30 Traditional Jewish Food Recipes Everyone Should Learn to Cook

From fluffy loaves of challah to crispy potato latkes, here are the traditional Jewish food recipes that everyone should learn to make.

Some of the best comfort food is traditional Jewish food. They don’t call matzo ball soup “Jewish penicillin” for nothing! Thankfully anyone can enjoy classic Jewish food. Here are 30 recipes that will taste like they’re straight out of Bubbe’s kitchen.

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Matzo Ball Soup

This recipe is worth the time and effort it takes for such a delicious and comforting meal. With the fluffy matzo balls, chicken, carrots, celery and onions, it’s got everything you want in a bowl of soup. Make it to help fight off a cold or just to have something cozy for a winter night.

Matzo ball soup is also a popular holiday food, from Shabbat to Passover, and can be served at your Seder alongside one of these Passover chicken recipes.

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Passover Popovers

This substitute for bread is perfect for sharing around the table during Passover. Made with only five ingredients, it’ll use up any leftover matzo cake meal you have in your pantry. Check out other dishes to serve alongside your popovers with these classic Jewish cookbooks.
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Easy Smoked Salmon

Gravlax, smoked salmon, lox…whichever iteration you love, there’s no denying this salt-cured fish is a welcome addition to any bagel, cracker or slice of toast. You can easily find different versions of the beloved salmon at your local grocer, but why not try your own hand at it with this shortcut recipe.
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Rainbow Cookies

Shannon Sarna, a home cook and editor at The Nosher, shares her family’s most beloved dessert: rainbow cookies. These classic New York treats are traditionally served in synagogues and at Jewish celebrations, but actually have Italian roots. To make, you bake three thin cakes, spread jam between them and coat with smooth melted chocolate.
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Potato Latkes

Whether you eat them with applesauce, sour cream or both, potato latkes are a staple that are enjoyed throughout the celebration of Hanukkah and beyond. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try topping them off with smoked salmon or poached eggs.
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Carving into a juicy, tender roast for family dinner will never get old. Especially when it’s a brisket that’s been braising for hours, so it basically melts in your mouth. Use the leftovers for delicious sandwiches all week long!
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Two words: one pot. That’s the only dish you’ll need to make shakshuka, a Middle Eastern and North African dish that features eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. And you can make it any time since it’s great for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
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There are a lot of delicious Jewish desserts out there, thankfully you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy any of them! Filled with fruity, sugary goodness, rugelach is a must-make for anyone with a sweet tooth. Grab a cup of coffee and try some of our favorite rugelach varieties.
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Chocolate Babka

Every grandmother has her own take on babka, and they’re all delicious. But we’re suckers for chocolate, so we had to try this special chocolate and cinnamon recipe flecked with orange zest. Other traditional fillings include nuts or dried fruits.
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Serve this classic dish for holiday meals and everyone will be raving about how good it is. Its sweet flavor comes from sweet potatoes, prunes, honey and brown sugar. This side is a great accompaniment to any of our Passover lamb recipes.
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Pickled Cucumber Salad

Jewish cuisine has always included lots of pickles. From homemade pickles to a jar from the grocery store, they can zest up any meal. This sweet and tart pickled cucumber salad makes a great side dish while giving a nod to the classic kosher dill.
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Honey Challah

This sweeter honey challah is studded with raisins and perfect for your Rosh Hashanah meal. The leftovers of this sweet bread are also great for challah French toast or bread pudding.
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Eaten during the holiday of Purim, these flaky pastries are as easy to make as they are delicious. Fill the center pockets with whatever you’d like, from apricot preserves to the traditional poppy seed jam.
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Homemade Bagels

Bagels are a staple at Jewish bakeries and delis. While they take some time and effort, they are a satisfying bake to try at home. Top them with some lox and cream cheese and you’re set!
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Beet Borscht

Some people call it fall; we call it “soup season.” And what better way to warm up when the temperature drops than with a piping-hot bowl of borscht? Add a dash of horseradish to the bright red soup for extra heat.
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If loving sufganiyot is wrong, we “donut” want to be right. The fluffy jelly doughnuts are filled with tart raspberry preserves, sprinkled with sugar and served warm. You’ll definitely be reaching for seconds (or even thirds!).
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Rustic Rye Bread

This rustic rye bread has an added sweetness to it from brown sugar and molasses, perfect as a side to a classic Jewish dish. Just add a touch of butter to a slice of bread and your meal will be complete.
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Coconut Macaroons

With only six ingredients, these chewy coconut macaroons are a beginner baker’s dream. Just stir everything together, drop dollops onto a cookie sheet and toss them in the oven. If you really want to indulge, dip the cooled cookies in melty chocolate. Yum!
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Mandelbrot (translated from German means “almond bread”) is similar to an Italian biscotti but uses no butter. These twice-baked cookies use oil instead and can be filled with the mix-ins of your choosing.
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Slow-Cooked Corned Beef

Put this in the slow cooker in the morning, and it’ll be ready by dinner time. Packed with red potatoes, carrots and onions, this corned beef dish will leave you with a full and satisfied stomach.
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Tabbouleh is a grain salad popular in Israel. It’s traditionally made with bulgur, but you can easily substitute other grains and starches like couscous, farrow or quinoa.
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Made with noodles or potatoes, kugel is a classic Jewish side dish. Sweet noodle kugel is rich and creamy, which makes it a nice treat to have on holidays and special occasions. Make it the way Bubbe might with this recipe.
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Cherry Cheese Blintzes

In only 30 minutes, you’ll have creamy blintzes you can serve for breakfast or dessert. Its sweet taste comes from a surprising filling of cottage cheese and cream cheese. Not a fan of cherries? No worries, this recipe is customizable to incorporate your favorite fruits like blueberries, strawberries or peaches instead.
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Ahhh, charoset. We don’t know if it’s the sweet apples, the crunch of the walnuts, or the scent of the spicy cinnamon that we love most. But what we do know is that it’s the perfect last bite to any meal, though it’s traditionally served during Passover.
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Forget the chips—we’re just here for the dip. And by dip, we mean hummus, that creamy chickpea-based spread that makes even raw celery taste delicious. Start with a classic base, then add in your favorite flavors to make some finger-licking variations.
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Jamie Thrower For Taste Of Home


Filled with cheese, bourekas are popular Sephardic Jewish pastries made from puff pastry or phyllo dough and often topped with sesame seeds. You can find them at many Jewish holidays, including Shavuot.

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Matzo Brei

Matzo brei is a favorite Passover food, but it’s definitely not just for Passover! This egg and matzoh scramble is the Jewish version of chilaquiles, and it can be strictly savory or a sweet-and-savory combo. Though usually served as a breakfast dish, matzo brei is so tasty and easy that I’d eat it any time of day.
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Matzo Meal Pancakes

Sometimes the week of Passover can feel more like a month, so it helps to have some classics to get you through. Enter matzo meal pancakes—like regular pancakes, but with kosher-for-Passover matzo meal. Whip up a batch of these for breakfast during Passover or any other time of year that you’re craving pancakes.
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Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home


There’s something so nostalgic about bialys. They take me back to the bagel stores in Detroit on Sunday mornings, the smell of fresh bagels and bialys wafting out the door. And while bialys may not be as well known as bagels, they are certainly beloved by those who do know them.

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Knishes, the elusive puffy dough balls stuffed with savory fillings, are the epitome of comfort food. They’re sold in Jewish neighborhoods across the world, though you may not have heard of them if you’re not Jewish. Try your hand at the humble knish and see what all the fuss is about.

Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.