Make Ahead

Pumpkin Rugelach with Sage & Walnuts

January  4, 2012
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Makes 32 small rugelach
Author Notes

My hearty little sage plant was the sole survivor of the long hot Texas summer. I'm constantly looking for ways to use the sage, and the idea for this savory rugelach struck me at 4:30 in the morning, when baby Henry woke up and needed a cuddle. In the morning, I googled "savory rugelach" and saw that the all-powerful Dorie Greenspan had blogged about this very idea years ago. This recipe was built using her tips for good rugelach, my filling, and a dough recipe I got when I married into my husband's family.

Note: If you have no patience for finely chopping the walnuts, you can pulse them in the food processor until they're tiny little nibs, and then use the food processor to make the dough. —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO : arielleclementine lives in Austin, TX
WHAT : A wonderful surprise -- savory rugelach.
HOW : A tender, classic cream cheese dough is spread with a walnut-and-sage studded pumpkin filling that bursts with umami.
WHY WE LOVE IT : A little rich, and a lot addictive, these nibbly treats will be the star of your next cocktail party. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon aleppo or chile flakes
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (or squash or sweet potato puree)
  • 2 healthy pinches kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • flaky sea salt or finely shredded parmesan, for sprinkling
  1. Prepare the dough. Cut the butter and cream cheese into tablespoon-sized pats and let soften for 10-15 minutes. Pulse the flour and salt in the food processor, and then add the semi-softened butter and cream cheese and pulse several times, until the mixture has formed large crumbly chunks (this can also be done very easily with a pastry knife, if you've got a sleeping baby and don't want to use the food processor). Gather the dough together into two large balls, flatten into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.
  2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Toss in the chopped shallots, sage, and aleppo and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook for 5 minutes more, to help evaporate some of the water in the pumpkin. Season with two healthy pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat to cool down (the filling should not be hot when you spread it on the dough).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough has chilled, roll each disk into a 12" circle on a well-floured board. Make sure you flour the underside of the dough often, so that it doesn't stick. Spread half of the cooled pumpkin filling onto each disk, and then distribute half of the finely chopped walnuts over each disk. Using a bench scraper (or knife, or pizza cutter), cut the dough into 16 triangles. Roll up each triangle, starting from the base, to form a crescent, and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush lightly onto the rugelach. Top each rugelach with flaky sea salt or finely grated parmesan (I prefer the sea salt, my husband prefers parmesan, so I make half of each kind). Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm, if possible.
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  • Melanie,Sodini
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

45 Reviews

Suzys R. November 8, 2023
I bring these to any holiday invite. They are welcomed with gusto. I pass them out and then get followed around.
Xinareads January 3, 2021
Due to a nut allergy, I swapped in pumpkin seeds. They were a hit and disappeared quickly!
freshparsley November 24, 2020
We make this every year for Thanksgiving since it was first published! It is one of our most requested appetizers. Creative riff off the sweet version. Even more addictive! I’ve been meaning to thank you for this but I’m always rushing around doing all the things I love to do for this, my favorite holiday! However, I’m taking time this year to organize my recipes and savor the happy memories of past Thanksgivings. So, thank you, arielleclementine!
smonfor February 1, 2017
This was the first time I made rugelach - It was tasty! But I found the filling a bit much and the centers of my rugelach didn't cook and were doughy. The filling would also be great in ravioli and I think you could, in a pinch, shortcut by buying puff pastry and shortcut further by rolling like a cinnamon roll and sprinkling the nuts on top too cook (and I also think feta would be a great addition as another reviewer mentioned)
bailboy May 28, 2015
Can these be made ahead and frozen? If so, do you freeze before baking or after baking? Thanks for your help.
Suzanne R. January 24, 2015
I've never tasted an rugelach I don't like, but this is the 1st savory version I've ever had! Delish with sea salt, but. . . I love pumpki but, . . . Next time, I'll replace it with pureed butternut sqash, adjusting/changing up seasonings/spices as needed!
suzy December 8, 2013
Made these for a cocktail party last night. I didn't use the Parmesan cheese, but wish I had. Using sea salt made them a bit salty, which is saying something for me -- I like things very salty. I found that rolling the dough out between my silicone mat and a sheet of plastic wrap made it easier to deal with, though I did still require the aid of an offset spatula to inch the crescents up off the mat while rolling them up. I thought they could have used a little more in the nut department, too. Next time!
Sue A. November 1, 2013
I am delighted to find this web site, and plan to make these for a gourmet friend's birthday. Does anyone have any experience with freezing them? I'd like to bake, freeze, and mail them, to keep them fresh for the recipient 500 miles away.
Erica October 28, 2013
If I didn't use this exact recipe last year (but I think I did…) then I came close and WAS playing with savory pumpkin rugelach that were definitely good for a first try. So now I'm wondering, what does anyone think about adding some pumpkin butter or cooked/pureed pumpkin to the rugelach dough? Helping it get a little orangey? I know I'd have to adjust the cream cheese and flour to keep the integrity of the melt in your mouth dough. Then one could mix nuts and sage and maybe some goat cheese? maybe one egg so it would cook firm? What does anyone think? I really like the idea of savory...sage and nuts…. the orange on the outside…..
vivavo February 8, 2013
I love the dough! This has been a hit for Thanksgiving and New Years appetizers...everyone is always very curious what is in the filling! It is the perfect layer of flavors.
phyllis S. January 1, 2013
I've been making lots of savory rugs...with salmon, pestos and tapenades...adding some special ingreds to the dough too. More cream cheese as well.
reggieyum December 24, 2012
I just made some sweet rugelach as I do every holiday season, but put half of the dough in the freezer for a later batch. The perfect opportunity to try this seemingly tasty bite for New Year's Eve. Thanks for thinking out of the usual rugelach box.
barb48 November 20, 2012
Is this the typical dough to make the traditional ruggelach, with nuts and cinnamon? What would be a chocolate version of this?
DrGaellon December 30, 2012
Yes, flour, butter, cream cheese and a pinch of salt is the basic rugelach dough. You might also add a bit of sugar for a sweet cookie. You can find Joan Nathan's recipe for chocolate rugelach at
Melanie,Sodini February 16, 2012
This recipe is amazing. The only thing I would change is that after you chill the dough,
roll it out and make a rectangle. Then fold it up like a letter in thirds and then re chill. This gives it flakey layers. Otherwise, this recipe was a big hit. I will make it over and over.
Joyce P. February 5, 2012
These look heavenly, I will definitely be attempting to make these. Thank you for the beautiful recipe.
arielleclementine February 6, 2012
thank you so much! i hope you love them
Angela January 27, 2012
this was a big hit at cooking club today (theme: hors d'oeuvres)! going to use up the rest of the pumpkin and make more to freeze! :)
arielleclementine January 27, 2012
oh yay! thanks for trying them, and for sharing your sweet comment!
deanna1001 January 19, 2012
I love the savory twist! Congrats!
cheese1227 January 19, 2012
Lovely recipe. Congrats on the win!
Sagegreen January 18, 2012
Congrats, ariellle!
arielleclementine January 18, 2012
thank you so much, everyone! i am over the moon!!