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AMAZING Pistachio Rugelach Cookies


This recipe for Pistachio Rugelach Cookies is a labor of love. They take time and patience, but the reward is seriously one of the tastiest and unique flavors a cookie has to offer. I like to showcase these beauties at parties, potlucks and during the holidays.


Unbelievable Pistachio Rugelach

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  • Difficulty:Intermediate
  • Prep Time:60 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Serves:8
  • Freezable:No

Nutrition per portion

  • Pistachio Filling
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Rugelach Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into 3 pieces
  • 10 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into /12 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


Equipment Needed: Food processor, rolling pin.

Begin by preparing the Rugelach Dough. (It needs to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to assembling the cookies.)

  1. Add flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix everything together.
  2. Add butter, cream cheese and sour cream. Pulse for about 20 seconds, stopping every 2 seconds or so. The mixture should have a texture similar to a dry cottage cheese.
  3. Move mixture onto a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Roll the mixture into an evenly uniformed sphere. With a knife or pastry cutter, divide the sphere into two equal portions.
  5. Shape each half into round discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • This dough can be made in advance! Keep wrapped in the fridge for up to one month.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the Pistachio filling.

  1. Pulse almonds and pistachios until they”re evenly crushed to small pieces in the food processor. You can just wipe down the same processor bowl you used for the dough. No need to wash it in between.
  2. Add sugar to a small bowl with the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix until the sugar has absorbed all of the vanilla.
  3. In a large frying pan, combine the almond pistachio mixture, vanilla sugar and the water and heat over low heat.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and water has reduced. About 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the lemon zest and egg yolk.
  6. Let cool slightly before using, but do not let it get cold.

Making the Rugelach Pistachio Rugelach.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, bring one of the two discs of dough from the fridge and unwrap. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough to form a larger circle, about 12 inches in diameter.
  3. Scoop half of the filling (while still warm) into the center of your dough circle.
  4. Gently spread the filling around the dough to the edges, covering the entire surface.
  5. Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, make four cuts through the center of the dough to make eight equal sized “slices”.
  6. Working with one “slice” at a time, gently roll the ends of the dough until you’ve reached the center.
  7. Repeat with the other “slices” and the second disc of refrigerated dough.
  8. Arrange the cookies, center part facing up, on a baking sheet spaced two inches apart.
  9. With a pastry brush, brush the tops of each cookie with the remaining egg white. You may need to add a splash of water to the egg whites to have enough. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  10. Bake Rugelach Pistachio Rugelach for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Do not cook longer than 15 minutes.

What exactly is rugelach? I always knew it as those delicious little jam filled cookies that sell by the pound at the Italian bakeries I grew up around. So are they Italian? I thought they were, until I consulted with Chef Google. Turns out they’re of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, and we have them to thank for these flaky, tender cookies.

will i need any special equipment?

For this recipe you’ll need a food processor and a rolling pin (or a creative substitute!). The Rugelach dough is made in the food processor and the pistachios and almonds will need to be pulsed into crumbs. 

what are the main ingredients for these pistachio rugelach cookies?

Pistachio Filling:

  • Almonds and pistachios – The star of the show here. Nutty and sweet, the perfect component to any cookie or baked good that you don’t want sickly sweet.
  •  Vanilla Sugar – Such a simple concept of combining sugar and vanilla, but holy smokes, mindblown! 
  • Lemon Zest – A welcomed addition to any baked good if you ask me.

Rugelach Dough:

  • All Purpose Flour – This is NOT a gluten free cookie.
  •  Chilled Cream Cheese – Helps bind the dough together and gives it a nice tang.
  • Chilled Butter – Because we’re not creaming butter and sugar together, we do not want this butter at room temp. Instead, you’ll need it straight out of the fridge and cut into cubes, similar to more of a pie dough. 
  • Sugar – It’s still a cookie after all.
  • Sour Cream – Similar to the cream cheese. Adds that tang that the dough needs to not be super sweet.
Pistachio Rugelach real life homemade blog


Making these pistachio rugelach cookies. where to begin?

The dough is the first step in this recipe, due to the fact that it needs to chill before being handled. But here is an exciting bonus… this dough could be made up to one month in advance! You could potentially have this dough at your fingertips anytime you’re craving a treat. 

Begin by combining the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse two or three times to mix these dry ingredients together. Add the cold cubed butter, chilled cream cheese and sour cream to the flour mixture. Cover with food processor lid and pulse for about twenty seconds or until the mixture resembles a dry cottage cheese texture.

Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and kneed into a tight sphere. Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the sphere into two equal portions. Shape each half into a thick disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before assembling the cookies (or up to a month!).

Pistachio Rugelach real life homemade blog

making the filling

While your dough is chilling, begin making the filling. Easily the best part of this recipe! 

Start by pulsing the almonds and pistachios in the food processor a few times until they are a course chop. Set aside.

To make the vanilla sugar, simply combine both the vanilla extract and the sugar and mix until the sugar in grainy and darker in color.  Set aside.

In a large frying pan, combine the almond-pistachio mixture, the vanilla sugar, and the 5 tablespoons of water and heat over LOW HEAT. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the sugar has melted and the water has just evaporated. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and the egg yolk, stirring well. 

Set aside while you finish preparing the Rugelach dough.

Assembling the Pistachio Rugelach!

**The Feature Presentation…**

On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the discs of dough into a symmetrical, flat circle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Gently and evenly spread half of the filling to cover the entire surface of the rolled dough. 

Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, slice the dough in half length wise and repeat in the opposite direction until four cut shave been make. Similar to a pizza, there should be eight slices. 

Starting at the edges, loosely roll the dough into a spiral ending in the center. Repeat this step for the remaining dough. 

Repeat process for the other disc of dough. 

Arrange cookies on a greased baking sheet roughly two inches apart. Brush tops of cookies with the remaining egg white (with a tiny splash of water) and sprinkle raw sugar over the top. 

Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool completely before tasting! 

Pistachio Rugelach real life homemade blog

Now that you’ve learned how to make theses incredible little cookies, give them a practice run before any big event.

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