If someone asks you to make the kugel this year, remember to ask for clarification! This traditional Jewish dish can be more than a little tricky to define. The term "kugel" is actually assigned to a number of different casseroles, which can be noodle or potato based, sweet or savory.
Photos via CakeSpy
I've tried many noodle kugel recipes in my day, and this lightly sweet recipe is my favorite.
Incredibly rich and creamy, this dairy-filled delight is comfort food at its best. The leftovers are also perfect for a post-holiday brunch!
Sweet noodle kugel recipe
Makes 16-24 servings, depending on portion size
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 ounces (one brick) cream cheese, softened
- 1 pound (2 cups) sour cream
- 8 ounces (1 cup) cottage cheese
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar (see recipe note)
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces (weight before cooking) wide egg noodles, cooked al dente and strained
- Optional: 1 cup raisins
Place a rack in the middle of your oven. Heat the oven to 350 F. Place the butter pieces in a 9" x 13" baking pan and put it in the oven while it preheats. Remove once the butter has melted.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until whipped and fluffy, about 2 minutes on high speed. Add the sour cream and cottage cheese, and mix briefly. Add the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and mix on low speed until creamy and combined.
By now, the butter in your pan should be melted. Remove from the oven if you haven't already, and tilt the pan to ensure that the butter evenly coats the bottoms and sides of the pan. The butter acts as a non-stick agent and will give the crust of your kugel an incredible flavor.
Spoon the noodles into the dairy mixture, and stir to evenly coat. If using raisins, go ahead and fold them in. Spoon the mixture into the buttery pan. If desired, sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating the pan at approximately the 30-minute mark. You're looking for a golden-brown finish on top and just a slight jiggle in the middle of the casserole. Remove from the oven, and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Kugel can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Not feeling the need for sweetness? I have made this recipe without sugar in the past to satisfy a guest's request, and the recipe worked just fine without it (I did still use the cinnamon). The flavor is obviously less sweet, but no less rich. It's delicious with a spoonful of applesauce on top.
While the kugel I made for this recipe does not contain raisins, they are a common addition. You can also substitute other dried fruit if desired.
This recipe calls for three types of dairy: sour cream, cottage cheese and cream cheese. I find that this combination yields the best flavor and texture. However, you can adjust the ratios to your liking if desired. For instance, if you're out of cream cheese, you can add an extra cup of either sour cream or cottage cheese to compensate and will end up with comparable results.