Latkes Recipes and More Popular Hanukkah Foods
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Latkes Recipes and More Popular Hanukkah Foods

From latkes to brisket, we’ve got you covered
Latkes Recipes and More Popular Hanukkah Foods
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Food plays a key role in just about every major Jewish holiday. And although Hanukkah meals are more lenient than the Passover Seder, symbolism still sets the stage for what is eaten and why. The following list of common Hanukkah foods incorporates traditional celebratory dishes of Ashkenazi Jews as well as treats enjoyed by Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews and the Jewish diaspora around the world.

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes
Courtesy of McCormick

Potato latkes may be the most well-known of all Hanukkah foods. This versatile dish starts with shredded potatoes, which are squeezed until dry and mixed with onions and eggs before being formed into a patty and fried. Foods fried or otherwise cooked with oil are symbolic call-backs to the one-day supply of oil that burned for eight in the original Hanukkah story.

For the Potato Latkes recipe, click here.

Levivot

Levivot
MICHAEL TERCHA / CHICAGO TRIBUNE

In Yiddish, fried potato cakes are latkes. In Hebrew, they are levivots. If you're in the market for lower-calorie levivot or latkes, look no further than this recipe that cuts the calories by swapping out traditional potatoes with heart-healthy cauliflower. 

For the Cauliflower Levivot recipe, click here.

Stuffed Potato Pancakes

Stuffed Potato Pancakes
Photography and Styling by Tamar Teitelbaum

Spice up plain potato pancakes, latkes or levivot by stuffing yours with salmon before frying them in olive oil. These stuffed potato pancakes burst with flavor and can be garnished with chives, crème fraiche or sour cream. 

For the Silver Dollar Smoked Salmon Stuffed Potato Pancakes recipe, click here.

Applesauce

 Applesauce
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

For a delectable cross of salty and sweet, top off latkes, levivot or potato pancakes with applesauce. You may purchase yours from a store or prepare your own custom applesauce side at home using a beginner’s Instant Pot recipe

For the Instant Pot Applesauce recipe, click here.

Shoestring Latkes

Shoestring Latkes
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/Food styling

There is no such thing as too many latkes. Allow us to introduce you to the shoestring latke with smoked salmon and crème fraiche. For this ultra-crispy potato recipe, cut your taters into long, matchstick strings. Combine with other ingredients, form into mounds and fry. 

For the Shoestring Latkes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche recipe, click here.

Gravlax

Gravlax
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune

If up for a more savory latke or levivot topping than applesauce, consider spicing a 1-pound center-cut salmon fillet with brown sugar, black pepper, dill, lemon and kosher salt. Allow the fillet to chill for two days. This salmon dish called gravlax can be served on top of any potato cake or bagel. 

For the Gravlax recipe, click here.

Smashed Apples and Pears

Smashed Apples and Pears
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune

Although not as popular, smashed apples and pears makes for a tasty alternative to the traditional applesauce latke topping. This recipe is easily customizable — you decide how much of each fruit to include, how much cinnamon to stir in and whether to serve warm or cold. 

For the Smashed Apples and Pears recipe, click here.

Sweet Potato Latkes with Harissa Yogurt

Sweet Potato Latkes with Harissa Yogurt
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Sub out a latke’s typical russet potatoes for sweet potatoes using this one-hour recipe. For some added spice and tang, pair your sweet potato latkes with harissa yogurt made with Greek yogurt and harissa, a North African spice paste. 

For the Sweet Potato Latkes with Harissa Yogurt recipe, click here.

Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Sufganiyot, better known as jelly doughnuts, come in a close second to latkes in the Hanukkah food canon. You can always buy them at your best local doughnut shop, but if you feel truly festive and ambitious, you can make them at home too.

For the Sufganiyot recipe, click here.

Noodle Kugel

Noodle Kugel
Courtesy of Eggland's Best

Old-school noodle kugel is a creamy casserole perfect for family dinners. Plus, this side dish is super easy to prepare — just bake together egg noodles, butter, cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Then, top with crunchy cornflake crumbs. 

For the Noodle Kugel recipe, click here.

Root Vegetable Latkes with Beet Applesauce

Root Vegetable Latkes with Beet Applesauce
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

These root vegetables latkes served with a side of beet applesauce are the last of our savory latkes. Made of five root vegetables, these latkes are a healthy alternative to the traditional potato pancake.

For the Root Vegetable Latkes with Beet Applesauce recipe, click here.

Brisket

Brisket
Courtesy of Jason Goldstein

Kosher Jewish law dictates that meat and dairy shouldn’t be eaten during the same meal. However, when the Hanukkah meal includes meat, inexpensive, slow-cooked brisket is an ideal main course. Families usually have their own brisket recipe, but we are partial to this one. 

For the Slow Cooker Brisket recipe, click here.

Corned Beef

Corned Beef
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune

For another meaty Hanukkah main course, prepare this brown-sugar-glazed corned beef. This recipe plays with notes of sweet and savory and pairs well with latkes and applesauce. 

For the Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef recipe, click here.

Challah

Challah
Photography and Styling by Esty Wolbe

It’s not a Jewish feast without at least one challah. This traditional braided egg bread is light, tender and totally able to be baked at home. Challah tastes even better when smeared with butter and dunked into some warm soup.

For the Best Challah Ever recipe, click here.

Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup
Courtesy of McCormick

There’s no better first course on a Jewish holiday table than a big bowl of matzo ball soup. Matzo balls are made by combining matzo meal with eggs, baking powder and some schmaltz. Roll them into balls and boil in chicken stock for 45 minutes or so. 

For the Matzo Ball Soup recipe, click here.

Tzimmes

Tzimmes
Courtesy of Ronnie Fein, provided by Kosher.com

Tzimmes is most closely associated with Rosh Hashanah, but it’s an all-around holiday favorite. It’s made by slowly stewing carrots with dried fruits like dates and raisins; other root vegetables like yams are also common. They’re cooked down with honey and spices until tender and sticky with glaze. 

For the Tzimmes recipe, click here.

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

As mentioned, oil is one of the foundational ingredients in Hanukkah cooking. This tapenade recipe moves the focus back from at-home frying to the oil itself. Pair it with crackers, plain crostini or a sliced baguette.  

For the Olive Tapenade recipe, click here.

Halloumi

Halloumi
Courtesy of McCormick

Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and is frequently found on Hanukkah tables in the Mediterranean region. As opposed to most other cheeses, which simply melt when exposed to high heat, this dense, fresh white cheese sears to a golden brown. You can serve it simply sliced and seared on both sides as part of a meatless sandwich. 

For the Grilled Halloumi and Veggie Sandwiches recipe, click here.

Bourekas

Bourekas
Photography and Styling by Jennifer Chetrit, provided by Kosher.com

Bourekas are a classic Turkish pastry and a popular Hanukkah dish among Sephardic Jews. To make bourekas, wrap a savory filling in flaky phyllo dough then brush it with butter and bake. Popular fillings include ground meat, cheese, eggplant and spinach. This recipe calls for apples

For the Apple Bourekas with Silan Sesame Drizzle recipe, click here.

Babka

Babka
Courtesy of West of the Loop

Babka very well might be the most decadent of all Jewish desserts. Start with a buttery brioche-like dough. Roll and braid with any of a wide variety of fillings (think chocolate, hazelnut spread or cinnamon sugar). Tuck into a loaf pan, douse with sugar syrup and bake. Like most decadent desserts, babka is best enjoyed warm. 

For the Cinnamon Babka recipe, click here.

Cheese Pastries

Cheese Pastries
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune; Mark Graham / food styling

Dairy is another symbolic Hanukkah staple. This cheese pastry recipe is named after Judith, a pioneering woman who reportedly charmed her way into an enemy Babylonian camp with cheese and wine then beheaded the enemy general when he passed out.

For the Judith Cheese Pastries recipe, click here.

Ricotta Latkes

Ricotta Latkes
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune; Mark Graham / food styling

Latkes do not have to be savory, they can also be sweet. These mini ricotta latkes served up with a side of sour cherry sauce are the ideal candidate for a holiday breakfast or brunch. 

For the Mini Ricotta Latkes and Sour Cherry Sauce recipe, click here.

Blintzes

Blintzes
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune; Mark Graham / food styling

Blintzes are thin crepes rolled up with either a sweet ricotta or fruit-based filling and pan-fried. They are delicious served with breakfast or brunch but also can be layered and topped with a sweetened sour cream mixture to be made into a casserole, or in this case, a French toast casserole.

For the Blintz French Toast Casserole with Blueberry Sauce recipe, click here.

Lemon Olive Oil Ice Cream

Lemon Olive Oil Ice Cream
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Olive oil is a celebrated part of Hanukkah, and this olive oil ice cream is a great way to work it into dessert. Just because Hanukkah is observed during the winter does not mean you cannot enjoy a rich and chilly bowl of homemade ice cream

For the Lemon Olive Oil Ice Cream recipe, click here.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

If not up for ice cream, incorporate olive oil into a celebratory lemon cake. This recipe includes added instructions for a lemon glaze and whipped cream topping. Although this recipe involves putting together your own batter, there are plenty of other ways you can upgrade a basic boxed cake mix.

For the Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe, click here.

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