Recipe: Potato Kugel

Potato Kugel. From The Book of Schmaltz, by Michael Ruhlman

This is simply hash browns given amazing flavor and crispness from the schmaltz. Potato kugel is no different from latkes, except that schmaltz is added to the mixture here, whereas latkes are shaped into patties and then fried in schmaltz. (Potato kugel is considerably different from noodle kugel, which uses cheese and more eggs and is sweetened with sugar and spices.) The eggs allow you to call this a kugel, but it’s basically just a giant latke—every bit as tasty, twice as easy, and the cook can sit down with everyone else and eat it hot.

I shred potatoes by hand on a box grater because it’s faster than cleaning up the food processor, but feel free to use a processor fitted with the shredder blade.

I like to cook this kugel in a 12-inch/30-centimeter cast-iron skillet because it’s so convenient and makes a great serving vessel, but a baking dish will work perfectly fine. Leftovers can be reheated in a toaster oven; try serving leftovers with a poached egg on top!


1 large Spanish onion

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and submerged in cold water

1/2 cup/120 grams schmaltz

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons/15 grams matzo meal



Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

Grate the onion on the medium holes of a box grater. With your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and put the onion in a large bowl. Grate the potatoes. After each potato, put the shreds in a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then toss it with the onion to prevent it from turning brown.

Grease a large skillet or baking dish with a little schmaltz. Add the remaining schmaltz to the potato mixture and toss well.

Add the salt and pepper to the eggs and beat them some more to distribute the seasoning. Add the eggs to the potatoes and onion and toss to thoroughly mix everything. Add the matzo meal and mix to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to the skillet or baking dish and smooth out the surface to make it level.

Bake the kugel until it’s cooked through and golden brown and crisp on top, about 1 hour. This can be completed a half hour before you want to serve it and then reheated in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.