Traditional Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis

Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe

The Spruce

  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: Serves 12-15
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
254 Calories
9g Fat
30g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 12-15
Amount per serving
Calories 254
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 546mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 12g
Calcium 96mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This traditional recipe for Lithuanian savory potato pudding, known as kugelis or bulviu plokstainis (literally "flat potato"), produces a dense, heavy casserole that is considered a national dish of Lithuania.

Kugelis is commonly served with applesauce, lingonberry preserves, sour cream, or crumbled bacon bits. It can be eaten as a main course or side dish.

Compare this recipe with an easy Lithuanian kugelis recipe made with frozen hash browns and the Polish potato pie recipe known as baba kartoflana or kartoflak.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 5 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 (7-ounce) can​ of evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup farina (not the quick-cooking kind)
  • 5 pounds red potatoes (or white potatoes, peeled and grated, not shredded)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Place the oven shelf in the middle and heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Coat a 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray and set it aside. 

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. In a large skillet, sauté bacon and onion until lightly browned and caramelized. Leave them in the skillet and do not drain the fat. Set the pan aside to cool.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, evaporated milk, salt, and farina. Add the bacon-onion mixture and drippings. Stir until well combined.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Using a food processor or by hand, finely grate potatoes, squeezing out excess moisture. Work quickly so the potatoes don't darken. While they are still fine to eat if they darken, it is less appealing.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Add the grated and squeezed potatoes to the bacon-egg mixture, combining well.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Pour the potato mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the top is quite brown and the interior is solid but still moist.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Serve as a side dish or as a main course with a salad.

    Lithuanian Potato Pudding Kugelis Recipe
     The Spruce

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. You can enjoy leftover kugelis by heating portions in the microwave or browning them in butter.

Tips and Substitutions

  • Farina is milled wheat that is used to make hot cereal. It is available in the cereal section of the market and one common brand is Cream of Wheat. If you don't have any you can substitute 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs.
  • Because this recipe uses farina, it is not gluten-free. However, you can instead use gluten-free cream of rice cereal as a substitute.

Potatoes Abound in Lithuanian Cuisine

Lithuanian cuisine shares many culinary traditions with Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Germany, and Ashkenazi Jews. That means potatoes reign supreme and exist in nearly every course. Besides kugelis, also known as kugel, they star in these other potatoes dishes:

  • Lithuanian Zeppelin Potato Dumplings RecipeKnown as cepelinai, these football-shaped dumplings made with a raw and cooked potato dough are filled with meat or cheese.

  • Lithuanian Potato Sausage RecipeVederai or potato sausage can be made entirely meatless or with the addition of bacon. The only other ingredients are grated potatoes, eggs, onion, seasonings, and a few tablespoons of flour.