Ideal as a Hanukkah dessert or a cookie any time of year, this classic Rugelach recipe starts with a cream cheese cookie dough and is filled with apricots, raisins, and walnuts. These buttery, customizable Rugelach cookies are a yearly baking tradition in my home.

Baked rugelach on a cooling rack.

Rugelach (pronounced rug-a-lah) are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and perfectly buttery without being too sweet. A blast of a baking project to make, Rugelach look like mini crescent rolls but taste like delicious, nutty cookies.

These holiday cookies are traditional as a Hanukkah dessert, but are a delightful treat any time of year.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Rugelach Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for rugelach.

Ingredient notes

  • Cream cheese: You’ll need half of a plain full-fat block of cream cheese. Slice it into cubes to speed up the softening time; room temperature is ideal so the cream cheese incorporates well into the cookie dough.
  • Walnut meal: In a food processor, place 1 ⅓ cups of whole walnuts. Process until walnuts are finely ground. Will yield about 1 cup of walnut meal, which is exactly enough for this Rugelach recipe.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a stand up electric mixer fitted with the paddle, or a large mixing bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until it is thoroughly combined, light, and fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes.
Rugelach dough in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. Scrape down the bowl and beaters as necessary. Reduce the speed and slowly mix in the flour, about 30 seconds. 
Rugelach dough in a silver mixing bowl.
  1. On a floured working surface, turn the dough out and divide into 2 equal pieces. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 60 minutes. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon together.
A bowl of cinnamon and sugar for rugelach.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place the racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick.
Rugelach dough on a countertop before being sliced.
  1. On each round, spread ¼ cup of jam and sprinkle ½ cup of the nuts and ¼ cup of the raisins. Then, evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Rugelach dough with filling on a countertop before being sliced.
  1. Cut each round into 16 even wedges using a knife or pizza cutter.
Someone slicing triangles of rugelach on a countertop.
  1. Beginning at the wide end, roll each wedge up into a cookie.
Someone rolling rugelach on a countertop.
  1. Place each cookie on the prepared sheet ensuring the pointed end is underneath the cookie. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. 
Nine unbaked rugelach on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  1. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the cookies and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top. Bake the cookies until they have slightly puffed and are a pale gold, about 20 minutes, rotating and switching the position of the baking sheets halfway through. 
Nine baked rugelach on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  1. Transfer the hot cookies immediately to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving, about 60 minutes. 
Baked rugelach on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Rugelach recipe makes 32 cookies.
  • Storage: Rugelach will keep at room temperature for 3 days (wrapped tightly) or 1 to 2 weeks longer in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: Freeze the discs of dough for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe. Or freeze the shaped Rugelach cookies for up to 3 months. Freeze individually before combining in a freezer-safe bag. Bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time if necessary.
  • Customize your filling: I adore the warmly-spiced, nutty, fruity combination of this Rugelach filling, but your only limit is your imagination. Try other fruit jams, dried fruits, nuts, or pie spices, or opt for a chocolate, chocolate-hazelnut, or caramel spread in place off the jam. A few tasty combinations to consider:
    • Hazelnuts+ Nutella + cinnamon + dried cherries
    • Pecans + fig jam + nutmeg + dried cranberries
    • Walnuts + apple butter + ginger + mini chocolate chips
Baked rugelach in a white serving bowl.

Recipe FAQs

What does rugelach taste like?

Rugelach have a similar taste to tiny, buttery croissants but with a harder texture. And, the filling is fruity, crunchy, and filled with cinnamon.

Why did my rugelach flatten when baking?

Sometimes this happens when the dough is too warm. If your dough feels warm and soft after shaping the cookies,, chill them thoroughly before baking.

How do I make gluten free rugelach?

Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour that is designed to replace at a 1-1 ratio, such as King Arthur’s GF Measure for Measure flour.

Baked rugelach in a white serving bowl.

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Baked rugelach on a cooling rack.

Rugelach

Ideal as a Hanukkah dessert or a cookie any time of year, this easy Rugelach recipe starts with a cream cheese cookie dough and is filled with apricots, raisins, and walnuts. These buttery, customizable Rugelach cookies are a yearly baking tradition in my home.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Chilling time 1 hr
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 32 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine Israeli
Calories 108

Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 ⅓ ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped fine, or walnut meal (4 ounces, see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup raisins chopped (2 ½ ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions 

To make the dough:

  • In a stand up electric mixer fitted with the paddle, or a large mixing bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until it is thoroughly combined, light, and fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes.
  • Scrape down the bowl and beaters as necessary. Reduce the speed and slowly mix in the flour, about 30 seconds. 
  • On a floured working surface, turn the dough out and divide into 2 equal pieces. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon together.

To assemble the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place the racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. On each round, spread ¼ cup of jam and sprinkle ½ cup of the nuts and ¼ cup of the raisins. Then, evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  • Cut each round into 16 even wedges using a knife or pizza cutter. Beginning at the wide end, roll each wedge up into a cookie. Place each cookie on the prepared sheet ensuring the pointed end is underneath the cookie. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. 
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the cookies and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top. Bake the cookies until they have slightly puffed and are a pale gold, about 20 minutes, rotating and switching the position of the baking sheets halfway through. 
  • Transfer the hot cookies immediately to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving, about 60 minutes. 

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cream cheese: You’ll need half of a plain full-fat block of cream cheese. Slice it into cubes to speed up the softening time; room temperature is ideal so the cream cheese incorporates well into the cookie dough.
  2. Walnut meal: In a food processor, place 1 ⅓ cups of whole walnuts. Process until walnuts are finely ground. Will yield about 1 cup of walnut meal.
  3. Yield: This Rugelach recipe makes 32 cookies.
  4. Storage: Rugelach will keep at room temperature for 3 days (wrapped tightly) or 1 to 2 weeks longer in the refrigerator.
  5. Freezer: Freeze the discs of dough for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe. Or freeze the shaped Rugelach cookies for up to 3 months. Freeze individually before combining in a freezer-safe bag. Bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time if necessary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 108kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 82mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 167IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. I was so thrilled to find this recipe for Rugelach. The Publix where I shop does not sell it anymore because they do not get that many requests for it (so they say). This recipe sounds so easy. I thought it would be much harder but it doesn’t appear to be.Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try it.5 stars

  2. There is no baking temp and I am baking at 350° but you might want to add that for those who aren’t experienced bakers5 stars

    1. Hi Verna, under “To Assemble the cookies” it says “Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place the racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.” This is the baking temp. Sorry you couldn’t find it though! I thought maybe it was a typo but no, it’s there. Thanks.