But have you tried savory herb and cheese rugelach? Instead of the traditional sweet rugelach, these savory rugelach is flavored with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs and filled with a creamy mix of ricotta cheese and sweet roasted garlic. And the perfect accompaniment to any appetizer spread.
Savory Herb and Cheese Rugelach
Every year I make a new rugelach recipe with a fun filling and different twist from the traditional. Rosemary fig rugelach and pumpkin rugelach with caramelized pecans just to name a new.
But have you ever tried a savory rugelach?
Instead of the sweetened rugelach, sub the sugar for savory and nutty Parmesan cheese. The classic cream cheese dough is seasoned with bright lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and rolled up with a cheesy ricotta mixture with loads of fresh herbs
The results are delicious and savory and perfect to serve as an appetizer or alongside any cheese board.
Savory Rugelach Ingredients
- Cream Cheese: The base for rugelach. Use full fat and soften to room temperature along with the butter.
- Unsalted Butter: Softened so it's easier to mix with the cream cheese. Unsalted butter also gives you more salt control in the recipe.
- Parmesan Cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese is dry and gives the savory rugelach fantastic cheesy flavor.
- Lemon Zest: About 2 lemon zested and added to the dough brightened the richer flavors of the cheese rugelach.
- All Purpose Flour: King Arthur All Purpose Flour is a great flour.
- Roasted Garlic: Is worth the effort as roasted garlic is sweet and caramelized and not as sharp as fresh garlic. You can prep this up to a few days in advance and have it ready for adding to the cheese mixture.
- Ricotta Cheese: Look for a basket ricotta which is thicker and not as wet as other ricottas. The drier the better because added moisture can wet and log down the dough.
- Fresh Herbs: Use a variety of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. If you don't have fresh herbs, use ½ teaspoon each of dried herbs.
- Flakey Sea Salt: Fleur de sel is a favorite to garnish with.
How to Make Savory Cheese Rugelach
- Make the rugelach dough and add the softened cream cheese and butter to a mixer and beat until smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and and continue mixing until incorporated.
- Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface and form into a ball, then cut into quarters, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- While dough is chilling, make the filling. In a bowl, add roasted garlic, ricotta cheese, fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll out one of the dough bowls to a 9-10 inch circle and use a circular object to cut out a circle. Save the scrape to roll out another circle. Spread some of the cheese mixture onto the dough and cut the dough into 8 triangles, like a pizza. Then roll each triangle, starting from the outside and rolling into, making a crescent shape.
- Place rugelach on a lined baking sheet, seam side down and brush with whisked egg.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden brown.
A Few Tips on Making Savory Rugelach
- Look for dry ricotta or "basket ricotta" which has less moisture and thicker consistency.
- The drier the ricotta, the better so the excess moisture doesn't weigh down the dough.
- Have fun with the herbs, other suggestions are finely chopped chives and tarragon.
- Baked rugelach will last up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- To freeze rugelach, bake rugelach and let cool to room temperature then wrap very well in plastic wrap and freeze. When ready to bake, warm in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven until warmed through.
How to Freeze Rugelach
You can freeze rugelach before and after it's baked.
Freeze Unbaked Rugelach: Follow recipe up until rolling up the rugelach. Then place on a cookie sheet or plate and freeze in a single layer. When ready to bake, continue with recipe and add a few minutes longer of baking time.
Freeze Baked Rugelach: Bake rugelach fully and let cool completely. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate and freeze. Once frozen, place in resealable bag.
Herb and Cheese Rugelach
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ½ pound unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 12 ounces full fat ricotta cheese drained
- 2 heads of garlic roasted
- 1-2 sprig fresh rosemary leaves removed and finely chopped
- 1-2 sprigs fresh oregano leaves removed and finely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg whisked
- Sea salt for garnish
- Roast the garlic first preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cut off the top third of the garlic bulb. Wrap garlic in foil and roast for 30-35 minutes until the garlic is tender and caramelized. Once done, let it cool to room temperature (it will be very hot).
- To make the dough, use a stand mixer or hand mixer and beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and mix until just incorporated.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour and mix just until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters and wrap each quarter in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- For the filling, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb and into a medium sized bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Take one dough-ball out of fridge (leaving others chilled) and on a well-floured surface, roll it to abou a 9-10 inch circle. diameter. Use a circular object to cut into a circle, saving the scraps to roll out another circle.
- Spread ¼ cup of the cheese mixture onto the dough in a thin layer, leaving a border. Cut dough into 8 triangles, like a pizza and roll the rugelach by starting at the outer end of the triangle and roll in making a little crescent shape.
- Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rugelach, seam side down onto a lined baking sheet. Brush with whisked egg and sprinkle each rugelach with sea salt.
- Bake rugelach for about 18-20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Once done, remove from oven and let cool before enjoying.
This post was originally published in November, 2014 and updated in September, 2022 with added nutritional info and helpful tips.
I absolutely LOVE this idea!
A savory rugelach, this is brilliant. Plus the cheese, you had me at the cheese 🙂
Haha I agree! Thanks Nik for the comment! Love your blog 🙂
Jenny (VintageSugarcube) says
Ohhh la la.. I've never had savory Rugelach. It looks absolutely mouth watering. I'll be making this for the holidays.
I just made these for the first time. Very good. Just 2 comments. First of all, the recipe makes 32, not 40 (4 balls of dough cut into 8 triangle is 32) and last, mine took over 20 minutes to bake (and my oven is perfect)
Samantha Ferraro says
Hi Tina! Thank you for the comment! I should clarify in the recipe and will after messaging you, is that I will cut a circle in each quarter, which leaves me with excess dough. I take the scrape from the rest of the dough balls and roll that out, creating another 8 rugelach. And thank you for the temperature information, I will add a note to that!