Alternative namesGefilte helzel,
heldzl, helzele,
false kishke
Region or stateCentral and Eastern Europe, Israel
Created byAshkenazi Jewish communities
Main ingredientsChicken, flour

Helzel[a] (from Yiddish: העלזעל) or gefilte helzel is an Ashkenazi Jewish dish. It is a sort of sausage made from poultry neck skin stuffed with flour, semolina, bread crumbs or matzo meal (when cooked on Passover), schmaltz, and fried onions and sewn up with a thread.

Chicken or goose necks are commonly used but duck or turkey necks can be substituted. The stuffing can also include internal meats, such as chopped heart, gizzard, liver. Sometimes the stuffing is flavored with garlic and black pepper. Helzel may be cooked in chicken soup or used as an ingredient in cholent. Because of its sausage shape and the flour-based stuffing, helzel is sometimes called "false kishke".[1][2][3]

The name derives from Yiddish heldzl (העלדזל, "neck") which in turn stems from German Hals.[1][4]

Until well into the 20th century, the dish was a comfort food of Ashkenazim typically served on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays.[1][3] In the 20th and into the 21st centuries, its popularity has declined.[1]

Similar dishes

The Ashkenazi helzel bears a similarity to tebit, an Iraqi Jewish variant of hamin, which includes a whole chicken skin filled with a mixture of rice, chopped chicken meat, and herbs.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Also spelled heldzl or helzele


  1. ^ a b c d Gil Marks (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780544186316.
  2. ^ Bob Silverstein (1991). My Mother's Cookbook. SP Books. p. 70. ISBN 9781561710737.
  3. ^ a b Aish HaTorah Women's Organization (1987). Dvorah Eisenbach; Zelda Goldfield; Shifra Slater (eds.). The Taste of Shabbos: The Complete Sabbath Cookbook. Feldheim Publishers. p. 47. ISBN 9780873064262.
  4. ^ Sarah Bunin Benor (ed.). "helzel". Jewish English Lexicon. Los Angeles: Jewish Language Project.
  5. ^ Kessler, Dana (13 February 2013). "Best Cholent Ever? An Iraqi Stew". Tablet Magazine. Nextbook Inc. Retrieved 18 July 2021.