Poppy Seed Rugelach

poppyseed rugelachYiddish is full of fun words like chutzpah, shlep, kvetch, maven, schmooze, nosh, and…rugelach. Rugelach translates to “little twists” or “rolled things” in Yiddish, and they can be filled with any number of tasty ingredients like nuts, fruit, chocolate, and of course, poppy seeds, which have been wildly popular in Central and Eastern European baking for a long time.

Rugelach begins with cream cheese dough, which is very simple to make. Because the dough employs both butter and cream cheese, it’s very soft when first prepared, so you’ll need to give it at least an hour or so to chill in your fridge before you use it. For the filling in these rugelach, I plan to use honey instead of sugar the next time I make this, and way more lemon zest to pump up the lemon-poppy seed flavor pairing.


For the dough

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of half a medium-sized lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour

For the filling

  • 10 ounces poppy seed filling
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • zest of half a medium-sized lemon

You will also need powdered sugar for sprinkling on cookies prior to baking.


In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Add flour, one cup at a time, beating until combined. Divide dough into four equal portions, flatten into discs, and refrigerate at least one hour, until firm but easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine poppy seeds, sugar, and lemon zest and mix well.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough at a time and spread with 1/4 of the poppy seed mixture. Cut into 12 wedges, then roll up each wedge starting from the outside edge.

Place rugelach on baking sheets and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely before serving; the filling will be too hot to serve them right away.


One thought on “Poppy Seed Rugelach

  1. Mmmms, rugelach. I love your rugelach, Amy, any version of it. And of course we love poppyseed here!

    and Samantha thinks it’s funny how arugula and rugelach sound so similar.

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