close up photo of latkes with sour cream and chives

Recipes for Hanukkah

The ever-popular potato latke heads the list of traditional, oily Hanukkah treats.

On Hanukkah is it customary to eat foods that are either fried in oil or made with cheese.

The fried foods custom recalls the miracle of Hanukkah, which centered around oil (one cruse lasting for eight days). Latkes (fried potato pancakes) are traditional, topped with applesauce or sour cream, but there are many creative variations to the pancakes and the toppings. Other fried foods for Hanukkah include sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and other kinds of fritters.

The cheesy foods tradition is based on a story from the apocryphal Book of Judith which takes place during the time of the Maccabean revolt that we commemorate on Hanukkah. In it, an Assyrian warrior named Holofernes besieges the town of Bethulia, and though Bethulia’s elders are ready to surrender, Judith, a widow, enters the Assyrian camp and gives Holofernes salty cheese to make him thirsty and wine to make him drunk. After he becomes intoxicated, she seizes his sword and beheads him, bringing the head back to her village in a basket. The next morning when the Assyrian troops found the headless body of their leader, they fled in terror. While a severed head is not the most appetizing image, we honor Judith’s victorious and brave use of cheese by incorporating the dairy product into our Hanukkah menus.

Find even more Hanukkah recipes here.


How to Make Perfect Latkes (Video)
The One Trick You Need to Make Better Latkes
Easy Latkes
Parsnip Latkes
Sweet Potato Latkes
Gingered Sweet Potato Latkes
Curried Sweet Potato Latkes
Sweet Potato Latkes with Toasted Marshmallows
Grilled Cheese Latkes
Beet and Sweet Potato Latkes
Japanese-Style Latkes

Pulled Brisket-Topped Latkes
Green Latkes
French Onion Latkes
Loaded Baked Potato Latkes
Colorful Veggie Latkes
Cajun Potato Latkes
Cheese Latkes
Coconut Latkes

Learn more about why we eat latkes on Hanukkah from The Nosher.

Latke Toppings

Basil Pesto
Pear and Ginger Compote

Cranberry Applesauce

Doughnuts and Other Fried Treats

Two jelly donuts (or sufganiyot) for Hanukkah sit beside a cutting board and powdered sugar.

Jelly Doughnuts
Peanut Butter Jelly Doughnuts
Bimuelos, honey drizzled fritter
Deep Fried Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Babka Doughnuts

Read about the history of Hanukkah doughnuts from The Nosher.

Savory Fried Foods

A bowl of tostones, or fried plantains, which are often eaten during Hanukkah.

Torzelli, deep-fried curly endive
Tostones, fried plantains
Mozzarella in Carrozza, a fried cheese sandwich
Beer-Battered Pumpkin Rings

Click here for eight more Jewish fried foods from around the world to enjoy during Hanukkah.

Non-Fried Hanukkah Desserts

Four frosted sugar cookies are on a plate. The cookies are each shaped like a Star of David and decorated with Hanukkah motifs, like a menorah. The cookies are all blue and white.

Ultimate Hanukkah Cookies
Jelly-Filled “Sufganiyot” Cupcakes

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes
Hanukkah Cookies
Chocolate Covered Hanukkah Oreos
Bourban Pecan and Chocolate Gelt Pie
Spiced Hot Chocolate, made with leftover Hanukkah gelt

Click here for more Hanukkah recipes from The Nosher.

Explore Hanukkah’s history, global traditions, food and more with My Jewish Learning’s “All About Hanukkah” email series. Sign up to take a journey through Hanukkah and go deeper into the Festival of Lights.

Discover More

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Hanukkah

Lesser-known facts about the Festival of Lights.

What You Need to Know About the Hanukkah Story

The Maccabean revolt and the miracle of the oil.

Why the Maccabees Aren’t in the Bible

The books that tell the Hanukkah tale didn't make it into the Hebrew Bible -- but they are in the Catholic one.