Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

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

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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.

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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

142 comments

  1. Was taught how to make these so many years ago with a dear Polish friend who who filled some with prune butter (lekvah), and some with walnut filling. The prune butter was our favorite.

  2. I have never made Rugelach before.  Oh my goodness…it was simple and fabulous!  The pastry was so light and flaky and the filling was melt-in-your-mouth good!  Can’t wait to try it with some savory ingredients.  Thank you!

  3. I have had some rugelach that has cappuccino filling and it is to die for. Any ideas how to
    come up with that? Maybe the same filling with a cappuccino powder?
    Cant wait to try this recipe. I thought it would be much harder to make. Thanks for posting it.
    You are AMAZING!!

    • That sounds incredible. What if you reduced the cinnamon in this filling and added some of that cappuccino powder? I feel like that would be very good!

  4. I make raspberry or apricot filled Rugelach but have never thought of making a savory version as you suggest.  I made an amazing Habanero-Apricot jelly using peppers from my garden and am wondering how this would taste as a filling for your Rugelach recipe.  What cheese do you think would pair with my sweet and spicy filling? 

  5. Hello! Looking to try this recipe, but wondering if I can substitute dried currants for the raisins.

    Thanks!

  6. Classic and yet I’ve never made them! Can’t wait!

  7. Could I make it without the raisins? And have t be basically just a plain cinnamon roll filling?

    • The raisins are the moisture the filling needs, so maybe chopped dates or dried cranberries instead. Maybe jam? Or chopped chocolate that will melt too.

  8. can these be made with cranberry as do not do raisins

  9. How long will this keep? I was planning to make this for a party at work. Thanks!

  10. Sally! These are a childhood favorite of mine so I was so happy to see them on your blog. The recipe I use is exactly the same as yours but uses 1c cottage cheese instead of the cream cheese and sour cream. I have no idea what the difference is, but I know you like to experiment so I figured I would share. Merry Christmas!!

  11. what if you dont have a food processor just a stand up mixer ?? how can i get the same texture
    on the filling?? please help me and guide me the rugelach i grew up with , im dying to have that
    flavor !!! waiting on your reply thanks

  12. HELP!! I noticed that my food processor was far too small so I decided to switch over to my mixer.. Big mistake. My “batter” is now a pasty, sticky brick that reeks of only cream cheese. I’m considering scratching everything and forgetting about it. Will the recipe come out decent at all if I continue with the recipe.. Or is it totally not worth it..?

    • I’m just seeing this now, my apologies! Unfortunately, a mixer is not the best idea. A pastry blender would be the best choice.

  13. Do you think the results will be the same if I use a standing mixer in lieu of a food processor?

    • You’d have to be very careful to not overmix…  The processor works so fast that the dough remains cold, and you want to see bits of butter in the dough.  Perhaps if you keep the bowl and blades of a mixer chilled it might help?  Maybe a hand pastry blender cutting in the dairy would be better for not overprocessing?  What do you think, Sally?  

  14. Just made these with raspberry jam filling and drizzled with a lemon glaze, so good! My hubby’s favorite Christmas cookie tradition is jam diagonals, so I wanted to make something with those flavors but with a little twist (see what I did there?). 😉 Great recipe, the pastry is delicious! Thanks!

  15. Haven’t had rugelach since I was a kid, and the ones my mother got from the bakery were dry, boring, and the bottoms tasted burned.  They cut corners we don’t have to at home, when they are being made for those we love.  I looked at many recipes including Martha Stewart, and yours had sour cream and looked best to me, the proportions and ingredients.  And you had King Arthur’s blessing, and they are the only flours I’ve used since the 70’s…  if you’re gonna bake from scratch, use the best.  I used Montmorency dried cherries from Costco instead of raisins (I was giving them to my veterinarian and worried about a dog getting ahold of a toxic raisin, somehow, and if they are cherry, the vet techs could share with the dogs and cats, and raisins sounded boring) and pecans (I don’t have walnuts because I hate them).  I brushed the tops with beaten whole egg to help browning and make the sugar topping stick, and generously sprinkled before baking with turbinado sugar.   Holy cow, these are absolutely wonderful and so incredibly easy!   I’m already getting ideas for other sweet and savory fillings.  It’s like very short pie crust:  everything cold, work fast, only work on one disc at a time, and the rest keep cold.  Even better, I could do it in steps:  do the dough the day or two before, so it really doesn’t take that much time when I only have to make the filling on baking day.  Thank you, Sally!  Because this turned out so well, I will trust your other recipes, too!  (I can’t stop saying holy cow, these are SO DANG GOOD!)

  16. Hi Sally,

    First of all, congratulations on your newest addition 🙂 Noelle is beautiful, as is the name. Secondly, I made the pumpkin roll last night, and it was enjoyed by all. Thanks so much for yet another winner! And now to my question about this recipe. I’ve always wanted to try making rugelach, and it’s time I face my fears 😉 What are your thoughts on using Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream? I have no problems with sour cream…I just tend to have yogurt on hand more, and it’s easier to use up anything that’s leftover. 

    Thanks so much! 
    Erin

    • Hi Erin! Thank you so much for the congrats on our baby girl. And I’m so glad you enjoyed the pumpkin roll for the October Baking Challenge! Greek yogurt would be fine– do you have the full fat kind? Or 2% at least? Those are the best options if you are looking to sub.

      • I was thinking the same thing about the fat content. Can’t wait to try it! As always, thanks again for your advice 🙂 

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