“You don’t know from kugel,” my Jewish friend Ginger likes to say. And it’s true. The idea of a sweet pasta dish never appealed. Too many versions had hard-to-chew, incinerated noodles on top, and the fillings often clotted and clumped.
Now…give me a savory kugel, and I’ll be knocking over Bubbie to get to the holiday table. I’d never met a pasta casserole I didn’t want to smear all over my body.
Still, “sweet kugel” has been one of the most searched-for recipes on LC for years, so I’ve been looking and looking and looking.
After eating my way through a truckload of kugel wherever I went, I finally stumbled upon this one from Shannon Sarna. The recipe looked promising. I was curious about the cornflake topping. I wondered if that would shield the noodles from turning into those little brown noodle fingernails.
Not only did it keep the noodles soft, but the sugar and butter candied the cornflakes so they were crispy and crunchy with a beautiful sheen.
Let’s face it, though: The filling makes a kugel, and I have to say, this one was soft, creamy, sweet, with just a bit of tang.
☞ SUGGESTIONS FROM JUNIOR JEWS (Ginger’s nickname for us)
- Instead of raisins, think golden raisins, dried cranberries, or currants.
- Go wild on the toppings. Below in the FAQs, I suggest some variations.
- I tried this kugel warm, room temp, and chilled. I preferred it warm. It was most like a bread pudding then. I liked it least chilled. I prefer my cold noodles Asian and spicy.
Why Our Testers Loved This
The testers were delighted to discover this easy sweet noodle kugel recipe. They praised it for being “custardy, comforting, and perfectly sweet.” They were also pleased it didn’t require any fancy ingredients and came together “quickly and affordably.”
Notes on Ingredients
- Sugar–The recipe calls for both brown and granulated sugar. The original recipe contained significantly more sugar in the custard, but it made the entire dish too sweet. If you like your kugel very sweet, you can add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to the custard.
- Egg noodles–These are the traditional base of noodle kugel. We don’t recommend using a different type of pasta.
- Cream cheese–Use full-fat cream cheese here for the best results. Reduced-fat cream cheese doesn’t melt as well as full-fat.
- Cottage cheese–Use full-fat or 4% cottage cheese. The higher fat content will give you a rich kugel that holds together well when cooled.
- Raisins–These could be replaced with dried cranberries, dried cherries, crushed pineapple, or drained fruit cocktail.
- Topping–This sweet noodle kugel recipe uses cornflakes for the topping, but for a slightly sweeter topping, use 3/4 cup crushed graham crackers, Biscoff cookie crumbs, cranberry biscotti, or a combination in place of the cornflakes. You can also substitute crushed saltine crackers.
How to Make This Recipe
- Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
- Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
- Gently mix in the remaining custard ingredients.
- Boil the noodles in salted water until tender.
- Drain the noodles and transfer them to the custard.
- Stir the drained noodles into the custard.
- Combine the topping ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Pour the kugel into the prepared baking dish.
- Scatter the topping evenly over the top. Bake at 375°F until puffed and golden. Cool before serving.
Kugel originated in Germany over 800 years ago and became a staple of the Jewish diet in Eastern Europe. The original versions would often include farmer cheese or non-dairy ingredients.
Jewish immigrants brought the popular sweet noodle version to America, and it has evolved over time, with variations in the fruit and type of topping, based on what was available and popular.
This sweet kugel is frequently served at Jewish holidays such as Yom Kippur or Shavout, when it is traditional to eat dairy.
Oy, so many things! Tester Anna Scott used crushed biscotti. I think crushed Biscoff cookies, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers would work nicely. As would toasted coconut. And think out of the box–granola or muesli could be a tasty twist. But, as always, be mindful of Jewish dietary laws if you’re observant.
- To halve the recipe, reduce all ingredients by 50% and prepare the sweet noodle kugel in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Also, cut back the cooking time to about 30 minutes.
- If the top of your kugel is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
- Leftover kugel can be stored in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be enjoyed cold or reheated in a 325°F oven or microwave.
- This recipe is suitable for vegetarian diets.
More Superb Jewish Holiday Recipes
Write a Review
If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Sweet Noodle Kugel
For the noodles and custard
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups cottage cheese (full-fat or 4%)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins
- Cooking spray, for the baking dish
- 1 pound wide egg noodles
- Kosher salt
For the topping
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup cornflake crumbs
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Make the noodles and custard
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Slick a 9-by-11-inch (23-by-28-cm) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Using a handheld mixer and a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix until smooth, 1 minute more.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, cottage cheese, and raisins, and mix gently to combine.
- Boil the noodles in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander.
- Use a spoon to stir the drained egg noodles into the custard.
Make the topping
- Combine the melted butter, cornflake crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour the kugel into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cornflake topping evenly over the top of the kugel.
Bake the kugel
- Bake, uncovered, until slightly puffed and golden on top, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool before serving. The kugel can be served warm or at room temperature.
- Halving the recipe–Assemble the kugel in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and reduce the cooking time to about 30 minutes.
- Cooking the kugel–If the top of your kugel is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.
- Storage and reheating–Leftover kugel can be stored in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be enjoyed cold or reheated in a 325°F oven or microwave.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for vegetarian diets.
Modern Jewish Comfort FoodBuy On Amazon
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Custardy, comforting, and perfectly sweet, we adored this sweet dairy noodle kugel, both warm from the oven and cold the following day for a breakfast treat with coffee. It uses mainly pantry and fridge staples, so it comes together quickly and affordably.
I used golden raisins as my fruit add-in. I had homemade biscotti in the freezer, so I ground them into crumbs in my food processor for the topping. (I did not add extra sugar, salt, or butter to my crumb topping, seeing that my biscotti already contained sugar and salt, and the custard was already so rich, I didn’t think it needed anything but the crumbs on top.
A friend invited me to her house for a potluck Passover dinner. Not being Jewish, I searched the internet for what to make, and when this recipe for sweet noodle kugel turned up for testing, it fit the theme nicely.
This was an easy Saturday afternoon activity with ingredients that are easy to find in your typical grocery store. It makes your whole house smell like vanilla and sugar while it is baking…very cozy! For additional contrast, I used golden raisins and made a crumble topping with brown sugar, crackers, and butter.
Overall, this was a hit with everyone at the dinner. The noodle kugel was sweet, creamy, and decadent and contrasted nicely with the crunchy topping. Personally, I don’t have a point of reference, but my Jewish friends who had been eating kugel their whole lives loved it and were reaching for seconds, so I’ll take that as the best sign of approval.