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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) 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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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

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

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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