Sweet Lokshen Kugel

Yes folks, it’s official… I’ve got dairy on the brain! Shavuot is right around the corner, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. On Shavuot we eat dairy foods. There could be a number of reasons for this tradition. There is a verse in the Song of Solomon (4:11) which says that the Torah is like “milk and honey under your tongue,” which might indicate a connection between the Torah-centric holiday and dairy foods. Some believe that on the first Shavuot, because the Israelites had not yet received the kosher laws, their foods did not follow kashrut. When they received the Torah, they read the new laws of kashrut and realized their meat dishes were not kosher, so they opted to eat dairy dishes only. Still others say that Shavuot occurs during the fertile spring period, when animal mothers produce lots of fresh milk.

Whatever the reason, I love dairy foods, so this is my kind of holiday! As I was flipping through my recipe archives, I suddenly realized that I’ve never shared my basic recipe for a Sweet Lokshen Kugel. Gasp! How did that happen??

Kugel is a Jewish dish similar to a casserole or pudding. The dish originated over 800 years ago in southern Germany and became a staple with Jewish families throughout Eastern Europe. Jewish immigrants brought the kugel with them to the United States, where it continues to be a popular holiday dish today. There are many kinds of kugel, all made with three basic ingredients: eggs, fat, and starch. The starch used to make kugel varies; I’ve seen kugels made with matzo, matzo farfel, noodles, bread, or rice. They’re all yummy in their own way, but my favorite is noodle kugel.

The word lokshen is Yiddish for noodle. A lokshen kugel is a kugel made with noodles. There are endless variations on the noodle kugel theme; they can be made savory or sweet, topped or untopped, with dried fruit or nuts or seasonings. Sweet lokshen kugels tend to be the most popular in the U.S., with good reason! They are simple and affordable to throw together with just a few ingredients. They can be easily transported, making kugel a good choice for potlucks or family get-togethers. Most importantly, they are delicious.

This is a great basic dairy kugel recipe– moist and creamy, with a nice crunchy noodle topping. My family likes it exactly as written. You can feel free to adapt it to suit your taste, kugel is very forgiving. Raisins can be substituted with another dried fruit, like cherries or chopped dried apricots. Nuts and spices can be mixed in before baking. Add a topping if you’d like. The kugel will taste best when made with full fat ingredients, but if you’re watching your figure you can use lowfat dairy. It will still taste great.

Enough chit-chatting, time for a slice of kugel. Shabbat Shalom!

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Sweet Lokshen Kugel


  • 1 cup raisins (optional) - you may substitute other fruits like craisins, dried chopped apricots, or chopped drained pineapple
  • 12 oz wide egg noodles
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 lb sour cream (2 cups)
  • 8 oz cottage cheese (1 cup)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (1 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon and sugar for dusting
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray

You will also need

  • large pot, food processor or blender, 9x13 baking dish
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Total Time: 75 Minutes
Servings: 15
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Cover the raisins with hot water and let them soak to plump while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles to the pot, bring back to a boil, and let them cook till tender (not overly soft), about 5 minutes. Drain and return the cooked noodles to the pot.
  • In a food processor or blender, mix together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar, melted butter, and salt.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the cooked noodles in the pot and stir till well combined.
  • Drain the raisins and pat dry. Stir them into the noodles.
  • Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking oil. Pour the noodle mixture into the dish.
  • Top the kugel by sprinkling generously with sugar and lightly with cinnamon. Alternatively, you can use your favorite kugel topping (streusel, crushed graham crackers, cornflakes, etc.).
  • Bake the kugel for about 60 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, till the center of the kugel is set and the tips of the noodles turn golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Let the kugel rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Kugel can be served warm or cold.

Comments (206)Post a Comment

  1. Oh this looks EXACTLY like my grandmother’s recipe. So delicous. When I was a kid, we had an international food day, and everyone brought in a family dish to share, and we put the recipes in a book for the class. I was so proud to make & share this with my friends!

    1. I do the same thing, adding the can of pineapple along with the juice, two more eggs, and have made it using both riccotta and cottage cheese.

  2. My mother’s kugel is similar — only like Helene, she uses pineapple (chunk, not crushed), as well as canned cherries (not dried) instead of the raisins.

    I grew up in a town in which, if you kept kosher and didn’t go to school on yomtov, you were a direct relative. So Mom’s lokshn kugel, which traditionally makes for shiva calls and visits to the bereaved of other faiths, became known locally as her “wake cake.” :-)

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks delicious, but I question the inclusion of cottage cheese. What does cottage cheese do in the recipe that really adds something to the dish?

    (I’m just not a cottage cheese eater, though I don’t think I would necessarily shy away from adding it to a baked/cooked dish like this.)

    1. Hi Daniel, the cottage cheese adds a nice texture to the kugel. You can substitute ricotta for a smoother texture, or another package of cream cheese (which will make it richer and heavier, but delicious).

  4. I tried your vanilla kugel with the vanilla wafer toppingyou published a while back – and even though I dumbly left out the vanilla, it was still quite excellent. Maybe it is higher in sugar or fat than this recipe, but that was a winner, too.

  5. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Very similar to my recipe, and it is Yummy! for the older generation we add Apricot Preserves to it, for my husband we have it with Cherry Pie filling, for my daughter, she likes hers amde with Grape jelly. LOL!! Personally, i really liked the one with the vanilla pudding made with my regular Kugel recipe. very yummy!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I enjoy your Blog with your recipes & stories.
    In looking at your Sweet Lokshen Kugel I am wondering if you can leave the sweet items out & add grated sharp cheddar cheese to make Mac & Cheese. I’m thinking it would be delicious. Need new recipes for Family Reunion coming up next weekend. Thanks. Pat

    1. Hi Patricia, happy you’re enjoying the blog! If you’re looking for a cheesy potluck dish I would recommend my Roasted Cauliflower Gratin– it will adapt better than this kugel and be more like what you’re looking for, I think. Here’s the link:

      link to theshiksa.com

      You could substitute sliced potatoes or cooked pasta (cooked to al dente) for the cauliflower to make a potato gratin or mac and cheese. Good luck!

    2. For a good but rich Mac and Cheese dish, google Sweetie Pies recipe. She toured with Tina Turner when blacks could not stay in full-service hotels. The group would cook on hot plates in their rooms. She now has 2 restaurants in St. Louis, and the Mac and Cheese is famous. It is very rich and cheesy.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Sounds delicious. I use the same “base” recipe, but I add a teaspoon of vanilla, Apricot preserves and corn flake crumbs on top.
    I would like to address the cottage cheese question, if I may. :) You can always put the cottage cheese in a blender and puree to make it smooth. (This is also a great tip for using cottage cheese in mac and cheese).

  8. My mouth is watering. I must make this very soon (but when I have enough people over that I don’t eat the whole thing).It’s very similar to the one my grandmother made, though I don’t remember her using cream cheese.

    1. I have been looking for a recipe that brings me back to the one my mom made. She also used the pineapple instead of raisins (by brother hated raisins), but to add to what adelep says, I also don’t remember her using the cream cheese. Lots of cottage cheese and eggs :-)


  9. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I am allergic to raisins so I leave them but the recipe is just as tasty. I have thought about adding cherries or cranberries…might be a yummy alternative.

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Hi Shelly- I used Dried Cranberries as well as raisin.. any dry fruit is good- I also sub- ricotta for the cottage cheese- Mascrapone for the cream cheese (its a sweet Italian cheese use to make Tiramisu and Cannoli’s as well as I soak my dried fruit for 24 hours in a Zip Lock baggy of rum) Drain the rum before adding to ingredients- and I also used 0% Greek Strained Yogurt to me it makes it creamier- My daughter tried for the 1st time at age 2 1/2 and all she said was yum yum yum.. :)

    1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      Jessica….As my Bubbe (Grandmother) would have said “Try it…you” like it”. Not only will you like it…YOU WILL LOVE IT! This recipe is fabulous.

  10. Tori,
    FYI…I’ve been eating this kugel my whole life (I’m 58 years old)…my moms recipe is very close to this one of yours, and it was probably her mothers recipe first…I’ve been making her recipe for many years and really enjoying it…but I’ve got to tell you, I made your recipe today, and it’s the best I’ve ever had…funny, you don’t look like my mom!!! I’m sold, and mom, may you rest in peace, this shiksa has yours beat…Love you mom!

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made 2 giant trays of this for the Shavuot lunch yesterday. It was a great hit and now it will be a regular item on our menu at Synagogue.

  12. My 15 yr. old grandson & I made your Roasted Cauliflower Gratin for our family reunion this past Saturday & enjoyed by all..YUMMY..Thank you for sharing the recipe. We decided broccoli could also be used in this recipe, if desired. We like both vegetables..I enjoy your blog….

  13. I made this tonight. It brought back some good memories of childhood. I think I next need to try making gefilte fish from scratch.

  14. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have been on Atkins for a little over two weeks, and I cannot express how wonderful this sounds. You have allowed me to learn about and make recipes that I have never prepared before and haven’t eaten in years. Thank you for all that you share.

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Your recipe looks wonderful and also similar to what my Mom used to make. I just wonder if it is easy to cut or will it fall apart like most kugels do. I am looking for a kugel that can be cut in good servings and sold by the piece at a fundraiser.

    Thanks for your input and I appreciate any suggestions.

    1. Reina, I make a similar kugel- with 2 more eggs, use 1 cup sour cream, 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), 3/4 cup sugar, 4 oz cream cheese, same cottage cheese, plus 1 tsp vanilla and FINE egg noodles, 16 oz. It’s cuts like a cake, very firm, very delicious! Great for a party or fundraiser. Enjoy.

  16. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I made this for my son 4 weeks ago. This time I used my vitamix to make the custard. It made a great smooth custard that created a firmer kugel. It sliced perfectly after cooling.

  17. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Delicious. I used craisins instead of raisins. I also used cottage cheese with pineapple, quite by mistake, but it turned out just perfectly. My guests loved it too!

  18. I too , have always substituted cottage with pineapple,instead of just plain cc.Tastes much better! I also added a pureed apple for a more natural sweet taste.

  19. I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out so good, my boys loved it. I did used dried cranberries instead of raisins, otherwise stuck to the recipe exactly, thank you Tori, I absolutely love your site. I am making the pomegranate molasses brisket now, can’t wait til its done. :) Shana Tova

  20. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I tried this recipe for Rosh Hashana this year and it was SO AMAZING. IT was perfectly moist, not too sweet, and oh so creamy. I will definitely be using this recipe again. I am STILL snacking on pieces at night before I go to bed. I added vanilla to this recipe, which I think gave it a little somethin’ somethin’. Thanks for the amazing recipe! I am new to the blog and I can’t wait to try all of your other recipes!

    1. Hi Bernie, at the top of the ingredient list there is a “Print Recipe” button in red. Click it, and it will produce a page that you can print without photos.

  21. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I tried this for the first time the other night at a gathering. It was delicious! There was a slight pineapple taste, which I now see that others have done the same and I wasn’t imagining it. :-)
    I’m going to make your recipe just as you’ve written it for an upcoming event. Then maybe I’ll venture off and try to find a recipe with the pineapple so I know exactly how much to use.
    Thank you for sharing,

  22. I stummbled across this recipe and wondered what else would be served with this dish? Not being Jewish I do not know if this is a stand alone meal, side dish or dessert. Thanks.

    1. Hi John, it is usually served as a side dish for a dairy meal (it is not served with meat if you’re keeping kosher– fish is okay because it’s considered neutral). It can also be served as a dessert because it is sweet.

  23. A funny thing happened this past week… both my daughter and I have suddenly been wanting noodle pudding ( I haven’t had it since I left Sullivan County, NY 16 yrs. ago) My daughter lives on the East Coast in Virginia & hasn’t had it either. Anyway, she text me to find out if I had the recipe & vary vaguely remembered it. Naturally, I didn’t have it so she went on google and found the recipe. Now we are both happy and planning to make it. She will probably make substitute with rice milk as she is lactose intolerent. Do you think that will work out OK if she uses Rice milk? Loved the pictures and easy directions on making the kugel! Thank you

  24. How would this come out using brown sugar instead of white sugar? Also, has anyone tried making this with Splenda instead of sugar?

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