How to Make Rugelach Cookies

rugelach cookies on a purple plate

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.

rugelach cookies on a purple plate

Have you ever made rugelach before? I know it looks ultra fancy and maybe a little intimidating. 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. A traditional Jewish treat, 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.)

rugelach cookie dough ingredients in a food processor

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.

2 images of rugelach cookie dough in a food processor

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.

hands wrapping up a disc of rugelach cookie dough

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.

hands spreading rugelach filling onto circle of cookie dough

hands rolling up triangles of rugelach cookie dough

Roll up!


rugelach cookies on a silpat baking mat before baking

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.

hands holding a purple plate of rugelach cookies

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.

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rugelach cookies on a purple plate


  • 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 (250g) 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.

cookie palooza logo image


  1. Hi Sally ,
    Loved this recipe!
    My granddaughter is allergic to nuts. I would like to use raspberry jam.Is there anything I should add to jam ? Thanks again for all your wonderful tips and wonderful recipes.A blessed Thanksgiving You you and your family!

    1. I’m so glad you love them, Marianne! You can certainly use store bought raspberry jam for the filling or make you own like I did in this recipe:

  2. Signa Levesque says:

    I made these 2 years ago and they were a hit. Due to surgery, I didn’t do any baking, last year but will definitely be making these this year for my Christmas Cookie Platter gifts.

  3. Signa Levesque says:

    I made these 2 years ago and they were a hit. I will make them again, this year. Easy to make and very tasty

  4. This is the most incredible rugelach dough I’ve ever come across. I live in a dry, high altitude state, so the other doughs I tried were a struggle to even hold together. Not this, when I opened my food processor the dough looked just like the picture. And once baked you could see the layers. Thank you!

  5. I’ve been using your recipes for a long time, and I find it very strange and jarring that rugelach are listed in a Christmas cookie palooza post with no mention of the fact that they are a traditional *Jewish* treat. It’s not hard to acknowledge their origin and inform your readers; I hope you’ll update the recipe with a note of their origin and a mention that these are a good gift for Jewish family, friends and coworkers. For bonus points, you could list the Jewish holidays when gifting rugelach would be appropriate. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s definitely important to mention that this is a Jewish treat, which I do (and I can certainly add to it!), but non-Jewish bakers may enjoy them as well any time of the year. Many usually bake these around the holidays, which is why they are categorized as so. Thank you so much again. I’m happy to make an update!

  6. Made them tonight and they were amazing! I tried some with jam and the jam spilled out. Is there a trick for using jam?

    1. I had the same problem with jam being too runny when I made a Christmas star bread and used raspberry jam as directed. The next time I made the bread, I first heated the jam to a boil in a nonstick pan and simmered it on low until it reduced to a thicker consistency. Alternatively, you could try Solo Cake & Pastry filling available in the baking section or online.

  7. Can Greek yogurt substitute for the sour cream in this recipe?

    1. Yes, that should work.

  8. Hi there Sally, really enjoying your recipes during these trying times!
    So far I have made 3 of your cookie recipes and today I am doing your Rugelach recipe.

    I just finished pulsing the dough and it is not crumbling into pea sized portions, it’s soft and moist so have added 1/4 cup flour and it is still the same
    Think I’ll just divide into the 3 discs and refrigerate as is.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Elaine! So glad you’re finding my website useful this season. I’m concerned the dough isn’t crumbly. Were the butter and cream cheese both very cold? Make sure you’re using 6 ounces of block cream cheese (not the whole block and not the spread). Did it look like the photos above? I hope it turned out ok for you.

  9. Virginica D. says:

    Oh my God, these are some of the best cookies I’ve eaten so far! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Zack Einstein says:

    Sally, these were delicious! I have a question about chocolate filling. I used your filling on half of them and a chocolate filling on the other half. The chocolate filling was baking chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon, prepared in the food processor. Although they tasted great, the consistency stayed grainy like the filling in this recipe instead of becoming smooth, as if the chocolate cooked instead of melting. Do I need to melt the chocolate before putting it on the dough for it to turn out smooth in the end?

    1. Hi Zack, melting pure chocolate, letting it slightly cool, then mixing it with brown sugar and cinnamon would be great– you’ll form a paste which can easily be spread. That may be more of the texture you’re looking for!

    2. Hi Sally
      Hope all is great and keeping safe !
      I’m a big fan of yours from Dubai & I love your recipes, sweet and savory
      I tried to do the rugelach yesterday but unfortunately I have a small food processor! So I had a to pulse the ingredients in batches. Some came out crumbly and the rest not
      At the end I mixed the whole thing together with my hands but tried not to over mix, yet not sure if that’s gonna work and of course didn’t want to give up at this point so I went ahead and divided the dough and refrigerated it. It been in the fridge from yesterday.
      Is there anything I can do to make the recipe work ? Should I add flour ‍♀️
      Lastly, what size And brand food processor would you recommend ?

      Thank you

      1. If you followed the recipe and make the dough in two batches and then combined them, there is no reason it shouldn’t work! You can use a pastry cutter to make the crust, but if you are looking to purchase a new larger food processor this is a good one:

  11. Cindy Brown says:

    Hi Sally… I don’t have a food processor but was wondering if I froze the butter and then grated it into the flour (as in some of your other recipes) if this might work? Could I do the same for the cream cheese? I so appreciate the lengths you go to to impart your tips and techniques of your tried and true recipes. Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy, That would likely work with the butter, although not with the cream cheese. You can use a pastry cutter instead of a food processor – see recipe notes!

  12. Can I use crème fraîche instead of sour cream cuz I’m out?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erika, We haven’t tested it but full fat greek yogurt should also work if you have any.

  13. Looking to make these this weekend, but I was wondering if there is much growth or spread to the dough when baked? I’m thinking of rolling these in a log and slicing, like you would for cinnamon rolls, instead of doing the croissant method you suggest here. Any concerns or tips if I try that method?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tyler, I have shaped them this way and it’s worked wonderfully! They will puff up and spread a small amount.

      1. Lived the recipe, sweet and flaky, but not too sweet — addictive. The log roll method worked well to create two-bite sized cookies. The logs were rolled about an inch or so thick and I cut them a little over an inch long and stood them on end. The first batches tipped over as they expanded, so on the next batches I squashed them a little. If anyone wants to try this method I found 25 minutes still worked as the cook time, following the dimensions above.

  14. Maziah mahmood says:

    Yes , it works equally good by rolling it up like a cinnamon roll, I have done it . Rugelach is definitely one type of cookies that’s different from other cookies, so yummy

  15. These are great! One of my favorite thing to eat. Thanks for putting ingredients by weight as it makes it easy to measure out. Loved every recipe I have tried!

  16. Hi Sally! I love your recipes! My Jewish bakery stopped selling their cheese filled rugelach. I haven’t found a recipe though. Do you have any recommendations for a cheese filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Aja, We haven’t tried a savory filling yet but some ideas are pesto parmesan, jam and goat cheese, or a creamy herb filling like in this pull apart bread. Let us know what you try!

    2. Hi Aja – aren’t you looking for a sweet cheese filling? If so, 200 gr cream cheese, 1 egg, vanilla and lemon (depends on your taste I like mixing both), about 1 tablespoon of sugar, mix all and simply spread it on the dough….. love it 🙂

  17. hi sally!!..
    your amazing recipes have always worked wonders for me….and I’m super tempted to make these…but had a query as to are there any substitutions possible for the cream cheese in the pastry dough??
    awaiting your reply…thanks!!

    1. Hi Ashna! None that I’ve successfully tested. I strongly recommend using it. Makes a wonderfully tasty pastry. You could try shortening in a pinch, but again– I really recommend cream cheese.

  18. Curious, how long would these keep fresh in an air-tight container?

    1. Hi Matt, see that last direction. I recommend up to 5 days.

  19. Hi Sally! I’ve noticed in other recipes they omit the sour cream. What would the difference be in taste and texture?
    Also, why do you brush the dough with water before the filling is placed?
    Thanks so much! Enjoying your recipes!!!

    1. Hi Paula, I find the pastry isn’t quite as smooth or tender without sour cream. Water helps the filling stick so it’s nice and compact before rolling/shaping.

  20. I made these last night for Hanukkah and they were amazing! I made one round with fig jam and the other with the walnut mixture. the 3rd is awaiting the leftover homemade apple sauce 🙂 The dough is absolutely the best I’ve had. I will use this as my go-to pie crust from now on too. It REALLY needs to stay cold to work with. I made a huge mess of the rolling pin and counter at first, trying to roll it on the counter. If you live in a warmer climate (we’re in HI), then rolling the disks between 2 sheets of parchment paper is a much easier method. I had to keep putting the dough back into the refrigerator every time I put my hands on it, so the parchment made this possible. Thank you!!

  21. This cookie is delicious! The dough is so delicate and extremely tasty. I used the filling suggested, but swapped the raisins for cranberries. I might try some dried cherries next time. For another batch, I also mixed some chopped dark chocolate, milk chocolate, walnuts, vanilla, and espresso powder. Thanks Sally for another yummy recipe!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Such delicious filling choices, Sabrina – we’re glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  22. Just made these with nutella filling. Delicious! I wasn’t sure about the pastry when I made it but it baked up beautifully and light!! Thank you for this great recipe!

  23. Good Rugelach has a special place in my heart. They are in the oven now ! Loved your addition of the sour cream in the batter, much easier to roll out the dough. And the way you add the nuts & raisins with the sugar to the prosessor, good touch Sally. Over all these rugelach are much more tidy to roll out and hold together. I did notice you did not call for jam – that’s unusual, but anyway the jam is so miniscule one can usually hardly even taste it.

  24. First time ever baking rugelach and these turned out amazing!!!! My kids don’t like raisins so I substituted a quarter cup of chocolate chips and 2 dollops of strawberry jam and cut sugar in half. I increased walnuts to 1 1/2 cups as seemed not enough filling. Keeper recipe for sure!! Pastry is scrumptious and flaky and very forgiving!!

  25. These rugelach came out delicious and taste even better at room temp the following days (when they’re less flaky and more solid). This recipe makes ones that are definitely flaky like croissants, which tasted great but is not like traditional rugelach. It was interesting trying them this way but I’ll probably look for a more traditional recipe next time.

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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