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Delicious Hanukkah Recipes for a Festive Holiday

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As the festival of lights approaches, we are thrilled to bring you these Hanukkah Recipes for a Festive Holiday with traditional and not-so-traditional meal ideas. In this special blog post, we will delve into the rich traditions and celebrations of Hannukah, exploring what Hanukkah is and how to celebrate it. Plus, find beautiful ideas for holiday table decor, and, of course, mouthwatering food ideas for a truly unforgettable feast.

View of latke's with sour cream and herbs on a plate served for Hanukkah.

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What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the ancient Hewbrew reclamation of their Jerusalem temple after occupation by the Syrian-Greek empire.

If you’ve ever found yourself curious about the essence of this joyous festival, you’re in for a treat. Hanukkah is a radiant celebration steeped in history lasting for eight nights. This cherished Jewish festival commemorates the miracle of the menorah oil that burned for eight days in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem.

Hanukkah is a time for family, reflection, and the sharing of light, both metaphorically and quite literally through the lighting of candles. Before we prepare to dive into the culinary delights associated with Hanukkah, let’s first illuminate the essence of this beautiful festival that brings communities together in a tapestry of tradition, faith, and festivity.

The Meaning of Hanukkah

Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew, and commemorates a pivotal historical event. The story unfolds during the Maccabean Revolt, when a small group of Jewish rebels, led by Judah Maccabee, overcame the oppressive rule of the Seleucid King Antiochus IV.

Upon reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Maccabees discovered only a single cruse of oil—enough to light the menorah for just one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight consecutive days, allowing the Jews to rededicate the Temple.

This miraculous event lies at the heart of Hanukkah, and the festival’s commemoration involves the lighting of the menorah, adding one candle for each night, alongside festive traditions, delicious Hannukah recipes, and joyous gatherings that celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.

How to Celebrate Hanukkah

In addition to both savory and sweet Hanukkah recipes, celebrating the festival comes with its own traditions. Here are a few:

1. Lighting the Menorrah:

The nine-candle menorah symbolizes the eight days and nights the oil burned in the holy temple. A more complete explanation of the celebration can be found at, “The Hanukkah Story.

On the first night of Hanukkah, the leftmost candle on the menorrah is lit. On the second night, families light two candles on the left; on the third night, families light three – and so on and so forth until all eight candles have been lighted. Often, households will place the menorah in a window to light the evening.

2. Spinning the Dreidel

This game using a spinning top called a dreidel that has Hewbrew letters on each side. This game is enjoyed by children and adults during Hanukkah. Once the dreidel is spun, players guess which side will land up, each corresponding to a different action. Tokens used in play are often candy or gelt.

Here’s how to play:

YouTube video

3. Frying Food

Fried dishes, like potato latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) are traditional Hanukkah recipes that serve as a reminder of the micracle of the Hanukkah story and the oil that did not run out.

While traditional latkes are made with potatoes, you can get creative by substituting sweet potatoes, leeks, chives, scallions, shredded carrots, kale, and even chard. For more ideas, this story is a great tutorial: How to Make Latkes with Celery and Herbs.

4. Giving Gifts

Gelt (chocolate coins) is the original gifts exhanged during Hanukkah. Today gifts (and gelt) are often given during the holiday. Some families exchange gifts every night and others on one evening.

Hanukkah Table Decor Ideas

Create a festive holiday table with simple yet gorgeous Hanukkah centerpieces, DIY napkin ideas, and decor in traditional blue and white. Create a magical experience for friends and family by taking time to create a beautiful table.

Star of David Place Settings

star of david place settings

“Tie a few leafed branches into a Star of David shape for an inexpensive addition to your Hanukkah table. It makes a gorgeous statement atop bright plates and plain white cloth napkins ($10, Target). To make it, trim extra leaves from the stems, leaving a few leaves just at the tips. Stem-color twine keeps everything in place.”

Star of David Napkin Rings

Hanukkah Theme Blue Table Setting

“Add a personal touch to your Hanukkah table with these DIY napkin rings. To give the napkin ring a 3D effect, hand draw the Star of David, then use a crafts knife ($5, Michaels) to cut out half the shape and fold along the centerline.”

Star of David Hanukkah Serving Dishes

Hanukkah Macaroons on serving platter

“Skip purchasing dishes specifically for the holiday. Breathe new life into a plain white serving tray or cake pedestal with strips of foil tape ($3, Walmart). Cut strips thin and lay in Star of David pattern. To create sharp points, cut ends of the tape at an angle. When the treats are finished, the tape peels off effortlessly.”

Simple White-and-Blue Setting

simple white-and-blue setting

Lighten up Hanukkah’s traditional color scheme by introducing the signature blue in small doses, such as a casual striped cotton tablecloth, a star-embroidered napkin, and everyday china. Scatter the table with clear votive holders ($1, Michaels) filled with candles or white carnations.”

Fine China Table Setting

gold and blue fine china table setting

“Break out the fine china and crystal for an elegant Hanukkah evening celebration. On top of the formal place setting, present each guest with a thoughtful gift wrapped in rich blue and gold.”

Scatter Chocolate Coins and Dreidels Along the Center

Hanukkah Table Decor Ideas

“Keep your youngest guests entertained with treats and toys in the form of chocolate coins and dreidels, which also double as beautiful decor. As they engage with these components of the table setting, you can take the time to explain the symbolic significance of each.”

Traditional Hanukkah Recipes

Latkes are as iconoic to the Jewish celebation of Hannkkah as is the Menorah. The small potato pancakes, fried in oil and dipped in apple sauce or sour cream are one of the most popular dishes served during this eight-night holiday.

But favorite traditional dishes also include sufganiyot, fried custard or jelly-filled doughnutsh, brisket, kugel, and Hannukah gelt.

Hanukkah Recipes to Try

Here you will find both traditional Hanukkah recipes and the not-so-traditional. All are mouthwateringly delicious and make for a festive holiday!

Hanukkah Recipes for Festive Gatherings

Mouthwatering holiday recipes to celebrate a season of light in an extraordinarily delicious way!

More Recipes and Ideas

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