Fried Food for Every Crazy Night of Hanukkah

Fry your way through the festival of lights.

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If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, you’re using oil to fry food, and we’ve got 8 ways to celebrate all week long.

Why fried? Fried foods, like potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts, are prepared and eaten throughout the holiday to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah: oil that kept the menorah (an ancient lamp) lit for 8 days instead of the 1 day it was supposed to last.

A few tips for frying:

  • Use a neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil, to avoid imparting other flavors to your food.
  • Pick the right oil for the project: olive oil has a low smoke point, so if you’re deep frying (usually between 350 to 375 degrees F) you’ll want to use vegetable oils like grapeseed or peanut.
  • Use a deep-frying thermometer to make sure the oil is at the right temperature. Too cold and the food just soaks up the oil, but too hot and the outside of the food starts to brown before the inside is cooked through.
  • After frying, place the food on a rack set in a sheet pan or on top of a few layers of paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  • Sprinkle savory foods with a pinch of salt as soon as they come out of the oil. If you wait too long the oil dries up and the salt won’t stick.
  • Check out more deep-frying tips here.

Although there are a few classic fried foods we love to make every year to celebrate Hanukkah, anything fried in oil will do the trick. Because you can’t eat latkes for 8 days straight (or can you?!), we've compiled a list of recipes, in order from most to least traditional, to help you celebrate. Let the frying begin.

Savory Latkes (pictured above)

Latkes are the most iconic Hanukkah dish for good reason. These ones are crispy on the outsides, but soft and flavorful on the inside, and go perfectly with a spiced apple-pear sauce that totally upstages the store-bought stuff. Shredding the potatoes in a food processor is a game changer and you’ll never go back to grating them by hand.

Food Stylist: Susan Spungen
Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks


Food Stylist: Susan Spungen Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

Sufganiyot are jelly-stuffed doughnuts traditionally eaten in celebration of Hanukkah (though we’d be happy eating them all year long). If punching out circles of dough and piping jelly seems intimidating, this is version for you. Strawberry jelly with a touch of elderflower liqueur turns into the perfect dipping sauce for these free-form doughnut holes.


Topped with maple syrup, Nigella Lawson’s apple latkes make for a festive holiday breakfast. This variation of latkes has the consistency of pancake batter, rather than the traditional shredded pancake hashbrowns.


Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy , 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Though not entirely traditional in terms of celebrating Hanukkah, French toast is shallow-fried in a combination of butter and oil, which is good enough reason for us to break out the challah and have everyone over for brunch.


Photo by: Anna Williams

Anna Williams

The funnel cake, a favorite at carnivals and fairs, gets an adult-friendly makeover with orange juice and zest in the batter and a red wine syrup for topping.

Maxed out on sweet stuff? These chicken wings are fried and then baked to ensure a crisp outside and a juicy inside. Pro tip: give the oil a chance to heat back to the proper temperature between batches of wings.

Food Stylist: Susan Spungen
Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver


Food Stylist: Susan Spungen Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver ,Food Stylist: Susan SpungenProp Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

Photo by: Anna Williams

Anna Williams

Arancini are Italian rice balls, stuffed with cheese and fried to golden-brown goodness. Make these the night before you want to serve, as they require some time to firm up in the fridge.

For when you feel like everything you’ve eaten this week has been fried and covered in sugar, we offer zucchini fries. Still fried, but made with vegetables, which has to count for something. 

Want more Hanukkah? Find our favorite recipes for the festival of lights here.

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