Eight Delicious Nights of Traditional Hanukkah Recipes


Traditional Hanukkah, or Chanukah, recipes are a symbol of freedom and survival. The festival commemorates the revival of the Temple in 165 B.C. by the Maccabees (a Jewish rebel army) after its desecration by the Syrians. Probably the most famous aspect of this holiday is the eight days of lights, but there are also many food and cooking traditions tied to the holiday.

Oil Foods

Even after the Syrians desecrated the Temple, a miracle took place: a small amount of oil, sufficient for just about a day, was somehow able to keep the flame alight for eight days in the holy place. This miracle is celebrated, symbolically, with the use of oil in cuisine.

Many traditional Hanukkah recipes will be prepared in oil, typically olive oil, whether they are baked or fried. Two of the most famous foods are potato latkes and sufganiyot, a type of fried donut.

Fried Latkes

Fried latkes with apple sauce

Latkes and Hanukkah go hand-in-hand. Also known as potato pancakes, this traditional recipe is simple: grated potatoes, an egg, onion and seasonings. Once friend in oil, serve it with sour cream or applesauce.


Sugar-Dusted Sufganiyot

Photo licensed via Creative Commons via Flickr member grongar

If you’re stuck on the word itself, here’s a little help: it’s pronounced “SOOF-gone-ee-OAT.” It’s a light, fried dough that’s then stuffed with jam or jelly and topped with a snowy coating of confectioners’ sugar.

These days, inventive bakers are having fun with new flavors, and it is not unusual to see sufganiyot filled with unusual fruit or jam fillings, or even nut or chocolate fillings.


When it comes to the main dish, the Hanukkah menu will often include brisket or chicken. Brisket is among the tougher cuts of beef, so a slow cooking method is best for breaking down the tendons in the meat and making it tender while also preserving flavor. Braising the meat in a broth and vegetable mixture are fantastic ways of preparing brisket.


Challah  bread

This egg-rich bread is like the golden crown on a Hanukkah feast. Traditionally, the bread is braided before it’s baked, giving it an impressive finished appearance once it rises and bakes to a warm, golden hue.



In the food world, gelt is a type of chocolate candy shaped like a coin and covered in metallic foil to bring the resemblance home. It’s a traditional Hanukkah gift and is often used by children when they play with the dreidel.

Gelt isn’t the only sweet served at Hanukkah. Traditional Jewish cookie recipes, such as rugelach, will often make an appearance at the table. It’s also not unusual to see sugar cookies in the shapes of Hanukkah imagery such as dreidels or menorahs.

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6 Responses to “Eight Delicious Nights of Traditional Hanukkah Recipes”

  1. Brenda

    Would like to have the recipes. Thank you

  2. Laura Agigian

    Thank you for putting this out! Your summaries of the meaning behind the foods is clear and easy to understand. Much appreciated!

  3. Linda Roth

    Thanks for including recipes for Hanukkah with your holiday offerings. Linda Roth

  4. Sharon

    Thank God!!! Finally a recipe for Hanukkah as good as any Christmas one !!

  5. Doris Bean

    I didn't see anything about keeping kosher!

  6. gwen

    Thank you ... i will continue with a few of the foods .. OTHERS I thinking of devleop a NUTRITION VERSION .