How to Make Vegan Rugelach

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How to Make Vegan Rugelach. Maida Heatter’s Rugelach (made vegan!). As many of you have probably realised by now (and I use the term “many” ironically), I love to read and write about the history of food. This does not help my readability analysis. My sentences are often long, and stream of consciousness, as I parlay my thoughts about different foodie cultures into a blog post of a sort.

This one will be no different. I am enamoured particularly by the Jewish culture of cooking, which is as deeply engrained in their heritage as the religion itself.

Simple Vegan Rugelach

What is Rugleach?

Rugelach comes from Yiddish word for “Little Twists” and this is kind of the process you do to make them, although “Little Rolls” might be more correct, technically speaking. Some recipes call them Little Horns as well, and they resemble the horns that vikings might choose to signal their impending arrival.

Rugelach Dough

Yona Levi has written a fantastic and witty article on the history of the Rugelach, which you can find here. But, what we all seem to agree on, is that Rugelach are indeed the Jewish Croissant. And I’m not so sure I wouldn’t rather forgo the French namesake for one of these!

Rugelach are traditionally made with a dough enriched with either cream cheese or sour cream. These additions give the dough a unique flakey texture, not dissimilar to rough puff pastry. They are filled with a sugar-spiced walnut filling which is so delicious. On first bite, your mouth explodes with crumbly pastry that melts away, then the crunch of walnuts, your tastebuds tantalised by spices and sweetness.

How to Make Vegan Rugelach

My recipe is a riff on Maida Heatter’s version, from her 1995 classic, Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. Sadly this is now out of print, but is filled with great recipes, if you can find a copy!

A row of rugelach ready for baking

Some versions of Rugelach use many different fillings: jam and peanut butter, nutella, chopped dates and nuts. Make sure that your filling is not too wet, I think fresh fruit might not work very well, but any dried, sticky, nutty, spicy chopped things will be perfect!

How Do You Make Vegan Rugelach?

My simple vegan Rugelach version takes Maida Heatter’s original recipe and replaces it with vegan dairy-free butter, a flaxseed egg and cream cheese. I also replaced the sugar in the filling to brown sugar, I prefer the taste.

A display of Rugelach
A row of rugelach ready for baking

Rugelach Pastries

The classic pastry veganised.
5 from 49 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Keyword: Plant Based Baking, Rugelach, Vegan Rugelach
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 24 Rolls

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 stick (½ cup) Vegan Butter
  • ½ tbsp Flaxseed whisked with 1 tbsp cold water
  • ¼ cup Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 Zest of Lemon
  • 1 cup Flour

Filling

  • 1 cup Walnuts chopped to the size of lentils
  • 6 tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 pinch Grated Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cocoa Powder

Instructions

To Make The Dough

  • In a microwavable jug, heat the butter until melted.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric blender to mix the flaxseed egg, salt, cream cheese, sour cream/yogurt and lemon.
  • Beat in the melted butter.
  • Finally beat in the flour. The mixture will look split, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes then beat again. It will now be fine.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, cut into four and then roll those into balls. Flatten with the palm of your hand. Wrap in clingfilm and fridge, preferably overnight, but for at least an hour.

Make the filling

  • You can whisk this all up the day before. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl, add the chopped walnuts and pour the dry filling ingredients over the top. Mix well.

To make the Rugelach!

  • Preheat oven to 180c and prepare a couple of baking sheets by lining them with greaseproof paper.
  • Taking one ball of your dough at a time (leaving the others to chill), lightly flour your work surface and roll it out into a circle, about 8" dia. It doesn't matter if it isn't a perfect circle, but if you prefer it to be, just pop a plate over the top of the dough and trim around it.
  • Sprinkle your walnut mixture all over the dough circle, leaving about an inch in the middle empty. This is to avoid too much overspill when you come to roll them!
    Rugelach Dough
  • Using your rolling pin, roll over the filling to ensure that it has stuck to the dough.
  • Now carefully cut the dough into 12 using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or a knife. You will need to be firm but steady doing this as it can tear the dough.
  • Now, taking one segment at a time, working from the outside, roll it up. Use a little bit of water to seal the pointy end down.
    A row of rugelach ready for baking
  • Place on your prepared baking tray. Repeat until you have rolled up all your segments.
    Continue until you have used up all your dough from the fridge. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your oven.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a couple of minutes before placing on a cooling rack.
    A cooling rack with lots of Rugelach
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Join the Conversation

  1. Jahma Levi says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing these! And I appreciate the process shots! Would have never have thought about making these until I saw this post. Will have to try soon!

  2. 5 stars
    love this! i always learn something new from you, thank you for that!!

  3. 5 stars
    I can not wait to try these. Omg

  4. 5 stars
    Beautiful!! Cannot wait to try!

  5. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try these. They looks so delicious.

  6. 5 stars
    So simple and oh so delicious!!

  7. 5 stars
    These look so fun to make! Can’t wait to try!

  8. 5 stars
    Hey! So I came across your recipe in the Food Bloggers’ Tribe group, but just wanted to actually comment and say I love it!! As a fellow history lover, run-on-sentences aficionado and someone who also has to adapt many traditional recipes to suit her dietary restrictions, I thing these vegan rugelach are the bomb.
    I have a gluten-free rugelach recipe I feel equally passionate about 🙂

    1. FreyaAuthor says:

      Hi! Thank you so much for your comment! It actually made my day! I’ve followed you on Instagram too, so lets stay in touch, maybe a free-from collab?

  9. 5 stars
    I am really glad you shared the recipe. I had my first Raspberry Rugelash from Lord’s Babery in Brooklyn NYC, and has been hooked on them ever since. Love your vegan twist on the recipe. ?

  10. 5 stars
    This vegan rugelach was AMAZING! It was my first time trying rugelach and I am so glad I did! Loving all of the easy plant based recipes on your blog.

  11. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe! The only thing I did different was put them in my air fryer instead of the oven. It took about 15 minutes and they came out fantastic.

  12. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried rugelach before but will be regularly now. These are incredible and your instructions and photos make them so easy to make.

  13. 5 stars
    The mix of spices and the rich ingredients make you forget that this is a vegan dish… you wouldn’t question it if you didn’t know. Absolutely indulgent!

  14. 5 stars
    These rugelach were so good! Love your tips for rolling them out.

  15. 5 stars
    This is something that mom used to make for holidays, sometimes filled with Turkish delight:). I have to try your vegan version very soon!

  16. 5 stars
    I like all the flavors here of the spices.

  17. 5 stars
    Lovely dessert.. I bet it’s perfect with afternoon tea. I will definitely make this. I’ve never tried vegan rugelach.

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