Caramelized Onion And Cabbage Kugel

Caramelized onion and cabbage noodle kugel is a comforting, rich, and savory side dish that goes perfectly with roasted, grilled, or barbecue meats.

Top view of a caramelized onion and cabbage kugel in a casserole dish sitting on a gray and white striped tea towel.

With the Jewish high holidays around the corner, I fondly remember my girlfriend, Susan, and her delicious Yom Kippur dinners. She only cooked three times a year, and even then only made a dish or two, but they were spectacular. Her brisket and kugels, both savory and sweet, were always eagerly anticipated. This is a take on her savory kugel – made with much love.

What Is Kugel?

Close up off the golden brown noodles in the caramelized onion and cabbage kugel.

Kugel is a baked casserole of potatoes or noodles in either a sweet or savory custard. It is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish for most Jewish holidays. Potato kugel is typically served for Passover when noodles aren’t permitted. Noodle kugels are more popular for the Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. Plus, this is one of those dishes every Jewish family has their own recipe that has been passed down for generations.

Kugel became popular for Sabbath or the holidays because it could be made in advance, reheated, or served at room temperature. 

The first kugel was savory and made with bread. Eventually, the bread was replaced with noodles. Over time, eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or cream were added to make a custard casserole.

Close up, top view, of a casserole dish with caramelized onion and cabbage kugel with a turquoise serving spoon on the side of the casserole dish.

What Ingredients Are Needed?

  • Onions – I like using a Vidalia or sweet onion.
  • Coleslaw mix – this makes the recipe very easy. You could grate cabbage very finely, but the slaw mix is the way to go. Why make it more difficult?
  • Olive oil – use the everyday stuff.
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Egg noodles – Use medium or large noodles. You want the airy texture. Small noodles tend to get too dense.
  • Sour cream – full fat tastes the best, but if you want to cut calories, you could use low-fat. Avoid the fat-free sour cream. It lacks flavor and looks lumpy in the casserole.
  • Onion and chive cream cheese – you could also use plain or herbed. This adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
  • Parmesan cheese – for flavor.
  • Eggs
Spoon lifting out a serving of caramelized onion and cabbage kugel out of a casserole dish. Side view.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1. Caramelize the onions, cabbage, salt, and pepper until dark golden brown and very soft.
  2. Boil the noodles until al dente and drain well.
  3. Combine the noodles and cabbage.
  4. Stir in the sour cream, cream cheese, and eggs.
  5. Bake until golden brown on top.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serving of caramelized onion and cabbage kugel ion a brown plate with the casserole dish in the background.

Tips For A Perfect Outcome

  • Begin the recipe with room-temperature eggs and cream cheese. They’ll be easier to incorporate at room temperature.
  • Slice the onions and/or cabbage as thinly as possible. I’ve found the most effective way to get paper-thin slices is with a mandoline slicer, but a food processor also does a pretty nice job. 
  • Take the time to really caramelize the onions and cabbage. This adds an enormous amount of flavor. It should take no less than 45 minutes. Cook them low and slowly, and move the mixture around for even caramelization.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles. They should still have a little ‘bite’ to them, meaning the noodles should feel firm when bitten, not hard, chalky, or crunchy. If the noodles are overcooked at the start, they will fall apart and turn mushy, making the kugel too dense and heavy.
  • Cool the noodles before adding the wet ingredients. You don’t want the eggs to scramble from the heat of the noodles.
  • Be sure that the ‘wet’ ingredients are fully incorporated. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and eggs in a medium mixing bowl before adding to the cabbage and onions.

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Caramelized onion and cabbage noodle kugel in a white casserole dish sitting on a gray and white striped towel.

More Recipes To Consider

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Caramelized Onion And Cabbage Kugel

Caramelized onion and cabbage noodle kugel is a comforting, rich, and savory side dish that goes perfectly with roasted, grilled, or barbecue meats.

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Jewish

Ingredients

Scale

1 medium onion, halved and very thinly sliced

1 pound bag shredded coleslaw mix

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

6 ounces medium egg noodles

½ cup sour cream

½ cup onion and chive cream cheese

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter a medium casserole dish and set aside.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions and cabbage. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil and butter.

Saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes to prevent sticking. 

The onions and cabbage should be very caramelized and soft.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions.

Drain well and add to the skillet with the vegetables.

Add the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.

Spoon the mixture over the onions and cabbage in the skillet and toss until all of the noodles and vegetables are coated with the custard.

Pour the mixture into the buttered casserole dish.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.

Serve hot.

Keywords: caramelized onion and cabbage kugel, Jewish recipes, noodle kugel, savory kugel, Rosh Hashanah, Hannukah, caramelized onions, caramelized cabbage