tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah and Jewish holidays
Photo credit Shannon Sarna

The Best Tzimmes Recipe

A classic holiday recipe you will make again and again.

Tzimmes was always a staple on my grandmother’s Rosh Hashanah table growing up, but I was never much of a fan. It was mushy. It had prunes (ick). But who am I to questions such an iconic dish of the Jewish people? And so despite some lukewarm feelings about this dish, I did try to recreate the dish several years ago for the Jewish new year. Guess what: I failed miserably.

Luckily, my friend and colleague Gloria Kobrin from Kosher by Gloria offered to teach me in her New York City kitchen. Her recipe takes two days to prepare and is a beloved family recipe from her great-great grandma who brought it over to the U.S. from Belarus.

You can watch me and Gloria make her classic family recipe below. But let me say this: It was truly, insanely delicious — nothing like the tzimmes I remember from my childhood. Since that first introduction from Gloria, I have made this recipe nearly every year; it’s rich, sweet, not overly spiced, and a perfect dish every time. Find Gloria’s recipe for tzimmes below.

Want to try some other varieties of tzimmes?

Classic Tzimmes

Thanksgiving Tzimmes

Moroccan-Inspired Tzimmes with Saffron, White Wine and Chicken

Lamb Tzimmes

Healthy Tzimmes

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Photo credit Shannon Sarna

The Best Tzimmes Recipe

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2 from 1 review

This passed-down family recipe produces a rich and flavorful sweet stew for Rosh Hashanah, Passover or anytime you need a taste of Jewish comfort.

  • Total Time: 5 hours + chilling overnight
  • Yield: 1012 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 lb sweet potatoes
  • 2 lb Russet potatoes
  • 1 lb pitted prunes
  • 1 lb baby carrots, or whole carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 lb flanken
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, divided
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice, divided
  • water, to cover

Instructions

  1. Place 1-2 pieces of flanken on the bottom of a casserole dish. Scatter half of the sweet potatoes, white potatoes, prunes and carrots over the meat.
  2. Sprinkle half the brown sugar and lemon juice over this layer. Place the remaining flanken on top and cover with all remaining ingredients.
  3. Fill the casserole dish with water until the ingredients are barely covered. Bring to a boil on top of the stove and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cover casserole. Simmer ingredients for 90 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Carefully, remove meat, potatoes, carrots and prunes from the gravy. Arrange them in an oven-to-table serving dish. Pour gravy in another container. Place both in fridge overnight.
  6. The next day, preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the dish with the meat and vegetables, and the container of gravy from fridge. With a slotted spoon, remove the thick layer of fat that will have formed over night. Taste gravy. Add more brown sugar and/or lemon juice depending on your taste. Pour gravy over meat and vegetables.
  7. Place the dish in oven and bake for 2-3 hours uncovered. Baste constantly until gravy has thickened and glazed the tzimmes. If the top layer begins to brown too much, cover the dish lightly with foil and continue to cook. Serve hot. 

Notes

This dish can be cooked, cooled completely and frozen.

  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4.5 hours + chilling overnight
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stew
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi

14 comments

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Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

    • The Nosher

      Hi Marsha, we have not tested this recipe in an Instant Pot but please let us know how it turns out if you do. Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Andrea Lyn

    I don’t have my grandmother’s recipe bc, of course, she never wrote it down and I try to approximate what she and my mom cooked with pretty yummy results. Your recipe is kind of difficult for me—too much water, etc. and flanken costs too much to use 3 lbs. I have good success/taste using a chuck roast, seasoned with a little salt/pepper/lots of garlic, a couple lbs. cut up, browned with chopped fennel (I can’t eat onions or carrots) on top of the stove and then adding some cut up white and sweet potatoes, parsnips, handful of prunes, half a can of pineapple chunks, handful of brown sugar, lots of lime juice, maybe a little tomato paste and chopped garlic. Cook at low temp—maybe 300F in a covered cast iron pot for several hours. Check occasionally and stir–don’t let it stick, can add juice from pineapple, and it’s done when it looks sort of well done, and smells done/amazing–maybe 4+ hours–eat the next day bc it tastes better. Add more garlic, fruit, lime juice to taste–can add after a few hours.






  • Yehudit Hannah Cohn

    Hi, I think you’ve left out a word in Step 7:
    “Place the dish in oven and bake for 2-3 uncovered.”
    Hours, I’m guessing?
    Shana tova!

    • The Nosher

      Thanks for flagging this. It is 2-3 hours and we’ve updated the recipe. Enjoy! Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Noreen Berger

    How thick should the flanken be for this recipe – 2” ? I have to special order flanken and my butcher asks me how thick I want the slabs.

  • Shannon Sarna

    I would say about 1″, but I think it would work no matter the thickness.

  • JoshGrillsItAll

    Andrea Lyn,

    I was surprised to see a complete lack of seasoning from the site’s version. I love your idea of using the covered cast iron pot for a good braise with the tomato paste and pineapple. And of course all braises, soups, chilis benefit from a day to allow the flavors to mingle.

  • Denise Sage

    I make it almost the same, no white potatoes.
    When the potatoes and meet start getting tender, I put matza Knadles made with fried onions, eggs, oil S&P onto to steam.
    The bomb!

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