lots of these tasty cookies. Now that my father lives alone with no one to bake for him, I like to surprise him with Hungarian goodies from time to time. But I am tragically impaired when it comes to baking. Goulash I mastered. Paprikash too. But the oven mocks me. This is a cookie recipe method even I can conquer. TYVM for sharing.

  4. This looks delicious and easy! The holidays are a great time to learn about and make new cookies!

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Creative Thanksgiving Cookies - Top Inspired

  6. Oh thanks for the shortcut ;) these are wonderful!!

  7. I LOVE learning about new (to me) cookies! These look amazing, and I’m all for using a shortcut occasionally if it means I get a delicious treat!

  8. I’ve never had these. But I sure would like one right now, they sound delish!

  9. I’ve never heard of Kifli cookies either, but I love learning about family traditions that have been passed down from our ancestors.

  10. Wonderful cookies, the “cheat” is perfect when we’re all short on time at the holidays!

  11. These looks so scrumptious!! I am definitely adding these to the cookie-must-make-list this year :)

  12. Love the name & the fact that they’re Hungarian! Gotta try them. Thanks, Sommer. xo

  13. These cookies sound fabulous! I am thinking they need to be added to my Christmas cookie list :)

  14. I had never heard of them. Great addition to holiday traditions – Shaina, lucky you!

  15. they sound wonderful – will probably make my own sugar cookies, but understand why busy mothers would use the premade dough

  16. I’ve never heard of kifli cookies but I do want to try them.

  17. Love the cheat! Kifli are some of my favorite cookies, and my sisters and I get together each year to make them like we remember doing with our grandma.

  18. I’ve never heard of kifli cookies but these look great!

  19. Well these look dangerously delicious!