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Noodle kugel combines tender pasta and golden raisins in a creamy sweet custard. Share this baked Jewish casserole with your friends and family!
What is Kugel?
Kugel (pronounced koo-gul) is a baked pudding or casserole most commonly made from egg noodles or potato.
The word “kugel” means “sphere, globe, or ball” and according to Wikipedia, the Yiddish name originated as a reference to the round, puffed-up shape of the original dish after they are baked.
A delicious, sweet, and creamy Noodle Kugel
I won’t pretend that my husband Jack and I are experts by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to making traditional Jewish foods – but this creamy, sweet version is one of the best versions of kugel we’ve had!
All of the credit for this warm and comforting recipe goes to my sister’s former mother-in-law, Laura, who was nice enough to share her family recipe with our family many years ago. She brought this dish to many of our family gatherings over the years – and after one taste, the noodle kugel gold standard was set high!
Why You’ll Love Noodle Kugel
- It’s sweeter than some other kugel recipes, making it perfect for brunch or a dessert.
- It’s easy to make with only a handful of ingredients.
- You can easy adjust the sweetness to suit your tastes. (Many kugel recipes are more savory.)
Key Ingredients & Substitions
- Egg Noodles – We highly recommend the wide, short egg noodles for this recipe – sometimes called ‘dumplings‘ or ‘hearty homestyle‘ depending on the brand you buy – because that shape holds up nicely to the thick custard.
- Cream Cheese – We use full-fat cream cheese for the best texture and rich flavor, but you could swap in a lower-fat version if you’d like. Remember to allow it to soften to room temperature for easy mixing.
- Milk – A combination of whole milk and canned evaporated milk provides the creamiest texture for this noodle kugel recipe. You can use 2% milk if needed, just know that the dish won’t be quite as rich and creamy.
- Granulated Sugar
- Golden Raisins – These are sweeter than regular raisins and tend to be softer and plumper as well. If you aren’t a fan, try dried cranberries or cherries instead or leave out the fruit altogether.
Special Tools Needed
- Pot – To boil the noodles
- Mixer – An electric mixer (stand or hand-held) will make mixing easier.
- Mixing Bowl – If you aren’t using a stand mixer, you’ll need a good-sized mixing bowl.
- Large casserole dish – Either a 9×13-inch baking dish or a deeper, oval baking dish like the one (purchased at IKEA) shown in our photos. (*See notes below about baking dishes.)
A few notes about baking dishes
Most kugel recipes I’ve eaten have been baked in more shallow square or rectangle baking dishes or pans.
We’ve baked ours in a deeper, oval baking dish which allows more of the noodles to stay creamier than when this dish is baked in a shallower pan.
Either way is delicious, just note that a more shallower dish will bake through faster so watch your cooking time.
Also note that glass dishes and metal pans – even when they are the same size – have different baking times.
How do I make Kugel?
- Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions. Drain, then toss with unsalted butter.
- Combine cream cheese with sugar and eggs, mixing well with an electric mixer.
- Stir in the noodles. Do this gently by hand so the pasta doesn’t break apart.
- Add both milks and raisins. Stir again until well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, spreading the noodles evenly if needed.
- Bake until just set – it should have a slight jiggle in the center, but no longer be wet. The top of the dish will be lightly golden in color.
Avoid over-baking your kugel for the creamiest texture. It’s better to take it out of the oven a little earlier, than a little too late – the residual heat in the dish will continue to cook the custard.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make kugel ahead of time? Yes, although we think this dish is best freshly-baked. You can assemble the dish up to a day in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator, then warm on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking as directed.
- Is kugel sweet or savory? Our recipe today definitely leans toward the sweeter side, but there are savory kugel recipes as well.
- Can I add fresh fruit instead of raisins? Fresh fruits will add more liquid to the dish, impacting the baking time and the overall texture. If you try doing so, I would suggest undercooking the noodles so they can absorb the extra juices.
- How long does leftover kugel last? This will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Keep tightly covered or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Enjoy cold or reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.
This Noodle Kugel recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2013. The post has been updated but the delicious recipe remains the same.
Click here to see more delicious Noodle Recipes
- 8 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 eggs
- 10 ounces canned evaporated milk
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup golden raisins
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook egg noodles according to package instructions until al dente (cooked but still firm). Drain well and toss with butter.
- While noodles are cooking, in a large bowl with a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth.
- Add cooked, buttered noodles to the cream cheese mixture and by hand, gently stir to combine.
- Add both milks and raisins and gently stir again.
- Pour mixture into a deep oval casserole dish like we show in our photo, or into a 13×9-inch casserole dish. If using the 13×9-inch casserole dish, baking time will be less.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until custard is set and lightly golden on top. The timing depends on whether you use a deep dish or a shallow dish.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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