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Kugelis recipe

Sun, 12th February, 2012 - Posted by

Photo by Yours For Good Fermentables.com


I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because


Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.

Kugelis is quite easy to make. The only thing a little confusing about making kugelis is what recipe to use. All recipes for traditional foods of all nationalities have their own little twists to them based on the recipe from one family to another. Recipes for traditional Lithuanian meals are the same.

However for kugelis??????

I think that kugelis has more variations for recipes than any other Lithuanian dish. So in formulating this recipe I took about six different recipes and averaged them out and gave ranges for some ingredients and options for the milk. All said and done, if you made kugelis from the six different recipes I used, in the end they would all be about the same and it would probably be difficult to taste or see the difference if you put a piece of each of the six on a plate.

So – Don’t worry about it. Just have fun!!!


What you will need

10 lbs./4.5 kg. potatoes

1-1 ½ lbs./.5-.7 kg. bacon or pork or chicken

3-6 eggs

2 large onions

1 can evaporated milk or 12 oz. scalded milk

Salt and pepper


Potato preparation

Peel and grate all of the potatoes.

If you do not have an Electric Potato Grater,

use the side of the hand grater with the smallest holes.

The consistency is important. It should be like apple sauce.

Unlike the potatoes for cepelinai, you can use a much wider variety of potatoes for kugelis

since the baking process will darken them and give a bit of a yellow tint.

Again we would not recommend using red potatoes though.

And yes by all means Sig and Rima you can use the purple potatoes!!!

You will have purple kugelis but I’m sure it will taste great and

after all there’s a first time for everything.

Just as we mentioned with the recipe for Cepelinai, the most time consuming part of making Kugelis is grating the potatoes. This is why many people don’t make this easy to make dish very often. This is also why many people got the Lithuanian Electric Potato Grater. It will grate 10 lbs. of potatoes in a matter of minutes. It is available through the Lithuanian E-Store www.balticvalue.com

They have it in both the 110 Volt and 220 Volt models and they ship world wide.

Drain the excess water from the grated potatoes.

The best way is to place grated potatoes in a doubled cheese cloth and squeeze.

A less strenuous way is to put the grated potatoes in a colander and let the liquid seep out.

Important – Drain the liquid into a pan.

When finished pour off the liquid and put the potato starch back into the grated potatoes.


Meat preparation

Cut the bacon into thin strips.

Fry up the bacon and finely chopped onion together.

DO NOT drain out the grease.

The bacon grease is an integral part of the consistency of the cooked Kugelis.


A note about the meat


You can use unsmoked or smoked bacon, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

I don’t think I would recommend bacon cured in maple syrup though.

You can but the packaged and precut bacon or you can buy the “slab bacon”.

The “slab bacon” is what is called šoninė in Lithuania – Pork belly


While using bacon is what some would say is the “traditional” meat, I can honestly tell you that I have had Kugelis made with about any variety of pork cut you can think of. I’ve even had Kugelis made with chicken or turkey. All variations were delicious.


Mixing all the ingredients

Pour the milk into the drained grated potatoes and mix well.

Add the fried bacon and onions into the potatoes (grease and all) and mix well.

Beat the eggs and add into the potato mixture.

Some people recommend that you beat each egg and add it separately???

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once all the ingredients have been blended well,

Pour mixture into a medium depth, greased backing pan/dish.



Be sure the oven has been preheated.

Again this is a source of discussion.

Some say;

Bake at 425F/220C for 15 minutes then at 350F/180C for 1 hour

Bake at 425F/220C for 15 minutes then at 325F/165C for 1 hour

Bake at 350F/180C for 2 hours

Bake at 350/180C for 1 ½ hours

The best way is to cook it at whatever temperature you think will work for however long you think is enough – When the top is a golden brown and there is a darker crust around the edges it is DONE.

Remove from the oven and let sit about 20 minutes and then cut and serve.

Sour Cream is a great topping.

Here are a few things to consider.

Maybe using 10 lbs./4.5 kg. of potatoes is too much for the meal you are planning so you may want to use 5 lbs./2.5 kg. of Potatoes. Now this may sound kind of strange but every one I have talked to has said that the amounts of all the other ingredients stay the same – You just use less potatoes???

Even if you cook up a big batch of Kugelis and there is some left over don’t worry






Fry up some of the left over Kugelis in a pan with some eggs

And this makes one fine breakfast.

In fact this is why I always make a bigger batch than I need just so that I can have Kugelis for breakfast the next day. In spite of what you may have read about “traditional Lithuanian breakfasts” in books, I can tell you that in Lithuania very often what you had for dinner last night is what you have for breakfast (and lunch) the next day.



Vin Karnila

Category : Food, wine and more

19 Responses to “Kugelis recipe”

Richard Schofield February 26, 2011

Sorry, but this is yet another example of the erroneous assumptions made about things that are nothing to do with Lithuania and yet, generally because a couple of letters have been on the end of a word (in this case the addition of the letters i and s at the end of the Yiddish/German word kugel), people assume that they're Lithuania. This not a Lithuanian dish.

    Rima Raulinaitis March 3, 2011

    In response to Richard Schofield –

    Potato Kugelis is indeed a cherished Lithuanian dish. It is also called "Bulviu Plokstainis" (flat potato dish). It often contains pork products (like bacon) as that is what was in abundance in Lithuania and still is, although you can find Plokstainis with chicken as well.

    I'll bet that there is not one Lithuanian family, regardless of their religious beliefs, that does not have a Potato Kugelis/Plokstainis recipe that is passed from generation to generation.

    Perhaps the name "Kugelis" is borrowed from the Germans or the Jews. but a variety of Potato Kugelis/Plokstainis recipes have been essential in Lithuania for hundreds of years. Because of the close proximity of the countries in Europe, many adopt terms and words from other countries.

    Potatoes have only been available in Europe for a couple hundred years, so maybe the "roots" of this dish stem from South America? ;)

    Why are you so upset about this? I would really like to understand. What are the other examples of the erroneous assumptions that you speak of?

    Thank you.

    Connie September 22, 2012

    Richard speaking of erroneous information, my grandmother, Isabel Michinis(sp), later named Peffer by whoever she checked in with when she arrived in this counbtry, made the best Kugele ever and went to Mass every Sunday…Sorry Rich! It's YOUR information that is erroneous!!!!

Gershon Lehrer February 28, 2011


I was really interested to read that kugel (or Kigel) which is eaten by Jews all over around, may be a Lithuanian dish, I'd be interested in more information on the source of Kugel(is).

If you are already doing a research on that, could you tell me if Tshulent does sound familiar to Lithuanians?

Gershon Lehrer

Antwerp, Belgium

Sandy Abramovich March 5, 2011

My cousin from Stakiai grates the raw onion into the potato mixture….she said it keeps the potatoes whiter. I've tried it and it seems to keep them from turning gray. Kugelis is a favorite with all our family and I've made both bacon and vegetarian options – all are consumed pretty quickly!

    Ellen May 1, 2011

    Sandy…with the vegetarian option, do you just leave out the bacon and add oil for the fat? I've been wanting to make something Lithuanian and vegetarian for my husbands work TGIF gatherings (many of his co-workers are vegetarian)….I asked that question on my OMLR group; mostly I got suggestions for the salads. But I'd love to make kugelis…but can't imagine how it would come out without that bacon flavor and fat!

      Connie September 22, 2012

      Ellen if you want your kugeli a little smokey feel free to eliminate the bacon and inbstead use a stick of melted butter. I have one in the oven right now…Enjoy!

Val Ramonis March 7, 2011

We should not confuse the Lithuanian Kugelis with the Jewish Kugel. I think the only similarity here is the name. The Lithuanian Kugelis is made with potatoes, while the Jewish kugelis is made mostly with noodles. The Lithuanian Kugelis requires bacon bits (and perhaps bacon fat). So try serving Lithuanian Kugelis to a religious Jew (after you tell him what's in it), and see what reaction you get.

    Gershon Lehrer July 25, 2011

    there is Jerushalmi Kugel (based on noodles) but there is also 'regular' which is based on potatoes

Gintautas Kaminskas March 11, 2011

I am a professional translator and trained linguist and I have tried to find out the etymology (origin) of the word "kugelis" (N.B. the word, not the object). But no one seems to know for sure. One theory is that the word is of Germanic origin. This theory is around because it resembles the German word "kugel", which means "ball, sphere, globe". Well, sounds a little shaky to me, because kugelis is certainly not sphere-shaped, not even round in most cases (at least not these days). Another theory is that it may have something to do with the German word "kochen" (to cook), but the implication with that word is usually more about boiling than baking in the oven. ("Backen" is "to bake" in German.) In the end, does it matter? It's silly for Richard Schofield to proclaim "This not a Lithuanian dish." Millions of plates of kugelis are consumed by Lithuanians every year. I common sense terms, that makes it a Lithuanian dish.

kids Jersey October 28, 2011

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Audrone January 8, 2012

I am 100% Lithuanian and this is the national dish of Lithuania. Maybe the name may have been copied from a Jewish or German origin, but certainly not the recipe, as it calls for a pound of bacon with the fat. I see that many are trying to make a vegetarian version, but that would be comparable to making chicken soup without chicken. It is not nearly the same. Enjoy this dish, and remember the more bacon fat the better!

Anne July 29, 2012

I was born in Australia from Lithuanian and German parents, I had kugelis growing up and when I visited Germany as a child I remember having great potato dumplings made from grated potatoes. Were any of my ancestors Jewish, I don't know, maybe, it's possible, Jews live in Lithuania I understand. I give thanks to the potato and to the people who make this dish, whoever and what ever religion they are, really do we now need to fight over who made the Kugelis?
As I see it we are whipping you all in the olympics , (only joking Aussie humor)

Tabitha Balutis October 25, 2012

I am Lithuanian. My Dad's Grandmother was born on the boat from Lithuania to America. I'm the 3rd generation. We call it baba but his grandmother I'm sure called it different since he said she only spoke Lithuanian. But this is a dish that we enjoy year after year. along with Halushkies (spelling?), pierogies, potato pancakes, and of course my favorite…angel wings.. They are a puff pastry that is deep fried and dusted with confec sugar or cinnamon. I could never pronounce the real name of these little pastries so when I was little we always called them angel wings. Probably because they are folded just so to make them look like wings :) I love my heritage and wouldn't trade in my stocky build or baltic fair skin for anything :) But I do know that many European countries (being in close proximity) overlap in many traditions. Also we must remember the history and that nations changed hands over various wars and such. Guess people marching around the nations brought amazing food and shared with others :) I don't mind though. Every bit of it is something to be proud of :)

Verute February 15, 2013

I usually make the kugelis without bacon because my daughter is a vegetarian. I add more butter to the recipie. I have also experimented by adding sweet potato to the mix-Yummy! My Italian sister-in-law always adds garlic..also very yummy. It is all good.

Sharon Klastow March 5, 2013

I LOVE KUGELIS. My gramma used to make this at least once a week on the farm. I never got her recipe so I greatly appreciate this one. Cant wait to try it and see is it comes close to grammas.

Linda June 19, 2013

My grandmother who was from near Vilnus, called it Kugelis although it was pronounced "Ku-gu- lie" is that what other are saying? My mother (the youngest of 3) was born in 1913.
There are no Lithuanian words that are similar? It might mean a root brick or something, think of all of the odd names for foods worldwide: pigs in a blanket? Some British dishes have hilarious names!

Nancy August 19, 2013

My grandmother was born in Lithuania and made this dish all her life. But she called it (and I'm spelling phonetically) Korshee. She made it with salt pork instead of bacon and baked it in a cast iron frying pan.

Sparky Svarp... August 22, 2013

Both of my parents were born in Lithuanian and came to the US in the 50s along with my grandparents.

The notion that Kugelis is not a Lithuanian dish is simply preposterous. This was a weekly dish at our house as well as my grandparents. I’ve been to Lithuania several times (last time was Nov 2012) and as stated by another reader early, this is the national dish of Lithuania. Every home and every restaurant I had the privilege of visiting had Kugelis on the dinner table.

So, while it may be easy to make statements that this is not a Lithuanian dish, it’s another thing to prove it.
I’ve provided you firsthand accounts that prove otherwise. Can you provide me evidence to support your claims that it is in fact NOT a Lithuanian dish? Some other country that has this same exact recipe passed down for generations?

To all my Lithuanian Brothers and Sisters out there, LABAS!

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