Rosh Hashanah: a time for family, introspection, a fresh start — and, for many of us, a time of intense stress, as we prepare to feed dozens of guests. But cooking for the High Holidays doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t have to be chained to your stove in the weeks beforehand. We’ve rounded up our favorite no-fuss recipes, tricks, and shortcuts — like simplifying classic dishes and embracing one-pot wonders — to help you stay zen during the festivities.
Simplify the Classics
Sure, the traditional recipes your family has been preparing for generations are delicious — but they also require a lot of time stirring pots, basting roasting meats, and schlepping around to numerous stores to gather ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to cut corners by turning to boxed goods — some of them are arguably as good as the from-scratch versions. Like matzah balls made with boxed mix, which is our lazy secret to quick, fluffy floaters, or these adorable easy apple pie cookies made with refrigerated pie crust, which drastically cuts down prep time.
By the way, if you’re in desperate need of a seasonal sweet fix, our honey-apple mug cake comes together in five minutes. You’re welcome.
So much time can be saved by finding the right supermarket — a one-stop shop will make your life way easier. Did you know you can buy your entire Rosh Hashanah dinner at Trader Joe’s? From challah to kosher chicken to vegan brisket, they’ve got you covered! Costco, too, has a great range of Rosh Hashanah staples, including an impressive selection of honey and a variety of kugels.
The best way to free yourself from your kitchen is to opt for one-pot dishes. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a long cook time means a lot of effort — usually, it’s the other way around. Just assemble the dish, dump it in the required cooking vessel, and leave it to do its thing while you focus on the important stuff, like a much-needed yoga class or, better yet, an early tasting of one (or all) of these three sweet and simple cocktails.
To go with our boxed matzah ball hack, try this one-pot chicken soup with seasonal veggies. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, bring it to a boil, then cover and let cook for 1 1/2 hours.
And while this crockpot sweet and sour brisket can take up to 10 hours to cook, it’s easily assembled in under half an hour, after which you can sit back and let the crockpot perform its magic.
If time isn’t your friend, this Georgian pomegranate chicken made in the InstaPot takes an hour, start to finish, and produces wonderfully tender, flavorful chicken.
The Freezer is Your Friend
There’s a certain smugness that comes from cooking parts of your menu in advance and then freezing them. It keeps that overwhelmed panic at bay, and many dishes actually benefit from having extra time to develop flavor. Follow our guide to Rosh Hashanah food prep for freezing dos and don’ts.