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My best Hanukkah recipes include latkes and donuts to celebrate the miracle of the cruse of oil, plus savory Hanukkah recipes like brisket and chicken. These easy Hanukkah recipes will help you celebrate all eight days in style.
Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days between November and late December. (The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar timeline, so the first night of Hanukkah shifts from year to year.)
This Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BC. As the parable goes, the Maccabees thought they had only enough oil to light the large candelabra, or menorah, for one night. But somehow, the oil lamps burned for eight full days and nights.
To this day, families who are part of the Jewish faith light menorahs during Hanukkah, starting with one candle on night one, and igniting an additional candle each night until all eight are shining bright.
Since this miracle is the inspiration for the holiday, classic Hanukkah foods often showcase oil, such as pan-fried latkes or sufganiyot (deep-fried jelly donuts). Children are often given chocolate coins and other sweet treats during the gift exchange each evening, while adults sip on kosher wines. Cheese is also popular in both savory and sweet courses; and is said to be a staple Hanukkah ingredient in honor of The Book of Judith.
Special readings and spinning the dreidel is often part of the celebration as well. But a couple things are definitely not on most Hanukkah menus if the family follows Jewish laws: There’s traditionally no pork or shellfish allowed.
Just as I mentioned in my Passover and my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur guide, I am not Jewish, but food is always a fun way for us to learn about and celebrate other cultures! So today, I’m rounding up a few of my best recipes for Hanukkah dinner, whether you’ve been celebrating with your family for decades or want to start a new tradition this year.
Table of Contents
Hanukkah Appetizer Recipes
Matzo is more of a Passover tradition, but it exudes “holiday” energy and coziness if you ask me. Consider slurping up soup alongside some cheesy snacks to kick off your Hanukkah dinners.
Matzo Ball Soup
Hanukkah Entree Recipes
Just as those who host a Christmas dinner often feature a wide variety of main dishes, there is not just one traditional Hanukkah entree. Here are some of my best holiday main dishes to add to your menu.
Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
Hanukkah Side Dish Recipes
Celebrate the magic of oil by using it to fry up crispy latkes or potato pancakes. And don’t forget about the veggies! Each of these selections includes winter seasonal ingredients. (Just be sure to use oil instead of butter if you’re strictly adhering to Jewish dietary laws.)
Round out the savory side of menu with even more potatoes…and bread. Carbs are necessary to balance out the Hanukkah wines and the sweet treats to come. Challah is a classic Jewish baked good, and leftovers make stellar French toast for brunch the next day.
Crispy Potato Latkes
Hanukkah Dessert Recipes
Share a platter of Hanukkah cookies, or slice up an oil-enriched cake. Or for a makeshift sufganiyot, pipe my foolproof Beignets with with your favorite jam or jelly.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.