Foods to Celebrate
Hanukkah, the weeklong festival of light, is a time for family and friends to get together, exchange gifts, gamble with the dreidel for coveted chocolate coins, and of course, eat. Here, we offer entrees, sides, and desserts to mix and match for the perfect holiday menu. Kosher law prohibits serving meat and milk in the same meal—all the options here are dairy-free or come with ideas for substitutions.
Classic Potato Latkes
Celebrating the miracle of oil that burned for 8 nights often means a menu of heavily fried foods—not exactly a healthy Hanukkah. Instead, a hot pan and a little olive oil produce golden, crispy pancakes that aren’t greasy.
Spiced Beet and Carrot Soup
Omit the yogurt topping if you prefer not to mix meat and milk in your Hanukkah menu.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Dill Cream
Give fish time to absorb aromatic herbal and citrus essence while it cooks, in an ovenlike environment, to the perfect tenderness. And because it stays covered, the fishy odors won't fill the house.
Fried Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
Cauliflower is roasted with olive oil until deep golden (it’s a tradition to eat foods cooked in oil on Hanukkah), then served with tahini and pomegranate seeds—familiar foods in Jewish cuisine.
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins
Sautéing the broccoli rabe mellows the bitterness, and sweet golden raisins add a pop of color. You can also add toasted pine nuts or pecans.
Beer-Braised Brisket with Onion Jam
The secret to a succulent grand finale for this brisket recipe starts with low, moist heat. After braising, the meat is chilled in the cooking liquid overnight; then the brisket is sliced and reheated in the rich, meaty cooking liquid to guarantee that every savory bite is juicy.
Chicken-Matzo Ball Soup
For a shortcut version of this dish, use unsalted chicken stock instead of making your own.
Rustic Apple Tart
The beauty of this tart is how unfussy it is—purchased piecrust dough draped over a pile of golden sautéed apples. It can bake in the oven as you prepare the latkes.
Shredded apple in the pancake adds moisture and a traditional apple flavor (latkes are typically served with applesauce).
Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens
A slow braise in your slow cooker keeps the pot roast tender and juicy—a star dish for the first night of Hanukkah.
Baked Chocolate Mousse
This baked mousse folds non-dairy whipped topping into the batter, so you can pair with any meat entrée for a kosher menu.
Spicy Maple Turkey Breast with Quick Pan Sauce
A simple, beautiful turkey entrée will pair well with any dish on your Hanukkah menu.
Easy Braised Brisket
Forget your aunt’s boiled shoe leather brisket, this brisket is simmered until meltingly tender in tomatoes and kalamata olives. With only 5 ingredients, it’ll be a go-to favorite.
Golden Potato Latkes
A touch of lemon juice keeps the raw shredded potato from oxidizing and lends extra flavor to the latkes.
Upside-Down Fudge-Almond Tart
Delight your guests with a decadent, chocolaty tart. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for the rest of Hanukkah (if they last that long).
Coconut Cardamom Macaroons
After candle lighting, presents, and games, a small, sweet bite is the perfect finish to your Hanukkah meal.
Winter Citrus, Escarole, and Endive Salad
A bright, colorful salad will star on your Hanukkah table.
Curried Butternut Squash Latkes
Classic potato latkes get golden color from butternut squash. A crisp apple salsa adds freshness and heat.
Create an apple-themed menu with this silky soup (flavored with fresh apples and apple cider), potato-apple latkes, a simple salad, and a rustic apple tart for dessert.
This beautifully braided, chewy egg bread is a mainstay of the Jewish Sabbath table, but few have time to make one from scratch every week. The holidays are a great time to put in the extra effort and give this wonderful recipe a try―you won't regret it. Go ahead and get braiding, and then slowly pull apart this sweet, fluffy bread piece by piece when it's fresh out of the oven. It's a large loaf, but don't worry; leftovers make some of the best French toast you've ever had.
Greek Cod Cakes
Try cod cakes instead of crab cakes for dinner. This delicious Mediterranean-riff tastes great and takes only 45 minutes to prepare.
Moroccan-Spiced Baby Carrots
Warm spices like cumin and cinnamon play deliciously off the sweetness of the carrots.
Grilled Fig Toast
Who knew toast could be so delicious? Brushed with butter, dipped in sugar, and grilled, the bread (a nice enriched challah) becomes almost brûléed.
Loukoumades with Honey-Orange Sauce
Light and airy morsels of dough bathe in a citrus- and spice-infused honey syrup. These irrestistibly tender Greek fritters fry up delicate and light, making for a delicious breakfast or dessert.
Green Beans with Shallots and Hazelnuts
This quick, elegant side pairs well with latkes or any main dish.
Cheese and Chive Challah
The traditional yeasted egg bread is enriched even more by adding cheese and fresh chives to the dough. We love the flavor of fontina, but Gruyère or another Swiss cheese would also work. Allowing the dough to rise 3 times provides a fluffy, airy texture just like the breads you can buy at the bakery. At only 160 calories a slice, this festive bread is a great option when you're looking to mix things up without going too overboard. Get the kids involved when it's time for braiding, as the best part is watching the dough come to life.
Winn's Fig and Pecan Rugelach
This is a gluten-free variation of the traditional Jewish pastry. Filled with fig preserves, pecans, and brown sugar, they are the perfect treat for a Hanukkah celebration.
Quinoa with Dried Cherries and Pistachios
You can serve this herby, fruity side at room temperature or chilled.
Date and Almond Truffles
This dessert is for those at the table who want just a little something sweet. Store truffles in an airtight container for up to five days.
Swoon over our deceptively lighter version, which removes a pound of butter and 2 cups of sugar from the original.
Chicken with Olives and Lemons
This Mediterranean-inspired dish is ready in under an hour. Pair with latkes and a simple Greek salad for a light, beautiful Hanukkah menu.
Winter Salad with Roasted Beets and Citrus Reduction Dressing
Start your Hanukkah celebration with a crisp Boston lettuce salad and earthy roasted beets. Omit the goat cheese if you prefer not to mix meat and milk on your menu.
Root Vegetable Latkes with Beet Puree
A puree of beets and fresh apples makes a lovely garnet-colored sauce for the latkes.
Fennel and Spinach Soup with Roasted Pepper Yogurt
You can serve this light, bright-tasting soup hot or at room temperature–or if you want to get a head start, make it ahead and serve chilled.
The vivid garlic-and-herb vinaigrette contrasts with the sweet carrots.
Israeli Cauliflower with Panko
You can use the garlicky panko mixture in this recipe to dress up other steamed vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or green beans. But we like it especially in this cauliflower dish.
Butternut Squash Leek Soup
Start off your Hanukkah meal with a luscious butternut squash soup.
Applesauce is a classic accompaniment to latkes. Pulse cooled applesauce in a food processor for a smoother texture, if you like.
Parsnip-Potato Latkes with Horseradish Cream
The bite of horseradish in the sour cream is a perfect contrast for the sweet carrot and parsnip in this latke variation, but skip it if you prefer a strictly kosher menu that doesn’t mix meat and milk.
Because Hanukkah commemorates a miracle involving oil, fried foods are traditional. In Israel, jelly donuts called soufganiyot are one of the most popular Hanukkah treats. But deep-frying isn’t exactly the Cooking Light way, so we created this baked version―essentially a fluffy sweet roll filled with jam and topped with powdered sugar. Use your favorite flavor of jam, or try a more exotic filling like chocolate ganache or dulce de leche.
Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles
Tender beef short ribs are served over wide egg noodles to sop up that delicious sauce.
Double-Herb Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Simple roast chicken is an easy, crowd-pleasing holiday entrée, served here with fresh herbs and potatoes that absorb juices from the chicken as they roast. Pair with crisp-tender green beans and a root vegetable soup.
Green onions have less bite than regular onions and add color to these latkes. Egg whites keep the pancakes light and crispy.