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17 Traditional Hanukkah Desserts That’ll Make You Shout L’Chaim!

Light the menorah, spin the dreidel and fry up the latkes! Then, enjoy these traditional Hanukkah desserts. From rugelach to honey cake, every generation will love these sweet treats.

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Sufganiyot is the traditional Hanukkah dessert in Israel. Deep-fried jelly donuts connect to the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights. Plus, powdered sugar faces look great on every age.

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Chocolate-Stuffed Dreidel Cookies

Chocolate-Stuffed Dreidel Cookies

One of our favorite Hanukkah desserts is fun for the whole family. Kids will love breaking up the candy bars used in this recipe. Have them make the Hebrew letters with icing and give a batch to their Hebrew school teacher. Extra credit!
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Homemade Gelt

Homemade Gelt

Giving chocolate coins to children, and sometimes to teachers, is a long-standing Hanukkah tradition. This homemade version of gelt uses a miniature muffin pan to mold the coins into shape. The sliced almonds add a nice crunch, but the chocolates can be left plain or topped with other ingredients like sprinkles, crushed peppermint candies or finely chopped candied ginger. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

This three-ingredient homemade version of traditional Hanukkah gelt (money) is perfect for kids to make together. This twist adds chopped nuts. Grab some mesh bags and ribbon and show me the gelt!


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Hanukkah Cookies

Butter and cream cheese go into this batter. Turn this into a family project by using a gingerbread man cookie cutter and decorating the cookie people to look like loved ones.
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Holiday Honey Cake

Thirty-five years ago, I gave a friend of mine a platter of my assorted home-baked Christmas cookies. The next day, she brought over slices of this delicious cake, which she made for Hanukkah. Naturally, we exchanged recipes and my family and I have been enjoying this moist and flavorful honey cake ever since! I top my cake with a creamy caramel glaze. —Kristine M. Chayes, Smithtown, New York

This traditional cake was probably on your Grandma’s table at every Jewish holiday. This cake even has a cup of coffee right in the recipe. Make this and make Bubbe proud.


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Pistachio-Cranberry Rugelach

Traditional rugelach gets dressed up for the holiday with pistachios, cranberries, and snow-white icing. Rich but not too sweet! — Deborah Hinojosa, Saratoga, California

It’s tricky to pronounce but not that tricky to make. Feel free to change up the rugelach filling and let little hands help with rolling up this traditional Hanukkah dessert.


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Vanilla & Cinnamon-Kissed Apple Latkes

Latkes are crispy fried pancakes, often made with potatoes. But this sweet version with apples, orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla falls in the dessert realm. —Candy McMenamin, Lexington, South Carolina

Savory potatoes and onions are switched out for sweet apples and cinnamon in this twist on the traditional latke recipe. Make these for breakfast, too. Vanilla ice cream optional.


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Noodle Kugel

Every Jewish family has a kugel story. Whether sweet or savory, the ingredients can vary wildly. Pair this noodle-based recipe with other traditional Jewish dishes.
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Honey-Nut Swirls

Puff pastry creates a quick and easy "dough" for pretty pinwheel-type cookies featuring two types of nuts. The flaky treats are hard to resist.—Sally Sibthorpe, Shelby Township, Michigan

Puff pastry is a time saver and let’s be honest—it’s just plain fun. Pour yourself a big cup of coffee and stuff a few in your face. It’s Hanukkah.


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Chocolate Babka

I love this chocolate babka. It's a rewarding recipe for taking the next step in your bread baking. Even if it's slightly imperfect going into the oven, it turns out gorgeous. Look at those swirls! —Lisa Kaminski, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

A Seinfeld episode called “The Dinner Party” elevated the chocolate babka to an almost mythical status. This traditional Hanukkah dessert originated in Poland and loosely translates to “little grandma.”


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Mom’s Hazelnut & Chocolate Bread Pudding

This bread pudding uses cubes of challah along with Nutella. You can use fat-free milk and cream to make it diet-friendly, or so you can eat twice as much.
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Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies

Mandelbrot in Yiddish literally means "almond bread." The twice-baked cookie made with oil and almonds dates back to 19th century Eastern Europe. There are many variations made of different dried fruits and nuts. My chocolate chip version is more modern-American. —Kimberly Scott, Kosciusko, Mississippi

Mandelbrot, aka Jewish biscotti, takes time. Chill and roll the dough. Bake as a loaf and bake again after it’s sliced. Chocolate chips replace the traditional almonds for kid appeal.


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Grandma's Raspberry Rugelach

I remember sitting on my great-grandmother's couch with a pad and pen in hand as she told me each ingredient and measurement for her special rugelach. Her recipe stands apart because it's a fun twist from typical versions. —Dalya Rubin, Boca Raton, Florida

Grandmas have been rolling and twisting this traditional Hanukkah dessert since the 18th century. Rugelach translates to “little twists” and has roots in Austria and Poland. Plan ahead and chill the dough overnight for better rolling.


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Matzo Toffee

Similar to the saltine-based Christmas dessert, this version is Jewish right down to the matzo. That’s right, I said matzo. It’s not just for Passover anymore.
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Chunky Apple-Cinnamon Cake

Three pounds of apples in this traditional Hanukkah dessert will most definitely keep the doctor away. Plus, it’s very easy to make. Win-win!
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Molly's Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes Cake

My husband and I are always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate Jewish traditions into our interfaith home. Rich with apples, carrots and sweet potato, this sweet and spicy cake is perfect for Rosh Hashanah or any fall holiday. —Molly Haendler, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

You either love tzimmes or hate tzimmes. There is no in-between. Sweet root vegetables and dried fruits make up this Ashkenazi stew. This twist turns it into a cake!


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Make-Ahead Tiramisu

Kids can layer the ladyfingers while you take an extra sip of the coffee liqueur that makes this classic Italian dessert, which means lift me up, perfect for Hanukkah. Try our favorite Jewish desserts.

Erica Landis
Meet Erica Landis: She started her writing career in Mrs. Kelly's second-grade class with a tear-jerking essay about a No. 2 pencil. In eighth grade, she went on to write herself and her friends into a 1980's General Hospital storyline. The notebook pages were passed around like wildfire. • NPR National Public Radio / Huffington Post / Scary Mommy / Wide Open Eats / Kveller / Ravishly / Café Mom / Today Show Parenting Team / Good Housekeeping Honoree