What is a Kolache?

What is a Kolache?

As anyone who has tasted Czech food can attest, the Czechs are clearly onto something. The kolache is a delicious Czech concoction that Texans, in particular, have embraced and with good reason. For the uninitiated, the kolache is a savory pastry and it wants to be eaten!

Delicious Lineage

Hailing from the Eastern European nation of Czechoslovakia (now known as the Czech Republic), the pillowy pastry originated as a semi-sweet or savory dessert served at weddings and dates as far back as the 1700s. In a nod to their shape, the dessert name is derived from the Old Slavic language word “kolo” meaning circle or wheel. Designed to be fluffy enough to hold a dollop of fruit or other filling, the pastry is as light as it is flavorful. They evolved from a wedding delight into a snack to be enjoyed anytime.

Kolache Pastries from Shipley's Do-Nuts

Lone Star Migration

Like so many great things in America, the kolache came to Texas with settlers from Europe around the mid-1800s. They made central and south-central Texas their new home, settling into the foothills and prairies of the region. At that time, more than 200 different Czech communities were established, and with them, the kolache-traditions remained strong.

Even today, the Czech contingent in the area continues to be vibrant, affectionately referred to as the Czech Belt. Whether the pastry became so popular in Texas because of its on-the-go versatility or simply because it reminded Europeans of home, the kolaches foothold throughout Texas is clear.

Kolache Makeup and Composition

Although decades and regions have transformed the humble kolache, its DNA has never changed – yeasted dough made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. Originally, the pastry was traditionally filled with items native to the Czech region such as:

  • Dried fruits like prune and apricot
  • Farmer’s cheeses
  • Poppy seeds
  • Nuts

Endless Varieties

With bakeries and even gas stations now serving kolaches, a wide variety of fillings has emerged. Even the pastry itself can vary from light and fluffy to more pocket-like breads or buns. All over Texas, the pastry varieties include:

  • Square, biscuit-style stuffed with sausage
  • Savory pillows with Cajun sausage and rice
  • Sausage and sauerkraut topped with jalapeno-cheese
  • Chicken enchilada and Philly cheesesteak-style
  • Traditional poppy-seed
  • Nutella and banana, eclaire-style
  • Grilled chicken and provolone cheese
  • Country style sausage with egg and cheese
  • and more!

To help with the ordering process, the widely accepted pronunciation is ko-LAH-chee, although it can vary by region. At Shipley Do-Nuts, this pronunciation will always work to get our wildly popular sausage and cheese kolache or snack-sized poppers. With locations all over Texas and the South, stop in to try a kolache today!

kolache pastry and donut


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