What is Potica?

Potica is a pastry made of yeast dough that is rolled out into a rectangle, spread with a walnut-brown sugar filling, and rolled up into a log shape. The log-shaped pastry is coiled from one end to the other to resemble a snail or a turban in shape.

When I received this recipe many years ago it was called Yugoslavian Christmas bread but Yugoslavia no longer exists. The break up of Yugoslavia occurred as a result of a series of political upheavals and conflicts during the early 1990’s. Yugoslavia was divided among ethnic lines. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo are areas that once made up Yugoslavia.

Slovenian miners who settled in the upper Midwest of the United States introduced Potica to the American cuisine. So perhaps a more correct description for this wonderful pastry is Slovenian Christmas Bread. Potica (pronounced po-TEET-sa) is traditionally served at Christmas and Easter.

The Recipe for Potica

Yields 1
A yeast dough with a walnut-brown sugar filling, rolled up into a log and then shaped into a snail shape.
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Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
  1. 3 1/2 cups flour
  2. 1 pkg. dry yeast (a scant tablespoon)
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 2 tablespoons butter
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 egg
  1. 2 cups walnuts, ground
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 2 tablespoons honey
  6. 2 tablespoons milk
  7. 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a large mixer bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast.
  2. Heat milk, sugar, butter and salt until warm, stirring constantly, until butter almost melts.
  3. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients in mixer bowl.
  4. Add 1 egg to mixture. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed.
  5. Add remaining 2 cups of flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
  6. Turn out and knead 6 - 8 minutes. If your mixer has a dough hook let it knead the dough for 6 - 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  7. Prepare Walnut Filling: Combine walnuts, egg, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, milk, melted butter and vanilla and set aside.
  8. Punch dough down, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Spread with filling, roll up from one long side to the other and pinch to seal.
  10. Place one end of roll in center of a large greased cookie sheet.
  11. Coil dough to make a spiral; seal end.
  12. Cover and let rise 30 - 45 minutes.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown.
  1. It's also traditional to make Potica with a poppy seed filling.
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 Some Recipe Tips

When rolling out the dough, make it as thin as you can. I roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick then stretch it out to fit the size of my bread board. Spread the filling over the dough.

Roll up the filled dough from one long side to the other long side to make a log. Then coil the dough around to form a spiral shape that resembles a snail or turban.

The original recipe didn’t call for icing but I mixed up some powdered sugar with a small amount of milk and vanilla and drizzled it over the Potica after baking it. It’s heavenly served warm with a nice cup of coffee or tea!

Try your hand at making Potica soon! Potica is a wonderful traditional pastry that’s great for breakfast or brunch for the holidays or any day of the year! What’s your traditional holiday bread or pastry?

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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Potica – Traditional Yugoslavian Christmas Bread — 12 Comments

  1. Oh, yes. It’s not Christmas without orahnjaca – walnut roll. I didn’t recognize the name because, as you mentioned, it is Slovenian and their language is different from the rest of old Yugoslavia regions (I grew up in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Thank you for sharing this recipe that brings so many fond memories. Hope your holidays are full of blessings!

  2. Looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!

  3. Janet, the Potica looks fabulous…with a cup of coffee for breakfast would be perfect. My husband and I visited Dubrovnik, Croatia and Kotor, Montenegro in 2013 and they are beautiful cities! Thanks for sharing and wishing you a joy-filled week!

  4. Hi Jas, So glad this post brought back some fond memories for you! I appreciate your comments and your visit! Please come back again soon! Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Blessings, Janet

  5. Hi Pam, How nice that you and your husband were able to visit these beautiful cities! I’ll bet that was a great trip! Thanks for the comments about Potica – it is good with coffee! Hope you’re having a great Christmas season, too! Blessings, Janet

  6. What a very special and beautiful Christmas Bread that we would just love! Hope you have a very special week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Hi Miz Helen, I appreciate your kind comments about the Potica! Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, too! Blessings, Janet

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