Essential Foods for a Hanukkah Party

For many families, Hanukkah parties are a well-loved holiday tradition. They provide a chance to get together with friends and family, and to celebrate this festive season. However, no Hanukkah party is complete without the appropriate foods. Try these traditional and not-so-traditional foods for your next Hanukkah party.

Potato Latkes: Perhaps one of the most popular Hanukkah foods is the potato latke. These crisp and traditional favorites are almost never missing from a holiday feast. Made from batter prepared with grated potatoes and onions, latkes are fried in oil and make an irresistible addition to any Hanukkah meal. Symbolically, latkes are a reminder of the oil pitcher in the Hanukkah story, and so have a deeper meaning to those who celebrate this holiday.

Sufganiyot: This traditional dish is a doughnut made from flour, sugar, cinnamon, yeast, margarine, and egg yolk. Once fried, the doughnut is filled with jelly and topped with powdered sugar, creating a sufganiyot. This particularly delicious food is hard to resist for any and all guests at a Hanukkah party.

Spinach Noodle Kugel: Often served with latkes, this item is made with kugel, fresh onions, and spinach. It is fairly economical to make, so you won’t have to spend a lot to fill your guests’ bellies. Spinach noodle kugel is well-loved by many, and makes a wonderful addition to any holiday gathering.

Loukoumades: These fried honey puffs are delicious enough to make year-round, but are typically reserved for Hanukkah. They are excellent dipped in honey or sugar, and should be eaten as soon as they are made. They do not keep well and certainly should be consumed within 48 hours.

Dough Balls: The Feast of Lights wouldn’t be complete without these Hanukkah snacks. These little things are made by simmering a combination of apple juice, margarine, and flour. This automatically clumps together to form a ball. The half-formed dough is then combined with beaten eggs and spooned into hot oil. The dough fluffs up into brown puff balls which taste great with honey and chopped nuts. They can also be served with shredded coconut and hot marmalade, chocolate sauce, cinnamon and sugar, or whatever else you can think of.

Hanukkah Brisket: This traditional dish is cooked very slowly and is made from onions, garlic, red wine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and beef. The gravy for the brisket is made with seasonings and water.

Herb Baked Salmon: Usually cooked with cheese, this salmon dish is traditional at Hanukkah. It can take a while to make but it’s well worth the effort.

Marshmallow Dreidels: Children will especially enjoy these creative little treats. Use icing to glue a chocolate kiss to the bottom of a marshmallow, then push a toothpick or licorice stick into the marshmallow from the top. The dreidels can be iced with letters or Hanukkah symbols, if you like.

Hanukkah Cookies: Most cookie dough can be adapted to fit into a Hanukkah party quite easily. They can then be fashioned into any appropriate shape you desire, such as a menorah.

A note on kosher foods: For those interested in preparing a truly traditional Hanukkah celebration, kosher foods are a necessity. The good news is, with the proper ingredients and appropriate preparation, any of the foods above can be kosher. But you’ll have to pay attention to packaging. Beware of shopping at bulk food stores as the packages have all been opened and the product is likely no longer kosher.

There are many other foods that can be served at Hanukkah. Some of these are soups, such as cabbage soup, mushroom soup, farfel-potato dairy soup, chicken soup with Hanukkah noodles, or chicken soup with matzo balls. Others are traditional dairy dishes. Whether your party is a fancy one or an intimate gathering of family, there are many different foods that can make your Hanukkah festivities more memorable for all.