Vanilla Noodle Kugel

A few days ago, I found myself craving kugel. Like, seriously craving. There’s nothing better than pulling a cold slice of leftover kugel out of the refrigerator as a midnight snack. Or for breakfast. Or whenever, really. If you’ve enjoyed a good kugel before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. A delicious slice of homemade kugel is simply the best. The best! So I made a kugel. Why not? They’re easy enough to throw together.

A kugel is a quintessentially Jewish dish that is best described as a baked pudding. The dish originated over 800 years ago in Germany and quickly became popular with Jewish families throughout Eastern Europe. Usually kugel is served as a side dish, so both dairy and pareve (neutral) kugels are cooked to suit kosher dairy or meat meals. There are many kinds of kugel—noodle kugels, potato kugels, lokshen kugels, sweet kugels, savory kugels. Slow cooking overnight kugels were invented by Orthodox and strictly observant families who do not cook during the hours of Shabbat. Pareve (neutral – non-dairy) kugel is often served at life-cycle events, like barmitzvahs, as part of a buffet of foods. Dairy kugels are enjoyed on dairy meal holidays like Shavuot, Hannukah, and for the break-fast meal after Yom Kippur.

Today, you can order a slice of noodle kugel in almost any American Jewish deli… but why buy when it’s so simple to make yourself? Kugel is actually one of the easiest Jewish dishes to cook. Once you know the basic components (starch, eggs, and dairy or non-dairy fat), there are endless possibilities. You can even get creative by adding fruit, flavorings, and different toppings to create your own “signature” kugel.

I’ve come up with many variations on kugel over the years. The one I’m sharing today will be a favorite with people who like vanilla. The addition of pudding provides moisture, and the crunchy vanilla cookie topping adds texture. It’s a sweet, fun, unique dish for a potluck or family gathering.

You can make this kugel using any store branded products you like. I try to use organic ingredients whenever possible to cut down on our exposure to unhealthy additives and preservatives. I bought organic kosher-certified vanilla wafers at Whole Foods (365 brand) and kosher organic vanilla pudding, too (Dr. Oetker brand). If you prefer to use more standard store brands, Nilla Wafers and Jello vanilla pudding mix are both kosher certified… they’ll work great. Feel free to cut down on calories by using lowfat ingredients, but I wouldn’t use the nonfat stuff. Kugel needs a little fat in it to make it yummy. Enjoy!

Recommended Products:

Stand Mixer

Ceramic Baking Dish

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Vanilla Noodle Kugel

Kugel Ingredients

  • 1 cup prepared vanilla pudding
  • 1 lb egg noodles
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (any percentage is fine, except nonfat)
  • 3/4 cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 8 oz. vanilla wafer cookies (makes about 2 cups of crumbs)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

You will also need

  • Electric mixer, 9x13 inch baking dish (or something close to that size), mixing bowls
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 9-12 servings
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Take cream cheese out of the refrigerator to let it soften. Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill till soft set (thickened, but it doesn't need to be completely firm).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Boil the egg noodles according to package directions till they reach an al dente texture (cooked, but not too soft or limp). Drain and rinse with cold water till noodles are cool. Drain again.
  • Use an electric mixer to cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs and mix again till blended.
  • Add pudding, milk, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium high till all ingredients are well blended.
  • Pour noodles into the liquid mixture. Stir to combine noodles and liquid, making sure all noodles are covered in liquid and no noodle clumps have formed.
  • Pour noodle mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish.
  • Crush vanilla wafer cookies to a crumbly texture. I do this by placing the cookies into a plastic Ziploc bag and pounding them with a mallet. You want them crushed fine, but not to a powder-- a little texture is good. Place crumbs in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to the crumbs. Mix with a fork for a couple of minutes till all of the crumbs are evenly moistened by the butter.
  • Evenly sprinkle the crumbly topping across the top of the kugel.
  • Bake kugel uncovered on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, turning the dish once during baking to make sure it bakes evenly. Kugel is done when the topping lightly browns all the way across. Remove from the oven.
  • You can serve this kugel warm or cold. Store it in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage. The topping won't be as crunchy the second day, but it will still taste delicious. Enjoy!


Comments (80)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Sounds delicious, but think I’ll wait until it gets a bit cooler out to make it – I’m going to add this to my break fast this year!

    1. Hi Stacy! I live in Florida, so i understand about baking in hot weather. The cookies i crushed the night before, and the pudding was made the night before. so all i had to do was make the noodles, put it together and bake it at 5pm the next day. =)
      I did this with a chicken and rice casserole for dinner, with the Kugel for dessert.

  2. Hey Tori, you have made me a very happy lady today. You see today is my birthday, and I was feeling the need for some of Mama’s comfort food. Getting older is a bit daunting this year now that I am eligible for AARP. LOL Your kugel sounds perfect. I will definitely make it over the next week. Thanks for the “hug”.

  3. Is that instant pudding? What is the weight of the package? I live in Israel and the packaging is a bit different.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Fanny, you can use regular or instant pudding, whichever you prefer… just make sure it sets and thickens in texture before you work with it. You need one cup of prepared pudding (about the amount that would fit in a standard coffee mug), which can generally be made using the smallest pudding box available. I’m not sure what the weight would be, but you might check the package to see how many servings it makes… usually a serving is about 1/2 a cup… so 2 servings should be enough. Don’t worry about it too much, kugel is very forgiving. :)

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Oh, what a wonderful version of kugel! I’m sending this post to my girlfriend in Toronto – I used to eat kugel with her family regularly in Montreal while going through law school …. her kind and generous parents fed me well :) Love the vanilla and delicate egg noodles here… beautiful Tori!

    1. Hi Vickie– absolutely. I used the cooked kind because I couldn’t find instant organic pudding, but the instant will work just as well. Just make sure it’s soft set (I think it only takes about 5 minutes for the instant type to set that way). Enjoy!

  5. I can eat this day in and day out! In Macedonia we make something very similar… sweet or savory (includes feta cheese), and it’s called “Gibanica” (Ghee-bah-knee-tsah) :)

  6. You mentioned different types of kugel and said lucshen was one type. Lucshen means noodle, so how does it differ?

    Do you have a savory recipe that you can share?

    1. Hi cookinglady! Lokshen kugel is Yiddish noodle kugel. It can be made a variety of ways, but it is most commonly prepared with noodles, cheese, sour cream, butter, raisins and spices. There is usually no or very little topping used (sometimes sugar and/or cinnamon is sprinkled on top). The lack of a crumb or streusel-style topping allows the noodles to bake to a brown, crunchy texture on top of the kugel. However lokshen kugel, like other kugels, vary greatly from family to family, so there are no real rules… kugel is an adaptable dish that can be made in a variety of ways.

      For a more savory recipe, try my Passover Potato Kugel. Here’s the link: link to

      I’ll be posting more savory kugels later this year!

  7. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love kugels! I also have made it with cornflake crumbs with cinna sugar; but the idea of nilla wafers is a great touch… i have also added crushed pineapple as well.. thanks for all your great healthy Jewish food..schmalz may taste great but not so healthy for us…and happy belated birthday to me as well..i hit the big 60 , but will always be 39….

  8. A note about noodle kugel: Our favorite is Aunt Mickey’s Noodle Kugel, made with cottage cheese. But the best thing is that you DO NOT boil the noodles first! Super simple. Throw everything into the baking dish and bake. But your recipe sounds so good I’ll try it (though not with cream cheese; my husband has heart issues so cream cheese is a no-no).

    1. Hi Alice! I’ve tried a few of the kugel recipes without pre-cooked noodles over the years. A few of them turned out great, others not so much. I’d love to hear your Aunt Mickey’s method!

      Re: the cream cheese, you could sub lowfat cream cheese, or a light ricotta which will give it a slightly different texture (but it will be more heart-healthy). Let me know how you like it!

    2. Shiska

      You can substitue non fat greek yogart for cream cheese. I have done that for years.

      I have also drained low fat yogart when greek was not available.


  9. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love anything that makes a great midnight snack and/or breakfast and I really like that this recipe is so adaptable for different flavors. Yum!

  10. Never heard of this before and I went back and forth between the pictures and your article “is there pasta in it? But she said vanilla pudding? How come?”
    I think I will like this dish, combining vanilla pudding and egg noodles! What is not to love? :)

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this for my cousin’s graduation party this past weekend. it was a huge hit, with some relatives saying it was the best kugel they’ve ever had (and it was my first time making kugel!). Thanks for an amazing recipe. I will definitely be making this again. It was very easy to make and was very flavorful. The noodles soaked up all of the vanilla-y goodness from the pudding; it really makes the difference. And the wafer topping with the little bit of cinnamon and sugar was perfect. I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone!

    1. Hey kt, thanks so much for letting me know how the kugel turned out for you! I really appreciate the feedback, and I’m thrilled that your family enjoyed the kugel. Congrats to your cousin! :)

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this today and it came out a little taste less, I usualy make it with cottage cheese and minus the pudding and it turns out AMAZING. But I just love the idea of putting in pudding….Will try again…..thanks, Aliza…..

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