I learned to make rugelach from my great-grandmother Agatha when I was a little girl. Rugelach has been a part of my holiday cookie repertoire ever since.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years: The filling shouldn’t be overly generous. It will just leak out the sides. Be deliberate about spreading the jam and nuts thinly across the dough. If the jam is particularly chunky, process it first until smooth. Be sure to finely chop your nuts. All that said, don’t worry if some filling leaks out (it will!) and don’t worry if the bottoms of the rugelach get a little caramelized – that’s the good part.

Susie Middleton

You will need to plan ahead when making rugelach. The dough must be well-chilled (for at least four hours and preferably overnight) and the assembled rugelach should be popped in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before baking. The good news is that you can also freeze them solid at this point (a minimum of two hours) and then transfer to a freezer bag to cook later. 

In this recipe, I’m giving you the option to choose your favorite combo of jam and nuts: Raspberry jam and pecans or macadamia nuts; apricot jam and almonds; plum jam (or even beach plum jam for Vineyarders) and hazelnuts; pear jam and walnuts; onion jam (yes, savory) and peanuts.

And one last tip: A ruffled pastry cutter makes a pretty rugelach edge.

Makes 16 cookies (dough and filling recipes can be doubled to make 32)

For the dough

  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (4.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


For the filling

  • ¼ cup (1.5 ounces) toasted nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 ounces (a scant 1/2 cup) any preserves


For assembling

  • 1 egg yolk beaten with a pinch of salt
  • Coarse sugar (optional)


Make the dough

1. Cut the cream cheese and butter into 1-inch cubes. Put the cream cheese, butter, flour, and salt in a metal bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.

2. Transfer the chilled ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the dough forms a shaggy ball, about 20 pulses. Alternatively, cut the cream cheese and butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two table knives to combine.

3. Scrape the moist, sticky dough onto a floured countertop and form into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight.


Make the rugelach

1. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Have ready a second baking sheet to put underneath the first.

2. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, and breadcrumbs.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9-inch circle, trimming if necessary. Spread the jam thinly across the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over the jam.

4. Using a sharp knife, a pizza cutter, or a pastry wheel, cut the disk into 16 wedges. Starting from the wide end of the long triangle, roll each segment up and press on the pointy end to seal. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining triangles.

5. Place the baking pan in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before baking. (Alternatively, you can freeze the rugelach solid – a minimum of two hours – and transfer to ziptop bags to freeze for up to six months.) 

6. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the egg wash on the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with sugar for a sparkly top, if desired. Tuck another baking sheet under the cookie-filled sheet. (Doubling the baking sheets will keep the rugelach from burning on the bottom.)

7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Some of the nuts and jam will squish out a little. That’s okay. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about an hour.

Note: Stored between layers of wax paper in a tightly covered container, baked rugelach keep well for up to three weeks.