Raspberry Rugelach are buttery, crisp, pastry dough crescents rolled up around bright, fruity raspberry jam. Make plenty to share for cookie exchanges, care packages, and gifting.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This Jewish pastry cookie is popular year round and are favorite cookies for Chanukah. The dough is easy to work with and can be made with a variety of fillings.
Rugelach pastry is most often made with either cream cheese or sour cream. I used the cream cheese version for this rugelach recipe because I find that it stays fresh longer.
The filling for these bite sized treats is made with raspberry preserves (I like the Bonne Maman brand) mixed with the zest of one mandarin orange. The zest brightens the flavor and adds just a touch of tartness to the sweet filling.
Don’t worry about seeds in the jam. You won’t notice them in the cookies.
The beautiful pink raspberry powder topping makes these rugelach stand out. The powder is easily made by crushing freeze dried raspberries. Sprinkling the powder on top of the baked cookies adds an extra pop of color and flavor.
This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Use a food processor to combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add sugar and flour then pulse to combine just until a dough forms.
- Divide into three pieces of dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill.
- After chilling, roll dough, one piece at a time, into a 12″ circle, ⅛″ thick.
- Mix the jam with the zest and spread a thin layer of raspberry filling onto the dough circle with an offset spatula, leaving a ½″ outer border and a 2″ circle at the center.
- Cut into 16 wedges with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Roll up each wedge into a crescent shape from the outer edge.
- Place each little crescent on a parchment lined baking sheet with the dough point tucked under. Brush with the egg wash glaze. Bake cookies until deep golden brown.
- Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the little cookies lightly with a mixture of ground freeze dried raspberries and large crystal sugar.
Store rugelach cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Filling variations for one dough circle
If you love these raspberry rugelach, next time try this traditional dough with one of these filling variations.
- Jelly or jam flavor of your choice: 2-3 tablespoons
- Traditional filling: 2-3 tablespoons jam, 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon finely chopped nuts, 1-2 tablespoons raisins or chopped chocolate chips
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: 2-3 tablespoons jelly, about ½ cup chopped peanut butter chips
- Milk Chocolate Toffee: ½ cup chopped milk chocolate chips, ½ cup toffee bits
- Lemon Tart: 2-3 tablespoons lemon curd, ½ cup chopped white chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
- Peppermint:½ cup chopped dark chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons crushed candy canes
- Coconut-Chocolate: ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, ½ cup mini chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
- Don’t over mix the dough. Once you add the flour, pulse only 6-10 times just until the ingredients come together. If a dough ball forms, you’ve pulsed too long, resulting in tough pastry.
- Don’t worry about rolling out a perfect circle. A lop-sided circle works just fine.
- Don’t spread the filling all the way to the center of the circle. Leave a 2” circle at the center. This will make the rolling process less messy and the pointy end will stick better to your cookie.
- A pizza or pastry wheel is the easiest tool for cutting the dough into wedges.
- This one is really important. FREEZE the formed cookies for 15 minutes before baking. This will reduce spreading and create fluffier cookies.
- These cookies are delicious with or without the raspberry powder. When using the powder, sprinkle immediately after removing the rugelach from the oven, so that the powder will stick to the cookies. Don’t add the powder before baking because it burns easily.
- Remove the rugelach from the baking sheet immediately after adding the raspberry powder and sugar. Otherwise, the oozing filling can make the cookies stick to the pan.
Frequently asked questions
Rugelach originated in the Ashkenazy Jewish communities in eastern Europe. It can be found in many countries today, with special popularity in Israel.
Rugelach is a Yiddish word meaning “little twist”.
More Chanukah recipes
Chocolate Rugelach is made with the same delicious, flaky pastry dough as these Raspberry Rugelach but instead of crescents, the whole rectangle of dough is rolled up around a fudgy chocolate filling and sliced into thin, spiral cookies.
Chocolate Chanukah Gelt Cookies are soft, fudgy cookies made with vegetable oil for long lasting freshness.
Chocolate Espresso Spritz Cookies are a creative way to create dozens of dreidle cookies in minutes with a cookie press and a standard disc.
Lemon Sugar Cookie Stars are fresh, bright and lemony.
Homemade Chocolate Coins are a fun project for the whole family! Make your own Chanukah gelt!
Jelly Doughnut Cookies are cookies pretending to be jelly doughnuts! The delicious, soft, puffy cookies has a melted jelly center.
- Pizza Cutter
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature, cut into chunks
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 9 tablespoons jam
- 1 tablespoon mandarin orange zest or orange zest
Glaze and sprinkle
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- ¼ cup freeze dried raspberries
- 2 tablespoons large crystal sparkling sugar
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar and flour to the processor bowl. Pulse 6-10 times until dough just comes together.
- Divide dough into 3 disc shaped pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- In a small bowl, mix together the jam and the mandarin zest
- When ready to bake, heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll out one piece of dough (leaving the others in the fridge until needed)between two sheets of parchment paper, into a circle about 12” in diameter and ⅛" thick. If the dough is sticky, sprinkle with additional flour as needed.
- Gently place a 2" round cookie cutter or glass at the center of the dough circle to keep that area free from filling. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of jam filling over the dough, stopping ½" away from the edge and leaving a 2" circle at the center. Remove the round cookie cutter.
- Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into 16 wedges. For the most equal pieces, cut the dough circle into fourths, then cut each fourth into four wedges. Roll up each wedge from the outer edge.
- Place on the prepared baking sheets 1"-2" apart, with the pointed end of the dough tucked under. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water glaze, then brush over the cookies. Freeze the filled cookie sheet for 15 minutes.
- While cookies are chilling, grind freeze dried raspberries into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle immediately with sparkling sugar and freeze dried raspberry powder. Transfer onto wire racks to cool.
- Store cookies at room temperature in air-tight containers, in layers separated by wax paper, for up to 5 days.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: 2-3 tablespoons jelly, about ½ cup peanut butter chips
- Milk Chocolate Toffee: ½ cup milk chocolate chips, ½ cup toffee bits
- Cream Cheese: cinnamon sugar, cream cheese filling( ½ cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest)
- Lemon Tart: granulated sugar, 2-3 tablespoons lemon curd, ½ cup white chocolate chips, 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
- Peppermint:½ cup dark chocolate chips, 2-3 tablespoons crushed candy canes
- Coconut-Chocolate: ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, ½ cup mini chocolate chips, 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
First Published: December 7, 2012. Last Updated: November 30, 2021. Updated for additional information, improved photographs, and better reader experience.