Tuesday, September 7, 2010

noodle kugel

noodle kugel

A few weeks ago a reader emailed me and asked me for a recipe for noodle kugel. A delicious mix of egg noodles, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, eggs, and other awesome stuff, noodle kugel is a traditional Jewish dish particularly popular around the holiday time. Popular, but here’s the kicker – noodle kugel is yet another traditional dish I grew up without. I think this is unacceptable, considering I have some pretty deep shtetl roots to show off. Mom, I’m looking at you – kasha varnishkes, and now this! What else are you hiding from me? This guilt thing, well it can work in reverse too.


Despite being so deprived in my childhood, I’ve made various versions of noodle kugel before, mostly because friends would ask for it, but, frankly speaking, it always left me wanting more. I was the Goldilocks of noodle kugel. It was either too sweet, or not sweet enough, or too goopy, or too noodly. I was looking for the perfect noodle to custard ratio, and I couldn’t find it. It was never just-right. And though it’s in my nature to challenge notions when I hear the I-don’t-like-such-and-such, for some reason, in this particular instance, I just accepted what I thought was a fact about noodle kugel – it was just one of those things that was never going to excite me. In other words – I gave up!


But that email above, gave me pause. Maybe it wasn’t the noodle kugel giving me problems. Maybe it was the fact that I failed to think properly about the recipe. What would make it good? What would make it so good, in fact, that I would want to eat it all the time? This weekend, determined to make it work for me, I got in the kitchen and played around with enough proportions and combinations, that by the time Andrew was up and ready to have breakfast, I had the winning recipe, cooling on the table. Andrew, an experienced noodle kugel eater, pronounced it a success, and I’m hoping he wasn’t just being nice because he ate a pretty large piece. I ate two whole plates, which hardly constitutes a “proper” breakfast, but I felt that given my 7 o’clock waking time and making a few batches, I felt I was owed a “treat”. Owed by whom – I’m not so sure, but owed nonetheless.

noodle kugel

I look back on this year (and by year I mean the Jewish calendar year) and I have to say that the second half of it has been particularly, ridiculously good to me. It’s been pretty much the bees’ knees kind of a year, all in all. With a year like this, I can’t wait for what the new one will bring. On the almost-eve I enter the New Year with a delicious, new recipe I perfected, a new tradition, and some second helpings of noodle kugel. If this is what the year is foreshadowing for me, I can’t wait. Shana Tova.

noodle kugel

Noodle Kugel

1/2 lb wide egg noodles (gluten-free peeps, according to the lovely Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl, all you need to do is use a GF noodle here and you should all set. Leave a comment for brand recommendations!)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 lb cottage cheese
2/3 cups sour cream
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup golden raisins


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put 2 quarts of water to boil in a heavy bottomed pot.

Combine the butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, honey, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract, dried cherries, and raisins in a bowl. Stir together until it becomes a uniform mass. You might need to use a whisk to break apart the cream cheese, but it should all come together after a few minutes.

Boil the noodles in salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain when done.

Combine the noodles with the above ingredients and mix together so uniformly distributed. Pour into a buttered 8×8 baking dish.

Bake until the egg custard is set and the top turns golden brown. This can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven.

Serves 4.

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  • 1
    Jo said:

    Shana tova…
    Olga Ms.oh so wonderful…did u ever try Farmers cheese? delish…I will try yours sans the cherries, not good for tinittus.
    Love u

    September 7, 2010 7:53 pm
  • 2

    Looks so much like my grandmother’s kugel. Except for the cherries, what a great addition! Yum!

    September 7, 2010 10:20 pm
  • 3
    Maggie said:

    This looks totally perfect–I’ve never made noodle kugel, I must admit, so thanks for saving me the trouble of finding the perfect recipe. Yours is definitely the one.

    I’m so glad it’s been a happy year, all in all, for you. Shanah tovah!

    September 8, 2010 9:08 am
  • 4

    Hi, first time here, I like the name of your blog… and the recipes!!! I could just eat that kugel now!!!!


    September 8, 2010 12:32 pm
  • 5
    newlywed said:

    Looks delicious! Me, I’m stuck looking for non-dairy noodle kugel recipes, because my husband is finicky! I’ll keep him anyway though:)

    September 8, 2010 12:57 pm
  • 6

    yu-um! your recipe is delish and your photos are equally divine! this is a must-try, for sure!! :)

    September 8, 2010 4:14 pm
  • 7
    Katia said:

    I stumbled upon your blog a couple of weeks ago. It is delicious – just reading about your food. Having similar background, I also never tasted noodle kugel in my childhood. Serendipitously, I made it yesterday. Imagine my surprise, when I looked at your site just now. Shana Tova.

    September 9, 2010 2:38 pm
  • 8
    Delishhh said:

    Nice recipe. I love Kugel and make it all the time. The difference is i do not use honey, raisins or cherry. I like to have mine as a side dish and then it becomes too sweet for me. But i would love to try this out as a dessert.

    September 10, 2010 12:40 pm
  • 9
    Dana said:

    I’ve never had kugel before. It sure does sound tasty though, and the browned up edges of the noodles in your pictures? I’m sold on trying the recipe out.

    September 10, 2010 2:13 pm
  • 10
    Stephanie said:

    Yum! Thank you for taking the time to perfect noodle kugel, and share the recipe with the rest of us. My partner is Jewish, but like you missed out on many of the traditional dishes while growing up in a tiny town in Wisconsin. As we work to build our own traditions, I think your dish will definitely play a featuring role on our table!


    September 13, 2010 11:24 am
  • 11

    This reminds me so much of a friend’s grandmother…and brings back wonderful memories! Thank you for taking the time to share this traditional recipe I love but have never cooked before.

    September 14, 2010 3:07 pm
  • 12
    Judimae said:

    This recipe brings back memories of my childhood and my mom’s noodle kugel. It is very much like hers, but she did not use dried cherries. I love that addition and am saving this recipe to try at the end of the month. I am impresssed with your blog and am now following you with Google Friend Connect. Thanks for sharing your love of cooking with us.

    September 22, 2010 1:47 am
  • 13
    Dale said:

    Made this and it was perfection! I can’t think of one thing I’d change. Loved the dried cherries!

    November 15, 2010 2:24 pm
  • 14

    […] luck with that, by the way), you can make your favorite bread pudding for breakfast. That, and some noodle kugel should get you through the New Year’s breakfast just […]

    September 15, 2012 6:20 pm

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