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-inch 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, fruit preserves, 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 wheel or pastry cutter 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.
- This is the perfect cookie to add to your cookie platters this holiday season.
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 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.
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- 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.
- Use a rolling pin to 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 equal 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 to form little crescents.
- 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 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 rugelach 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.
I am very intrigued by this recipe. I have been making rugelach for 30 years and have never added a topping after they are baked. I am wondering if the added freeze dried raspberries and sugar will fall off as the picture is so beautiful.
Do you know what would happen if you put the topping on before baking.
I am so curious what to do with the dough I have before me.
In my experience, the crushed dried raspberries will burn or darken to brown if you sprinkle it on the rugelach before baking. By sprinkling the sugar/raspberries on IMMEDIATELY after baking they sort of melt a bit onto the top of the pastry. The topping doesn't effect the flavor as much as it adds pretty color. Not traditional, but fun. 🙂
This recipe sounds wonderful; I'll make them for a visit to my sister's later this month. I can't eat them myself (celiac disease), but I'm sure I'll hear wonderful things about them. Do you think a gluten-free version might be possible?
Hi, Frances! There is a gluten free rugelach recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. I haven't tried it (nor have I substituted gf flour in this recipe) but King Arthur recipes are usually delicious. You could use their gf dough recipe with the raspberry jam filling if you prefer it. The freeze dried raspberries from Trader Joe's that I used don't have a gf symbol or a warning, so I don't know if you can use them. However, the rugelach would be just as wonderful without the freeze dried raspberry powder on top. I'd love to know what happens when you experiment with gf rugelach. My daughter is very gluten sensitive and it would be fun to make some for her. https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/gluten-free-rugelach-recipe
I wonder what the kosher delis, bakeries, and restaurants do differently, because they are non dairy. It would be great if you developed a no cream cheese recipe, particularly for chocolate rugelach.
Hi, Cheryl. That's an interesting question that I did think about while making these. I don't know if the kosher deli's and bakeries do this, but an Instagram friend who keeps kosher and is an accomplished baker who only bakes parve, told me that she uses non-dairy cream cheese for rugelach. She used the non-dairy cream cheese successfully in this rugelach dough and loved the raspberry rugelach.(She frequently has tried my recipes substituting Earth Balance margarine for butter.) I haven't tried this idea, but I believe you could substitute coconut cream (not cream of coconut which is sweet syrupy stuff) for the heavy cream in the chocolate filling and it would be non dairy.
Hi Wendy, I know I already commented on this post but I forgot to say that leaving the 2inch circle in the Center is a genius tip. I’m going to start incorporating that.
Also, love that you found a use for the freeze dried fruit! Mixing it with coarse sugar makes such a pretty topping.
I have had rugelach several times, but have not made them myself. I really need to change that! Thanks for giving me the inspiration I needed.
I've never tried to make rugelach, but it's on my baking bucket list. Your rugelach looks absolutely scrumptious. I'm going to try your recipe. Thank you, my friend.
Thanks, Liz! When I first published this recipe, I had never tried making rugelach either, Liz! These photos are of my first attempt! I was quite pleased with their looks and flavor. Much easier than I thought! If you get a chance to try, I would love to hear your thoughts on how it went and any suggestions you have for improving!
Wendy, your rugelach (auto correct does not care for this cookie at all!!!) dough looks so flaky. And you have filled them perfectly, no messy overspillage. I always stuff mine too much and they leak!!
I have also thoroughly researched rugelach dough and you’re right. All the recipes are basically the same.
I can across one recipe that puts eggs in the dough (Molly Yeh). I was curious so I tried it. Eggs have no place in a rugelach dough. The dough was way too soft and eggy. The traditional cream cheese dough is the best. Interestingly, I discovered that when they were originally made in Europe, they were done with a yeast raised dough. Cream cheese was an American adaptation.
Thanks, Cindy! These were my first attempt at rugelach in 2012! My research was obsessive because I was so scared to attempt them, but they are surprisingly easy to make. The history of cream cheese being an American adaptation makes sense as cream cheese (for reasons unknown to me) really is a predominantly American ingredient. Hmmm, more research needed 🙂 Though the photos don't show it, the best tip I found to helping with oozing filling, was to leave an empty area at the center of the rolled out dough circle. Less filling to ooze out and the pointed end sticks better.
These look like the perfect pastry! so glad to find your post on the What's for Dinner link up!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Nancy! Pastry can be intimidating but these cookies are not complicated at all! I'm glad you found The Monday Box! Please come back soon! 🙂
Your Rugelach looks delicious and I would love to try this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday and best wishes for 2017!
So pretty! And delicious, I bet ...
Thanks for sharing them with us at Fiesta Friday!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Ginger and thanks for hosting Fiesta Friday!
April J Harris
Love the confusion between the sound of rugelach and arugula! Your Rugelach cookies look absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing them with us at Hearth and Soul.
The Monday Box
Thank you, April! Rugelach is an impressive looking and tasty cookie, but is easy to make and well worth the time! 🙂 Thank you for hosting Hearth and Soul!
I don't think I've ever had rugelach before, but these look delicious! Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday last week.
The Monday Box
Thanks, Emily! I ate Rugelach all my life, but had never made them before these. I thought they would be difficult, but they are really quite easy to make. 🙂
these look so super good, I have never tried these but believe they are very creative and look tasty as well
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Thank you so much for sharing a unique recipe! I love trying new things and this is something I've never even heard of. Pinning for later!