Lazy Man’s Cholent

This recipe for Lazy Man’s Cholent is made in a slow cooker and is from Leah Schapira’s “Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking” (Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2011).

Schapira says, “… I received this recipe from my uncle and I couldn’t get over the fact that this must be the laziest cholent ever. Can it be that you don’t even peel the potatoes …?”
For those not in the know, cholent is a traditional Jewish Sabbath dish. Because Jewish religious laws prohibit cooking on the Sabbath, cholent is a meal that can be cooked overnight in a slow oven, a slow cooker, or kept on a hot plate overnight, and eaten on the Sabbath day. In the shtetls and villages of Eastern European, women would bring their clay pots of cholent to a communal baker on Friday before the Sabbath began where they simmered overnight. Many times, a non-Jew was sent to pick up the family’s cholent because no work (including walking to pick up the cholent) was to be done on the Sabbath day.

According to The Cholent Pot, “Historians are unclear as to when it was actually invented, however, some say that Moses came down from Sinai with the tablets in one hand and a bowl of cholent in the other.”

One man’s cholent is not necessarily another man’s cholent. Variations abound but staple ingredients typically include beef, beans, potatoes, barley, and seasonings. Optional ingredients can include turkey, sweet potatoes, salami, ketchup, hot sauce, paprika, potato kugel, kishke, coffee, cola, and even beer.

If there’s one constant in cholent making, it’s the low and slow rule. So begin preparing this 24 hours (or more) in advance of eating it. But soak the beans overnight before assembling the ingredients in the slow cooker.


  • 4 large potatoes, skin on, cut in half
  • 3 large onions, halved
  • 1 cup barley
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons onion soup mix
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag cholent bean mix, soaked overnight in water
  • 5 to 7 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
  • 5 to 6 cups water
  • 2 to 3 pieces short rib, flanken, on the bone, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for searing the short rib

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Begin the cholent preparation 24 hours before consumption. Line a slow cooker with a plastic slow-cooker liner.

  3. Layer the potatoes on the bottom.

  4. Next, layer onions, barley, garlic, cholent beans, Tabasco sauce, and chili sauce, in order. Do not stir. Top with the flanken, which you’ve seared in hot oil in a separate saute pan.

  5. Add 5 to 6 cups water to the slow cooker (make sure the meat is covered so it won’t dry out).

  6. Cook on high until cholent begins to bubble. Turn to low and cook 24 hours.

  7. If you like to add potato kugel or kishka to your cholent, bury it slightly under the top level and add a small amount of additional hot water before the Sabbath begins. Most important of all — do not stir this at any time!

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