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Hanukkah Dinner Recipe Ideas for a Complete Holiday Menu

Reviewed by Cookbook Author Karen Frazier
Hanukkah Brisket Dinner

Hanukkah is known for menorahs, gifts, dreidels, and latkes, but what should one eat when sitting down to celebrate the Jewish holiday with friends and family? Try these recipes to make this year's Hanukkah dinners delicious and memorable.

Hanukkah Main Dish Recipes

Looking for the perfect main dish recipe for Hanukkah? Consider any of the following.

Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is a staple of Jewish holiday meals, and there's nothing like the smell of a brisket cooking to let you know that it's time to celebrate. This dish is also great to make early and reheat in the oven. In fact, many people prefer when it's been reheated.

Beef Brisket
Serves: 10 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 3½ hours Total time: 3¾ hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pounds beef brisket
  • 3 yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Season the brisket with salt and pepper while you heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  3. Place brisket in the skillet and cook until the meat is a rich brown on the bottom.
  4. Flip the meat over and cook on other side until the meat is browned all over.
  5. Once browned, put brisket fat side up in a roasting pan and fill with enough beef broth to almost cover the roast.
  6. Add garlic and onions to pan.
  7. Cover and bake for about 3 hours.
  8. Add carrots, replace the cover, and bake for 30 more minutes.

Apricot Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken appears at many holiday meals, but this recipe adds a sweet twist with apricots and cherries. The onions help keep the dish savory, and this recipe pairs perfectly with latkes.

Apricot Chicken
Serves: 8 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 1¼ hours

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • ½ cup dried apricots
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Dash of seasoned salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the stove on high and sauté the onions lightly.
  3. Once onions are done, lay them across the bottom of a roasting pan, fully covering the bottom.
  4. Brush chicken with remainder of olive oil, and season with sea salt and a dash of seasoned salt. Then put chicken in roasting pan on top of onions.
  5. Roast chicken in oven for 20 minutes, then sprinkle apricots and cherries on top of chicken. Cover pan and put back in the oven for about 20-30 more minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are often found on the table at Passover dinners, but there's no reason not to serve them during Hanukkah. They're a great, hearty entree to warm you up on a winter night.

Lamb Shanks
Serves: 6 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 3 hours Total time: 3¼ hours

Ingredients

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher (coarse grained) salt
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bottle robust red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups water or beef broth
  • 4 bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Coat a large cast iron pot with olive oil, place on a burner at medium, and heat on stove until hot. Season lamb shanks with salt and then put them in the pot and brown them on all sides.
  3. Purée onions, carrots, celery, and garlic into a paste.
  4. Remove lamb shanks and discard fat from the bottom of the cast iron pot.
  5. Add more olive oil and the puréed vegetables. Season with salt to taste and sauté until they are brown and crust the bottom of the pot, but don't let them burn.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the wine, rosemary, and thyme. Cook until the wine has reduced to half, stirring frequently.
  7. Put the shanks in the pot and add in the water so that the shanks are submerged. Add the bay leaves, cover, and put the pot in the oven for 2 to 2.5 hours. Turn the shanks over halfway through, and check on them from time to time. If the water level lessens significantly, you may want to add more.
  8. Take off the lid and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

Side Dish Recipes for Hanukkah Dinner

Of course, you can't just have an entree. You need one or two side dishes to complete your meal. Try the recipes below to impress your guests.

Potato Latkes

No Hanukkah meal is complete without these potato pancakes. This latke recipe is a traditional one, producing warm, crisp latkes.

Potato Latkes

Kugel

This classic egg noodle casserole is a staple of Jewish holiday meals. With sugar and cottage cheese, it's both sweet and satisfying.

Homemade potato kugel
Serves: 10 Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 1½ hours

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
  • ½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Put the noodles in the baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, eggs, sugar, cottage cheese, sour cream, vanilla, and sea salt.
  4. Pour the mixture over the noodles.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the custard is set, 50 minutes to an hour. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into slices.

Couscous Pilaf

Couscous Pilaf is the perfect starch to balance any protein. Well-known dish in Middle Eastern countries, it can be flavored with a variety of fruits, vegetables and spices.

Braised Turnips and Radishes

Make a braise of roasted root vegetables for a delicioius veggie side.

Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots also make a delicious traditional holiday side dish.

Honey glazed roasted carrots

Dessert for Your Hanukkah Dinner

Of course, no dinner would be complete without the perfect dessert.

Sufganiyot

These delicious jelly donuts are a Hanukkah tradition.

Sufganiot
Serves: 12 Prep time: 1 hour Cook/rise time: 2 hours Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup milk, at 105°F to 110°F
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for sprinkling
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 cup currant jelly or jam
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar to the warm milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the egg and the egg yolk. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla, salt, and milk-yeast mixture.
  3. Working ¼ cup at a time, stir in the flour until an elastic ball of dough is formed.
  4. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and knead the doubh until it is smooth and elastic, about five minutes.
  5. Coat a bowl with oil, brush the dough with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough and knead on a floured surface four or five times. Roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness.
  7. Use a cutter to cut into 2-inch rounds. Cover the rounds and allow them to rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat 3 to 4 inches frying oil in a large pot to 375°F. Working in batches, fry the dough until it is golden on the outside, about 3 minutes. Turn and fry an additional minute.
  9. Drain on paper towels and cool until you can easily handle them.
  10. Use a dowel to make holes in the donuts and make space for the jelly. Pipe in the jelly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar as garnish.

Keeping Kosher

Some Jews keep kosher, or in other words, they follow religious dietary restrictions such as not eating pork or shellfish and not mixing dairy with meat during the same meal. Some Jews also only eat meat that is certified kosher to ensure that it was slaughtered according to Jewish custom. It's important to keep in mind that there are different levels of kashrut, or keeping kosher, and so which rules one follows can vary from person to person. If you are making Hanukkah dinner for someone, or making a dish to bring to their dinner, it is wise to ask ahead of time if there are any restrictions you will need to follow.

Home for Hanukkah

Meals are an integral part of any Jewish holiday celebration, and while there aren't many Hanukkah-specific foods besides latkes, there are still plenty of traditional holiday recipes to pick from. With all of these great recipes to try, you can have a delicious holiday meal.

Hanukkah Dinner Recipe Ideas for a Complete Holiday Menu