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Kifli Walnut Roll Recipe

A Kifli Walnut Roll is a soft and tender dough filled with a sweet walnut filling and shaped into a crescent. Easy Walnut Rolls are special anytime.

A metal plate holding a large and small Kifli Walnut roll sits on a blue paisley napkin. A tray of Kifli rolls and a cup of coffee sit in the back.

Soft and tender yeast dough is filled with a sweet nut filling that is too good to be saved for special occasions. This sweet dough recipe makes a soft and tender Kifli Walnut Roll that is easy enough to make any time.

This recipe was previously sponsored by a product no longer available. The recipe has been updated accordingly.

What is a Kifli?

A Kifli is a traditional yeast bread that is rolled and formed into a crescent before baking. The term Kifli is traditionally referred to as the Hungarian version and can be made as a pastry roll such as this one or a cookie.

In other countries, a Kifli can be called Kipfel, Kifla, Kifle, or Gipfel, and the list goes on according to who and where they’re made and date back as far as the 10th century.

Regardless of what you call them, they are easy enough to make in your own home.

Kifli Walnut Roll Ingredients

Ingredients used to make Kifli Walnut Rolls including flour, yeast, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, and milk in a large bowl.

These rolls may look complicated but the ingredient list is simple.

  • Flour – all-purpose flour
  • Milk – whole milk, *scalded
  • Yeast – instant or active yeast
  • Butter – we used unsalted. If you use salted, eliminate the salt
  • Sugar
  • Salt – for baking I like using fine sea salt. I find it blends and dissolves better.
  • Eggs – we use large eggs
  • Walnuts
  • Vanilla Extract

What is scalded milk?

Older recipes called for scalded milk to kill bacteria and enzymes that prevented the dough from rising. However, today, most milk is pasteurized which eliminates this bacteria and enzymes so it’s no longer necessary.

I still do it because the warmer temperature helps activate the yeast and blends well with the softened butter. Also, it’s said to make breads light and cakes spongy.

You do not have to scald the milk for this recipe! However, I suggest that all of the ingredients be at least room temperature before they’re added.

How do you scald milk?

  1. Add the milk to a small saucepan.
  2. Using an instant-read thermometer, heat the milk to 180°F. The milk will just start to form a skin over the top and is just under the boiling point. You’ll see little bubbles just on the edge.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove and place it in the refrigerator for 12 to 15 minutes or until the temperature of the milk lowers to at least 110°F.

Kifli Dough Recipe

Making Kifli Dough is easier than many dough recipes. It is a soft and buttery dough that is easy to handle. It’s not as delicate as some sweet roll dough such as brioche.

I do recommend that you use an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Here’s how we made the Kifli Dough.

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the sugar and beaten egg. Blend everything together.
  2. Add the yeast, salt, and butter. Mix slowly while drizzling in the scalded milk.
  3. With the mixer on its lowest setting, gradually add the flour until you can handle it without it sticking to your hands. This can be 4 to 6 cups. Don’t add more than you need or the dough will become tough.
  4. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap at room temperature until the dough rises 30% to 50%, approximately 90 minutes.
  5. Shape your dough and then let the rolls rise on a covered baking sheet until puffy, approximately 60 minutes.
A Kifli Walnut Roll cut in half showing the cinnamon swirl inside. A cup of coffee and a tray of whole Kifli rolls sit in the background.

Nut Filling

The nut filling is very simple to make. I combined my ground nuts, sugar, softened butter, cinnamon and a bit of milk. You want to make it a sand consistency that holds it’s shape but isn’t overly wet. Think sand castles.

I used my mini food processor to finely grind my nuts.

A silver tray of Kifli Walnut Rolls sitting on a blue napkin over a wooden board. A cup of coffee and a partial plate with a Kifli roll sit in the foreground.

Variations you can make

  • Exchange walnuts for a nut with a similar consistency such as pecans.
  • We finished these Kifli nut rolls with an egg wash followed by a sprinkle of turbinado sugar because we love that little crunch. Here are some other options.
    • dust with powdered sugar
    • sprinkle with additional ground nuts
    • drizzle with a glaze
  • We used cinnamon in the nut filling recipe. You could substitute nutmeg but use only half of the recommended amount.
A close up of a large Kifli Walnut roll sitting on a metal plate in front of a tray of Kifli Walnut rolls over a blue paisley napkin.
Large Kifli Walnut Roll

Tips for the perfect Kifli Rolls

  • In the video, I show you how to make large Kifli Rolls which are perfect as a breakfast pastry. We also show you how to make smaller Kifli rolls. Regardless of which one you make, use manageable sized pieces of dough.
  • For the larger rolls, spread the filling on each individual roll. Dough scraps can be rerolled. For the small rolls, I applied the nut filling on the rolled sheet. This saves a lot of time and makes them faster to finish.
  • Don’t spread the filling too heavily. It will bake out. Actually those little crunches are delicious and never go to waste in our household.
  • The dough is easier to cut if it’s cool (not cold). Once it warms up it’s a little harder to cut.
  • The turbinado sugar will stick to the rolls if the egg wash is still wet. It’s helpful to do a few at a time before the egg wash dries.

Store Walnut Rolls at room temperature in an air-tight container. These Walnut Rolls also freeze very well.

A close up of small Kifli Walnut roll sitting against a large Kifli Walnut roll behind it on a metal plate.
Small Kifli Walnut Roll

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

If you like this Kifli Pastry Roll, here are a few more recipes you’ll enjoy

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

A metal bowl over a blue napkin with a large and small Kifli Walnut Roll sitting on it. A tray of rolls and a cup of coffee sit in the back.

Kifli Walnut Roll Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
A Kifli Walnut Roll is a soft and tender dough filled with a sweet walnut filling and shaped into a crescent. Easy Walnut Rolls are special anytime.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Proof time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course American, Hungarian
Cuisine Bread, Snack
Keyword: Nut roll, Pastry Nut Roll, Walnut roll
Servings: 24 small rolls


Kifli Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk scalded
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast 1 packet
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups flour all-purpose *4-6 cups

Kifli Nut Filling

  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup milk

Egg Wash Finish

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar sugar in the raw (optional)


  • Scald milk by bringing it to 180 °F in a small saucepan, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Refrigerate the milk until the temperature is lowered to 110°F, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the sugar and eggs and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the yeast, butter, and salt. With the mixer on low, stream in the scaled milk.
  • Add flour one scoop at a time, with the mixer on it's lowest setting, until the dough is manageable. *This may be less or more than 5 cups.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it to rise until it increases 30% or 50% in volume, approximately 90 minutes.
  • Combine the walnut filling ingredients and stir until combined. Drizzle in a small amount of milk and stir until the mixture holds together.

Large Kifli Walnut Rolls

  • Remove raised dough and roll it out in manageable sized pieces. Cut the dough into large 9"x5" triangles.
  • Spread the filling onto each large triangle and roll into a crescent shape. Place the rolls on an oiled or parchment paper-lined baking tray. Cover and allow the rolls to rise until puffy, 1 hour.

Small Kifli Walnut Rolls

  • Roll out the dough out into a manageable sized piece in the shape of a rectangle. Spread the filling directly onto the dough. Cut into small triangles with a ravioli or pizza cutter.
  • Place the rolls on an oiled or parchment paper-lined baking tray. Cover and allow the rolls to rise until puffy, 1 hour.

Prepare for baking

  • Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Brush the rolls with the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle with turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • Bake large rolls 25-30 minutes and small rolls 20-25 minutes, turning the baking sheet half way through.
  • Cool on a cooling rack. Rolls can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container or frozen.


The turbinado sugar will stick to the rolls if the egg wash is still wet. It’s helpful to do a few at a time before the egg wash dries.
It’s not necessary to scald the milk but we recommend that all of the ingredients be at room temperature. 
Don’t spread the filling too heavily. It will bake out.


Calories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 147mgPotassium: 78mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 174IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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A top-down photo of a Kifli Walnut Roll sitting on a metal plate over a blue napkin. The title of the roll is on top and a cup of coffee sits to the back left.
Recipe Rating


Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Hello- can these be made with bread flour? Thank you!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

You absolutely can substitute all-purpose flour with bread flour 1:1. The ones made with bread flour may be a little chewier than the all-purpose flour ones but I'm sure they'll be delicious.

Julie Longmire

Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Hi! I'm excited to try this recipe! Three questions for you!

1) I do use raw milk. I've never had issues with it keeping dough from rising. Should I still scald it to 180 degrees? 2) How would you rate the sweetness level on the filling? 3) Can you freeze these?

Thank you!!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Hi Julie! You can use raw milk and scalding it will make the dough a little fluffier but will turn out if you don't. The filling is sweet but I just used a smear in it so it is well balanced. These rolls freeze super well! I just put them in an air-tight container or a reclosable freezer bag. I hope you'll stop back and let me know what you think. Thank you for stopping by!


Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

How many large crescents will this recipe make and when rolling out how thick should the dough be rolled. Once I know these facts I'll make them. Thank you.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Hello Guy! The dough is rolled thin like a cinnamon roll so not "windowpane" thin. I've made this recipe where I got 9 large rolls and 12 large rolls depending on how the dough rose and how thin I rolled it. As long as they're all rolled to the same thickness, they will bake the same and that's the most important thing. It's not a fussy recipe and there's a video in the recipe card that may help as well. I hope you'll stop back and let me know how it went! Thank you!

Misty Mator

Friday 11th of December 2020

I am so happy I could cry.

I grew up with these. My German Grandmother would make so many at Christmastime that she would freeze them and hand them out through February!

But I couldn't find anything online, except the Kipferl pastries. I assumed that her family must have made them with bread dough instead of pastry dough because they were poor.

My grandmother was Hessen. In Hesse, they soften the "R" sound....the closest I could ever find was Kipferl, so I assumed it must be the "Kipfel" I grew up with, only the R was so soft you could barely hear it. I can double check with my aunt, but I think "Kipferl" is how they spelled this only it sounds like Kipfel.

But the last time I looked to try and find this recipe, I could find the plain Kifli and the pastry Kipferl, but not what I grew up with. I have such vivid memories of her making this. She would spend two days making it, she made so many!

I friend was asking me if we made lebkuchen, and I said no, we always made this instead when I was growing up (we bough the lebkuchen). When I tried looking up the links for her that I have found in years past, I found this article you posted here just a few months ago!!

I exclaimed aloud when I saw you page, so much so my husband came to see what was the matter!

But nothing is the matter, nothing was wrong. This is so right.

I thank you so deeply for sharing this, you will never understand quite what this means to me. THANK YOU.

Julie Menghini

Saturday 12th of December 2020

Oh my gosh, Misty I can't be more grateful for your comment. I LOVE the memories that food invokes and the family stories that go with their recipes. I can't wait for you to give these a try and let me know if they're like your Grandmothers. We also have a nut roll recipe that's been in our family (Italian side) for almost 100 years. They may be close to what your grandmother made too? Sometimes it's hard knowing what to call a recipe because the same recipe can be called 4 different things depending on the origin of the family making them. Thank you! Julie

Shailaja Desai

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

How wonderful are these Kifli rolls..would love to try this recipe sometime..

Julie Menghini

Friday 17th of July 2020

Thank you so much Shailaja!

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