Around the World in Twelve Plates – Rugelach

Rugelach rolled cookies sit on a wooden snowflake platter.

Rugelach is a decadent cookie made with cream cheese based pastry. Fill the tender, flaky pastry with a filling of poppyseeds, raisins, and orange rind or create your own flavour combination. 

Christmas in the Okanagan

This post is coming to you via my sister’s basement in ‘sunny’ Vernon, British Columbia. It’s the 30th of the month and though the recipe is made, I’ve left the post until now to complete. We had a wonderful but quiet Christmas at home. Then we packed it all up and traveled across the Rocky Mountains to be with my family for New Year’s.

It’s quite the undertaking for the host family (and I do it a lot because I live in the ‘half way’ spot between British Columbia and Saskatchewan) because there can be anywhere from 10-15 family members sleeping over for an extended amount of time. That’s a lot of hosting, cleaning, entertaining, and cooking.

Rugelach- a circle of pastry on a counter topped with a brown filling and cut into slices.

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Everyone Pitches in at Christmas

The great thing is that we all do our part to relieve some of the burden. We each take turns doing grocery runs, alternating shifts for cooking and dishes. It’s usually my (unspoken) job to provide the sweet treats for the goodie tray and every year I bake up several family favourites along with some new ‘experiments’.

Rugelach - Rolled rugelach on parchment paper waiting to be baked.

FDBDHBDZRugelach - a single Rugelach sits on a piece of parchment paper.

Rugelach - Seven rugelach arranged on a Christmas plate surrounded by Christmas decorations.

December’s ATW12P is Hungary!

This month’s ATW12P country was Hungary (as voted on by all the participating bloggers who chose between Malaysia, South Africa, and Hungary) and I was excited to bake my family something new and Hungarian for our time together.

Rugelach? That’s not Hungarian!

Bear with me here. I know that Rugelach is not Hungarian. It’s actually a Jewish pastry usually made with sour cream or cream cheese and filled with any number of fillings such as raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seed or fruit preserves.

Rugelach - Seven rugelach arranged on a Christmas plate surrounded by Christmas decorations.

   What I really wanted to make, to pay homage to my Hungarian grandmother, was a poppy seed roll. It’s one of the very few Hungarian dishes I ever remember her making and I thought it would be a great way to begin exploring my Hungarian culinary heritage. However, I didn’t think one large poppy seed roll would be practical or be as pretty on a goodie plate as individually rolled poppy seed rolls. The canned poppy seed filling I had in my pantry contained a delicious mixture of poppy seed, raisins, and small bits of orange rind and I think it was much more flavourful than just poppy seed.

Rugelach rolled cookies on a wooden snowflake.

Bake a Memory

It’s funny how memories are coming back to me as I write. I was lazy and used canned poppy seed filling but my grandmother had no such luxury. I can still see her now, filling her grinder with poppy seeds and hand grinding them until they formed enough paste to spread over the dough. It took a great deal of time and made a bit of a mess, especially in her later years when she was not as dexterous as she was in her younger years.  I have the feeling that if she had had access to canned poppy seed filling, we would have had poppy seed roll more often. Then again, would it have been such a treat?

Pin Poppyseed Rugelach HERE. 

Pinterest image of Rugelach - Seven rugelach arranged on a Christmas plate surrounded by Christmas decorations.

Other Holiday Favourites from Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen

Rockin’ Bailey’s Thumbprint Cookies

Canadian Butter Tarts 


Yield: 20

Poppyseed Rugelach


Rugelach is a decadent cookie made with cream cheese based pastry. Fill the tender, flaky pastry with a filling of poppyseeds, raisins, and orange rind or create your own flavour combination.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cold cream cheese; cubed
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter; cubed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 900 g can poppyseed filling or batch filling
  • Powdered sugar


    1. Combine the flour and salt. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse several times to mix.
    2. Mix in the cream cheese and butter. Scatter the cubes of cream cheese and butter over the flour. Pulse until coarse crumbs form, 10 to 12 pulses.
    3. Mix in the yolk and vanilla. Whisk the vanilla and yolk together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the butter-flour mixture. Process until the dough starts to clump together and form large, curd-like pieces.
    4. Refrigerate the dough. Transfer the dough out onto the counter and gather the pieces into a ball. Divide into 4 portions and flatten each into 1-inch-thick disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using).
    5. When ready to bake the rugelach, preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.Roll out the dough. Sprinkle your work surface generously with powdered sugar. Take 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and let it warm on the counter for 1 to 2 minutes. Unwrap and then sprinkle the surface of the dough and the rolling pin with more powdered sugar. Roll the dough from the center out into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Don’t worry if a few cracks form near the edges. Use more powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking.
    6. Spread with filling. Spread the filling in a thin layer evenly over the surface of the dough. Make sure it goes right up to the edge of the dough.
    7. Cut and roll the cookies. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, like a pizza. Beginning at the wide outer edge and moving inward, roll up each wedge. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the tip is tucked underneath.
    8. Chill the cookies. Refrigerate cookies on the baking sheet, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare remaining batches.
    9. Bake the cookies. Bake the first tray of cookies until golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on the sheet, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack. Bake the remaining cookies, using the same parchment paper but making sure the baking sheet is cooled between batches.


This dough requires at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Laura

    Do you ever have a problem with the filling leaking out during baking? Does chilling the formed rugelach help prevent that?


    1. Bernice Hill

      Hmmm. Never had that issue. There isn’t any butter in the filling in this recipe or anything that’s really wet. Not sure chilling would help in your case, it’s more for the pastry. Are you using another recipe?

  2. Lily {Gastro Senses}

    These look scrumptious! We love Rugelach and look forward to trying this recipe with poppy seed + cream cheese combo filling! I’ve made the traditional poppy seed ones and the walnut sugar filling ones.
    Do you have any idea how long these keep? Would love to make them in advance, but the ones I’ve made before tend to harden over a period of time. Hoping these don’t.


    1. Bernice Hill

      Sadly, like any other pastry they do tend to harden especially if you are freezing them. They’re tasty though!!

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