This rich cookie is traditional in Jewish cooking, and poppy seed filling is the classic version. It’s easy to make delicious variations, too — simply substitute the poppy seed filling with jam, cooked fruit, even chocolate chips.

Total Time: 6 hours (including chilling); 1 hour active

Servings: 24 cookies



  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest


Cream butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add flour, sugar, and salt and beat to combine. Form 2 disks and wrap in plastic wrap; chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the poppy seeds coarsely. Heat poppy seeds in a pan with milk, honey, raisins, and zest, stirring over medium-low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Let cool. This can be done ahead, and refrigerated overnight, or 45 minutes before the dough chilling time is over.

Line two sheet pans with parchment, preheat oven to 325⁰F. Roll out each round of dough to make a 12-inch round about1/8-inch thick, then spread each with half of the filling. Use a pizza cutter or chef’s knife to cut each round in 12 wedges. Roll up each piece, starting at the wide end, curving the tips to make a crescent shape. Place on pan, chill for an hour.

Bake for 40 minutes total, switching the position of the pans between upper and lower oven racks at 20 minutes.

Place the pans on cooling racks and allow rugelach to cool for 10 minutes on the pans, then transfer to the racks to cool completely. When cool, store in air-tight containers for up to a week or in the freezer for up to one month.

Nutritional Information

161 calories, 10 g fat, 26 mg cholesterol, 108 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein