Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel

September 21, 2016

Passed down for generations, Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish the whole family loves, especially with my healthier twists!

piece of cinnamon apple noodle kugel on a plate

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It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed me here that I love to cook, but when people ask me about my first cooking memories I’m honestly stumped.

Cooking Memories

I don’t really remember when I fell in love with cooking, but I do remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother when I was growing up. Most of that time was spent setting and clearing the table and helping dry the dishes, but we would sing and chat all the while so it was always fun and never felt like a chore.

I never really helped my mother cook, but I definitely watched and admired her ability to make huge pots of chicken soup, trays of stuffed cabbage, and the biggest roast turkey I’ve ever seen. And no one makes meatballs the way my mom does – they are so soft and tender without any dairy and since we keep kosher they also have no pork.

Needless to say, I always thought my mom was a great cook, and to this day there is nothing like the aroma in my parents’ house when they’re hosting a holiday meal or even just cooking up a traditional Shabbat (Friday night) dinner.

cinnamon apple noodle kugel casserole

Tradition Makeovers

That said, my mother doesn’t veer too much from traditional Jewish food, which isn’t always the healthiest, so it’s not too often that I make the classic recipes she would cook up. And when I do, have no doubt I will make some changes to healthify them just a bit.

With Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, right around the corner, it was time for me to make over one of the classic recipes my mother always has on the table for this holiday (and many others). The original recipe for this Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel has been in my family for many years – my mother’s mother, who I called Bubby, passed it down to my mother who passed it down to me and actually included it in my bridal shower recipe book in honor of my Bubby (see below).

Original Apple Noodle Kugel passed down from generations of women in my family

I absolutely love the original version of this noodle kugel – I can eat piece after piece of it –  but it’s not the healthiest recipe, and once I saw what actually went in it I knew there was room for improvement. And so, off I went to the kitchen to tweak it and make it just a little more nutritious while making sure it was still delicious.

Better-for-You Noodle Kugel

The new and improved version that I feed my family is definitely not as sweet as the original, but it is sweet enough and it’s higher in fiber too. If you look at the nutrition facts for the new recipe and the original (see the recipe below), you can see that my makeover has about 25% fewer calories, 40% less fat, 75% less saturated fat, 35% less sugar, and 50% more fiber than the original.

Here are the changes I made that account for all those nutritional differences:

Something I kept the same: Letting the top layer of noodles and the corner pieces get crispy! I’ve been known to pick a crunchy noodle off the top of my mom’s kugel if I’m there when it comes out of the oven piping hot. I may or may not also eat a whole corner piece before it’s served. I’m telling you, this is a recipe that memories are made of!

cut Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel in casserole pan

What is Kugel?

If you’re not familiar with noodle kugel you may have heard of noodle pudding or noodle casserole. They’re pretty much the same thing, but Kugel is the Eastern European word for this Jewish dish.

What’s different about most noodle kugels compared to most noodle casseroles and puddings is that kugel tends to be dairy-free, so you won’t find cottage cheese, ricotta, butter, or milk in my recipe, whereas you may in some others (for example, my friend Robin’s Noodle Kugel/Noodle Pudding). It actually irks me that my husband calls it noodle pudding, because this is not pudding!

Ok, enough about semantics, let’s get to the recipe!

piece of cinnamon apple noodle kugel on a plate

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel

Yield: 12 -15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet and comforting side dish traditionally served at Jewish holiday meals. Also known as noodle pudding or noodle casserole, this kugel can be enjoyed for a sweet weekend breakfast. This version is a dairy-free, nut-free lightened up makeover of the classic.

Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegetarian, Kosher


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 16 ounces whole grain wide noodles*
  • 5 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon + more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to bake at 350° F. Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water to stop cooking.
  3. While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, sugar, salt, and applesauce.
  4. Coat empty pot with oil, return noodles to pot and fold with oil and egg/applesauce mixture. Transfer noodles to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until the kugel is completely set and the noodles on top are slightly crispy and browned.


*Note: Egg noodles are typically sold in 12 ounce bags, so you would need two 12-ounce bags to make one kugel. You can store the remaining noodles to make a small kugel (halve all the other ingredient amounts) or make something else.

Current Recipe Nutrition Facts (per 1/15th of casserole):
200 calories, 4 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 35 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 6 g protein, 25 mg sodium, 62 mg Cholesterol

Original Recipe Nutrition Facts (per 1/15th of casserole):
272 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 7 g protein, 49 mg sodium, 112 mg cholesterol

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1/15th of casserole
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: .5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information was calculated by Nutritionix. It may not be 100% accurate.

Have you ever had cinnamon apple noodle kugel before?

What are some of your first cooking recollections?

Share with me in the comments below!

cut pieces of cinnamon apple noodle kugel on plate

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    1. I love introducing people to new foods, especially ones that come from my traditions! Hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as my family does!

  1. Loved hearing the backstory behind this! I have a feeling this would get called “noodle pudding” at my house too lol! Will have to give this a try 🙂

    1. Thanks Cara! Haha…potato, potato, right!? It’s all delicious whatever you call it. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. 5 stars
    Your mom sounds like a wonderful cook! I remember growing up with kugel made out of potatoes, I can’t say I ever ate it lol! My aunts used quite a bit of butter and it always turned me off. I would definitely get on board with this recipe though- I have a sweet tooth and this looks right up my ally!

    1. Thanks Liz! She really is and I have her to thank for inspiring me to get in the kitchen – even if I do things differently! Potato kugel is the other popular kugel type in my family, but it was never my thing. No butter in ours, I just don’t really like potatoes unless they’re crispy! My mom’s noodle kugel is super sweet, but I think you’ll find my version sweet enough! Hope you try it!

  3. This post made me smile – for many reasons. My kids call my mom Bubbe…and I am known to pick all of the crunchy bits from our food before serving it to anyone. I love to pick off the plate constantly, lol. This version sounds delicious – I am a huge kugel fan.
    Quick kugel story – we are in the home town for a now-famous organic ice cream company and one year, he tried beta-testing “noodle kugel” flavored ice cream. Needless to say, the frozen noodle bits weren’t a big hit… lol.

    1. Haha…sounds like we’re 2 peas in a pod! So glad to hear you love kugel – hope give this recipe a try! And that story is hilarious! The cinnamon and apple would certainly be great in ice cream, but noodle bits?! I don’t know about that! Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

  4. Frankly, I’d be happy if this were not a sweet dish at all. Every noodle kugel I’ve ever tasted was way sweeter than I care for. I guess with the apples in it, there’s no getting around some sweetness. And I really do much prefer a pudding-y texture over those dense, heavy layers of pasta. I’ll have to consider making your version and see if it works for me. I’m just not into sweets so much as most people.

    1. Thanks for your comment and thoughts on this Naomi! I agree most noodle kugels are really sweet – I cut the sugar way down in my makeover and you could reduce it even more by not adding any sugar or reducing it again. I actually find this style lighter and less dense than other noodle puddings that are made with a custardy base filled with dairy. I’d be curious for you to try it and give me feedback!

    2. Naomi, I wanted to add that I just included the nutrition facts for the original kugel and my updated one so you can see the difference!

  5. Love hearing the background of this recipe! Food and cooking sure can conjure up memories can’t they? I’d never heard of a kugel before, but this sounds delicious and perfect for fall!

    1. Thanks so much Marie! It sure can! And I love learning about foods and food traditions that are unique and new to me! Hope you give this kugel recipe a try and see what the love of it is all about!

    1. Thanks so much Mona! That was the first change I made – I mean really no reason not to! And you and me both! My mother doesn’t have a set recipe so I haven’t been able to nail it yet. I honestly don’t know how she does it!

  6. Mama made a fleishic noodle kugle every Shabbat but I never wrote down the recipe and have not been able to reproduce the flavor I remember. My daugher-in-law makes a dairy kugel which half the family loves and the other half won’t eat. Can’t wait to make your cinnamon apple kugel for the “other half” of the family.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Linda. My husband grew up with dairy noodle kugel too, but it’s never felt traditional to me. Can’t wait to hear how you like my version!

  7. Is this a side dish or a dessert….i would love to try it..but not sure about the sweet side as a side
    Thank you and your memories are wonderful

    1. Thank you! I serve it as a side dish. It’s sweet, but has half the amount of sugar that my mother’s original recipe has. I’d love to know if you try it!

  8. […] row: Cinnamon Apple Noodle Kugel from Nutritioulicious, Shrimp Scampi Zoodle Pasta from Andie Mitchell, and Breakfast Pasta Bake […]

  9. Jessica- this looks so good! I also health-ify traditional recipes because otherwise oy vey ;)- some of the recipes are basically dessert. And because we have challah at the beginning of the meal, I usually prefer very few starchy sides. I love that the traditional recipe is used here with a healthy twist- hope to try it soon and maybe I’ll replace some applesauce with shredded apple. Shana tova!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Zahava! So many carbs at these meals, and most are refined – low in fiber and high in sugar. It’s great to hear that you enjoy making more traditional recipes in a healthier way. I hope you enjoy this kugel if you give it a try. Would love to know how it comes out with some fresh shredded apple. Shana tova to you as well!

  10. i have not heard of this dish but i do love cinnamon apple flavor here…maybe i will have to do this for brunch sometime.

  11. 5 stars
    I need and have to make a variation of this. It sounds absolutely delicious and um, I am pretty sure your house smelt DELICIOUSSSSSSSSSSS while it was baking!

  12. Since Passover is on my mind and saw this recipe I was wondering if you have ever tried this recipe with the Kosher for Passover noodles. Also have you ever frozen this with good results or would it be better o make few days ahead and then reheated. Looking forward to your response

    1. Hi marsha, I’ve never actually made this cinnamon apple noodle kugel with passover noodles, although I imagine it would be fine to do so. As far as freezing it, I have frozen the kugel, and it defrosts just fine, but I do think it’s best when made fresh. You can even make it a day or two in advance and keep in the fridge and reheat. Good luck and please let me know if you try it!

  13. 5 stars
    Id love to try and add either raisins or cornflakes to this

    Has anyone made both recipes and preferred 1 over the other more.
    I love traditional recipes but also dont want a dessert

    1. The original recipe from my mom is much sweeter than my made over version. I don’t consider it dessert, but it’s definitely more of a comfort-food side dish. Would love to know if you try it.

  14. Would it be okay to use your recipe, but do it with egg noodles. Also, reheat at what temperature and for how long? I have my eye on this for Break Fast at the end of Yom Kippur. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Paula, you can absolutely make it with egg noodles. The original recipe was made like that, I changed it to whole wheat egg noodles to boost the fiber and nutritional value. I would reheat it covered at 250 degrees. If it’s straight from the fridge you may need about 30 minutes to reheat, but if room temperature it will take less time. Personally I love it even at room temp! Have an easy fast and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  15. Thank you for this! This is exactly what I was looking for. I am on Weight Watchers, and I’ve lost 20 lbs so far. I am a third of the way to my goal. But it’s winter and it’s cold and dark, and I need comfort food! I can’t make my usual kugel because it will put the weight back on. I am making this for dinner tonight, and can’t wait! My husband will be delighted, as well! I love being Jewish, but I hate the calories!

    1. You’re most welcome Marla! Congrats on your weight loss success thus far – keep up the great work! I hope you enjoy the recipe. I know how you feel about all the Jewish food – we have so many delicious traditional recipes, but the way they are traditionally made isn’t always the best for our health. Enjoy and best of luck with your weight loss journey!

  16. I am going to make rbis for my grandchildren for the holidays. Sounds delicious as they love apple kugel. Can you make it ahead and freeze?

    1. Hi Randee, I have made the kugel in advance and frozen it. It comes out fine, as long as you reheat it uncovered for part of the time to dry out some of the extra moisture that will occur as a result of freezing it. Hope your grandchildren enjoy it and you have a wonderful holiday!

  17. Hi Tara,
    A question: I’d like to make this fab recipe the day before Yom Kippur and serve it at the break fast. But if I bake it the day before how would I re-heat it? Definitely want the top to be crispy!
    Thanks so much for your reply!

    1. Hi Marjorie, I make this noodle kugel the day before all the time. Just reheat it uncovered at about 300 degrees. If the top starts to get crispy and you’re not ready to serve, just cover it with foil. Hope that helps and you enjoy!

  18. 5 stars
    Just found this recipe and made it yesterday for the first night of Chanukah. It was delicious! Snd more importantly got the stamp of approval from my mom and dad who said it was almost as good as my Bubby’s. I’ll take that as a pretty high compliment! Thank you!

  19. Awesome and easy. I like adding raisins and crushed walnuts. How much? lots, and brush some melted butter on top.

    THANKS for the recipe. My family one was lost, but now found

  20. Hello,
    How for in advance do you think can I make this? I have made this recipe before and it is great, but I made it the day we were going to eat it. Thanks.

    1. Hi Ally, I’ve never tried making it in any other dish other than a 9×13 baking dish, so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it would work well in a muffin tin or bundt pan – I think the noodles would get too dried out in a muffin tin and a bundt cake pan I don’t think it would stay together. Sorry!

  21. I too love luchen kugel but ONLY if it has yellow raisins and my version of it which also includes sour cream and cottage cheese plus the eggs, butter and cinnamon on top. It was a combo of liven kugel and Lindy’s cheesecake! I would have to freeze the leftovers or continue to go after them in the fridge. And even more deadly was my mom’s potato kugel which was sooo crisp and brown on top. Then there was the chopped liver with gribenes. I’m getting very hungry.

  22. I prepared your recipe and found it was easy to use and as a base for further experimentation.

    I only added 1 cup of rehydrated raisins and a teaspoon of vanilla and was back in the kitchen with my grandma making kugle!!

    Thank you so much for your effort in making this recipe available as my daughters family is lactose intolerant and it was great to have something they could partake of with the family!!

    1. I am so glad to hear that Glenn! Thank you for sharing your additions – I bet they made the kugel even more delicious! And I love that it brought back memories for you and allowed you to make new memories with your daughter’s family!

  23. Thank you for the kugel recipe. Because of the cholesterol, I don’t use egg yolks, only the whites.
    Will the absence of yolks ruin the recipe?

    1. Hi Phillip, I used to make the recipe with fewer whole eggs and a combination of whole eggs and egg whites, however, in 2015 the dietary guidelines removed cholesterol as a nutrient of concern. The science has shown that the cholesterol in food is not what primarily raises blood cholesterol – instead it is the saturated fat and high intake of refined carbohydrates that accounts for high blood cholesterol and risk for heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern healthy individuals can include up to one whole egg daily and older healthy individuals can consume up to 2 eggs given the nutritional benefits and convenience of eggs. This recipe has 12-15 servings and there are a total of 5 whole eggs in the entire recipe, so there is about 1/3 of an egg per serving.

      That said, you can certainly try making it with only whites, or perhaps make a flax egg or use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites – remember 1 whole egg = 2 egg whites. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  24. Hi! Would I be able to use gluten free pasta for the noodles? So excited to try this recipe; seems delish!

    1. Hi Sophia,
      I’ve never made the kugel with gluten free pasta, but I definitely think it will work. Just be sure to check the cooking times and account for any differences. Would love to know how you like it – it’s a fan and family favorite!

  25. I’d like to serve these as part of a buffet. Can I put the mixture into a regular or mini muffin tin for easy ” finger food”? How can I adjust the baking time? Can’t wait to make this.

    1. Hi Marian,
      I’ve never made them as individual muffin cups, so I’m not sure if they would work well like that. I’m concerned it would be too dry if they are in individual muffin cups. If you try it let me know! Enjoy!

  26. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I made this for the first night of Rosh Hashanah last night. I used 2 apples chopped instead of the applesauce & 1/4 cup of sugar instead of 1/2 cup. It was my first time making kugel. Everyone loved it. Shana Tova!

  27. Fabulous recipe! Added diced apple pieces and it came out wonderful for Rosh Hashanah! Thank you for a healthier version!

    1. Hi Mike, I personally serve it as a side dish, but some people do serve it as dessert. My version is not as sweet as the original version my mother makes, so I don’t find it too sweet to have at the main meal. Hope that helps!

  28. I want to try this. Is it possible to substitute the applesauce for chopped fresh apples? I thought about substituting the sugar for monk fruit or swerve. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Corinne,

      I have not used fresh apples in place of applesauce myself, nor have I tried a sugar substitute. I believe other people have made it with fresh apples, but I would perhaps try a mix of appleasauce and fresh apples, as the applesauce helps bind the noodles together, which fresh apples won’t do. On the sweetener, I think you can try it, just make sure you adjust the amount according to the sugar equivalents. Good luck!

  29. Hi Jessica,
    Going through your recipes/cookbook.
    Any thoughts on sweet kugel for Passover that I can make egg free?
    (Thinking applesauce instead, not tofu?)
    Looking forward to hearing your ideas soon!
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sandy,
      The only kugels I make for pesach are potato kugel and matzo farfel kugel with vegetables. I have seen recipes for sweet apple kugels, but I have never tried any of them and most of them have eggs. I’m sorry I can’t be much more help on this one!

  30. Loved your recipe!!! We loved it!! I put two cinnamon sticks in with the pasta as it was boiling and infused the pasta with more flavor!!!
    In the future can I assemble all ingredients and refrigerate over night before baking????

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Kim! And love your idea of adding cinnamon sticks to the pasta when it’s cooking. I’ll have to give that a try. You can definitely assemble in advance and bake the next day – one of my favorite ways to get ahead of holiday cooking! Enjoy!

  31. Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for posting your modified/healthier version of cinnamon apple Kugel …it looks so enticing! I hope to try it out this weekend -Shabbos/Rosh Hashanah G-d willing!

    Could you please clarify: Your recipe calls for 1 lb Wide noodles, whole grain. Those noodles typically come in a package that is 12oz. in weight. So does your recipe require an additional 4 oz. from a second package? The only reason I’m asking is because it’s so easy for us to “refer to” those packages of noodles as “1-lb. pkgs.”

    Thank you in advance for addressing this.

    A Shana Tova u’Metukkah to you & yours,

    Sharna R.

    1. Hi Sharna, Thanks so much for your question. My mom’s recipe called for one pound of noodles and I think back in the day those bags were in fact 16 ounces, but you are correct that the bags of wide noodles now are 12 ounces, so the recipe does require having two 12-ounce bags on hand. Sometimes I make one large (9×13) kugel and one small (8×8) kugel by using both whole bags and adjusting the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly. But usually I just hold onto the rest of the second bag and do something else with it. Hope that is helpful. I will also make a note in the recipe now – thank you for pointing it out.

      Wishing you and yours a shana tova u’metukkah as well!

    1. Hi Eleanor, Yes, it can be. I recommend reducing the cook time of the kugel by about 5-10 minutes if you freeze it so that when you reheat it the kugel doesn’t get overdone.

      Hope that helps. Enjoy!

  32. This sounds so much like the kugel I grew up on. Quick question….can I make it ahead of time and freeze it. I’d probably bake it for a little less time, then defrost and heat up?

    1. Hi Barbara,
      I am so happy to hear that this kugel recipe brings back memories for you! I have made it in advance and frozen it and it has been fine. Definitely bake it for a little less time so that it doesn’t get overdone and dry out. Good luck and shana tova!

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