While Christians celebrate Christmas, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah.
Also known as the festival of lights, Hanukkah is an 8-day-long holiday honoring the Jews’ triumph over the tyrannous forces that outlawed Judaism during the second century BC.
The Jewish people reclaimed their temple in Jerusalem, which miraculously stayed illuminated by a blazing lantern for eight days. Thus, Jews light a candle for every night the lantern blazed, placing each candle on a structure called the menorah.
Hanukkah also involves plenty of songs, dreidel playing, and most importantly, feasting on a cornucopia of delicious dishes.
Below, I’ll go over all the most iconic traditional Hanukkah food you’ll see at any Hannukah feast table.
Latkes are the most iconic traditional Hannukah food.
No Hanukkah feast is complete without these delicious potato pancakes.
They involve a heavenly combination of potatoes, onions, eggs, and matzo meal formed and fried to golden perfection.
Crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside, latkes are usually accompanied by sour cream and apple sauce.
These light and fluffy Hanukkah doughnuts use orange juice to infuse a subtle citrus flavor. This recipe is a labor of love that involves two rising processes. They taste like beignets in my opinion. You even top them with powdered sugar.
This would be a fun project to make with kids.
No Christmas ham for a Jewish holiday! That wouldn’t be kosher.
Luckily, the alternative carnivorous centerpiece is none other than the king of moist roast meats, the almighty brisket.
This recipe comes from fellow Jew and Travel Channel star Andrew Zimmern.
The vinegar, tomato puree, and myriad spices make a complex flavor profile and a juicy, tender texture.
You don’t have to make beef stroganoff to enjoy egg noodles.
Noodle Kugel is an egg-noodle casserole that can be sweet or savory. This recipe is utterly savory and reminds me of a Jewish version of mac n cheese.
You get tangy, creamy, dairy deliciousness with every bite. I especially love the browned and crunchy egg noodles on top.
Sufganiyot is an Israeli tradition for Hannukah desserts.
They are also
a type of donut, but instead of a beignet iteration, Sufganiyot are jelly donuts.
They usually call for a red berry jelly, like strawberry or raspberry.
If you don’t like jelly, you can always substitute it for cream, chocolate, or Nutella.
Every culinary culture has
comforting soup to soothe what ails you. For Jews, it’s Matzo Ball Soup.
Matzo Ball Soup isn’t just a Hannukah food, but a dumpling soup you can enjoy for any occasion.
Matzo meal is unleavened wheat breadcrumbs crushed into a fine flour that you mix with water and eggs to create light and fluffy dumplings that absorb the delicious chicken broth they’re boiled in.
Ruggelach are a popular Jewish dessert that I liken to the marriage of a croissant and a Danish.
They’re miniature crescents of pastry dough with layers of fruit jelly or cinnamon sugar and chopped nuts.
The final touch is rolling the crescents in thick-grained sugar for a delectable crunch.
A rugelach with coffee is the perfect ending to your holiday feast and, if you’re lucky, a great next-day breakfast.
Challah Bread is a staple in the Jewish diet.
You say a prayer and slice into a loaf of Challah every Shabbat eve, not to mention as a mainstay on the Hanukkah menu.
Challah bread is essentially a brioche loaf, with a shiny egg-washed crust and a light, slightly sweet deep yellow inside.
The only tricky part about making Challah is braiding the dough. It's one of
my favorite breads!
A popular decorative embellishment to Hanukkah tables and the coveted loot won in dreidel games, Hannukah Gelt are chocolate coins wrapped in gold tin foil.
They look like doubloons.
This recipe skips the fancy molds and creates an edible gold coating with the help of sprinkles.
I make some with milk chocolate and some with dark chocolate to please
every chocoholic preference.
Cassola is a sweet cheese pancake that tastes like a pan-fried cheesecake.
Cassola uses rich and creamy ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and flour to create a subtly sweet and utterly decadent dessert.
I like to top Cassola with fruit compote, preferably strawberry to emulate
the classic New York-style cheesecake.
Serve up these traditional Jewish Hanukkah dishes for the holidays!
Pair these dishes with wine or with
festive holiday cocktails.
1. Choose your favorite recipe.
2. Gather the necessary ingredients. 3. Prep and cook your recipe. 4. Enjoy!