The Jewish Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, is fast approaching (December 18 to 26, 2022). We’re looking forward to playing dreidel (and winning gelt!), lighting the menorah with loved ones, and, of course, all the delicious food. Whether you’re Jewish and keep kosher, are celebrating with someone who is, or are just looking to expand your culinary horizon, we’ve got 46 recipes here for you. The best part about celebrating for 8 nights? You can try them ALL.
If you’re unfamiliar, Hanukkah is a holiday commemorating Jewish triumph over invading Syrian forces that had been destroying Jerusalem around the second century B.C. After the Jewish people had successfully driven out the Syrian invaders, they went to rededicate the city’s Second Temple by relighting a menorah that was meant to be kept burning every night. Though they only had enough oil for one night, it stayed lit for eight, a phenomenon now known as the miracle of Hanukkah. To celebrate this miracle, Jewish people eat a number of foods fried in oil, the most well-known of which are potato latkes and jelly donuts called sufganiyot.
Another miracle that is often celebrated during Hanukkah is the story of Judith, a woman who enticed the leader of an opposing force with… cheese. As the story goes, she tricked her way into his confidence, then plied him with salty cheese and very strong wine. One thing led to another, and he passed out drunk, leaving her free to cut off his head and bring it back to her village in victory. To commemorate her bravery, many people choose to eat heavy dairy dishes, so we’ve included a number here, like our cheese blintzes, our noodle kugel, or our rugelach. Kosher rules forbid consuming meat and dairy within the same meal, but with 8 nights of celebrating, you can surely find time to enjoy these sweet treats.
Speaking of, let’s talk dinners. Brisket is traditional, and we’ve got 6 recipes here for you, ranging from classic to sweet and spicy (with gochujang!). If brisket seems like too much, roast chicken, lamb, and fish dishes like our coconut curry salmon, our Moroccan lamb tagine, or our maple mustard chicken legs are also always welcome on the table. Because it falls in December, Hanukkah is also a holiday that’s perfect for a number of warming dishes, like soups and stews. Check out our beef and barley soup, our carrot ginger soup, or our braised short ribs with 40 cloves of garlic for ideas, but as long as it’s kosher, anything goes.
This lightly fried, gorgeously dusted, low-key sugary jelly donut serves as a reminder that life can be sweet sometimes—which is exactly why we make it exclusively for the most festive of Jewish holidays. You can really fill the donuts with whatever filling makes you happy...as long as it's sweet.
Get the Sufganiyot recipe.
Apple cider adds a subtle sweetness to a classic brisket, and after letting it braise low and slow, it will be SO tender. Letting the potatoes and carrots cook with the brisket flavors them from the inside out, and the whole dish will be deeply savory. You're going to love these leftovers.
Get the Apple Cider Braised Brisket recipe.
The coconut milk and spice go so well together here, making a rich but not heavy sauce that is dairy-free and so so creamy. The salmon simmers in the milk, keeping it very tender and flaky and extra-flavorful. Spoon the sauce over the salmon a few times as it cooks to give it a nice coating.
Get the Coconut Curry Salmon recipe.
Make these mid-Hanukkah when you want to keep with some traditional ingredients, but also need a packable lunch. The chicken gets tossed in a hot honey you make yourself (which means you can adjust the heat if you want!) and becomes perfectly sweet and spicy.
You can use your favorite homemade sugar cookie dough or follow our lead and use a couple store-bought logs. These will turn out so cute, no one mind either way! These work with any small candy, from the mini M&M's we used here to Nerds or Skittles, so have fun with it.
Get the Sugar Cookie Dreidels recipe.
If you and your family are a fan of flavor and getting creative with your Hanukkah meals, this recipe is for you. It's the perfect blend of traditional and modern, sweet and spicy. When the meat is done cooking, reserve the broth and pour a little on top when serving—it's truly flavor central.
Crisp licorice-y fennel is best from winter to early spring, so for this Hanukkah-friendly salad, we paired it with wintery ingredients like juicy grapefruit, briny Kalamata olives, creamy goat cheese, and some rich toasted pine nuts. Skip the cheese if you like; it's still super-flavorful without it.
If you’re looking for a new, creative way to cook salmon, look no further. The great thing about this recipe (besides those black and white sesame seeds, ofc!) is it’s baked instead of pan-fried, and you can marinate the salmon the night before, making your Hanukkah meal come together extra fast.
Get the Spicy Sesame Salmon recipe.
Does anything impress quite the way braised short ribs do? They feel truly restaurant fancy, but here's a secret: Short ribs are pretty easy to make at home. This is the ideal dish to make for company when the weather's cold and you want to stay inside.
There's a good reason why this well-loved Ashkenazi Jewish dish is so popular year-round across brunch menus everywhere: Blintzes are decadent but delicate, creamy yet balanced. Our secret ingredient: nutmeg! It makes the cream taste richer without being too fatty, and tames the tartness of the fruit as well.
Get the Cheese Blintz recipe.
No Hanukkah celebration is complete without a big plate of crispy, craggly latkes. If you're more of a sweets fan but want to keep with tradition, we've got just the cookie for you. Our favorite part? A homemade apple caramel as a nod to the applesauce often enjoyed with potato pancakes.
Get the Latke Cookies recipe.
This recipe is a bit of a riff on a pasta puttanesca, using familiar ingredients such as capers, anchovies, and olives. But instead of sitting over a pot of simmering tomato sauce, I used sun-dried tomatoes to form a paste that, when combined with pasta water, is transformed into a luscious sauce—and it’s all made in one pan!
Get the One-Pan Tuna Pasta recipe.
A Jewish sweet braided bread loved by all, babka is stuffed, rolled, then baked with a variety of fillings. Chocolate babka tends to dominate the flavor popularity contest, but there's a certain appeal to a cinnamon babka that just can't be denied—which is why this recipe sneaks both into the mix.
Get the Chocolate Babka recipe.
This coconut ice cream is no joke. Not only is it dairy-free, but it's completely vegan too. It's ultra-creamy with a sweet coconut flavor that only gets better topped with toasted coconut. We love it with the real vanilla bean, but you can easily use an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract if you don't have any.
Get the Coconut Ice Cream recipe.
The cooking method here is one that we love using at Delish: First you sear the chicken in an ovenproof skillet to take on some crust, then you transfer it to a preheated oven to finish cooking. It saves you cleanup—one-pan for the win!—and cooks the chicken perfectly.
Get the Honey Garlic Chicken recipe.
Swiss rösti is essentially the fanciest potato latke you’ll ever eat, where the best part is the topping. We view it almost like a Hanukkah pizza. We love classic applesauce, but you can go fancy with a bit of lox, sour cream, fresh dill, and roe for an amazing treat for any Hanukkah celebration.
Get the Rösti recipe.
Canned coconut milk makes this flavorful soup super-creamy and rich while keeping it conveniently dairy-free. Just a tablespoon of fish sauce adds depth and makes this soup feel that much more special. A sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro at the end ties in all the flavors and makes it look ultra appealing. Want to up the presentation even more? Add crispy fried shallots and chili oil for that final chef’s kiss.
Get the Carrot Ginger Soup recipe.