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5 stars based on 17 votes

Delicious to eat and fun to make, rugelach (pronounced rug-a-lah) are miniature crescent-rolled pastries posing as cookies. They’re made by rolling a triangle of dough around a sweet filling of fruit, nuts, chocolate or pretty much anything your heart desires. If you’ve never had them or made them from scratch, definitely roll up your sleeves and give this classic walnut-raisin version a try. They’re easier than they look and vastly better than store-bought. I’ll be honest: they do take some time to make as the dough needs to be refrigerated for a few hours and rolled out, but I promise you it’s worth it. Fresh out of the oven, they’re buttery, crisp and flaky, with a sweet cinnamon scent that will tempt you to eat the entire batch.


Since rugelach are hands-on, they are wonderful to make with kids. Mine love rolling out the dough (which, thankfully, is very forgiving!), creating their own fillings (scroll down to the recipe for chocolate chip and Nutella variations) and then rolling the cookies into little twists.


Begin by making the dough. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.


Pulse a few times to mix.


Add the cubed butter, cream cheese and egg yolk. The cream cheese is what makes the dough pliable, easy to work with, and reliably tender. The egg yolk adds a little extra richness and helps the dough turn golden in the oven.


Pulse until the mixture forms large curd-like pieces. Be careful not to over-mix; all those little chunks of fat will steam while the rugelach bake, making the dough tender and flaky.


Dump the crumbly dough onto a work surface. It will look like a mess but don’t worry, it will come together.


Knead the dough just until it comes together and shape it into a square or rectangle.


Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.


Flatten each portion into 1-inch thick disks, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


Wipe out the food processor and make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts in the bowl.


Process until the nuts and raisins are finely chopped, then transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside until the dough is ready to roll.


Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well so the rolling pin doesn’t stick.


Roll each disc into a rough 10-11″ circle (it should be just under 1/8″ thick). Turn the dough and dust with more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick. Don’t worry if the edges are a little cracked or rough.


Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the filling evenly over the dough and press down with your hands to anchor it.


Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough into 12 wedges, just like you would cut a pizza or pie.


Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end.


Place the rolls point-side down, about an inch apart, on parchment lined baking sheets.


Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.


Transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool completely. They are best served warm out of the oven, but keep well for several days stored in an airtight container. Enjoy!




Servings: 48 cookies
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes


For the Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife, plus more for rolling dough
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 8 oz (1 package) cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add the chunks of butter and cream cheese, as well as the egg yolk. Pulse until the dough is moistened and crumbly with curd-like pieces about the size of peas. Dump the dough out onto a work surface. Knead just until it comes together and shape into a square or rectangle. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and flatten into 1-inch thick discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Wipe out the food processor. To make the filling, place the brown sugar, granulated sugar, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the walnuts and raisins are finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until the dough is ready.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface. (If necessary, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until pliable enough to roll, but not too soft.) Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10-11" circle, or just under an 1/8" thick. Sprinkle more flour and turn as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. Spread 1/2 cup of the filling over the dough and lightly press it into the dough with your hands.
  6. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut the dough into twelve equal wedges (just like you would cut a pizza). Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the point. Place the rolls point-side down, about an inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have 24 rugelach on each baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms are golden and crisp (at first glance, it might look like the bottoms are burnt, but that's just the dark filling oozing out). Transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool.
  8. Delicious Ideas for Chocolate Fillings:
  9. Chocolate Chips: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips over each portion of dough (you'll need 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup mini chocolate chips total). Be sure to press the chocolate chips firmly into the dough before rolling the cookies.
  10. Nutella: Warm 1 cup of Nutella in the microwave until it is just spreadable (not too hot!) and smear 1/4 cup evenly over each portion of dough. It's a little messier to roll the cookies when the dough is covered with chocolate spread, so pull each triangle wedge away from the circle before rolling.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 181
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Sodium: 58mg
  • Cholesterol: 38mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I have made these cookies many many times and each time I receive plenty of compliments. They turn out perfect and the mix of ingredients rolled up deliver an incredible taste. I also candied orange peel last winter and spread about a tablespoon or two of the candied peel onto the rolled out circle of dough. A little bit goes a long way and it adds a hint of sweet-citric taste. I think this is one of my favorite recipes on your site!

    - Gabriela C. on July 23, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I am a huge fan of yours! My son has tons of allergies–What do you recommend for this as far as wheat-free/nut-free alternative?


    - Khristina on December 29, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Khristina, You can use a gluten-free flour blend (whichever one you like for baking) and omit the nuts. Or maybe try mini chocolate chips for the filling instead — my kids love them this way.

      - Jenn on December 30, 2016 Reply
  • Could these Rugelach cookies be made gluten free? It would be nice to have them as a treat again.

    - Marie Welton on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Marie, I do think they’d work with gluten-free flour. Please let me know how they turn out if you try them this way!

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • Hello! I’ve seen rugelach made with sour cream, could I possibly substitute that for the cream cheese? I have an extra tub of it and I’d like to use it up! Thank you!

    - Mais on December 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Mais, I haven’t tried it so I can’t be sure, but I think it would work. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 12, 2016 Reply
      • Thank you! I’ll definitely update you!

        - Mais on December 12, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious! I brushed a small amount of seedless red raspberry jam to the dough before adding the filling…dough is very easy to work with…does not family is eating these day and night!!

    - Wendy G Schoenburg on December 9, 2016 Reply
  • Great recipe for this holiday treat. I followed the recipe with the addition of adding a small amount of homemade fig jam to the filling. Well received at the office cookie exchange.

    - Cindy Seim on December 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is very similar to the one I’ve used for years from “Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies” although yours uses 2 more oz. of of cream cheese and 1/4 c. less of flour…a wonderful recipe…I did not know you could freeze the rugelach then cook when desired…I also like the idea of putting the raisins in the food processor…Whole raisins are too large to use…can’t wait to try your recipe…Which of your cookie recipes are best for mailing? Thanks.

    - Wendy G Schoenburg on December 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I needed a quick easy recipe for my daughter’s Heritage Studies Assignment: Bring a food item from your family heritage. My family immigrated from Germany in the late 1800’s. What better way to celebrate our Jewish ancestors than Rugelach! Thank you for posting with beautiful step by step photos, this made it easy and perfect for us to make together!

    - Elisheva on February 25, 2016 Reply
  • This looks wonderful!! For the nutella version, do you JUST use nutella for the filling? Or do you add the walnut, raisin, cinnamon mixture as well? Thanks!

    - Kristen on December 29, 2015 Reply
    • Kristen, Just the nutella. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 29, 2015 Reply
  • Planning to try this recipe. If I only have salted butter, can I omit the 1/4 tsp of butter?

    - Mina on December 12, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Mina, I would really recommend unsalted butter but if you plan to use the salted, I would definitely cut back on the salt you use.

      - Jenn on December 13, 2015 Reply
  • The rugelach are devine!! My grandmother used blond raisins, she liked the color contrast to the other ingredients. Easy to make, the rugelach freeze well.

    - Hildy on December 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I did it for the first time,turn out wonderful,I get A+ from my children.

    - my children approved on November 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My family loves these. They make a very impressive holiday gift and they are easy to make. I always double the recipe…they go fast!

    - Pat Housum on October 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Amazing rugelach and the easiest recipe I have found. I always struggled with remembering how to roll them and the video could not have been more helpful. I made apricot and (amazing) cinnamon, chocolate and raisins using ground pecans as the base. Thanks so much!

    - Care on September 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love love love. I just finished baking 16 dozen for tonight’s holiday and to share with friends and neighbors. Delicious as written as well as with a tweak I spread a very thin layer of apricot preserves before I add the cinnamon nut mixture along with an egg wash on top before baking

    - Annie on September 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The first time I made these it was for Thanksgiving which corresponded with Hannukah, and I thought they would be a nice change from pumpkin pie. I substituted prunes for the raisins because that is what I had. The dough was easy to work, though the kitchen was warm and it got a little sticky. The rolling up took a little practice but the taste was so fantastic it didn’t matter that there were a few ugly ducklings. The next time I made them, it was with apricot jam instead of raisins, and pecans instead of walnuts and once again, fantastic. This is not a traditional thanksgiving dessert!

    - Dianne Friedman on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • This is a fun recipe for kids to join in with. Even when you don’t have time to make the dough from scratch and substitute with crescent rolls, they still like helping and it’s a great quick, yummy dessert! They love being able to personalize the fillings to their own tastes.

    - Emmy on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Just finished baking these, scaled the recipe down to two dozen. Added sour cream and glazed with some egg yolk before I put them in the oven. This pastry is absolutely delicious! The crust was flaky and buttery. Will be making at least 8 dozen for my church’s tea party this month. Thank-you so much for this recipe. Oh and I did not have walnuts so I substituted with pecans and baked for 20 minutes.

    - Tamicka on March 17, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I baked the Original and Nutella versions and the Nutella were dangerously delicious (hard not to love anything with chocolate and nuts). As to keep the regulach similiar sizes for cooking, I rolled out the dough and then placed a bowl on top and cut around the bowl. Much easier to keep them the same size and looked great when cooked.

    Thank you for the recipe!

    - BC on December 25, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these rugelach so many times, every time they come out perfect. As an experiment, I used dried cranberries and cherries instead of raisins and they were heavely good.

    - Masuda on December 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delightful bites of deliciousness! Kids love rolling these up and gifting cookie boxes for the holidays. Yummy anytime of year and we change up the filling too – Use your favorite chocolate & nuts or raisin & cinnamon. Fun project for kids during the cold winter months – the oven heats the house and the smell is divine! Easy too.

    - Georgianna Goetsch on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon?are U serious???

    - Paula on October 8, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Paula, Yes, that’s correct!

      - Jenn on October 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jen,
    I’ve made this recipe many times and it never fails. Reminds me of when I was little and my grandmother would bake rugelach. The smell!! I was wondering if these could be frozen AFTER baking. I made a batch today and, after the fact, my friend asked me to bring some to her home on Saturday for dessert. I have no time before then to bake again. Will these last until Saturday ? Or can I freeze them now.

    - Sharyn on October 1, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sharyn, I’d say they keep well stored in an airtight container for about 3 days, so Saturday might be pushing it a little. Theoretically, you should be able to freeze baked rugelach without any issues (most recipes say they freeze well, baked or unbaked) but I’ve never tried it myself so can’t say with 100% certainty.

      - Jenn on October 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made these for the first time last night. Loved the combination of flavours, and it was easy to make. It takes a bit of skill/practice to roll out the dough evenly and roll up the rugelachs neatly, but you get 4 chances to practice 🙂 It’s important not to roll the dough too thin, also, don’t make the rugelachs too tight (because the dough needs space to get puffy, otherwise they unroll and get dry). I also brushed the rugelachs with egg/milk mixture to give them a golden shine (my granny always did that), and I think it really improved their appearance. Last, for me the time was 18-19 minutes…
    I finished making these late at night, and my husband was already in bed. He smelled them, and came down to have a couple, and absolutely loved them.
    Very happy with this recipe! It’s a keeper!

    - Olga on August 24, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I recently made these because I remember my grandmother making & sending them to us when I was growing up. These are super! I omitted the raisins (can’t stand those myself) but it didn’t matter – they were wonderful & easy! I gave some to neighbors who loved them too!

    - Esther on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • I absolutely love your rugelach reciope…it’s so easy and tastes amazing. I make it very often now that I have your recipe.

    - Lothar Niemann on November 9, 2013 Reply
  • My mother in law used to make these and I was thrilled when i found the recipe. Super easy to make and soo delicious!

    - Sharon on November 6, 2013 Reply
  • These were wonderful to eat, but not as pretty as yours in the picture – do you have suggestions for if the dough is too mushy? Many of my rugelach stuck to the table, despite my use of copious amounts of flour. Thanks!

    - Michelle on November 5, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Michelle, Did you use the dough right out of the refrigerator? If you let it sit out too long, it will get too soft. You might try rolling it out on parchment paper; that way if it gets sticky, you can lift the parchment paper right up and chill in the fridge for a bit. u As for making them pretty, it just takes practice 🙂

      - Jenn on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • Would this work with anything else that could make it dairy free? Like margarine?

    - Eliana G on October 25, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Eliana, Yes, just be sure it is unsalted.

      - Jenn on October 25, 2013 Reply
  • almost like our family recipe -but we spread just a touch of warm honey on the dough, then sprinkle on the brown sugar/nut mixture. We don’t use the berries, but nice idea Be careful if you use honey though – too much will ooze all over the place and burn…

    - Becky Slater on September 11, 2013 Reply
  • They look delicious, but can you recommend a substitute if you can’t use nuts (allergies)? Thanks.

    - Debbie on September 7, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Debbie, You can just leave them out…it won’t make a difference. Or try adding a few tablespoons of apricot jam or dried apricots to the filling. There are also some wonderful chocolate variations…see the instructions in the actual recipe.

      - Jenn on September 7, 2013 Reply
  • Here the ending is kh as in a khet ח. If you see what I mean. I like them (bought) with chocolate in and heated in the microwave. Yum.

    - Judy on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • My mom spreads seedless raspberry jam over the dough, then sprinkles a similar nut/raisin mixture.

    Another use for this very easy dough is cheese knishes. Cut circles out and then add a TB of a filling made of cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, eggs, and sauteed onions in the middle of the circle. Fold dough over the filling and use fork tines to seal. Cook time is about the same as rugelach.

    - Myrna on September 6, 2013 Reply
    • Apricot jam is delicious too…and I love the idea of savory fillings.

      - Jenn on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • Wow! Looks easy! I must try it!

    - Arthur in the Garden! on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • I’m tempted to make this today! I have all of the ingredients 🙂 Looks delicious.

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • You make it look so easy. Have you tried freezing these. Would be nice to stock up for the holidays

    - Jane on September 6, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Jane, Yes, you can freeze rugelach before baking. They can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just might take a bit longer to cook.

      - Jenn on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • Yes Jenn, these would make for a very happy new year!

    These rugalehs sure seems like something your great grandmother used to make and serve to us at the holiday dinner.

    Thanks for bringing those memories alive!

    - MickMil on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • My mom used to trim pies, and use the left over to make similar ones. She just added sugar, cinnamon, butter. So yummy. 🙂

    - Veronica Hughes on September 6, 2013 Reply
    • Yes, this dough is very similar to pie dough. Bet those were delicious!

      - Jenn on September 6, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve had this recipe since a baby shower given for me before my oldest daughter was born. I’ve always been afraid to tackle it. Your instructions have spurred me on. I’m going to do it. Thank you for shairng.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

    - Linda on September 6, 2013 Reply

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