yerushalmi kugel

Yerushalmi Kugel Recipe

Yerushalmi Kugel is a great Jewish favorite

It is also a real showcase in Israeli synagogues at Kiddush time:

I have seen two burly men flip an enormous pot of Yerushalmi Kugel onto a gigantic counter, then slice it across its whole diameter in two or three places with a knife about three feet long (promise!), then cut through the whole stack of disks from top to bottom, in hundreds of cubes. It reminded me of Gulliver’s travels. I remember thinking, what a pity it’s Shabbos and we can’t take pictures of this phenomenon! Then after I watched all the hard work, and inhaled the wonderful whiffs that filled the room, I watched it disappear in minutes, barely getting the time to get a piece of the wonderful stuff for myself.

The trademark of Yerushalmi kugel is the caramelized sugar-oil mixture

That’s pretty high maintenance (first hurdle), then combining that mixture with the other ingredients (a real nuisance, as the hot sugar-oil mixture seizes and hardens, and resists combining with the rest of the ingredients: second hurdle). I tried with caramelizing the sugar in water, which is the usual way of making caramel and then combining the caramel with the remaining ingredients, and found it much easier to make the dish this way, and every bit as delicious.


  • 1 pound thin noodles, any noodles (gluten-free will work too!)
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper, or a little more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar or Sucanat
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup water


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Boil the noodles until just barely tender. If you started with long noodles, cut through the whole pile with scissors until you get smaller pieces. Place in a mixing bowl, and mix in the oil, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, and eggs. Combine thoroughly. Meanwhile, heat the sugar, agave and water in a small saucepan. Reduce the flame to low and cook about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns a nice amber color (watch the cooking, don’t let the mixture burn). Immediately add to the noodle mixture and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan or a greased tube pan. Bake about 1 hour, or a little longer, until the top looks set.

Yerushalmi kugel is delicious warm or at room temperature.

Makes a dozen pieces

11 replies
  1. Sima
    Sima says:

    Made this for the 3rd year… winner every time!
    Put them in lil’ muffin tins, came out adorable and tastes absolutely perfect
    Tried & true!

  2. Sharona
    Sharona says:

    I used 1 cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup agave, but my sugar and water never carmelized. I cooked it for over 10 minutes and nothing happened? So the agave is essential?

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Sharona I would have to experiment without the agave before I can give you a complete answer. Generally, all recipes with caramel are so tricky that when we zero in on something that works, we keep it as is. This recipe is tried and true.

  3. Helen
    Helen says:

    I made this for the meal before Yom Kippur. It was so delicious served with brisket. And the leftovers were wonderful too. I found this recipe to be quite easy, as long as you’re paying attention to the pot when caramelizing.

  4. Denise Chesner
    Denise Chesner says:

    Thanks, I always wondered if yerushalmi kugel could be made this way. I thought it might be cheating, but if you say its just as good, I am all for it. Can you comment on the addition of agave syrup? What does it add to the recipe and can I substitute something.

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Denise yes it is delicious. Agave affords me to use an all-natural sweetener. The taste is totally neutral. Substitution: good old sugar!

    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      Hi Levana,

      I’ve made Yershulami Kugel before and can relate to your description that the oil/sugar mixture hardens/crystalizes as you add to the noodles. Can you explain what makes your technique different? Will it not harden since the noodles are already mixed with the egg and other ingredients?


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