Noodle kugel is a traditional Jewish dish made from egg noodles baked in a sweet or savory custard. Much like a French toast or egg casserole, kugel can be made in advance, refrigerated and baked before serving, making it perfect for big family get-togethers. It is typically served as part of a brunch or breakfast-for-dinner buffet with bagels, lox, and spreads. There are literally as many recipes for kugel as there are Jewish grandmothers who make it. Flip through any spiral-bound synagogue cookbook and you’ll find variations with raisins, apples, crushed pineapple, spinach, and so on — and, of course, every family claims “the best” one. Since we’re in the midst of the Jewish high holidays, I thought I’d throw my kugel recipe into the ring. It’s a traditional-tasting kugel with a few updates that, I think, make it just a little bit better than the old-fashioned version (sorry, Grandma!)
Most kugel recipes call for some combination of eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese as the base for the custard. I replace the cottage cheese with half & half because I don’t care for curds in my kugel, and the cream makes for a silkier custard. Many kugel recipes also call for a retro crushed cornflake topping. I cover the pudding with a thick and crunchy cinnamon streusel instead; it not only tastes better than cornflakes, but it also takes care of the problem of all those hard-to-eat crunchy noodles on top. Finally, I cook my kugel at a low temperature so that it’s ultra-creamy.
Begin by boiling the noodles.
Drain them well.
Make the streusel topping: combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain.
Add the butter.
Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture has a clumpy, crumbly texture.
Refrigerate until ready to use. (FYI: The kugel bakes initially without the streusel, so you can also make the streusel during that time.)
Next, make the custard. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
Add the sour cream and softened cream cheese.
Whisk well, then add the half & half, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Whisk until completely smooth.
Spread the cooked noodles evenly in the prepared baking dish.
Pour the custard mixture evenly over top.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. The custard should be just set.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top, making sure to cover all the noodles.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, until the streusel topping is crisp.
Let cool for about 20 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.
My Recipe Videos
For the Streusel Topping
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1-1/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
For the Kugel
- One 12-oz bag wide egg noodles
- 4 large eggs
- One 8-oz container sour cream
- One 8-oz package cream cheese, softened (microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften)
- 2 cups half & half
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Streusel Topping
- Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture has a clumpy, crumbly texture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Kugel
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (I use 2 teaspoons salt for 3 quarts water). Cook the noodles for 6 to 8 minutes, or according to package instructions, until tender. Drain well.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream and softened cream cheese and whisk to combine. Add the half & half, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon, and whisk until completely smooth.
- Spread the cooked noodles evenly in the prepared baking dish. Pour the custard mixture evenly over top. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove and discard the foil. The custard should be just set. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top, making sure to cover all the noodles. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, until the streusel topping is crisp. Let cool for about 20 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.
- Make Ahead: The kugel and topping can be assembled and stored separately in the fridge up to a day ahead of time, and then baked before serving. (The kugel with the streusel topping may also be fully cooked a day ahead of time and reheated, however the texture will be denser than if baked fresh. To reheat, cover with foil and place in a 325°F oven for 25 minutes; remove and discard the foil, and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until warm throughout and crisp on top.)
- Per serving (12 servings)
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 506
- Fat: 25 g
- Saturated fat: 14 g
- Carbohydrates: 60 g
- Sugar: 30 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Sodium: 403 mg
- Cholesterol: 152 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.