My family makes potato kugel—a dish popular in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine—during Passover. During the springtime holiday, we feast on foods like matzo and matzo ball soup, celebrating the exodus from Egypt. The word kugel means “pudding” in Yiddish, and the dish can be savory or sweet, traditionally made with either potatoes or noodles.
The perfect potato kugel should be crispy and crunchy on the outside, with a fluffy, creamy filling on the inside, like a giant potato latke that you slice, share, and enjoy alongside your main dishes (like beef brisket).
Because this recipe is dairy-free, it is considered “pareve,” meaning it can be eaten with either a meat or dairy meal. And you don’t have to save it for Passover—make it anytime the mood strikes.
The Best Potatoes for Kugel
Russet potatoes are the best potato for making kugel—their high starch content helps create a light and fluffy dish that becomes golden brown and crispy when baked. Whether you choose to peel your potatoes or not is your choice. I often skip that step to save time and reduce my food waste.
The Trick for Crispy Kugel
The key to the perfect kugel is preheating the baking dish to ensure crispy edges. I also like to soak my grated potatoes in ice-cold water to remove any excess starches, then wring or squeeze out the liquid. This prevents a gummy kugel.
What Is Potato Starch?
Potato starch is made from the naturally occurring starch in potatoes. It’s a fine, powdered substance that is great for thickening and binding. It is not the same as potato flour but does work similarly to cornstarch. Find potato starch in the flour aisle of your grocery store, typically right beside the cornstarch. It’s key in this recipe since it helps bind the kugel together without imparting any flavor.
- Want a cheesy twist? Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the potatoes.
- Can’t find matzo meal? Substitute equal amounts of all-purpose flour instead—it won’t be suitable for Passover, but great for the rest of the year.
- Get colorful! Add a grated carrot, or replace a potato with an orange sweet potato.
How to Make it Ahead
Potato kugel can be prepared in advance. Once cooked and cooled, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through in the center and re-crisped.
You can also freeze kugel. Wrap in plastic wrap and then foil and store for up to 3 months. Reheat at 250°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or defrost in the fridge and reheat using the instructions above.
More Passover Favorites
- Jewish Brisket
- Apple and Sweet Potato Matzo Bake
- Charoset with Apples, Dates, and Walnuts
- Chocolate and Hazelnut Matzo Toffee
- Noodle Kugel
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Grate the potatoes:
If desired, peel the potatoes (this is optional). Using the shredding disc of a food processor or the largest hole of the box grater, grate the potatoes.
Soak the potatoes and prepare the pan:
Add the potatoes to a large bowl of ice water. Let soak for 10 minutes. Drain well and place in a clean kitchen towel. Gather up the edges and squeeze out any excess water. This step removes excess starch so that your kugel does not turn out gummy.
Add the potatoes to a large, dry bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a 9×13-inch baking dish and place it in the oven to warm up.
Prepare the onions and combine the ingredients:
Meanwhile, peel and grate the onions using the food processor or box grater. Drain any excess liquid and add the onions to the potatoes.
Add the eggs, matzo meal, parsley, potato starch, salt, and pepper. Use a spatula or large spoon to mix well until combined.
Carefully transfer the potato mixture to the heated baking sheet and spread out into an even layer. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake until deep golden brown and a knife pierces the kugel easily, 60 to 70 minutes. Top with additional chopped parsley.
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