I first started making these rugelach (also known as rugelakh, rugulach, rugalach, ruggalach, rogelach, rugalah or rugala) cookies back in college. I would bake cookies as Christmas gifts, and I added these to the assortment so my Jewish uncle — who had married my Lutheran aunt — wouldn’t feel left out.

I forgot about them for years until I came across some old recipes last year, and I made them again to include in my cookie tray at our neighborhood holiday party. They’re very easy to make, and they freeze well. You can make them now, eat a few, and freeze the rest to pull out for Hanukkah, Christmas or any holiday party.



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce)package cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon (divided) (always makes too much, but I’ve never figured out the right ratio)
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

Time Estimates

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Total time: 35 min


  1. For pastry, beat butter, cream cheese and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Then, slowly beat in flour.
  2. Divide dough into four portions. Shape into disks. Wrap and chill until firm.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. On a floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a 10-inch circle. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle evenly with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon/sugar. Then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon walnuts.
  5. With a pizza cutter, cut circle into 12 wedges. Roll up from wide edge to point. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bend into crescent shapes.
  6. Bake 20-24 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly. While still warm. Lightly brush with some remaining butter (re-melting if necessary) and sprinkle with some remaining cinnamon/sugar. Remove to wire rack to cool.

My notes

  • This recipe makes 48 cookies (some call them pastries), and it can easily be cut in half.
  • Different recipes call for different fillings. I’ve seen them made with raisins, chocolate chips and fruit spreads, too.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How to make rugelach cookies for the holidays
No matter how you spell the name, these traditional Jewish cookies are always a buttery, holiday delight.