The Ultimate Potato Kugel

by Rachel Perlow

Jason asked me to share my recipe for potato kugel with you all. This is the best potato kugel you will ever eat. It’s a pain in the ass to make, but so worth it. Originally, it was created for Rosh Hashanah in 2005, but I made it for the next couple of Passovers as well. However, since we have started eating more healthfully, I have avoided making it. It is just too damn good, I can’t trust myself to be near it. Let alone making the extra dish to keep at home. Oy!

But please, you make it, enjoy, don’t think about all the carbs and fat, saturated fat at that. Go for it, and think kind thoughts towards me as I go without. Sniff. (Is the Jewish guilt coming through loud and clear?)

I was inspired by a couple of recipes, including one from our dear friend Melissa Goodman, combining them with Jason’s inspired idea to add caramelized onions. And schmaltz. You’ve got to use the schmaltz.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Golden Potato Kugel

Notes: I use a food processor for all the slicing, grating and mixing of ingredients in this recipe (heck, I even make use of that plastic blade). But, you will still need a really big bowl for the final mixing of all the ingredients together. Hint: you don’t have to clean any of the blades until you are done with the recipe.

If homemade schmaltz is unavailable, you can use Nyafat or Margarine if you want to keep it kosher parve or meat, but if not or for a dairy meal, use softened butter instead.

Another Hint: Have a second, smaller, casserole dish ready to go along with the larger one. Especially if you are making this ahead. This will placate husbands who need to taste immediately and keep the larger one looking nice for company. ;)

1/2 cup Parsley Leaves
4 Yellow Onions, medium sized (divided)
1/2 cup Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
7 Eggs
2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Carrots, peeled and shredded
4 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
2/3 cup Matzo Meal
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Mince the parsley in the food processor using the chopping blade and pulsing. Put minced parsley in the big mixing bowl, remove chopping blade, put on slicing blade.

Peel onions, cut them in half and slice them with the food processor. Heat a large saute pan, add about 1/4 cup schmaltz and fry about 3/4 of the onions to a nice caramelized brown (this will take a long while, have patience and don’t burn them). Leave the remaining 1/4 of the sliced onions in the bowl of the food processor. Remove the slicing blade and put back in the regular chopping blade. Pulse to grate the remaining onion finely. Put in big bowl — you may want to cover the bowl with its lid, plastic wrap or foil, to keep the onion fumes down.

Remove the slicing blade and put on the plastic blade. Break the eggs into the food processor bowl, add the salt and pepper and pulse to mix and beat the eggs. Add the parsley and raw onion to the food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Put back in the big bowl.

How are those caramelized onions coming? You want them a nice dark golden brown.

Using the shredding blade, shred the carrots, add to bowl.

Peel the potatoes and place in bowl of cold water until you are ready to shred them. Don’t shred them until the onions are all caramelized. If it looks like it will take a while for the onions to finish, put the covered mixing bowl in the fridge. When the onions are browned, set them aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven before shredding the potatoes, to 375F (I used 350 convection). Now shred the potatoes and immediately mix with the other ingredients (the onions will help keep the potatoes from turning brown, but you don’t want it too sit too long). Add the matzo meal, baking powder, caramelized onions and remaining schmaltz and mix thoroughly, you’ll probably have to use your hands at this point. Grease a large baking dish (I used my largest Pyrex lasagna pan) with a little more schmaltz, and scoop in the mixture, smoothing off the top, dot the top with a little more schmaltz while you’re at it.

Bake for at least 60-90 minutes or until light brown and crisp looking on top. If making ahead, remove from oven before it is too browned (about 1 hour) and bake for at least 30 minutes on the day of serving. If you make the little extra casserole, it will be done after 45-60 minutes.

Chag Sameach!

27 Responses to The Ultimate Potato Kugel

  1. NancyH says:

    Looks fabulous! BTW – for those desiring a parve option without schmaltz- Nyafat is no longer an option, as it is no longer made (I am still mourning its demise, as there is no substitute for Matzoh Brei).

  2. Nancy says:

    Looks yummy!!!

  3. […] is used for a number of enjoyable culinary applications, such as the beloved Matzo Ball Soup, and Kugels, Matzot themselves don’t rate particularly high on the enjoyment scale on their own. Oh, […]

  4. For more delicious and healthy Passover recipes you should check out Hartley Confections:

  5. arline says:

    awesome! can’t wait to try this. i was looking for one with all the “crap” in it that makes it taste so great!

  6. Rachel Perlow says:

    Enjoy Arline.

    Note to the goyim: My friend Chris made it recently. She is not Jewish. (Obviously, with a name like Christine.) She expected it to be light, like a potato souffle. LOL. It’s not. If you’re not familiar with a Jewish cuisine and potato kugels in particular, it is more dense. The texture would be more similar to a dense fudge brownie (except savory and with more texture of shredded potatoes, of course), than a something puffy like a souffle. Just so you know. :)

  7. chiffonade says:

    This looks amazing! I’m Italian but that won’t stop me from trying it. Thanks for the tip about having a smaller baking dish for husbands who need to perform “quality control.” I bow to you – WONDERFUL suggestion and will be employed anytime I’m doing a cater or big holiday meal.

    Good holiday,

    • Rachel Perlow says:

      (re the small baking dish trick) I know, right? I do it for everything now. I made a bread pudding recently and used my 16 oz small oval french white for the stay at home batch. If I don’t have enough, a custard cup will suffice, but then I usually don’t get any!

  8. laurie says:

    this is just what I am looking for, how do you think it would come out in individual pyrex cups??????
    also, i love the idea of the smaller dish for husbands, I baked 4 cakes this afternoon and he wanted to eat the one that was a little crooked, funny guy.

  9. JoyceM says:

    I have been asked to bring a homemade potato kugel to a Roshashana potluck dinner for 30 people. Attendees are all spectacular cooks and their spouses. I am completely intimidated by the prospect of offering food I have made to this crowd but have high hopes for this kugel. It looks amazing. Will let you know how it turns out.

  10. Rachel Perlow says:

    I think individual cups would be great, more surface area per serving. :)

    Joyce – just don’t double the recipe! It’ll be plenty, especially since many other people will also be bringing food.

  11. laurie says:

    OK, sorry to disappoint, but I am not making, what could only be a fantastic, Kugel, because I am trying to keep the meal ‘healthier’ but great tasting. I will however SAVE the recipe for another time.

  12. Mike Sulman says:

    Can you use russet potatoes instead of Yukon Golds? I’m planning to make a kugel for a neighborhood potluck X-mas party and this recipe looks great.


  13. Tenomania says:

    Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  14. Mary P NYC says:

    WOAH! after really failing at my first attempt at 3 different kugel last year I tried to pawn kugels off on other guests. But the potato kugel make bagged! Uh oh. So I made yours tonight and it is AMAZING.. and since the schmaltz smelled : kinda off” a little to late to do anything about it I went with half butter half olive oil instead.

    thank you thank you Jason

    it is a wonderful recipe

  15. Made this last night (using unsalted butter). It’s amazing! Wow! I particularly loved your direction on the food processor blades and not cleaning the food processor every time. That was easy and handy to know. Thank you guys! :)

  16. Christine says:

    It is important to note (for this shiksa) that this is heavy. Not light. I made it last year, and much to the Perlow’s chagrin, threw it away because I thought I made it wrong! So much for my inner Jew.

  17. Rachel Perlow says:

    Yes, Chris, but please note all the positive comments about the recipe. I told you you got it right the first time. :)

  18. Delishhh says:

    This looks amazing. I always make the egg noddle kugel. I will have to try this out. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Al Tark says:

    I’m a Lithuanian (third generation) Catholic, but I believe that we share a common heritage (and, innate feeling of guilt ). ;-}
    I grew up with kugelis but never got my mother’s recipe, alas. I did get a recipe from a friend’s mother ,
    which I lost while shopping. Called her to get it again. Unfortunately, the dear lady, advanced in years, had no idea what I was talking about (of course, it was never written down). It contained evaporated or condensed milk and salt pork (obviously, not kosher). Any chance you’d have such a recipe?

    BUT, I found your recipe and tried it because of your sense of humour. It’s FANTASTIC!!! OK, I left out the carrots, and, matzo meal isn’t something that I keep on hand, but…

    • shelley schwelling says:

      Al—Though it’s somewhat over a year since your original post I hope you find the following info helpful. You’ll find the recipe for an authentic cholesterol laden Lithuanian kugelis at the following website. Enjoy—Shelley

  20. Donna in Tx says:

    My surprise shows that evidently I don’t get around enough. This was the first time I’ve actually heard (well, read) the word used in it’s proper context. 50+ yrs ago I had a music teacher who got the class to learn how to play music w/ a certain emotion & rhythm by having us play what he called schmaltzy pieces. He did explain what actual schmaltz was so we could learn about culture, too, but he was the only person I’ve ever heard refer to schmaltz – “TIL TODAY! Thank you for broadening my horizens.

  21. […] full recipe from the Broiler folks can be found here, and this is what you’ll […]

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