Sweet noodle kugel is a Jewish side dish with tender egg noodles, moist sweet filling, and a crunchy top. It's classic comfort food. Scented with vanilla, cinnamon and applesauce, this parve kugel is the holiday dish that guests can't wait to eat.
This kugel recipe is dairy-free, vegetarian, and can be made gluten-free, which makes it wonderful for a variety of diets. And it's parve (made without meat or dairy), so it can be served with a meat meal for those that keep kosher. If you're looking for a dairy version, then check out my Sweet Apple Noodle Kugel.
A parve noodle kugel is a popular side dish to serve for a festive Jewish dinner like shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, erev Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and even Hanukah when you take a break from potato latkes. In fact, a parve kugel is the number one requested recipe in my Facebook groups when it's holiday time.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Noodle kugel is easy and fast to prepare.
- It can be made ahead.
- It serves a crowd.
- Kugel is nostalgic comfort food.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Noodles - Jewish egg noodles are traditional like the Manischewitz or Streit's brands. I prefer the wide noodles because they twist leaving room for air pockets and filling, which makes a less dense kugel. Other noodle shapes and widths will work too if that's what is available to you.
- Non-dairy cream cheese - Tofutti brand plain "better than cream cheese" (not whipped) was used in this recipe, but other brands that taste pleasant should work too.
- Margarine - Fleischmann's Margarine sticks or Earth Balance Unsalted Buttery Sticks are recommended. Use sticks, not whipped or tub margarine.
- Sugar - This is a sweet-style kugel, but this recipe is not overly sweet.
- Applesauce - unsweetened, smooth applesauce was used. If you only have sweetened applesauce, then your dish will be sweeter.
- Non-dairy milk - I prefer oat or almond milk, but any non-dairy milk option will work. Unsweetened, unflavored milk was used to make this recipe. If you only have sweetened, then your dish will be sweeter. If you only have vanilla flavored, then leave out the vanilla extract.
- Other ingredients - cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and eggs.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
STEP ONE: Using a mixer, blender, or food processor, combine the non-dairy cream cheese and margarine.
STEP TWO: Add the other ingredients (except the noodles and optional topping) to form the kugel batter.
STEPS THREE and FOUR: Once the batter is combined, stir in the par-cooked noodles.
STEP FIVE: Spread the noodles and batter evenly into the greased casserole dish, and add the optional crunchy top ingredients if desired.
STEP SIX: Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 55 to 70 minutes or until the kugel is set in the center, pulls away from the sides slightly, and is golden brown on the top.
- Add the optional oil and sugar topping so that the top noodles get extra crunchy- that's the best part!
- Start checking the kugel after about 45 minutes of baking time. If the top is already brown but not set, then cover with foil so it doesn't brown any further. The baking time in your oven could be more or less than a recipe's suggested time, so always check early the first time you make something. Once you see how long a dish takes in your oven and your pan, make a notation so you'll know for next time.
- Wait 15- 20 minutes after the kugel comes out of the oven before cutting to get neat squares.
- Sweeter - This kugel is sweet but not crazy sweet. For those who prefer a super sweet kugel, opt for a total of 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar in this recipe.
- Gluten Free - For an excellent gluten free version, substitute the wide egg noodles with a 9 ounce package of Jovial Gluten Free Tagliatelle Noodles. If using one 9 ounce package, your kugel will be a bit more creamy than noodly; still super delicious. If you want a more even noodle-filling ratio, use 1-1⁄2 boxes of the Jovial Tagliatelle Noodles. Once noodles are par-cooked, you can use a kitchen scissor to cut them a bit since they are super long strands.
- Stronger cinnamon flavor - This kugel doesn’t taste like cinnamon; it just adds depth of flavor to the dish. If you want a more cinnamon-like flavor, increase the amount to 1 teaspoon cinnamon in this recipe.
- Can I leave out the applesauce? Technically, yes. The kugel will still be good, but the applesauce is recommended because it makes the kugel more moist.
3 Make Ahead Strategies for Kugel
- Prep ahead and refrigerate: Prepare the casserole dish with the batter and noodles assembled. Cover and refrigerate unbaked for up to 1 day. Take the dish out of the refrigerator a half hour before baking so it's not so cold. Bake uncovered.
- Bake ahead and refrigerate: The kugel can be baked a day or 2 before serving and stored in the refrigerator covered in foil. Take dish out of the refrigerator a half hour before you put it in the oven. Reheat covered in foil in a 325°F oven for about 20 minutes. Heating with a cover helps retain the moistness. Run under the broiler for 1-2 minutes if the top needs crisping.
- Bake ahead and freeze: Many people in my Facebook groups use this method to make hosting more manageable. I have not tested it out. Wrap baked casserole well to freeze. Move to the refrigerator to defrost one day ahead. Reheat as directed above. Be sure to remove any plastic wrap.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Leftovers keep in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to reheat: There's a range of options depending on preference and laziness. Some people enjoy a leftover piece cold out of the refrigerator. I tend to heat it quickly in the microwave which is fine but not ideal. If I were serving it again the next day, I'd reheat it in a 325°F oven covered until warm, about 10-20 minutes depending on how much is left.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kugel is a Jewish baked casserole dish that is made with noodles, vegetables, or matzo. It is usually bound with eggs. It's a classic side dish to accompany other holiday fare. A kugel is generally served warm but can be eaten at any temperature.
There are many variations of kugel, and all are delicious. They can be made sweet or savory, with or without a topping, and can be dairy or dairy-free (parve). A noodle kugel is also referred to as a Lokshen kugel, which means noodle in Yiddish. A sweet version often has fruit in it like apples, raisins, cherries, or crushed pineapple. A vegetable kugel is most often made with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, onions, or butternut squash.
What to serve with Sweet Noodle Kugel
- Za'atar Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
- Braised Brisket with Onion Gravy
- Baked Gefilte Fish Loaf
- French Green Beans with Mustard and Shallots
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Honey Cookies
- Apple Honey Cake
Other Holiday Side Dish Recipes
- Mini Potato Kugels
- Sweet Apple Noodle Kugel (dairy)
- Broccoli Kugel
- Modern Roasted Tzimmes
- Grandma's Potato Latkes
- Easy Carrot Soufflé
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Sweet Noodle Kugel Recipe (parve / pareve)
- casserole baking dish 9x13 inches
- mixer, blender, food processor, or bowl and silicone spatula
- pot to boil noodles
- 12 ounce Manischewitz Wide Egg Noodles package 340 g
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt for the boiling water for the noodles
- 8 ounce container dairy-free cream cheese softened at room temperature (I used the Tofutti brand)
- ½ cup unsalted margarine melted & cooled to room temperature (8 tablespoons; 1 stick)
- ½ cup granulated white sugar 100 g
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1-½ cups non-dairy milk full fat oat milk or almond milk, unsweetened and unflavored (354 ml)
- 6 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Baking spray optional for garnish
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar optional for garnish
- Fill a large pot with water and season with roughly 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring water to a boil, then add the noodles and cook for 5-6 minutes, just to cook halfway since they will continue to cook in the oven. Once the noodles are par-cooked, strain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease a 9”x13” casserole dish with some of the melted margarine.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the dairy-free cream cheese with the remaining melted & cooled margarine until just combined, to loosen the cream cheese so it will blend better with the other ingredients. Alternatively, use a blender, food processor, or bowl and silicone spatula.
- Add in the sugar, applesauce, non-dairy milk, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add the par-cooked noodles into the bowl of liquid ingredients and gently mix with a silicone spatula or large spoon until noodles are coated.
- Transfer the noodle-batter mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer.
- If baking the next day, cover the pan with foil and refrigerate.
- Optional: Before baking, sprinkle the kugel with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and spray the entire top of the kugel with cooking spray to help promote crispiness and a golden top.
- Bake for 55 to 70 minutes or until the kugel is completely set, golden brown on top, and the kugel begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Allow the kugel to cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing to get neat squares.
- See full post for notes on alternative ingredients and more tips.
- Bake time - Start checking the kugel after about 45 minutes of baking time. If the top is already brown but not set, then cover with foil so it doesn't brown any further. The baking time in your oven could be more or less than a recipe's suggested time, so always check early the first time you make a recipe.
- Wait before cutting - Wait 15- 20 minutes after the kugel comes out of the oven before cutting to get neat squares.
- Gluten free - For an excellent gluten free version, substitute the wide egg noodles with a 9 ounce package of Jovial Gluten Free Tagliatelle Noodles. If using one 9 ounce package, your kugel will be a bit more creamy than noodly; still super delicious. If you want a more even noodle-filling ratio, use 1-1⁄2 boxes of the Jovial Tagliatelle Noodles. Once noodles are par-cooked, you can use a kitchen scissor to cut them a bit since they are super long strands.
- Make ahead - The batter and noodles can be made 1 day ahead and stored assembled and covered in the refrigerator. Leave out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Alternatively, a fully cooked kugel can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- How to store: Baked kugel keeps in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- How to reheat: Reheat kugel in a 325°F oven covered until warm, about 10-20 minutes. If you like the top crispy, run under the broil for 1-2 minutes if needed.