How to Make Rugelach Cookies

How to make rugelach! These pastries have a buttery, flaky crust and are filled with sweet cinnamon walnut filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to day 2 in Sally’s cookie palooza!

Today I’m partnering with King Arthur Flour. You know I am a total fangirl for KAF, so imagine my excitement when we began working together on their Holiday Table. The other week, we discussed what we’re grateful for. Working with such a well respected company who consistently puts forth quality products is now added to my list. (All opinions are my own, I really am a crazy nut for KAF!)

Buttery, flaky rugelach with a light and crisp pastry dough and sweet cinnamon filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Have you ever made rugelach before? I know it looks ultra fancy and maybe a little intimidating. Like, how could I ever make something like that? Truth is, it’s just a matter of mixing up a dough, chilling it, and rolling it up with filling inside. Like cinnamon rolls, but without any yeast. Rugelach tastes like buttery, light, and flaky croissants, but aren’t nearly as fussy.

Did you read that?!

Easy homemade croissant-like delights!

Rugelach happily accommodates any sort of fillings from jam and chocolate to dried fruit and nuts. You can roll the dough up into different shapes, slicing pinwheels or spirals, there’s pull-apart or logs, wreaths, twists, you name it. But it all begins with just 1 dough and 1 filling. Here’s how to make rugelach cookies in 1 million photos.

(Ok, 6.)

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today we’ll make a traditional rugelach dough in the food processor and fill it with a sweet brown sugar cinnamon filling that will melt inside the dough as it bakes. The contrast between the salted dough and warm, sweet filling is just about as mouthwatering as cookies get.

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The food processor lends a giant helping hand. It’s preferred because it helps create the light and tender pastry; a mixer creates a tougher pastry. The food processor will cut the various fats into the flour and salt mixture. We’ll be using cream cheese, butter, and sour cream in the dough. Health food? These are not.

You can use a pastry cutter if you prefer– and what I always prefer when making pie crust– but rugelach requires the teeniest, uniformly sized pieces of fat and flour. There’s wiggle room in pie dough, but not so much here. A food processor makes the job 150% easier and cuts time down to… maybe… 1 minute? Yup, about 1 minute to make this dough.

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Flatten the dough into discs and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Or you can pop into the freezer to enjoy homemade rugelach another day. That’s another beautiful thing about rugelach besides being crazy versatile. It’s patient; bake it later if you want!

But if today’s the day for rugelach (um and it should be), roll out the doughs after they’ve chilled, spread the filling on top, and cut into triangles like you would a pizza. And use a pizza cutter… like you would a pizza. The filling should be prepared in the food processor as well because we’re pulsing brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins together to make a moist dried fruit/nut paste of sorts. Heavy on that cinnamon because… holidays.

Press it down onto the dough so it has staying power.

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Roll up!

Bake!

How to make rugelach on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The filling gets all melty and warm, the pastry is buttery, uniquely crisp, light, and flaky. Some filling may spill out and a little butter may drip out of the dough as the rugelach bakes. But this is all OK! That butter dripping out will “fry” the bottoms into a crispy phenomenon. And there’s still plenty of good stuff hiding inside, too.

A blizzard of confectioners’ sugar adds a finishing touch.

Buttery, flaky rugelach with a light and crisp pastry dough and sweet cinnamon filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

PS: Let’s talk about savory versions, maybe for any appetizers you need this holiday season? I’m thinking pesto and parmesan or a sweet/salty rendition with jam and fine goat cheese crumbles. With rugelach, the options are deliciously endless.

Rugelach

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons; 230g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces; 170g) cream cheese, cold and cubed
  • 1/3 cup (75g) sour cream, cold

Filling

  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (115g) chopped walnuts (chopped pecans work too)
  • 1/2 cup (85g) raisins (or dried cranberries for some color!)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • water for brushing dough
  • optional for topping: confectioners' sugar

Directions:

  1. For the crust: Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple times to blend.
  2. Add the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream. Pulse until crumbly; this will take 30 seconds or so. Pulse until there are pea-sized crumbs throughout. See photo above for a visual.
  3. Divide the dough into three equal portions and gently flatten into a disc shape. Wrap in plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Or freeze for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. 
  4. For the filling: Pulse the brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon in the food processor until very finely chopped and well combined. The filling will feel a little moist. You'll have a little over 2 cups total.
  5. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Working with one disc of dough at a time and on a lightly floured work surface, roll into a 10-inch circle (roughly 1/4 inch thick, give or take) and brush it lightly with water. Spread about 1/3 of the filling on top. Gently press the filling down into the dough so it's compact. 
  7. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges. If you’re cutting on a silicone mat, be careful not to cut the mat. Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the rolls point-side down onto the baking sheets, 8 on each. Repeat with the remaining two discs of dough.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  9. Bake the rugelach for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown. As the rugelach bake, the butter will lightly fry their bottoms, giving them a super crunchy crust.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. Cover leftovers and store tightly at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: You can prepare the dough up to 1 day ahead of time as noted in step 3 or freeze for up to 3 months, also noted in step 3. You can prepare the filling 1 day in advance. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature until ready to use. Rugelach freezes well for up to 2 months; simply place in freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes:

I've gotten some questions about this, but if you do not have a food processor, use a pastry cutter for the crust. Do not use a mixer. For the filling, simply chop it up very fine and use a pastry cutter again to combine it all.

In partnership with King Arthur Flour

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

A giant hug to King Arthur Flour for sponsoring this cookie palooza post. To see more of my favorite recipes for the holidays, as well as three of my cookie baking tips, visit King Arthur Flour’s Holiday Table. And as always, happy baking. 

Did you miss yesterday’s cookie palooza recipe? Red velvet whoopie pies.

SHOP THE RECIPE


Here are a couple items I used to make today’s recipe.

Food Processor | Rolling PinPastry Cutter | Natural Boar Bristle Pastry Brush | Silicone Pastry BrushSilpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Purple Plate

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you!

How to make crisp, light, flaky, and buttery rugelach cookies with sweet cinnamon walnut filling on sallysbakingaddiction.com

139 comments

  1. My dad used to bring me to a bakery when I was little and I always picked the cinnamon rugelach! I’ve wanted to make these for years! Always thought it was too hard. Well, there in the oven now! They smell so good! Here’s hoping my picky eater doesn’t detect the raisins! Thanks!

    • You can’t really taste the raisins, I swear. You taste brown sugar and cinnamon. I kind of want to add more so I CAN taste them!

  2. Hi Sally,

    Love your blog. Love your nails. 

    I sold my food processor this summer!  Can I use my mixer or should I use pastry blender??

    I have to make these!!

  3. I thought I had my Christmas cookies to make list completed until I saw your Rugelach recipe today. I have never had good luck with them but am anxious to try your recipe. Can you use both low fat cream cheese and sour cream or should you use full fat?

  4. I need to try making these for a cookie exchange soon! They look so tasty!

  5. This rugelach is GORGEOUUUUUS-I love the whole recipe. Pinning for future reference 🙂

  6. These are gorgeous! I can’t wait to try your version. I love them also with mini chocolate chips. 

  7. There is no Christmas without rugelach cookies! I can’t wait to make a batch for our holiday cookie platter!

  8. Never seen or heard of these before. But looks fantastic. Love the ingredients and flavors in the filling.

  9. Sally, how long does the dough need to chill in the refrigerator before rolling it out? In the longer description, you said one hour, but in the short version of the recipe, you said at least two hours. These look super good! I’m glad my sister recommended your blog.

  10. Wow, these look amazing! These are on my must-bake list now. Just one question – would it be possible to leave out the nuts? Or can you suggest any nut-free subs? Thanks!

    • Certainly! How about chocolate chips (still process those with the other ingredients) or more raisins, shredded coconut, or sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds?

  11. I am all for anything croissant-like! These cookies look fabulous!

  12. Hello Sally,

    I really would like to try this recipe.
    There is just one problem – I’m from Germany and we don’t have the right kind of cream cheese (ours are soft and creamy, you can’t cut them…) is it possible that I freeze the cream cheese for a short time and use it afterwards?

    Best wishes from Germany 😀

  13. I had never heard of Rugelach before, but when I saw this post I had to make them! I made this recipe on Tuesday and I loved them so much I made another batch on Wednesday and I did a Nutella chocolate filling, ugh!! They are all so good! (I mixed semi-sweet chocolate, pecans, and sweetened coconut in a food processor. I first spread Nutella on the rolled out dough and then put the nut mixture on top, Yum!!)

  14. Hi Sally! I love these cookies and really want to make them, but my little sister is allergic to nuts. I was wondering if they would still taste okay if I just didn’t put any walnuts in the filling; thoughts?

    • Hi Julia! You can use more raisins instead of the walnuts or try mini chocolate chips, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds?!

  15. Hi Sally! I absolutely love all your recipes and I can’t wait to try these! Do you think I could substitute dates for the raisins?

  16. I can’t wait to try this recipe – and I can honestly say that almost every recipe I’ve gotten from your site I have thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks for the great bakes!

  17. Sally, the rugelach recipe looks great. Any ideas on a good recipe for a chocolate filling that would be rich and gooey and oozing?

    • So for a chocolate filling, I suggest chopping up pure chocolate super fine or pulsing it in the processor with some nuts and cinnamon. 🙂

  18. Very good. I made it the same night you posted this.

  19. Hi Sally, is it possible to substitute sour cream with yoghurt since its not readily available here in our country? Would it affect the taste

  20. Wow! Everybody in my family fell in love with these beauties. And the dough is so easy! Love it!! I made a dates+walnuts filling . Yummmm

  21. Just made these tonight!!!! Holy moly I am in cookie heaven! From the moment I saw these in my inbox I was drawn to them because they look so similar to a cookie my grandmother has always made, she has always called them “jewish pastries”… Whatever the heck the name is, these are DELICIOUS! I used pecans instead of walnuts cause i’m just a pecan kinda gal. I ran out of sour cream so I used plain greek yogurt. I think my minor changes worked out just fine. Thanks Sally, these will now be added to my list of christmas cookies I make on Christmas Eve. Based on the reaction I got from my fiance, I will have to double the recipe!

  22. Hi! I love rugelach and make it every year. Thanks for the tip on blending the dough in a food processor. Can you tell me why you use a water wash, and if you’ve tried butter or egg?

    • That’s what King Arthur Flour suggests (and this is a recipe they produced)– but an egg wash would be absolutely OK too.

  23. Do you have a recipe for the filling using apricot or raspberry preserves/jam. 

  24. If you like mince meat it works well also but, my favorite is a good raspberry jam

  25. These cookies are a traditional Jewish treat, which is why many have not heard of them. Jewish bakeries serve them in several flavours, raspberry, chocolate, apricot and the cinnamon nut version you present here. Lovely recipe.

  26. So very excited to attempt Rugelach for the first time. Can you tell me which blade to use in the food processor?  Thank you!

  27. So, I am not sure if this is where we leave our comments for the KitchenAid Stand mixer, but if it is I am interested in the Teal Blue one.  I have one that is about 20 years old and the motor is intermittent now, so it would be great.  Now, on to these cookies.  So I decided I would try to make these cookies, they kind of sounded like a bread that I make called Kolach.  The cookie dough worked up fantastic,  I was surprised at how good they were but they didn’t taste like the kolach.  So I thought oooh, they would taste good with the Kolach fillings so I changed a few things, I added 1/4 cup sugar to the dough and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Then I changed the filling to
    Walnuts, brownsugar and a tsp of cinnamon.  I then brushed them with melted butter.  OMG they were fantastic.  So flaky and the filling was dreamy.  Thanks for the post.  It was great.  Oh, I also made the pistachio shortbread, but I changed them to Almond Shortbread and added som almond extract to the cookie.  Everyone loved them.

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