This cast-iron skillet recipe is the perfect Passover Seder dish
Here's how to make Crispy Caramelized Onion and Shallot Potato Kugel.
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Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi casserole with many regional and cultural variations, but it’s typically made with either egg noodles or potato. As a professional chef and lifetime Passover meal practitioner, I’ve always been on team potato kugel, so this one is spud-heavy, laced with handfuls of spring herbs and a smoky punch of paprika. Silky ribbons of caramelized alliums run through this kugel, lending the dish a deep savory flavor to balance the eggy, grated potatoes. And finally, the inclusion of horseradish is a nod to the Seder Plate, adding just a touch of fire.
This dish is a single pan affair, and a well-seasoned Lodge cast-iron skillet is my favorite tool to get the job done. The skillet goes from stovetop to oven so gracefully and produces a crispy exterior like no other. Chag Pesach sameach!
What You Need
- 8 to 10 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced as thin as possible
- 4 large shallots, sliced as thin as possible
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, washed and peeled
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- ¼ cup chopped chives, plus a little more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus a little more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped dill, plus a little more for garnish
- 2 tsp smoked paprika, or to taste
- Flaky sea salt for garnish (we love Maldon Sea Salt)
2 hours and 15 minutes
How to make Crispy Caramelized Onion and Shallot Potato Kugel
Step 1: Caramelize the onions and shallots
Heat four tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. (I used a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, but slightly larger would also work as long as you’re okay with your kugel being a bit thinner.) When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and shallots—it’ll look like a lot of onions, but don’t worry, they’ll cook down significantly!
Season with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour to deeply caramelize, reducing the heat to low if they start to brown too quickly. You can add a little more oil as needed if the pan is getting too dry. The mixture should be caramel in color with a silky, almost melted texture, and about a quarter of its original volume.
Step 2: Deglaze the pan
Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, which will remove some of the tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow the vinegar to evaporate, about one minute. Remove from the heat and allow caramelized onion mixture to cool in the pan.
Step 3: Prepare your potatoes
Heat the oven to 400°F. Grate the potatoes, either with a box grater or the grating attachment of a food processor. Line a colander with a clean dish towel and add the grated potatoes. Gather the towel at the top so potatoes are enclosed, then pick up the towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Keep squeezing! Get the potatoes as dry as you can for maximum potential crispiness.
Step 4: Mix ingredients
Transfer the potatoes to a dry, clean mixing bowl. Add the eggs, horseradish, chives, parsley, dill, smoked paprika, and the caramelized onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the onion mixture is already seasoned. Mix well.
Step 5: Prepare your cast-iron skillet
Wipe out the skillet, but don’t wash it. Add three tablespoons olive oil, swirling around to fully coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
Add the potato mixture in an even layer, but don’t pack it in. If the potato mixture has released any additional liquid, leave it behind in the mixing bowl. Drizzle two tablespoons olive oil over the top of the potatoes.
Step 6: Bake the kugel
Transfer kugel to the oven. Bake until super crispy and deeply golden on top, about one hour. Remove from the oven and garnish with extra herbs, flaky sea salt, and another drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy right away or at room temperature.
If you want to make the kugel ahead of time, hold off on garnishing. When you’re getting ready to eat, bring the kugel up to room temperature two hours before serving. Reheat, tented with foil, in a 325°F oven for 30 minutes. Garnish with herbs and flakey sea salt before serving.
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