Noodle Kugel is a traditional Jewish holiday casserole similar to bread pudding, but with noodles instead of bread. It’s deliciously creamy and slightly sweet. Serve it as breakfast, a side dish, or dessert, warm or cold.
There are many iterations for Noodle Kugel, all attached to grandmothers who claim theirs is the best. Some sweet, some savory. I don’t know if this recipe is the best, but it’s certainly my favorite version and reminds me of my mom and Nan!
What is Noodle Kugel?
Noodle Kugel is a casserole served at Jewish holidays, made with egg noodles and a creamy custard. It’s sweet and similar to bread pudding, but with egg noodles instead of bread, and also like a French Toast casserole. I know it sounds weird, but it’s wonderful. Trust me!
Is noodle kugel a dessert or side dish? My mom always serves kugel for dessert, but I think most people enjoy it as a side dish. However, I make it for breakfast. So, anything goes!
Do you eat noodle kugel hot or cold? Kugel can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature, or cold. Not many casseroles you can say that about, huh?
Noodle Kugel Recipe
Ingredients you’ll need for this kugel recipe:
- Egg noodles: While any pasta could probably be used, I have never seen this dish made with anything other than egg noodles, and I personally always use wide egg noodles.
- For the custard: Eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
- For topping: Granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Raisins: These are optional, but a fairly traditional ingredient. We absolutely love the added sweetness and slight pop of color.
Sweet Noodle Kugel Substitutions
- Don’t like raisins? You can swap them out for dried cranberries or dried apricots. Many kugel recipes also use diced apple or pineapple instead. Or simply omit this add-in.
- For the Kugel topping I just sprinkle a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon over the top before baking, but you can use your favorite streusel topping, crushed buttered graham crackers, or cornflakes.
- Noodle Kugel without cottage cheese: We love cottage cheese, but if you don’t, try using ricotta cheese instead.
Noodle Kugel Recipe Tips
- Boil the noodles in salted water. This helps add flavor and also reduce stickiness. (I use 2 teaspoons for 6 quarts of water.)
- Don’t cook the noodles completely. You’ll only cook the noodles for about 7 minutes (not the full 10 minutes that the package instructs), because they cook further in the custard mixture as it bakes.
- Blend the custard ingredients. You can whisk everything in a bowl, but I highly recommend blending the custard mixture in a blender or food processor for a smoother and more creamy consistency.
- Don’t over-bake the kugel or the custard will be dry and crumbly.
Make Ahead and Storing
- Can noodle kugel be made ahead? This kugel recipe can be assembled, covered, and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day ahead of baking and serving. The kugel can also be fully cooked a day ahead of time and reheated, but the texture will be denser and slightly more dry, so it’s not my preference.
- Does noodle kugel need to be refrigerated? Yes, because of the dairy, kugel must be kept in the refrigerator.
- Storing leftover baked kugel: Let cool completely, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- How to freeze noodle kugel: Unbaked or baked, kugel should be tightly sealed in plastic wrap and again in foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking or reheating.
- How to reheat Noodle Kugel: Reheat in the microwave or in a preheated 325 degree F oven until heated through (usually about 15 minutes, or longer if previously frozen.)
How to Make Kugel Video
Other Jewish Recipes We Love!
Sweet Noodle Kugel
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 12 ounces wide egg noodles
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter , melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar , divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon , divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. with an oven rack in the middle position. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water; let them soak to plump up while you prep the other ingredients.
- Bring a large pot of 5 quarts water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a boil. Add the noodles to the pot, bring back to a boil, and let them cook until tender but not entirely cooked, about 7 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return the cooked noodles to the pot.
- In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, blend together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla, salt, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Pour the egg mixture over the cooked noodles in the pot and stir until well combined.
- Drain the raisins and stir them into the noodles.
- Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading evenly.
- Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over the top of the kugel.
- Bake the kugel for about 1 hour until the center of the kugel is set and the tips of the noodles turn golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the kugel rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
- Kugel can be served warm or cold, as a side dish, for breakfast, or dessert!
- (NOTE: see helpful tips and substitutions in the full article.)