Hanukkah Recipes: Latkes, Applesauce, and Donuts

Custom dictates that Hanukkah is celebrated with a spread of fried foods, in commemoration of the miraculous oil that provided the victorious Maccabees with eight days of light. From classic potato latkes and spiced homemade applesauce, to sweet, flaky rugelach and more, these 16 decadent recipes make the Festival of Lights a tradition worth celebrating—no matter your religion.

Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

Applesauce is the perfect foil for these savory, golden fried pancakes, a mix of starchy potatoes, flour, and eggs. Get the recipe for Potato Pancakes »

Bubbe’s Latkes

These potato pancakes, Bubbe’s original recipe from Avram Honig’s cookbook Feed Me Bubbe, taste just as good right out of the frying pan as they do reheated from the freezer.

Holiday Applesauce

A mix of baking apples, such as Cortland and Macintosh, and eating apples like Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious, provides a texture of plump, soft apple chunks suspended in a rich, satiny sauce. Try a mix of varieties such as Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn or whatever you find.

Jelly-Filled Donuts (Berliners)

If piping the jelly into these donuts proves challenging, use a paring knife to hollow out the side of the donut, making a cavity for the jelly.

Modernist Latkes

A creamy mashed potato filling is coated in instant mashed potato flakes and potato starch before being pan-fried to a flawless golden crust. Get the recipe for Modernist Latkes »

Rugelach (Cinnamon, Apricot, and Walnut Pastries)

The recipe for these flaky crescent pastries was inspired by one from Karmela Balo, owner of the Cari Mama bakery in Budapest. See the recipe for Rugelach (Cinnamon, Apricot, and Walnut Pastries) »

Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)

Based on a recipe from author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, this Cretan meze dish can be served hot or at room temperature.

Rugelach

These airy pastries have a dainty elegance due to their flakey cream cheese dough and compact crescent shape.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

Kugel—the creamy egg noodle casserole that’s a staple of Jewish holiday cooking&dmash;gets a Midwestern topping of cornflakes in this Thanksgiving side dish.

Funnel Cakes

These lacy doughnut-like treats, which one makes by pouring batter through a funnel into hot oil, were once known as “plow lines” and were served as a snack to field-workers. It’s believed that the old moniker may refer to the cake’s squiggly lines, which were thought to resemble the reins of a horse-drawn plow.

Nutmeg Doughnuts

Buttermilk gives these old-fashioned cake doughnuts their tangy appeal; a dusting of sugar and freshly grated nutmeg adds a spicy crunch. Get the recipe for Nutmeg Doughnuts »

Perfect Every Time Latkes

Don’t overcrowd the pan while frying these latkes, warns Roger Mummert, who gave this recipe to us and makes copious batches of them each year. See the recipe for Perfect Every Time Latkes »
The cranberries add a nice tangy twist to otherwise ordinary applesauce. See the recipe for Apple Cranberry Sauce »

Classic Latkes

Author Joan Nathan likes her latkes with applesauce; we find them equally delectable with sour cream. Alternating between onion and potatoes when grating keeps the potatoes from darkening. See the recipe for Classic Latkes »

Larry’s Firecracker Latke Poppers

These spicy latkes taste great served with sour cream and mango chutney, or plain, if you prefer. See the recipe for Larry’s Firecracker Latke Poppers »

Horseradish Applesauce

Fresh horseradish, grated just before using, is essential in this dish; bottled versions won’t give the sauce its assertive heat. Homemade applesauce is most effective for this recipe, though good prepared applesauce will do as well. See the recipe for Horseradish Applesauce »