Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach come in a couple of different styles. There’s the classic croissant shape and what you might call the “strudel: shape. Either one will work with this formula. Any time I take on a classic I try to be aware that there are dozens of possible alternatives, most with an equal claim to the “definitive version” title. That rule certainly applies to rugelach. Some versions are made with sour cream and are a little more cake-like, some with cream cheese and are a little more pie crust-like. This formula is the latter, because that’s the version I first tasted and learned how to make. Calle me sentimental. The proportions for this style of rugelach are fairly standard:

For the Pastry

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
egg wash
large crystal sugar to finish


There are several ways you can go here. The classic is cinnamon sugar (roughly 6-1 granulated sugar to cinnamon) plus either walnuts or golden raisins that have been plumped in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Other possibilities include sugar and cocoa powder (mixed 3-1), maybe with a few chocolate chips added for fun. A thin layer of jam and the cocoa powder mixture is not uncommon. Jam and cinnamon is another way to go. You can really go nuts crazy here, and many people do. Use your imagination!


Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Then with the machine on low, slowly add the flour and stir until just combined. Remove the dough to a lightly floured board and form it into a ball. Divide the ball into 2 pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them 1-2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to shape, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit and warm up until it’s pliable but still chilly, 10-20 minutes. For croissant-shaped rugelach, roll one piece out into a circle about 10″ across. Apply your filling to the circle in a broad ring about mid-way between the outer edge and the center. Press the filling into the dough with the palm of your hand. Next using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into either 12 or 16 pizza slice-like wedges, depending on how big you like them (for 12, cut the dough into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds). To finish, roll the wedges of dough up starting at the outer edge, then inward toward the center.

For strudel-like rugelach, roll the pastry piece out into a rectangle. Apply filling over the entire sheet, then roll the sheet up and cut the roll into pieces about 1 inch long.

Lay the shaped rugelach out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake about 35 minutes, until the edges of the pastry start to brown. Remove them to a rack to cool.

23 thoughts on “Rugelach Recipe”

  1. Sounds like my kinda rugelach, simple and sublime. One trick I started doing with the crescent shaped rugelach: I roll out the circle, then I slice the dough into however many pieces I want, and then I put the toppings on. I know it seems backwards, but it really makes the slices so much easier to roll up since you’re not fighting with the toppings as you slice. It makes life quite a bit easier.

  2. 1 cup of flour in the recipe looks wrong. Most recipes use 2 cups with the above amounts of butter and cream cheese. I don’t know how many ounces of flour there are in 2 cups to know if your ounce measurement is correct.

    Personally, I like the sour cream version. I know most recipes use cream cheese, but I find the center of the rolled cookie too soft using it. The sour cream pastry seems flakier and more crisp, like a pie crust, to me. I guess I’ve the opposite opinion of yours about the texture! Heck, it’s all good!

    1. Ah yes, thanks for pointing that out. I was thinking of halving the recipe anyway since 24 is plenty for me. Don’t know about the rest of the family of course. And yes, the sour cream ones are great too. But I had to choose, so, I went with what I know. Thanks for the comment, Susan!

      – Joe

      1. wait so is using 5 oz proper for the amount of butter and cream cheese you told us to use or did you do a typo? 🙂

        1. The recipe appears to be good to go as currently listed, judging against rough comparisons to other recipes online. (Most are for 24qty and use ~2C/8oz/8oz)

  3. The playful variations on fillings is just the kind of thing I love about baking.
    Do you have any suggestions for a poppy seed filling?

  4. For a marzipan-filled version, would one just use pieces of marzipan scattered across the dough, or would you do some sort of marzipan/egg paste or marzipan/sugar crumb? Googling this is complicated by the fact that apparently Marzipan Bakery in Israel makes to-die-for rugelach.

    1. Oh yeah I’ll bet! If it were me I’d crumble it and scatter it around like the nuts in the tutorial I just posted. Let me know how they go!

      – Joe

  5. Mmm…chocolate and raspberry jam. Yum.

    People go crazy with fillings on these, right? I am feeling cranberry and orange this year…hmm.

    Oh, and the evil advertisements are re-visiting your site. There is a pop-out video at the top and then a pop-up survey thing. I think they are here to ruin Christmas, just like all of the Christmas themed movies tell me.

    1. Urgh! Every time I get them to fix one of those another one comes back. I’ll get on the phone, Derek. I may have to fire Glam. This certainly isn’t worth it for $119 a month.

      Send me pictures of the rugelach!

      – Joe

  6. My grandma’s recipe, which probably comes from the Russian-Jewish tradition, uses a yeast dough for rugelach. It is also the dough we use for hamentaschen and kuchen. Very versatile dough, but not really “pastry” in the French sense.

    1. Very interesting, Josette. Yes there are several ways to make these, no question. I get that’s a darn good dough! 😉


      – Joe

  7. Do you mean strudel as in making a log and slicing off unbaked sections or baking and then slicing off individual rugelach?

    I’ve always done the crescents. Apart from the fact that they look so “right” it’s rather fun to roll up sections of the circle. …after you’ve done the first one and make some room for yourself. And when you do one round disk after another, the crescents give you a lot of “look” for the effort required. Besides, what’s yummier than cinnamon and nuts?

    1. Hey Rainey!

      Good question. I mean cutting the roll in slices, then baking them. That wasn’t a great analogy since you do the opposite with strudel. Thanks for making me clarify it! 😉


      – Joe

  8. I made these yesterday and they were a hit. I wanted to verify that the chocolate filled ones you usually come across is just sugar and cocoa powder and chocolate chips? Also, here in NYC, there is a place that has a carrot cake rugulach. Its filled with finely shredded carrot, carrot cake crumbs, and spices! its delicious!

    1. Hello June!

      I do love a success story! Thanks and congratulations. And yes, the chocolate I used to make was chocolate sugar with a few of those mini chips sprinkled around. The jam and chocolate were also a big hit as I recall. Keep up the great work and thanks for checking in!

      – Joe

  9. When buying rugelach I’m all about the mini chocolate chips and raspberry jam variation-but I’m my father’s son, when in doubt he always went for the chocolate! 🙂

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