Classic Rugelach Recipe

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Today you’re in for a treat because I’m showing you how to make Rugelach step-by-step. This is one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that I actually make all year. I’m showing you TWO versions today and you’re going to love them.

This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy, whose butter and cream cheese I use to make my Rugelach dough.

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stack of rugelach on plate

When I was a teenager one of my best friends would have a Hanukah party every year. We’d grate potatoes for latkes and eat cookies. His mom would make some of the best cookies ever, and one of them was rugelach.

I’ve loved making these little bites forever and I’m finally sharing my favorite recipe with you. These are a classic and can be made so many different ways but today I’m showing you two of my favorites:

  1. Classic Brown Sugar Walnut with Raisins
  2. My favorite version with chocolate chips

What is Rugelach?

These cookies are a filled pastry that originated in the Jewish communities of Poland. Traditionally they are made in the form of a crescent with a pastry dough and a delicious filling.

The dough is kind of like a pie dough, but with cream cheese. It’s flaky and and so yummy when paired with all sorts of fillings. The cookies are like little bites of pie, which speaks to my heart.

rugelach on plate with cream cheese and butter boxes behind

Best Ingredients for Rugelach Dough

The basic dough has only 4 ingredients. Here is what you need to make the dough:

  • Flour and Salt: I use all-purpose flour
  • Challenge Butter: I always use unsalted, make sure it’s at room temperature
  • Challenge Cream Cheese: also make sure it’s at room temperature

Just like when you’re making a homemade pie crust, you want to use the best ingredients when making the dough for these cookies. There are only a few ingredients so you want to use the best tasting ones!

That’s why I always use Challenge Dairy when I make Rugelach. As you probably all know by now I have a long history with Challenge (it’s the only butter I ate growing up) and it’s the only one I buy. I’ve been working with Challenge now for a few years and it’s such a natural fit for my recipes.

Challenge butter is farm to fridge in just TWO days; it’s made and ready to be shipped in just 24 hours after the cows have been milked. It has no hormones, additives or fillers and comes from happy cows at family-owned dairies. Challenge Unsalted was even selected as a favorite among top selling brands by Cook’s Illustrated, so you know it has to be good.

cream cheese and butter box with cookies behind

Filling Ingredients

You really can fill rugelach with anything (see Variations, below) but today we’re doing a traditional brown sugar walnut filling. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Walnuts: you can toast them if you want
  • Brown Sugar: adds great flavor
  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins: don’t worry, even if you don’t like raisins you’ll like these!
  • Mini Chocolate Chips: in place of raisins, for our second flavor variation

Then you’ll just need egg, milk and granulated sugar to make an egg wash for the outside.

How to make easy classic Rugelach collage of 6 photos

How to make Rugelach

There are a few steps and lots of chilling, but it’s worth it!

Make the dough: Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces. In a large food processor, pulse the flour and salt, then add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until mixture is crumbly.

Divide the dough: Divide dough into 4 sections and shape each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Make the filling: Finely chop the raisins (easiest in a food processor). Stir together the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in either finely chopped raisins OR mini chocolate chips.

Filling dough: Roll each disk of dough into a 9-inch round, keeping each disk chilled until ready to roll and fill them. Sprinkle the round with the filling and press it lightly into the dough.

Cutting dough: Cut each round into 12 wedges (like you’re cutting a pizza). Roll the wedges from wide to narrow, like you do a crescent rolls.

Chill: Place the cookies with points tucked under onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats. Chill 30 minutes.

Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat egg with milk to create an egg wash. Brush each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle the outside with the granulated sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.

stack of rugelach on plate with one cut in half

Variations

You can fill rugelach with almost anything you want. Here are some other ideas:

  • Spread the dough with your favorite flavor jam
  • Use lemon curd as the filling
  • Spread the dough with peanut butter and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips
  • Use other nuts, like pecans or almonds, instead of walnuts
  • Spread the dough with Nutella or any other chocolate spread
  • Skip the nuts and just fill them with cinnamon sugar (like pie crust cookies)

No matter how you make it you’re going to love this easy cookie – they are a classic that can be changed into so many different recipes with one basic dough.

stack of rugelach on plate

FAQ

My dough is too dry to form into a disk. Did you measure the flour correctly? Make sure to spoon and level the flour. If you aren’t using a food processor to form the dough then it’s going to take awhile to get it completely worked together. You want the dough cohesive like a cookie dough not like a done-by-hand pie dough.

My dough is too wet to form into a disk. Make sure you have chilled the dough as directed! It’s a soft dough when it’s out of the refrigerator so don’t skip that step – and be sure to keep each disk chilled while you work on the others.

Can I freeze rugelach? Does it need to be refrigerated? You do not need to refrigerate it and you definitely can freeze it. Learn how I freeze desserts!

How do you cut a rugelach? The easiest way is to use a pizza cutter. Simply cut it like a pizza!

Other Favorite Recipes using Challenge

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Classic Rugelach Recipe

My Easy Rugelach Recipe are the best holiday cookies! This is a traditional recipe made two ways: classic raisin brown sugar and walnut filling and chocolate chip filling. These are some of the BEST cookies ever!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Yield 48 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie

Ingredients

Dough:

Filling:

  • 1 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins finely chopped OR mini chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces.
  • In a large food processor, pulse the flour and salt, then add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until mixture is crumbly.
  • Divide dough into 4 sections and shape each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Make the Filling

  • Note: I find it easiest to finely chop the nuts and raisins in the food processor, but you can also do it by hand.
  • Stir together the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in either finely chopped raisins OR mini chocolate chips. (Tip: divide the mixture in half and add ¼ cup finely chopped raisins to half ¼ cup mini chocolate chips to the other half.)

Assemble & Bake

  • Roll each disk of dough into a 9-inch round, keeping each disk chilled until ready to roll and fill them. Sprinkle the round with the filling and press it lightly into the dough. Cut each round into 12 wedges (like you’re cutting a pizza). Roll the wedges from wide to narrow, like you do a crescent rolls.
  • Place the cookies with points tucked under onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats. Chill 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Beat egg with milk to create an egg wash. Brush each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle the outside with the granulated sugar.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Cool at before removing from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Tips

  • Make sure to spoon and level the flour. If you aren’t using a food processor to form the dough then it’s going to take awhile to get it completely worked together. You want the dough cohesive like a cookie dough not like a done-by-hand pie dough.
  • Make sure you chill the dough as directed! It’s a soft dough when it’s out of the refrigerator so don’t skip that step – and be sure to keep each disk chilled while you work on the others.
  • Easiest way to cut the dough is using a pizza cutter!

Variations

  • Spread the dough with your favorite flavor jam
  • Use lemon curd as the filling
  • Spread the dough with peanut butter and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips
  • Use other nuts, like pecans or almonds, instead of walnuts
  • Spread the dough with Nutella or any other chocolate spread
  • Skip the nuts and just fill them with cinnamon sugar (like pie crust cookies)

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies
stack of rugelach on plate

My Easy Rugelach Recipe are the best holiday cookies! This is a traditional recipe made two ways: classic raisin brown sugar and walnut filling and chocolate chip filling. These are some of the BEST cookies ever!

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