Rugelach has a rich cream cheese dough and a sweet fruity and nutty filling that gets rolled into crescent shapes and baked until flaky and delicious!
Table of Contents
What is Rugelach
This traditional Jewish pastry combines a rich, buttery cream cheese dough with a fruit and nut filling that offers the perfect sweet contrast.
Rugelach is flaky and delicate and while it may look fancy and involved, it’s actually very simple to make!
- The homemade dough comes together easily and offers a rich base for rolling up the filling.
- These pastries feature a filling of raisins, walnuts and orange marmalade, plus sugar and cinnamon, for a sweet, fruity taste in each bite.
- The pastries are finished with a cinnamon sugar mix sprinkled on top and baked until flaky and perfect!
- Unsalted Butter – We use unsalted butter in all of our recipes, unless noted. If you only have salted butter, omit the added kosher salt in the recipe.
- Cream Cheese – Full fat cream cheese will give you the best results for this pastry. Be sure to let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes before starting.
- Walnuts – We prefer walnuts in this recipe, but you could also substitute pecans. Toast the nuts for best flavor!
- Orange Marmalade – The citrus of the orange marmalade bars brightens up the flavor of these pastries. You could also use an apricot jam. Save some of this jam for our easy fruit salsa!
PRO TIP- We love making our own homemade vanilla extract, but if using store bought, be sure it’s pure extract, not imitation (for best flavor).
Make the dough. Combine the butter and cream cheese until pale in color. Add in sugar, salt and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined. Add the flour until just combined; don’t overmix it.
Roll dough and chill. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball into 4 even pieces and wrap in plastic wrap then refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts in a small bowl.
Assemble the pastries. Roll each chilled portion of dough into a 7-inch circle. Spread about 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade onto each circle then sprinkle evenly with the filling mixture. Cut each circle into 12 wedges and roll each wedge up starting with the widest side and going to the point.
Brush and bake. Brush the rugelach pastries with the egg wash, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Tips and Tricks
- Allow the butter and cream cheese to soften at room temperature before you start making the dough.
- Don’t overmix the dough! When adding the flour, incorporate it into the dough just until no white streaks remain. Don’t overmix or the dough will be tough.
- Be sure to chill the dough! This helps solidify the butter to a chilled state, which allows the pastry to be nice and flaky when baked.
- Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. This prevents the pastries from sticking to the pan and makes clean up oh so easy!
Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry that is often served around the holidays. The cookies are made with a rich, cream cheese dough that is rolled out and then filled with a variety of fillings, such as nuts, chocolate or fruit, or a combination.
Once cooled, transfer the rugelach to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Yes, you can freeze baked rugelach for up to 3 months. Place in a freezer safe container or ziplock bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More Cookie Recipes
For the Dough
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 package cream cheese, softened 8 ounce
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup orange marmalade
For the Topping
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a mixing bowl, combine butter with cream cheese until pale in color. Add in sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Blend until fully combined.
- Add flour just until combined, do not over mix.
- Place dough on a floured working surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball into four and wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for one hour.
- While dough is chilling, make the filling. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts. Set aside.
- After dough has chilled, remove the balls from the fridge. On a floured work surface, roll each ball of dough into a 7-inch circle. Spread about 2 Tablespoons of orange marmalade onto each circle. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the walnut mixture on top of each circle. Cut the circle into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge up starting with the widest side to the point.
- In a small bowl, whish egg with water for an egg wash. Set aside. Also combine granulated sugar with cinnamon. set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place wedges on cookie sheet. brush with egg wash then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bake rugelach for about 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Rugelach can be round or crescent-shaped, and it is often baked in a spiral so that each piece has a bit of all the fillings. When made correctly, rugelach is flaky and delicate, with a rich flavor that comes from the combination of the cream cheese dough and the sweet filling.
- Storage. Keep rugelach in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.