40 Riffs on Rugelach Recipes for Hanukkah
Rugelach is in heavy rotation for Hanukkah but eight days of celebration is a lot of pressure to keep your treats interesting. To help you out, we pulled our most impressive and indulgent rugelach recipes to try.
Hanukkah is eight nights of celebration, However, there aren't so many traditional desserts to accompany the holiday that you could stretch them over a week. Jelly doughnuts are the traditional treat, while the ever-present sugar cookie makes its way into gatherings in the form of the Star of David, a dreidel, or a menorah. But to add to the options, we thought we'd underscore an underrated pastry prized by Jewish people: rugelach.
Rugelach (not to be confused with arugula) is not quite a cookie and not quite a croissant, but it has characteristics of both. It's sometimes cut into a small crescent shape and sometimes rolled up like a cinnamon roll and cut into 1 1/2-inch cylinders, but it always has a filling and it's always crunchy like a cookie. How you fill it is entirely up to you — there are many variations. We pulled ten of our favorites so you can have something different each night of the Festival of Lights.
Rugelach by Once Upon A Chef
This is a traditional recipe. It uses a cream cheese, all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, and an egg yolk all whirred together in a food processor for the rugelach dough. After chilling, it's rolled out into a big disc and the filling of walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and chocolate is sprinkled on top. It's then cut into triangles like a pizza before the equal wedges are rolled up into croissant shapes and then baked to a golden brown. It's a great introduction to the confection and it won't disappoint.
Apple Butter Rugelach
Apple Butter Rugelach by Bakerita
If you took advantage of the autumn apple harvest, you probably have some apple butter you want to enjoy with something other than toast. This recipe rolls up a thin layer of apple butter topped with walnuts to create the last delightful bites of fall flavors as we make way for the new year (and many more opportunities to heat up our kitchens).
Chocolate Rugelach by Once Upon A Chef
Chocolate can improve just about anything, but it's almost as if rugelach was made specifically to be filled with these dark bits of bliss. This recipe is for people who like to keep things simple — the chocolate chips are unencumbered by the dried fruit and nuts you find in typical recipes. The lack of other ingredients in the filling is also a practical benefit — this recipe uses the cinnamon roll method of rolling up the dough and slicing off the pieces with a sharp knife, which is easier without all the textures to impede the portioning.
Rugelach Pinwheels by Smitten Kitchen
If you want something akin to an American cookie, you might want to try rugelach pinwheels. This recipe uses traditional rugelach ingredients along with the cinnamon roll method of cutting the pastry but instead of 1 1/2-inch portions, they're sliced thinly. They're then laid out on a baking sheet like a regular cookie and baked. It maintains all the great characteristics of a good rugelach, but without the semi-soft center you get with the crescent-shaped pastries.
Poppy Seed Rugelach
Poppy Seed Rugelach by Jo Cooks
This rugelach recipe offers a respite from the heavy dishes and desserts we eat at this time of year. The poppy seeds stand out visually, but honey, lemon juice, lemon and orange zest holds the seeds together for a bright surprise in each bite. Though the citrus is unexpected, it's not unwelcomed with this cookie.
Caramel Rugelach by Chowhound
This recipe is the polar opposite of poppy seed rugelach — both the dough and the filling are heavier than other recipes. In addition to the cream cheese and butter, the dough calls for sour cream to make the pastry extra rich. As you might have guessed from the title of the recipe the filling consists of caramel which is charmingly paired with pecans. While other rugelach is eaten at room temperature, the author suggests these be eaten warm to get the full, glorious effect.
Fig Rugelach by Leite's Culinaria
This recipe takes all the joy of fig bars, smashes it down and rolls it up in a less dense and more approachable vessel. The dough itself is unconventionally delicious. The typical dough is relatively unseasoned, but here, with the addition of brown sugar and cardamom, the dough takes on qualities you might associate with a cinnamon roll without diminishing the traditional crunchyness you expect from rugelach.
Cranberry Pecan Rugelach by Erica's Sweet Tooth
If you think raisins ruin rugelach, look no further for a recipe that swaps one sweet dried fruit for a tart dried fruit. You still get all the right textures in each bite, but with a little more cheer than you might expect.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Rugelach
Gluten-Free Chocolate Rugelach by Bakerita
Because this petite pastry doesn't puff up or rise, it's an excellent candidate for wheat flour-free dough. This recipe calls for almond flour and tapioca flour along with coconut sugar and cinnamon for a little bit of flavor. If you're dubious, don't worry — it's just as deliciously sweet and crunchy as the traditional recipe.
Vegan Rugelach by VegNews
Rugelach is a dairy-heavy treat which means it's not pareve and you can't eat it alongside a meal of meat if that's how you keep kosher, but a vegan rugelach remedies that. This recipe uses vegan cream cheese and margarine so it's both pareve and vegan-friendly.
Raspberry Chocolate Chip Rugelach
Easy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Rugelach by Chef Times Two
What is it about the combination of chocolate and raspberry jam that tastes so good? We won't lead you down that rabbit hole, just trust that after you try this recipe, you'll agree that it makes sense. But if raspberry's not your jam, you can experiment with apricot preserves, which also pairs well with chocolate. The other thing that makes this recipe appealing is that instead of making the dough from scratch, it uses premade puff pastry to cut down on prep time which is a luxury this time of year.