The Wonderbag Cholent Recipe (serves 6 – 8)

(4.5 Quart / 4.2lt pot)


1 ¼ kg or 2 ½ lb large potatoes, peeled and halved

2 onions, chopped

1 ¼ kg or 2 ½  lbs beef stew meat or brisket, cut into chunks

2 marrow bones

1 cup dried red beans, soaked overnight (discard water)

1 cup pearl barley

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

2,5ml or ½ tsp ground black pepper

1lt or 1 quart low sodium chicken broth

15ml or 1 tbsp kosher salt

7,5ml or 1 ½  tsp paprika

7,5ml or 1 ½  tsp turmeric

5ml or 1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne

Water (if needed)


In a 4.5 quart or 4.2lt le Creuset or similar type heavy pot,  place the potatoes in a single layer covering the base

Sprinkle the onions over the potatoes.

Place the beef on top of the onions and potatoes. Place the two marrow bones in the meat.

Rinse the beans clean, checking for any stones or impurities and discard the soaking water. Sprinkle the beans and pearl barley over the top of the meat. Place the three whole garlic cloves into the meat, evenly spaced. Sprinkle the whole mixture with the black pepper.

In a 4-cup container, whisk together the low sodium chicken broth, kosher salt, paprika, turmeric, cumin and cayenne.

Pour the liquid over the cholent. Add additional water until all of the beans and pieces of meat are covered. It’s  usually another 1-2 cups of water , just to ensure that the beans and barley is covered.

Place on the stove,  bring to the boil on a medium heat.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.

Line your wonderbag with some newspaper and then a cloth.

Place the lidded pot in the wonderbag, cover with another cloth, seal the bag and leave to cook for 15 hours. After 15 hours, if unmoved and unopened, the core temperature of the food will still be above 140 F.

Do not open the wonderbag until ready to serve. It will retain the heat. Once the core temperature drops below 140 F, it is still safe to hold for 4 hours

Serve with pickles of choice


Food Safety Expert advises that after 14 – 15 hours, we can safely guarantee a temperature of 140 F if the recipe and bagging instructions are followed. 

Food safety rules are that once the food drops below 140 F, it needs to be consumed within 4 hours.

If you are not going to consume within 4 hours, it needs to be chilled within 2 hours and reheated to boiling when needed. 

So, on the assumption that the sun sets between 5 and 6pm, the Cholent can be prepared. From 3pm.

If bagged at 5pm,  15 hours will be 8am. It needs to be consumed before 12 noon. It should be noted that the temperature will not drop rapidly if the bag is left sealed and stationary.

If bagged at 6pm, 15 hours will be 9am, which means that it needs to be consumed by 1pm from a safety perspective

 I used a 6lt / quart pot, which would feed 6 – 8. The larger your pot, the hotter it stays. 

To create further heat, you could put mash potato on top of the cholent as a final step, and then simmering for the 45 minutes. The mash helps to retain heat even better, increasing the core temperature by as much as 86 F.