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

Ingredients

  • 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 (166)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.. :)

  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.

  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
    Tori,
    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,
    Marie

  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?

  25. For anyone looking for a lower calorie kugel, I make a low fat version. Cook 12 ounces cooked broad noodles until al dente. Mix the following in a blender at high speed: 24 ounces cottage cheese (no sour cream, no cream cheese), 4 or 5 large eggs, 1/2 C skim milk. 1 tbsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup Splenda. While the noodles are cooking, I peel and core a couple of apples (any kind), and cut into chunks. I add a big handful of golden raisins or craisins (any dried fruit). I mix the noodles with the previous ingredients and pour into a 9 x 12 baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil spray. I sprinkle it with cinnamon and spread a big handful of brown sugar on top, and dot with a 2 tablespoons of diced butter. Cook in 300 degree oven for about an hour, or until set in center.

  26. A good friend, who has since passed away, gave me this very same recipe years ago. My family loved it! I lost all my recipes in a fire. I was never able to replicate her recipe. Every time I tried a recipe for what she called Jewish Noodle Pudding, it just wasn’t the same. Your recipe is the exact recipe and I’m glad I found it! Thank you.

  27. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This was a hit tonight. And I made it totally lactose fe
    Ree with lactaid cottage cheese, lactose free sour cream and Tofutti cream cheese. I added a few chopped apricots to the raisins to equal the measure. Delicious!

  28. I make a Jewish/Russian dish, known as Shelltanoushis. Very easy and it’s essentially Mac & Cheese. Rigatoni noodles, two boxes if serving 4 or 5. 24oz of 1% Cottage Cheese an 16oz of fat free sour cream. And finally, 2tbl of I can’t believe its not butter – Light. Bake at 400 deg F for 35min or until bubbling hot. Everyone who has ever tried it is immediately a fan. It was my grandmother’s recipe and then my Mom’s, Nanny added cinnamon. I don’t.

  29. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    i love this pudding…whenever i make it i place the dish in a hot water bath then place it in the oven….its so creamy when its done this way…..its lovely with dried cranberries soaked in whiskey…you could do your own version to this tasty dish….Thanks Querino

  30. Can this be made ahead and frozen? I want to make it for a friend of mine, but she will be away for Passover….

    1. Hi Amy- yes! Bake it almost completely, and take it out about 10 minutes before it’s fully baked. Let it come to room temp, cover with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. When your friend rewarms it, he/she can bake it at 350 from frozen till the center is set and the tips of the noodles turn golden. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Carol, so sorry to hear about your friend. The answer is yes, it would be a terrific choice, as long as the kugel is brought in the next couple of days. Prior to Passover (which begins March 25 this year), many Jewish families begin to clean their homes of all leavened grains (chametz) for the holiday. Chametz includes noodles and pasta. However, if you’re bringing it in the next day or two it probably won’t be an issue. To be safe, you could also make this with Passover egg noodles, which are available in some kosher markets. What a kind gesture!

  31. I wanted some Keugel so went back to your recipe- My Son ate all the Sour cream.. ugh.. So I was out of most of the ingredients Called for.. So I substituted I used 12 Oz of Vanilla 0% Greek yogurt 1 Cup of Unprocessed Sugar 8 Oz of Greek Coffee and chocolate chunk Yogurt. and 8 Oz cream cheese it’s in the oven now.. I’m thinking it’s going to be yummy made w/ some Coffee Yogurt.. + I cut off a bunch of calories then I normally would. it’s cooking now.. so this will be a nice snack Surprise.. will let you know how it comes out :)

  32. This looks just like my grandmothers. She passed last month and this is 1 recipe no one had. Can’t wait to make it with my aunt. I just don’t remember her using cottage cheese. But I’m so excited. Thank you for posting it.

  33. My late wife used this recipe, which she got from my mother. The only difference was that she mixed everything together in the pot instead of using a food processor. I like the texture better. Now I’m going to make it for a shiva call.

  34. I no longer enjoy unhealthy extra sweet flavors, so I will substitute 1/4 cup of maple syrup and some vanilla for the 1 cup of sugar and since I am out of raisins, and I will add a can of fruit cocktail or chopped tropical fruits. Question! can the cinnamon be added to the top after removing from the oven. It seems to me that high temperature will drive off a lot of its flavor. What do you think of adding some molasses, and how much?

    1. I suppose you can add cinnamon after removing from the oven, but a lot of people prefer to add it before so a crispy golden brown shell forms on top while baking. The baking process doesn’t change the flavor of the cinnamon dramatically. I wouldn’t add molasses, the flavor would be out of place here– but that’s just my opinion. If you want to try it feel free! :)

  35. Love your recipes! I had a leftover container of cottage cheese and one of sour cream from shiva and needed to make a milk dish to take to my cousin’s house. I was missing some ingredients then substituted others. I did not have noodles so I used one box of broken lasagne noodles. I used the containers of cottage cheese and sour cream, omitted the cream cheese and substituted 1/2 cup of brown sugar for white. Ran out of raisins so I used chopped apricots. I also then added a little vanilla extract, fresh lemon rind and a little cinnamon. On the top, I put the cinnamon and about 4 crushed sheets of graham crackers.
    Came out golden and crispy!

  36. I was going to ask Marty for the recipe for the kugel he brought to our house but I happened to find this page before I got the chance. I would like to add to this stream that his wife’s version that involved stirring things together in the pot rather than blending everything first meant that a few chunks of cream cheese turned up here and there as lovely, creamy surprises. Plus he put special K on top along with the sugar and cinnamon. This was the best kugel I think I ever had! My family never made dishes like this and I don’t recall my mother-in-law ever making a sweet kugel either. This recipe is a real keeper! Thank you, all, and especially, thank you, Marty !

  37. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I’d never heard of kugel before, but my kids read a picture book from the library in which “Grandma’s noodle pudding” featured prominently. A google search turned up this recipe. It sounds delicious- a bit like my mom’s rice pudding, but richer with the cheese. I’ll have to give this a try.

  38. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This recipe sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to make it for our next covered dish. How many people does it serve? I’m guessing 4-6. Can I double it without a problem?

    1. It makes about 15 servings. I’ve never doubled it but I’m guessing bake time would have to be changed… and you’d need a pretty huge baking dish, unless you’re planning on doubling the ingredients and dividing between two 9×13 baking dishes, in which case no problem. :)

  39. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Hi Tori,
    My mother z”l always made lockshen kugel for pudding after Friday night dinner. Since this was always a chicken meal the kugel had to be non-dairy. This is the Litvak recipe:
    Boil wide noodles and drain, when still hot add eggs mixed with brown sugar and non-dairy margarine (Rakusens Tomor in UK) then raisins, tablespoon marmalade and cinnamon, add little orange juice and bake in greased pudding bowl until top is crispy. Great for Synagogue buffet too by the way!

    1. oops! don’t add the eggs to the hot noodles, wait until cooled a little but still warm enough to melt the margarine. Not as rich as Tori’s recipe but still good. Was going to make this for a 99 year old’s party but making salmon/tuna cutlets instead.

  40. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Hi Tory
    Was wondering if ya could help me find the book you posted yesterday. THE BOOK OF SMALTZ PLZ EXCUSE SPELLING
    TY SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR GREATRECIPES ❤❤❤❤

  41. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    my mother always made noodle pudding with the same ingredients, but also using ricotta cheese into it and also putting some extra raisins on top. then one day , she made the noodle pudding with the thin fine noodles. she served it to all the relatives and they went wild. it was a million times better. everyone said it was not so heavy, but it was a lighter texture and you can really taste all the delicious ingredients. i am 60 years old now and that is the way i make it. so make it your regular way, but just use the fine noodles instead. Barbara Miller

  42. i would imagine for diabetics leaving out pinapple would be safer but i was wondering when do you add the corn flakes before baking it i need an answer please Tori before Monday if possible using for this holiday Wednesday
    thanks so much
    Robin
    happy holiday to you and yours

    1. Hi Robin, sprinkle the top with a mixture of cornflakes and a little bit of sugar (or sugar substitute if you’re worried about sugar content) just before you pop it in the oven. Enjoy!

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