Kugelis Recipe, a European-style Baked Potato Casserole


Kugelis, a Lithuanian potato casserole is a traditional recipe that our family has made for generations. I altered my family’s Lithuanian kugelis (pronounced: koo-gull-iss) to make it gluten free. It is a type of potato casserole dish. My version makes it safe for the celiac community, but if you are not gluten free, you can simply add regular flour instead (or omit it). Kugelis is the national dish of Lithuania, and it is usually made with wheat flour.

When I make it I just simply switch to an all-purpose gluten free flour mix and that makes it safe for all the gluten intolerant folks in our family. It is usually served as a side dish, but Lithuanian Kugelis can also be served as a main course if you add a little cooked bacon and sautéed onions to it, as pictured.

This potato casserole closely resembles a souffle and is sometimes described as a potato pudding. It is well-formed and can be cut into sizable serving squares. Once you give it a few minutes to set up it can easily be plated.  It takes 15 minutes to prepare (the bacon and onion variety will take longer) and cooks for 1hr 15 minutes. It will serve 8-10 people and can be refrigerated and reheated.

This Lithuanian kugelis recipe is naturally soy and corn free.

Ingredients for Lithuanian Kugelis Recipe:

5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled

5 beaten eggs

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 teaspoons organic sea salt

NOTE: Regular table salt contains sodium and is not corn-free.

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1 tablespoon of your favorite GF flour mix

NOTE: If you have a corn allergy be sure your all-purpose gluten-free flour mix is made with sodium-free baking powder. We use Hains Featherweight Baking Powder. (Sodium is made using corn derivatives.)

1 to 1 1/2 cups of milk or milk substitute

NOTE: Traditional Lithuanian Kugelis is always made with milk. Our version (pictured) was made using Almond milk so that our family members with dairy allergies could enjoy it too.

A pad of butter to grease the pan

NOTE: If you are doing this dairy free, then substitute the butter for ghee, palm oil, coconut oil, or use plain old olive oil if you’ve nothing else. It is only used to grease the pan.

Directions for Lithuanian Kugelis Recipe:

Peel all potatoes and keep them in a bowl of cold, lightly salted water. Be sure to do this immediately after you peel each potato. This keeps them from oxidizing (turning brown).

In a separate bowl mix your eggs, milk (or milk substitute) spices and GF flour. When you are finished quickly grate the potatoes with a food processor (or hand grater if you don’t have one) into fine shreds. The key is to make your shreds as small as possible. You do not want shoestring potatoes or hash browns here. If you are doing this by hand be sure to incorporate your shreds as you go along. If you don’t the shreds will turn brown pretty quickly, and a brown souffle isn’t pretty. Once the mixture is complete it should look like a very thick “stew.” You do not want it too soupy.

Next, rub the end of a stick of butter around the bottom and sides of a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Pour the souffle inside and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then adjust the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for an additional 45 minutes. Be sure to watch your souffle carefully. You will know when to turn down the oven based on how nicely browned the top and edges are.

For a change of pace you can add bacon and onions, or Portabella mushrooms. Enjoy!

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1 Comment on Kugelis Recipe, a European-style Baked Potato Casserole

  1. Yes, a truly great dish when the weather turns cold ‘n wet like now! My Lithuanian tip would be to skip any kind of flour altogether. Eggs and the starch in the potatoes will keep it well together. Also, try heating the milk in a separate pot (don’t boil it) and then pour it slowly into the mix. It will keep kugelis nice and light. Enjoy!

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