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

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

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

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

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

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

How to make rugelach on

Roll up!


How to make rugelach on

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

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.



  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: European


Homemade rugelach is buttery and flaky with a light and crisp pastry dough and sweet cinnamon filling.


  • 2 cups (241g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons; 230g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces; 170g) block cream cheese, cold and cubed
  • 1/3 cup (75g) sour cream, cold


  • 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


  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.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: Food Processor | Rolling PinPastry Cutter | Pastry Brush | Silicone Pastry BrushSilpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Purple Plate
  3. No 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.
  4. In partnership with King Arthur Flour.

Keywords: homemade rugelach, rugelach

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

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


  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!!

    1. 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? 

    1. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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

  7. 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..?

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

    1. 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?  

  8. 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!

  9. 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!)

  10. 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! 

    1. 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.

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

  11. Made these last week and they were delicious! Had never made (or eaten) rugelach before and they turned out great. I mostly used cranberries with some raisins as well (team raisin ‍♀️). Honestly, I was a bit worried they wouldn’t be sweet enough when I tasted the dough- which doesn’t exactly taste like sugar cookie dough lol. I was so wrong, they were perfectly sweet and balanced and not overly sweet like so many desserts. Will definitely make these again. 

  12. Am going to try your dough recipe. It sounds great. For a filling I use pineapple preserves, mini chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts, finely chopped.

  13. I used to buy rugelach at Sam’s when they had it~which wasn’t often enough. I think spreading melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped, toasted pecans would be so decadent with the cream cheese sour cream dough.  Of course all the calories would be replaced with lots of love!!

  14. I’ve never even heard of these before, but they sounded like something my husband would like. Turns out everyone likes them. I feel so super fancy making a dough that comes out magically flaky. I’m disappointed not to read any comments on how a savory version came out. I can imagine brie and apricot or something. Goat cheese. All the savory cheeses! Even spinach and artichoke? I just made my second batch, but my scale was out of batteries, so not as good. Too little flour led to over mixing. Still really flaky and yummy. 

  15. Hi Sally. Would it be okay to make these and then freeze them? I’m hoping to get all of my baking done ahead of time and put in the freezer and then just bring them out for Christmas. Thanks.

    1. Hi Julie! Yes, definitely. See my make ahead tip: 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.

  16. Hi Sally!

    I’m so excited to get back into baking again and with the upcoming winter break, I’d love to spend some of those days trying out some of your cookie recipes. Can you tell me what are some common ingredients that I should have on hand that might work for most of these recipes? Thanks!

  17. I tried to make the rugelach tonight. I’ve a small food processor, and instead of getting a crumbly mix, I got a sticky dough. I’ve gone ahead and made my dough ovals and put them in the refrigerator, but am wondering if the dough is not already too over-worked to bother finishing making the cookies. Thoughts?

  18. Hello–

    I am new to your blog and recipes. When I saw this recipe, I was curious to see how you rolled out and filled the cookies. My grandmother’s recipe is almost the same as yours, but she–and my mother–would make small balls out of the dough, and make each cookies individually. Took forever. Making the rugelach like a pizza saves so much time! We also brushed them with a little bit of oil, and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top, no matter what the filling.

  19. Our favorite rugelach! Sometimes we use dried cranberries instead of the raisins. Thanks for this great recipe.We make them all the time!

  20. No better rugelach out there! The flavor is outstanding and the pastry is the best we’ve ever had. Keeping this recipe forever. Thanks Sally!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally