whole food ~ well made

Easier Homemade Toaster Pastries

 Since January, I’ve been practicing a use-what-I-have principle for family meals. I can not only see the bottom of my freezer but I’ve found a few surprises. The good kind, not the scary kind, I’m happy to report.

One such foray into the chest freezer yielded an unlabeled plastic-wrapped circle of dough. To be precise, three of them. {An aside: yes, they were unlabeled, which is not standard freezer protocol but I sometimes, in a rush, convince myself that I will remember what the item is. I never do. Lesson learned–again.}

I figured it was some pie dough left over from the holidays. It was a Sunday, so I’d bake a pie.

Once it defrosted in the fridge and I started to roll it out, I remembered what it really was: cream cheese dough for my favorite holiday cookie rugelach.

It all came rushing back. The Monday before our east coast travels I planned to make rugelach. I ran out of time and tossed the three dough rounds into the freezer. For a “later” in 2015 that never came.

Improvised Toaster Pastries

Instead of a pie, I craved homemade toaster pastries, since I also have an abundance of fruit preserves.

I rolled the dough, cut it into rectangles that matched up for better and for worse and made toaster pastries filled with sour cherry jam. Then, I made another batch with plum jam, sprinkling the tops with cinnamon and sugar.

toaster pastries ham & cheese
Homemade toaster pastries made with this tender cream cheese dough hold good surprises inside.

The next day, I made another batch with ham, provolone and coarse mustard. Pocket lunchables. (Oops, are those trademarked?)

Better Toaster Pastry Dough

What you should know about rugelach dough is that it is made with equal parts cream cheese and butter. This translates into a very tender dough that’s not at all crumbly.

It is easier to mix than pie dough and it rolls out as easy as Play-Doh.

Make a mistake? Just roll it out again. Have extra dough? Roll it again to make toaster pastries of any size.

So, if the idea of making pie dough is too much but you’ve rolled and cut out Play-Doh shapes with your two-year old child, niece, nephew or neighbor, this one’s for you.

Even if you’re a pie dough pro, this dough is wonderfully soft, tasty and good keeping.

toaster pastries foursome

I’ve switched over to rugelach dough–guess I should call it Toaster Pastry Dough–for all of my hand pie-type baking projects both sweet and savory.

I love how these simple homemade treats are like little presents for the special people you share them with. They are a guaranteed smile.

I wonder where they will take you and who you will give them to. Happy snacking!


and become a forager

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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Toaster Pastries

This cream cheese pastry dough recipe is from the venerable baker and cookbook author Maida Heatter. I've adapted the instructions for using it to make homemade toaster pastries. You can go either sweet or savory: fill them with fruit preserves, applesauce or chocolate to ham & cheese, sauteed veggies or tomato sauce and mozarella. Or create your own fillings for snacks that everyone will just die to get their hands on!
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Lynne


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • choice of filling
  • 1 egg


  • In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until very well blended. Whisk the salt into the flour and gradually add it to the bowl on low speed. Stop the mixer, scrape the dough down the beater with a rubber spatula and mix until the dough is smooth.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours or overnight (or freeze for up to 1 month).
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F. 
  • Roll out one piece of the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Using a ruler or other straight edge,. trim off the ends to make a large rectangle. Choose the size of toaster pastry you'd like. (I make sweet ones roughly 3 inches by 4 inches; the savory ones I like slightly larger, 4 by 5 inches.) The size does not matter and measuring is not necessary so long as the tops and the bottoms more or less match up.
  • Lay the rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with about 2 inches between them.
  • Whisk the egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the rectangles with the egg wash. Arrange just enough of the filling down the center of each rectangle leaving a half-inch border on all sides.
  • Repeat the rolling, trimming and cutting process with the second piece of dough. Match up tops to bottoms and seal the edges by pressing around all sides with the tines of a fork. Brush the finished pastries with the egg wash. 
  • Collect any used dough. Re-chill the dough and re-roll, cut, fill and bake until you have made as many pastries as you can fit on a second baking sheet.
  • Bake the pastries one baking sheet at a time until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to serve warm or at room temperature. 


If you only have salted butter, simply half the amount of salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.
For sweet toaster pastries, sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar or cinnamon-sugar after brushing with the egg wash and before baking.


  1. Linda Koloski

    How to you think this recipe would work w/ gluten-free flours? Looks yummy!

  2. Linda, I actually meant to try that! I do think a gluten-free flour substitution will work terrifically well, just as it would in a cookie or cake recipe. Let me know how you like it.

  3. Pam

    Why do you recommend using unsalted butter? That’s all I have and use it for everything.

  4. Pam, unsalted butter is excellent if you tend to buy it and have it on hand. I wrote the recipe with salted butter just because most people have salted butter around (unless you bake regularly or prefer it), and I’m wanting to encourage non-baker types to make these!

    To use *unsalted* butter in this Better Toaster Pastry Dough just *double* the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

    Incidentally, I keep both types of butter around for their various purposes and for controlling salt when I want that option.

    1. Yeah, I see now how it looks like I’m not recommending using unsalted butter. I’m not. Think I should change the recipe to the standard of unsalted butter in baking recipes?

  5. Pam

    Thank you, Lynne!
    I always bought salted butter until the past few years when I noticed that many of the baking recipes called for “unsalted.” That’s my go-to butter now, but I think you are correct in saying that salted butter is probably the household norm.
    I think your explanation clarifies the recipe for either “butter user.” I’m looking forward to making these!

  6. Rick

    These look great and nice job using what’s at hand (or is it on hand?). As far as salted vs. unsalted butter…I always use unsalted for a few reasons. It puts you more in control of the salt content of your dish. Also, I only use kosher salt because it has no aluminum in it. Not sure of the salt in butter. And salt draws out moisture which is not always a desirable chemical reaction in the kitchen.

    My only question is would you bite the straight edge or the corner first?

    1. Thanks, Rick. If you love kosher salt, have you tried Jacobsen’s Salt Co. kosher? Yes, a fine Oregon product, and it is spendy but so very worth it. (Mind you, I don’t use it to salt my pasta water, but for meats and cooking uses it is phenomenal, imho.)

      As for your edge or corner question, I’ll have to ponder that with some trial and error. I’m open to your suggestion.

  7. Kristi

    5 stars
    Hi! This might be a really dumb question, but I’ve never actually had toaster pastries before… so… once baked, can they be frozen and then toasted in a toaster? Should they be thawed first, or can they be toasted from frozen? I’m so sorry if these are silly questions!

    1. Hi Kristy, wow, you escaped Poptarts–good job! These are a homemade version of the store-bought product known as “toaster pastries” but they don’t go in the toaster. Just bake and eat!

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