Let's Make Cholent!

Few kitchen appliances are as revered as the Crock Pot. If you love making your meals in the slow cooker, then it’s about time that you meet the meal that started it all – cholent!

Cholent is a stew which traditionally features meat, potatoes, beans, and barley – but there are tons of variations on the recipe. It remains one of the most famous Jewish dishes of all time, often served and enjoyed on the Sabbath.


For a meal that has a lot of cultural significance, the word "cholent" has a rather simple and literal meaning. Most believe that cholent is formed from the French words "chaud," which means hot, and "lent," which means slow. With the words together, saying "cholen"’ is essentially the same as saying "hot and slow," which is exactly how the dish is cooked!

But why would a traditional Jewish dish have a French name? Well, prior to the Crusades, there was actually a significant population of Jews in France. That’s probably where an early form of the dish developed.

Eventually, the Jews in France were forcibly moved to Germany, and it there that they probably started stewing their cholent overnight to avoid doing work on the Sabbath. When it was time for Shabbat dinner, they could simply pour out the food that they had started cooking days before!

Casserole, Stew, Crock, Hot Pot, Marmite, Olla

The slow-cooker was inspired by stories of Jewish cholent. The appliance is now used worldwide to make a variety of meals and dishes.

Irving Naxon, the patent-holder for the original Crock Pot, credited his grandmother (and her cholent) with the idea behind his design. For years, Naxon’s grandmother spoke of her Lithuanian village’s cholent, describing how it was left to stew in a pot overnight. It was for this purpose that he developed his famous appliance, thus providing the world with an easy, countertop method of making cholent and other slow-cooked dishes!


Cholent is such a classic dish that you can spot it in many PJ Library books about the Sabbath. Take a look at these titles and learn about cholent’s role in Shabbat dinner!

Alef is for Abba

by Rebecca Kafka and Constanza Basaluzzo

Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher

by Laurel Snyder and David Goldin

Chik Chak Shabbat

by Mara Rockliff and Krysten Brooker

The Cholent Brigade
by Michael Herman
**This book includes a recipe for cholent too!

Grandma Rose’s Magic

by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Ag Jatkowska


by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Evgenia Golubeva



Has all this reading about cholent made you hungry? Well, we’ve got some amazing recipes for you to try. No matter who you are or what you like, there’s a cholent for everyone!

This video from Joy of Kosher shows you how to make cholent according to a beloved and once-secret recipe from Jamie Geller’s family. This recipe is especially famous, having graced cookbooks and the pages of the New York Times.

Cholent - Slow-cooked stew for Shabbat, also known as Chamin, Dafina, and Skhina. Easy Delicious Recipe on ToriAvey.com

This recipe from Tori Avey also describes how to make cholent, but with the Sephardic twist of adding shelled eggs to the pot.


Even dietary restrictions can’t stop you from enjoying a warm, slow-cooked cholent! Try this delicious vegetarian cholent from My Jewish Learning, which is spiced with a Latin twist. Or you can keep your cholent simple and healthy with this vegan cholent from the Forward. Like we said earlier, there’s definitely a cholent for everyone!