This creamy Vanilla Noodle Kugel is sweet and aromatic, a slightly different take on a traditional lokshen kugel. Made with vanilla pudding, cream cheese and a crunchy wafer cookie topping, it’s a dessert-style kugel that is just perfect for brunches, potlucks and holiday gatherings.
There is nothing better than pulling a cold slice of noodle kugel out of the refrigerator as a midnight snack. Or for breakfast. Or whenever, really! If you’ve enjoyed a good traditional lokshen kugel before, you understand. This Vanilla Noodle Kugel is a simple yet luscious twist on the basic noodle kugel concept.
A kugel is a quintessentially Jewish dish that is best described as a baked pudding. The dish originated over 800 years ago in Germany. It quickly became popular with Jewish families throughout Eastern Europe. Usually kugel is served as a side dish. For families who keep kosher, either dairy or parve (neutral) kugels are prepared to suit kosher dairy or meat meals. This Vanilla Noodle Kugel, is a dairy kugel.
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 makes it extra creamy, and the crunchy vanilla cookie topping adds texture. It’s a sweet, fun, unique dish for a potluck or family gathering.
I try to use organic ingredients whenever possible to cut down on our exposure to unhealthy additives and preservatives. To make this kugel, 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. Fat = flavor. Enjoy!
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Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
Vanilla Noodle Kugel
- 1 cup prepared vanilla pudding (homemade or from a mix)
- 1 lb egg noodles
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large 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
- 8 oz vanilla wafer cookies (makes about 2 cups of crumbs)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Take cream cheese out of the refrigerator to let it soften. Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until 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 until they reach an al dente texture (cooked, but not too soft or limp). Drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool. Drain again.
- Use an electric mixer to cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs and mix again until blended.
- Add pudding, milk, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium high until 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 using a food processor, or by placing the cookies into a sealed plastic bag and pounding them with a mallet. You want them crushed fine, but not to a powder-- a little texture is good. Place crumbs into a small mixing bowl.
- Add sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter to the crumbs. Mix with a fork for a couple of minutes until 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!