> Holidays > Chanukah > Cookbook

Easy Hanukkah Recipes

December 15, 2011 | by Sharon Matten

And miraculously fun too.

Here are some fabulously fun and delicious recipes that you can make for Chanukah. You can even make some of them in advance so that you can miraculously relax and enjoy your Chanukah meal with your family! Happy Chanukah!!

Puff Pastry & Potato Dreidels
with Double Caramelized Onions

We love Idaho potatoes – they taste great and are grown in the Midwest! Here’s a unique way to use our flavorful potatoes and your favorite Chanukah cookie cutters. I’m sure your family and friends will be wowed by these tasty Chankuah dreidels!

  • 2 pounds Idaho Potatoes (around 6 medium)
  • 1 large Vidalia or Sweet onion, finely diced (around 2 ½ cups)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or one frozen garlic cube)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large Vidalia or Sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted before using
  • flour for rolling puff pastry
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons warm water

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover pot and reduce burner temperature to low. Cook the potatoes covered for 45 minutes until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool completely. This step can be done a day in advance, just keep the potatoes in the refrigerator until ready to use. Peel the cooled potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and sugar and sauté until the onion is golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, around 20 minutes. You may need to reduce the temperature of the flame if the onion starts to burn rather than caramelize.

Using a fork or potato masher, mash the potatoes until there are no large lumps. Add the caramelized onions. Reserve the skillet from the onions – you will use it to caramelize the sliced onions. Mix the onions and potatoes until thoroughly combined. Add the salt and eggs. Stir until smooth with a fork, removing any remaining lumps.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Lightly flour a pastry board or mat. Roll out each sheet of the defrosted puff pastry dough to 9 ½ inches x 12 inches. Spread the prepared potatoes on one of the pastry sheets. Carefully place the second sheet of dough on top of the potatoes, gently pressing to adhere. Using a dreidel cookie cutter, carefully cut out rows of dreidel shapes from the dough. Place each dreidel on the prepared baking sheet.

Whisk the eggs and water together in a small bowl. Brush the dreidels with the egg. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in the reserved skillet. Add the thinly sliced onion and sugar. Sauté for approximately 20 minutes until the onions are caramelized.

Serve the Puff Pastry and Potato Dreidels on a bed of sliced caramelized onions for a beautiful Chanukah appetizer or side dish.

Note: To make these extra special – roll out an additional sheet of puff pastry dough. Using small Hebrew letter cookie cutters, cut out “nun”, “gimel”, “hey” (or “pey” if in Israel!), and “shin” shapes. Place on top of the unbaked dreidels. Brush with egg, then bake as directed above.

Hash Brown Potato Latkes

When making potato latkes one of the most time consuming tasks is peeling all the potatoes! Here’s a super speedy way to make “almost-from-scratch” latkes, with a “made-from-scratch” taste. No one will ever know that you didn’t slave in the kitchen for hours making these delicious latkes – and you’ll have time to enjoy them with your family! Now that’s one of the real miracles of Chanukah!

  • 1 lb Hash Browns (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • Canola Oil for frying

In a large bowl mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. In a large skillet, heat oil. Drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm with apple sauce or sour cream.

For more information and more variations of this recipe please go here or check out my Hash Brown Potato Latkes article in the Chicago Tribune Newspaper Syndication this month.

Tangy Glazed Corned Beef
(Great for the GFE – Gluten Free Eater)

This recipe is great for when life is crazy and you’re busily trying to get ready for Shabbat or a Holiday. Preparing it requires very little effort! To get melt-in-your mouth-tender, juicy, flavorful beef you boil the meat in a large pot of water for several hours, then make a simple glaze and bake it for a short time. It couldn’t be easier. I once made the mistake of trying to roast a corned beef. UGH, it was one of the worst things I have ever made – it was Dead Sea salty. Boiling the Corned Beef helps to remove a significant amount of the salt – so simple…and so delicious!

  • 4 pound corned beef brisket
  • 15 ounces mandarin orange preserves
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • non-stick vegetable spray

Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, cover the corned beef with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water completely. Recover the beef with fresh water. Return to heat and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook corned beef for an additional 2 ½ to 3 hours – until beef is tender. Drain water from the pot. Place the beef on the prepared baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl combine the orange preserves, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Spoon the sauce over the corned beef. After 15 minutes, remove the beef from the oven and spoon the sauce in the pan over the beef. Return the beef to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Slice the beef when completely cooled.


  • You can also use apricot preserves or duck sauce as a substitution for the mandarin orange preserves.
  • This roast slices best after being refrigerated for several hours – use a very sharp knife for best results.
  • You can freeze this roast. I recommend slicing the roast before freezing.

Painted Chanukah Cookies

Here’s a fun way for you to include kids of all ages in the Chanukah food preparations. This painted cookie recipe was given to me by my dear friend Hindy who used to make these cookies every Chanukah with her now-grown kids. These cookies really let the budding artist in everyone shine. You just paint the cookies with an egg yolk based “paint” which dries into a shiny glaze while baking. They’re beautiful and simple to make – a great addition to your Chanukah celebrations!!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • additional flour for rolling dough

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and the shortening. Add eggs one at a time, then add the orange juice and vanilla and mix until completely blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined and dough is formed.

Divide into dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until dough is chilled and easier to handle.

Roll out dough with floured rolling pin on floured board. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Paint with Cookie Glaze.

Bake 8-10 minutes on prepared cookie sheets. Makes a little over 1 pound of dough.

Painted Cookie Glaze

Use new or thoroughly washed paint brushes. You can divide the glaze or make a separate batch for each “paint” color. Use one paintbrush for each different color.

  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon water
  • assorted food colors.

Mix yolk, water and food coloring together in a small bowl. Paint the cookies!

Notes: I have four paint brushes so I let my girls pick four “paint” colors. We found that lighter/brighter colors work a little better than darker ones. We also found that if you would like to layer the colors, start with a lighter color on the bottom. Let it “dry” for a few minutes and then paint over it with your accent colors. Have fun!!


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