As delicious baked puddings go, noodle kugel is a top contender for the most delicious. It's a sweet pudding/casserole with egg noodles, cream cheese, sugar, and apples. It's rich with a soft creamy texture on the inside and crispy outside.
Why this Recipe Works
You will find baked noodles in sweet dessert dishes from Jewish noodle kugel to Hungarian Rakott Teszta to Croatian Stonska Torta. Why? Because noodles are amazing at absorbing liquid and flavor while providing structure to a dish.
Sweet kugel combines classic flavors of cinnamon, apples, sugar, and vanilla which infuse into the noodles and make every bite special. I love that this recipe is very easy and comes together quickly.
Cooking it in the cast iron really helps get an even crispy texture on the sides of the kugel, while keeping the inside moist. Baking noodle kugel in a cast iron pan isn't traditional, but trust me, it's the best way to get that crisp! This recipe uses a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
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Ingredients & Substitutions
Egg noodles - Use wide egg noodles, not regular pasta or chickpea noodles.
Cottage cheese - Use non-fat small curd cottage cheese at room temperature. Large curd will change the texture of the dish.
Sour cream - You can use light or full-fat sour cream.
Cream cheese - Use plain unflavored cream cheese, you can use light if you want.
Vanilla extract - Use a high-quality, pure extract. I don't recommend using vanilla pods or paste for this recipe. It is difficult to get it to disperse throughout the mixture.
Butter - Use unsalted butter. That way you can control the amount of salt added.
Apples - I recommend using Granny Smith apples which are crisp, sharp, tart and perfect for cooking with.
Brown sugar - You can use light or dark brown sugar.
Cinnamon - Use powdered or ground cinnamon.
How to Make this Recipe
The first step is to cook the egg noodles for 5 minutes in a pot of boiling hot water until al dente. Al dente means they should be cooked but still slightly firm. Strain the noodles and set them aside.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350F with the 10-inch cast-iron pan in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, vanilla extract, sugar, butter, salt, milk, and diced apples. Next, mix in the cooked and drained noodles to the liquid mixture. Make sure the noodles are thoroughly coated.
Additions: Add ½ cup of dried fruit soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then strained. Raisins are a classic in this recipe, but chopped apricots, currants, cranberries, and other dried fruits are also delicious.
Now pour the entire mixture into the preheated cast iron pan that you had placed in your oven.
Mix together the cinnamon sugar ingredients in a small bowl. Top the noodle kugel evenly with the entire cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake the kugel in the oven for 1 hour. It's going to smell so good in your house!
Cool it for 10 minutes before serving. Serve a slice warm, at room temperature, or cold. It's equally good all three ways.
Noodle Kugel FAQs
You can add ½ cup of dried fruit soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then strained. Raisins are a classic in this recipe, but chopped apricots, currants, and cranberries are also delicious.
Kugel in its many forms is a dish traditionally eaten in Ashkenazi Jewish households. Jewish egg noodles, also known as lokshen, are the main ingredient in kugel. The word kugel itself actually has German origins, and you can see variations this dish throughout eastern European countries like Hungary and Croatia.
Your kugel will have the right texture if you only boil the egg noodles until al dente. Noodles cooked too long during this initial cooking will become soggy and mushy.
Kugel is just as good cold as it is warm. You can keep it fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days, but I wouldn't go any longer than that.
Yes – I recommend reheating it through in the oven at a low temp, like 350F, until warmed to serve.
Yes, it does freeze very well. Allow the casserole to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container for freezer storage. It will keep for up to 1 month.
Sweet Jewish Recipes
I have a whole host of Jewish recipes for you to try next! And if it's Passover, be sure to check out what's kosher for Passover or some of these kosher for Passover recipes. A great place to start is one of these classic and delicious Jewish desserts:
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Cast-Iron Noodle Kugel
- 12 oz. wide egg noodles
- 5 eggs beaten
- 12 oz. non-fat small curd cottage cheese room temperature, 2 cups, full fat also works
- 8 oz. sour cream room temperature, 1 cup, non-fat or full fat works
- 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature, non-fat or full fat works
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter unsalted, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk room temperature
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Cook the noodles for 5 minutes in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Strain and set aside.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F with the cast-iron pan in the oven.
- In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, vanilla extract, sugar, butter, salt, milk, and diced apples. Mix in the cooked and drained noodles.
- Pour the mixture into the pre-heated cast iron pan.
- Mix together the cinnamon sugar ingredients in a small bowl. Top the noodle kugel with the entire cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 1 hour.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.