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What Is Cholent? Plus: A Tasty and Easy Cholent Recipe

What Is Cholent? Plus: A Tasty and Easy Cholent Recipe


Cholent is a culinary delight enjoyed by Jews of all backgrounds on Shabbat afternoon. In Ashkenazi circles it is called "cholent," while Sephardic Jews refer to this dish as "chameen" ("the hot dish").

This stewed dish is served hot on Shabbat afternoon, and since it is forbidden to cook or warm up food on Shabbat, the cholent sits on the stove-top (or in a crock pot) from before sundown Friday evening.

The ingredients of this dish vary depending on your ancestry. The Ashkenazi cholent normally consists of beans, barley, potatoes and meat. (There are those who specialize in making a delicious vegetarian cholent). The Mid-Eastern variety is much spicier and often contains rice, chickpeas, eggs, and sometimes dumplings.

Tasty and Easy Cholent Recipe


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Canola oil (for sautéing)
  • 1.5 lb. (700 grams) kosher boneless shank, or the kosher meat of your choice
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 12 oz. “cholent mix” (a combination of beans and barley)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tbsp. hot sauce


  1. Sauté the onions in oil until golden. Add the meat and brown on all sides.
  2. Transfer the meat and onions to a crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients. Cover with water.
  3. Turn the crockpot onto high until the beans have softened and the meat is fully cooked. Before Shabbat begins, make sure the food is cooked and switch the heat to low.
  4. On Shabbat, remove the crockpot insert from the heating element before you open it, and serve.

Serves: 8-10

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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David Frederick Charleston November 5, 2017

Sounds really tasty . I'll have to try it.

Thanks for sharing Reply

M. Diane Queens, NY November 5, 2017

This looks absolutely yummilicious! But I have never enjoyed barley. Could be it's time to taste it again. I did not like cabbage or okra years ago and now I adore both of those. Could be I am now a barley fan and don't realize it. But if I still don't like it, brown rice sounds like it could be a substitute. In fact I had something like this but with brown rice this past Shabbos. It was delicious and I did not even try to keep it hot. It did not have potatoes in it either. Reply

Yosef Spokane, WA. November 3, 2017

Sounds delicious. I wonder if anyone has the recipe for pineapple kugel Reply

Yosef Porter June 8, 2016

Adding to the discussion, I heard that the name "Cholent" is compounded from the French "chau" = hot, and "lente" = slow; since it stays warm a long time, from the beginning of Shabbos on Friday night, until eaten on Shabbos morning/noon. Reply

Richard Florida November 2, 2017
in response to Yosef Porter:

You are right about the name coming from French. There are French recipes made this way with very similar ingredients. The duck “confit” is one such dish.
I was told that the Jews who left Spain and took up residence in France developed these recipes and the recipes spread to Germany, Poland, The Ukraine and Russia. Reply

Larry November 4, 2017
in response to Richard:

And where the word chowder comes from Reply

RENEE OHAYON AZOULAY montreal, quebec via May 1, 2009

sepharadic cholent the Moroccan cholent is called CHEKHINA, most probably to remember LAMAN during the passage into the desert, . Also in jewish arabic language it is called DAFINA.

For cholent lovers, you add one sliced onion, or a date, or a prune to give it that beautiful color to potatoes and some oil because we tend not to use any more the animal fat as we used to. Reply

Richard Fl. November 3, 2017
in response to RENEE OHAYON AZOULAY:

Sounds delicious. An Israeli friend of my mother prepared it and put it in the oven over night on low heat, as the French say, “chau lente.” That was the first time I ever had it, back in the 1950’s. Hot, flavorful and perfect for a winter’s dinner. Reply

Naftali Silberberg (Author) November 4, 2008

Re: Cholent See next question in this index: Why do we eat Cholent on Shabbat? Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem, Israel November 4, 2008

cholent you should mention why we eat cholent- to show that the tzidokim are wrong when they say that you must eat only cold food on shabbos and sit in the dark... Reply

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