Ilana’s Cholent


Ilana’s cholent

Ilana Hernandez
This is a mishmash of various cholents I’ve had over the years, tweaked to my personal preferences. It can easily be made vegetarian simply by omitting the meat, and vegan by omitting the eggs.
Origin Hungarian and Polish influence, no specific community
Servings 8 ish


  • 2 kg stew beef chopped
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 2 cups pot barley
  • 2 cups dried navy beans cannelini beans, or black beans (or a mixture)
  • 1 kg chopped potatoes any kind except sweet potatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp hot or smoked paprika or half a tbsp of each
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp or more coarsely-ground black pepper more is better
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs in the shell
  • Water beef stock, or vegetable stock


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • If using beef, brown the beef on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary.
  • Remove the beef to a plate.
  • Sautee the onions until soft, about five minutes.
  • Add the beef, onions, and all other ingredients except eggs to a large dutch oven. Mix to combine.
  • Add enough water (or stock if using) to cover the dry ingredients, plus an additional two inches.
  • Gently place the eggs into the water on top of the dry ingredients, which will have settled to the bottom.
  • Cover on the dutch oven with its lid, and place in the heated oven. After half an hour, reduce heat to 200F. Cook overnight.


  • The beef, eggs, and sugar are all optional.
  • Do not use kidney beans for safety reasons.
  • You can peel the potatoes before adding them if you want, but I don’t bother.
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