A staple category of traditional Jewish cooking. Much like (though predating) the traditional American casserole, the kugel is versatile, easy to prepare, and often served to large gatherings of family and friends. Kugels can be served as both main dishes and desserts, with main dish kugels consisting mainly of noodles, potatoes, or even rice, while dessert kugels usually contain fruits and nuts.

The word kugel is German for "ball", and was first used by Jews in the Rhineland to describe a dumpling-pudding-bread-like mass dropped into the Shabbat cholent to cook overnight. The kugel eventually got its own pot, and then its own category of dish as folks started getting more creative with them.

Thanks to the Iowa City Hillel folks, esp. Rabbi Moskewitz for help researching this node.

Kugel is a traditional Jewish dish that can take many forms. Perhaps the most common are:

  • Potato kugel.
  • Lockshen kugel.
  • Carrot (or other vegetable) kugel.

Carrot kugel, or a kugel made from any other vegetable, is often served as a side dish with a Shabbat or Festival meal. Lockshen (a type of thin egg pasta, sometimes put into soup) Kugel, is usually sweetened with raisins and served as a desert. But the King of kugels (in my opinion) is Potato Kugel. This is served as a main starch dish, again usually on Shabbat and Festivals. And I'm going to tell you how to make it!

But first, why Kugel? Various reasons.

  • It's an easy way to serve a starch dish to a lot of people.
  • It can be prepared and cooked in advance, and then frozen.
  • It can be reheated on the Shabbat, when actual cooking is prohibited.
  • It's one of the most efficient forms of internal central heating I've ever come across!


  • 4 large Potatoes - This all scales well though, so it's just as easy to make for more people and freeze what you don't need straight away).
  • 1 large onion.
  • 50g Self Raising Flour (or 50g plain flour and some baking powder).
  • 1 Egg.
  • 100g Margarine.
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic etc to taste.


  • Grate the potatoes in a food processor and put into a large colander.
  • Grate the onions and put into the same colander. Mix around with the potatoes.
  • Leave the potato and onion mix to drain.
  • Put the margarine into a roasting dish that's big enough to hold the potato / onion mix and put into a hot (200C oven). Leave until it's melted and the sizzling has almost stopped.
  • While the margarine is melting, keep mixing the potato and onion mix, and pressing a lot of the liquid out through the colander.
  • Whisk up the egg for a few minutes.
  • When the potato and onion mix is moist but not sodden, mix in the egg, flour and seasonings. Mix thoroughly.
  • When the margarine has melted, remove the dish from the oven and carefully swish the melted margarine around the inside of the dish. The helps the kugel to come out cleanly.
  • Pour the remaining margarine into the potato and onion, and mix around thoroughly.
  • When fully mixed, pour the potato and onion into the roasting dish and level out.
  • Bake on 200C for about 15 minutes, then turn down to 170C for about a further 45 minutes or until the top is brown and crispy.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately or leave to cool.

If you are cooking for the freezer, you can line the roasting dish in foil before you start. This then makes it easy to lift the entire kugel out of the roasting dish in one go.

The Debutante said As my Rebbetzin (traditional term for a Rabbi's wife) said to me, add plenty of oil, plenty of salt, plenty of pepper - you know, all the things people stress about - and it can't go wrong! Traditional Kugel recipes wouldn't even have really been written recipes, but simply passed from mother to daughter. And hence nothing I've said above is really that accurate. Give it a try!

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