Noodle Kugel Dessert

Last week when I asked for suggestions for winter holiday dessert recipes, one recipe request caught my eye in particular -- Lydia asked for : "Noodle kugel. I need some yummy Hanukkah desserts. =)" So, I set out to do my best to come up with a gluten-free vegan noodle kugel dessert recipe for Hanukkah.

Gluten-Free Vegan Noodle Kugel Dessert {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}

I actually really loved this suggestion. For one, I thought it'd be fun to make a Hanukkah treat amidst all the Christmas season baking, and I haven't had kugel in years since going gluten-free. For those that aren't familiar with kugel, it's a traditional dish made with noodles {or farfel}, eggs, and if savory then with things like  potatoes, or if sweet, then typically with sweetened cream cheese and apples. Somehow all those ingredients come together to make an unexpectedly pretty simple and pretty tasty dessert! Mainly, though I loved this recipe request because it totally stumped me for a second. A good noodle kugel is gluten, eggs, and dairy in a serving dish {oh, and sugar too}. That's pretty much all that's in it. How does one de-gluten, de-egg, and de-dairy a recipe that basically relies on all of those things?!?

Well, if you know me, you know I don't back down from a good baking challenge, and in fact once I start thinking about it I can't stop until I come up with with a solution. The result of this was an incredible kugel that was really well loved around here! I shared it with both my kugel-loving and my "I have no idea what on earth a kugel is" friends and everyone absolutely loved it {and were disappointed that there wasn't enough of it for thirds ;) }. I hope you will love it too, Lydia :)

Gluten-Free Vegan Noodle Kugel Dessert {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}

Just to explain briefly, here's how I arrived at this recipe {Figured I'd share it in case you want to make other substitutions, so you can see my train of thought here and perhaps it would be helpful somehow}. Let's start with the noodles -- traditionally you use egg noodles, and those are fairly processed and obviously have eggs and gluten in them {and often other questionable ingredients}. So the closest substitute I came up with was using this gluten-free corn fettuccine pasta as the yellow color of the pasta reminded me of egg noodles the most. You can of course go with any wide ribbon style gluten-free pasta in this dish {rice, quinoa, amaranth, etc.), but something like this will get you closest to the look of a real kugel:

Gluten-free corn noodles for a gluten-free vegan kugel dessert

Next, I tackled the cream cheese issue. Although I have been known in the past to use commercial non-dairy cream cheese, I've really been off that wagon for a while now. It's really hard to find any that are non-GMO and not junky {I've seen them and had them before, but they're rare, pricey, and still have funny ingredients in them...}. So I decided to make my own cashew cream cheese, which is a lot easier to make than it sounds. I make this recipe quite often and it worked really well in this dish too. So that's one part of the dairy issue solved. Another bonus was that I found that using this cream cheese made it such that I really didn't need to worry about substituting for eggs -- this kugel did just fine without them! :)

The other part of the dairy dilemma is that typically something like dry curd cottage cheese crumble is used in dessert kugel to add little bits of chewiness to the bake. I immediately thought of using some more cashews, as they are quite a soft nut variety and can add a bit of chewiness and nuttiness to the recipe without overwhelming it. They worked perfectly and added a lot of flavor to the recipe. The rest of the goodness in this kugel comes from the always wonderful combination of apples, cinnamon, and raisins. That's all -- very simple, and super tasty!

Gluten-Free Vegan Noodle Kugel Dessert {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}


Gluten-Free Vegan Noodle Kugel Dessert

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 9" x 13" kugel
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert


A gluten-free vegan version of the traditional holiday dish. Corn noodles with cashew based "cream cheese" and apples. No dairy, refined sugar-free recipe.


Cream Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained {place in a glass bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak for 15 mins, then strain}
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk {or water}
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash of salt

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 8.8 oz gluten-free wide-ribbon noodles {like fettuccine, etc.} {I recommend the corn ones as explained in notes above}
  • 7 tbsp non-dairy butter
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Fold in Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cored and chopped finely
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup raw cashews, chopped {these do not need to be pre-soaked}


  • Additional cinnamon for sprinkling + optional: a bit of sliced almonds or more chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or oil a 9" x 13" baking dish {or any oven safe dish of a similar size}.
  2. Place all cream cheese ingredients in a high speed blender {I used my Vitamix for that} and blend into a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  3. Cook noodles al dente as per instructions on package.
  4. Once noodles are cooked, strain the water and place the noodles back in the pot. Add non-dairy butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon and mix everything to combine until the butter is fully melted. Add the cashew cream cheese mixture and toss everything to combine. Fold in the chopped apples and raisins.
  5. Transfer everything into the prepared baking dish. Flatten and smooth the mixture in the dish. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and nuts on top.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 mins until the noodles look nice and golden. Remove from oven and let the dish cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice into squares and plate for serving. Enjoy!


Feel free to play around with the fold in ingredients: you can increase the amount of apples, and decrease the raisins for example. Or add more of both. Swap the raisins out for some dried cherries. Add in some walnuts, or pecans, etc.

Gluten-Free Vegan Noodle Kugel Dessert {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}

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