A rugelach cookie is a pastry-like treat, rolled and filled with chocolate or fruit jam and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Rugelach are buttery and flaky, almost like tiny croissants.
Anybody can use this easy recipe for raspberry rugelach to create pretty little twists that bake up golden brown and make a delicious addition to any cookie tray!
My favorite cookies have always been chocolate rugelach, but that was before I created this Raspberry Rugelach Cookie recipe. The jammy, sweet-tart center is the perfect complement to the tender rugelach dough.
Move over chocolate, fruit’s the big winner now!
What are Rugelach?
Rugelach, pronounced “ROO-guh-lahkh,” are pastries that originate from the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and are still very popular in Israel. The name itself is derived from the Yiddish word “rugel,” which means “royal” or “crescent.”
The dough itself is what makes rugelach special. Rugelach are made with cream cheese, which adds richness and smoothness to the dough with just the tiniest bit of tang.
The dough is rolled flat and filled with sweet fillings like fruit preserves, nuts, chocolate and cinnamon sugar. Then it’s rolled again and sliced into bite-sized pieces that are baked to flaky perfection.
What’s in this Raspberry Rugelach Recipe
Here is what you’ll need to make these traditional Jewish cookies:
- all-purpose flour
- unsalted butter
- cream cheese
- raspberry preserves
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- vanilla extract
How to make Raspberry Rugelach
You’re going to love how easy it is to make the dough for these cookies. One large bowl is all you’ll need! Just beat the butter, cream cheese and sugars until they’re fluffy. Then beat in the vanilla and flour.
Chill the dough for at least an hour, but you can definitely keep the dough in the fridge for up to several days.
Use lots of flour on your work surface and your rolling pin. The cream cheese in the dough for these raspberry rugelach can get sticky.
Roll the dough into a rectangle and smear a line of jam or preserves down the middle. Roll it from long end to long end, like a jelly roll. Then cut it into little pieces using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Although it is traditional to cut the dough into triangles and roll each piece of dough into a crescent shape, our family has always done it this way. It’s much faster and easier, and you get to see the swirls of sweet filling in each rugelach cookie when you do it this way.
Variations and Fillings for this Rugelach Cookie Recipe
Although raspberry jam is a traditional filling for rugelach, there are many other popular choices and variations for fillings. Here are some ideas:
- For chocoholics: Replace the raspberry jam with a luscious layer of chocolate spread or Nutella. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and finely chopped nuts over the chocolate layer before rolling and baking.
- For fruit lovers: Experiment with different fruit fillings to fit the season. Try apricot jam, blueberry compote or fig jam.
- Sometimes you feel like a nut: Elevate the nuttiness by using a blend of chopped almonds, walnuts, and pecans in the filling. Drizzle honey over the nut mixture before rolling for an extra layer of flavor.
- Classic cinnamon: Enhance the classic cinnamon sugar filling by incorporating finely chopped dried fruit like raisins or cranberries.
- Savory twist: Take a turn from tradition and craft a savory rugelach by filling it with ingredients like pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese.
Can you make Rugelach Cookies ahead of time?
This Raspberry Rugelach Cookie recipe is a great make-ahead recipe. Here are two make-ahead options:
1. Make-ahead dough: Prepare the dough in advance. Refrigerate the dough for up to 1 week. For longer periods of time, wrap the rugelach dough tightly in plastic wrap and place it inside an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze the dough for up to 6 months. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator when you’re ready to assemble the cookies.
2. Make-ahead cookies: Prepare the cookies and freeze on a prepared baking sheet for 1 hour (do not bake). Place the cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and bake according to the instructions in the recipe card.
How to Store Raspberry Rugelach Cookies
Allow the rugelach to cool completely before storing. Place them in an airtight container with layers separated by parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Store at room temperature for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
To thaw frozen rugelach, simply leave them at room temperature for a few hours.
When you make these Raspberry Rugelach Cookies, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more cookie recipes, try these:
- Lemon Shortbread Cut Out Sugar Cookies (Easy Recipe)
- Easy Cinnamon Chip Cookies
- Apple Butter Cookies with Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting
For more Jewish holiday recipes, try these:
- Easy Kugel Recipe with Cottage Cheese (Jewish Noodle Pudding)
- Mom’s Best Homemade Jewish Apple Cake
- Challah Bread Recipe – The Best Traditional Braided Jewish Bread
Best Raspberry Rugelach Cookies (Classic Recipe)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 cup raspberry preserves
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugars and salt. Mix in the vanilla, then the flour. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough into 6 strips that measure 12"x 4". Divide jam evenly between the strips and spread it in a line down the center of the dough strip.
- Roll from the long end into a log. Cut into 1" pieces. Place cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp. of water in a small bowl. Lightly brush the tops of the rugelach with egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 15-17 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet.