When you think of Hanukkah, some of the first things that probably come to mind are intimate time with family and friends, gifts, and delicious traditional Jewish foods—all in honor of the Hanukkah miracle that kept the menorah candles burning bright for eight days and nights. This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on Sunday, December 18, and will end on the evening of Monday, December 26. During this eight-day-long festival of lights, those of Jewish heritage will come together for wholesome games, laughter, and reflection as they gather around to light the menorah, commemorating this miracle and their faith-driven resiliency. The meals that are served are integral to this celebration, with traditional Hanukkah foods serving among the holiday’s most beloved attractions.
A plethora of traditional Jewish dishes are often included in many a Hanukkah spread. From latkes to jelly doughnuts, many of the foods are typically fried in oil, symbolizing the Jewish Temple’s ability to miraculously sustain the menorah’s candlelight for eight days despite only having enough oil for one. These traditional Hanukkah foods are sacred, celebrated dishes that have continued to bring family and friends together for centuries. Maybe it’s the magic of the Hanukkah miracle, but something about these foods bonds people together. So, even if you do not actively practice Judaism or typically celebrate this holiday, these traditional recipes are definitely worth trying at least once in your lifetime.
If you’re curious about Jewish cuisine, these 11 recipes for traditional Hanukkah foods are a great place to start. Keep reading to learn more about which dishes epitomize the perfect Hanukkah spread—and for more traditional recipe ideas, be sure to also check out 20 Old-Fashioned Chicken Recipes To Make Tonight.
Get our recipe for the Best-Ever Potato Latkes.
Because Hanukkah falls during the cooler months, beef brisket is a hearty, warm, and delicious meal to serve. Prepared in a dutch oven or roaster, beef brisket is oftentimes slated as the main dish. Fortunately, there are several different ways to prepare it, whether it’s with specific seasonings, vegetables, or sauces. As long as it’s tender and served with other traditional sides, it’s a win! We think this creative beer brisket recipe would make a fun new addition to your table.
Get our recipe for Beer Brisket.
In addition to brisket, golden-brown whole roasted chicken is another familiar main course to serve at a Hanukkah gathering for those who may not eat beef. The best part about the commonly-made poultry dish? It’s an easy recipe that’s delicious with a generous amount of seasoning and roasted vegetables. We like this tasty roast chicken recipe for an easy main course and vegetable combination.
Get our recipe for Roasted Chicken.
Though technically this is a traditional Jewish dish that can be enjoyed year-round, as the most important meal of the day, breakfast is still a must-have during your eight day-long Hanukkah celebration.
“Shakshuka is a tomato-sauce based typically cooked in a skillet with eggs, vegetables, and spices,” Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, reportedly said, while describing the dish in a previous Eat This, Not That! article. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the festival of lights than with a warm yet bold breakfast rich with bright colors and flavors, which this shakshuka recipe offers in spades.
Get our recipe for Shakshuka.
Kugel is an egg noodle pudding or casserole that is commonly served as a side dish at a Hanukkah celebration. The best part? The traditional meal can be made both savory or sweet.