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. We made this for our Pot Luck Supper at the Synagogue last Friday night. People were lining up for seconds and begging for the recipe. It was outstanding.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks amazing. i am a Nilla Wafers girl from way back, and i love Vanilla, and vanilla pudding. Best of all, i am a Kugel freakinator!! (LOL!!) I am going to try your recipe this week, and let you know how it turned out. thank you for sharing!!

    1. Okay, i made the Kugel today, following the recipe to the letter. i am used to making Lokshen and Cheese Kugel, so i dont make topping, and it made a huge difference since there wasnt enough liquid. The noodles we over crunchy, almost raw from cooking so long.
      there was way too much noodles, and not enough liquid. my usual recipe calls for 2tbsp sugar, 1/2lb noodles, but with the Cottage cheese, Sour Cream, and Cream Cheese it makes up for all the liquid that seemed to be missing.
      The pudding didnt really sweeten it to my taste, but that may be because fo the amount of noodles, i could barely taste any vanilla.
      I am sure that with 1/2 noodles, the recipe will turn out 100% different for me. this Kugel hubby will not eat this, because he doesnt care for the crunchy noodles on top, and even i ahd a problem and had to scrape them off.

    2. Hi Sophia– if you try to make this again, I would suggest making it with the topping as written in the recipe. I have never made this particular kugel without the topping, and I’m guessing the issues you had came from letting the top brown without the topping. This is not a lokshen-style kugel, and the topping serves two purposes– to add crunch and sweetness, as well as to lock moisture in while it bakes. My readers who have made it with the topping have raved about it, so I’m guessing your problems came from that modification.

  3. This recipe is a WINNER!!! I added golden raisins (they added a little brightness to this very rich and sweet dish). This is now, officially, my sweetie’s favorite kugel (I hope his mom isn’t reading this!). From one shiksa to another – thank you!

  4. Tori

    I just made this for my friend’s daughters batmitzvah, to help her feed all the out of town guests coming in. Just put it in the oven- so far it smells heavenly! Thank you so much! Do you have any good pareve cakes for shabbat to share? Recipes without margerine or any other icky hydrogenated stuff. Best regards Ilana

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thanks for this amazing recipe! My husband and daughter dislike any kind of fruit in a kugel so I thought I’d give this recipe a go (its a bit of a departure from traditional plain sweet kugel – which I like). I brought it to a friend’s break the fast. As the only “shiksa” cooking, I was nervous…but I was thrilled it was such a HUGE hit with everyone and I got many recipes requests so I sent them to your web page! Loved it so much and thanks for making me look so good!

  6. Tori, do you think this would be good if I replaced the noodles with potatoes? I love the a sweet tasting side dish with brisket and usually make noodle kugel like your recipe. Can’t use noodles on Passover unfortunately!

    What do you think? I love your website!!

    1. Hi Amy– I wouldn’t use potatoes, however most kosher markets have Passover egg noodles that can be used during the holiday, and you can certainly use those!

  7. Okay, so I don’t always follow the recipes!! What else is new? I changed the Vanilla pudding with Coconut Cream pudding, added softened yellow raisins, & chopped pecans. Added some shredded coconut and chopped pecans with the vanilla wafers crust. One bite and my eyes rolled back into to head. Love it!

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