Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated over eight nights each year. In addition to lighting the menorah and playing traditional games like dreidel, the celebration of Hanukkah includes the preparation and eating of certain festive foods. Central to the traditions of the holiday are dishes made with foods cooked in oil, a commemoration of the miracle of oil that occurs in the Hanukkah story. Traditional Hanukkah dishes include potato latkes, jelly donuts, and sufganiyot.
Latkes are a type of fried pancake usually made of grated potatoes, eggs, and flour. To prepare latkes for Hanukkah, potatoes and onions are grated and then combined with eggs, flour, and salt. The potato mixture is then formed into patties, which are then shallow-fried until golden-brown. Latkes are generally served hot with applesauce or crème fraîche as a topping.
Jelly donuts, called sufganiyot in Hebrew, are another traditional Hanukkah food made from deep-fried dough and filled with jelly or sweet cream. A circle of dough is deep-fried in oil, usually palm or vegetable oil, until golden-brown. Then it is filled with jam and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Bakers often add colorful confectionary decorations or allow children to decorate their own.
In addition to potato latkes and jelly donuts, there are a variety of other traditional Hanukkah foods. Kugel is a casserole made of boiled egg noodles, eggs, and either cottage cheese or farmer cheese. Coconut macaroons, a type of chewy cookie made of egg whites, sugar, and shredded coconut, are also a classic Hanukkah treat. For dessert, people often enjoy halvah, a confection made of sesame paste and sugar.
Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated with a variety of foods made with oil, to commemorate the miracle of oil that occurs in the Hanukkah story. Diversity in preparation and flavor makes Hanukkah a delicious holiday as well as a festive one. Potato latkes, jelly donuts, and a variety of other traditional foods provide an opportunity for families to come together in both celebration and shared good cheer.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.