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Hanukkah Recipes, Chanukah Crafts, Hanukkah Gift Ideas

Updated on April 20, 2018

"It's so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah!"

If you came here from my hub Jewish Holiday Hanukkah.Hanukkah History, Chanukah Songs, I am very happy and I hope that after learning interesting facts about Jewish holiday Hanukkah, history of Hanukkah and some of Hanukkah traditions, you will enjoy reading about Hanukkah food recipes, Hanukkah crafts and gift ideas.

If you did'n read the previous hub about Hanukkah, I strongly advise you to go and read it first!

Then, please, come back here through the link provided! You won't regret it!

Hebrew name for the holiday is חנוכה

The name of this Jewish holiday in English is spelled in many ways. The most common is "Hanukkah", but you might also see it spelled "Chanukah". Other ways are:

Chanuka; Chanukkah; Hanukah; Hannukah; Hanuka; Hanukka; Hanaka; Hanika; Khanukkah

Traditional food for a Hanukkah holiday.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah, as it is often spelled) celebrates the miracle of oil, because oil has a big significance for this Jewish holiday.

No wonder that traditional Hanukkah food is fried in oil. Hanukkah recipes use oil, a lot of oil. So, to get ready for Hanukkah recipes you have to get a nice oil supply.

Also, close your eyes and accept the fact that Hanukkah food is very rich in calories, as most of recipes call for deep-frying.

Most traditional foods for Hanukkah are:

  • Sufganyiot (or donuts, though Israeli Hanukkah sufganyiot are something special)
  • Latkes (or potato pancakes, as they are known widely)
  • Blins (though it is basically a Russian recipe, but it works just fine for Hanukkah)
  • Halva (though not a traditional Israeli treat, but it is rather oily, so it will go for Hanukkah just great! And it is so delicious!)
  • Hanukkah cookies (don't forget to by special Hanukkah cookies cutter)

The right way to make latkes!

Recipe of Latkes

“Latkes” is Yiddish name for normal potato pancakes. The recipe of latkes is the most traditional recipe, but if you are tired of plain potato pancakes, you are free to use your fantasy and abuse the recipe with different variations, like this inventive girl did.

Otherwise, here is a traditional recipe of latkes, potato pancakes, from my humble kitchen:

Makes approximately 12 medium size latkes

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Grape seed oil for frying


  1. Take a large bowl.
  2. Shred the potatoes into the bowl and drain excess liquid by squeezing (it will make your latkes crispier).
  3. Finely chop the onion (it is possible to shred the onion too, but you get lots of juice which you’ll have to drain).
  4. Add eggs and mix well.
  5. Add matzo meal by small portions, mixing it to shredded potatoes and onion until you get the nice consistency batter.
  6. Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well
  7. If you made potato pancakes before, you know that the batter might look orange (because potato reacts to oxygen). It will go away when fried.
  8. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat (roughly ½ inch). Using a spoon, spoon the batter into the frying pan. If you made a batter on a dry side, you might form medium patties. Fry latkes in oil until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the latkes.
  9. Place fried latkes on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce.

Another (simple) way to make latkes will be just using a pre-made boxed potato pancakes mix, but it is cheating!!!

Sufganyiot rule!


How to spot that Hanukkah came to Israel?

The most vivid sign of Hanukkah time in Israel is a huge amount of sufganiyot seen all around. You can buy sufganiyot throughout a year too, but during Hanukkah these round doughnuts filled with fruit jam or custard are a total disaster.

Each sufganiya has about 500 calories, so Hanukkah survivors will have to walk hundreds of miles to burn out their holiday’s cuisine damage. It doesn’t look that this fact stops Israelis from enjoying this ultimate Hanukkah treat. Thousands and thousands of sufganiyot are consumed during Hanukkah everywhere- in the streets, at homes, during Hanukkah parties at schools and kindergartens, on Israeli Army bases, in Knesset, everywhere!

What is Sufganyia? Hebrew- סופגנייה‎; plural- sufganiyot: סופגניות is basically, “a doughnut”. Every culture has doughnuts like this- German “Berliners”, Russian “Ponchiki”, Kazakh “Baursaki”, just to name a few.

Hebrew name “sufganyia” derives from a root “ספג”, the same as a word “sfog”, “sponge”. Here comes the resemblance of this doughnut to sponge in its texture and ability to sponge the oil.

I never make sufganyiot myself, as it is too much hassle for me, but from all the recipes I found for making sufganyiot, the Martha Stuart recipe is the best. So after getting some information about yammi sufganiyiot from me, I invite you to visit Martha and learn from her how to make real sufganiyot!

Hanukkah is a gift-giving holiday.

There is an opinion that giving gifts on Hanukkah is not a genuine Hanukkah tradition and that Hanukkah gift giving was adopted in places where Jews live among Christian population as a way to reward Jewish children who might feel excluded in Christmas time when their Christian friends get a lot of gifts.

Even if it is so, I don’t think that Jewish children care where this tradition came from as long as they get their Hanukkah gifts.

The most common Hanukkah gift is Hanukkah Gelt, small amount of money, usually coins.

Very often Hanukkah Gelt is substituted by chocolate coins.

In Israel kids get "Dmei Hanukkah"- Hanukkah allowance, real money.

Since there are no special rules for gift giving, you are just free to give to your friends and family any gifts you think are appropriate!

Our sweet healthy edible Hanukkiah

Use Hanukkah time to have fun time with your kids!

The best child/parent time is the time when you are doing something together. Making food together, or making crafts together.

There is one thing that can be more fun that making food or crafts with your kids. What is it?

It is making edible crafts with your kids!

When my son was a toddler, I had hard time feeding him. To attract him to food I had to craft his meals. I used to make art compositions from mashed potatoes, carrots and peas. Snowmen, cars, ponds with ducks…. It worked!

This time of the year I will again remember our traditional edible Hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah).

You will need:

  • one large banana for base,
  • ten pieces of marshmallow for candles: eight for Hanukkah candles and two for “shamash” (to make Hanukkiah livelier, use colored marshmallows)
  • nine small fruits for candle flame (we used raspberries and red grapes)
  • two or three bamboo skewers- cut off sharp tips and then cut skewers into even sticks. You will need sticks to put through marshmallows so that ends will stick out of marshmallow piece. One end goes into banana, on the top end you'll put a fruit representing flame.

Then, use your fantasy to make a cute edible Hanukkiah!

Candle head piece and Candles.

Hanukkah time is a time for craft projects with your kids!

Spending time together with your children is priceless for both to you and your children.

The more of your time you devote to your kids while they are young, the easier you will go through teenager time.

Invest your time into you children, it will pay off later in full!

Holiday time is the best time to make things together.

Think of craft projects you can do together.

Hanukkah gives you ideas!

Make a candle head piece and colorful paper candles together with your kids.

It's a simple project.

It requires little time and little material, but it will be fun and joy to make it together!

You will need:

  • empty toilet paper rolls
  • aluminum foil
  • bristol paper
  • scissors
  • colored crayons
  • glue or stapler
  • your imagination!

Have fun!

  1. Cut a piece of aluminum foil
  2. Wrap aluminum foil around an empty toilet paper roll, insert the edges inside the roll.
  3. Cut a piece of bristol in a shape of candle flame
  4. Color the flame
  5. Glue or staple the flame to the roll.
  6. Cut a stripe of bristol paper in the size of your kids head
  7. Wrap aluminum foil around the stripe
  8. Assemble the stripe as a head piece and staple the edges
  9. Glue or staple the candle to the head stripe.

You can make as many candles as you wish and in as many colors as you wish to play with them.

A puppy models because the kid is grown up already.
A puppy models because the kid is grown up already.
Hanukkah 1991. My little Reuven looks lost. Our first month in Israel, he hardly understood what was going on.
Hanukkah 1991. My little Reuven looks lost. Our first month in Israel, he hardly understood what was going on.

Hanukkah Menorahs made by amazing children of my amazing friend from HP community!

Thank you, Angeline, for your kindly providing me with these awesome pictures!
Thank you, Angeline, for your kindly providing me with these awesome pictures!

More ways to make Hanukkah Menorah as a craft project.

Being a member of Hubpages gives lots of advantages, one of them is making friends with people from all over the world, people whom you would never get to know if it were not for Hubpages.

One of my biggest blessings of being a HB writer is having got to know Angeline, our gifted anglnwu. Her two children used to attend a Jewish pre-school, where they crafted a Hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah) every year for Hanukkah holiday. Here are the pictures of some of their crafts.

You may see how creative one can be with fun projects. Some of the menorahs are made from kits. Others are made from anything you can get your hands on.

For example, take plain slabs of wood (from Home Depot or Lowe's) and use them as a base for mounting the candles. Kids can paint them, or stick stickers (whatever they can come up with to make it beautiful). Then you can help the kids to glue bolts (iron nuts) as candle holders. You can see these projects made.

Thank you to Angeline for providing these pictures for my hub!

Basketball Hanukkiah that my son made last year for Hanukkah in Hillel Society. Young adults enjoy making crafts too.


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    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 

      5 years ago from Ann Arbor

      Great article. I enjoyed it immensely.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      Thank YOU, btrbell!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      8 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great and fun ideas! Boy did I need this when I taught religious school! Thank you!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Happy Hanukkah!

    • askjanbrass profile image


      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I love Latkes -- thanks for including a recipe!

      I can't believe the holidays are already nearly upon us.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Thank you, BobbiRant. Sometimes they say that Jewish celebrations are all about eating and drinking red wine. Well, true. :-)

    • BobbiRant profile image


      10 years ago from New York

      I have had so many Jewish friends over the years and oh my gosh, their foods are so heavenly and scrumptious. I will be trying some of these recipes. Thank you so very much for sharing them here.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Lily Rose! The edible menorah was consumed in seconds after the picture was taken. :-D

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 

      10 years ago from A Coast

      LOVE the edible menorah!!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Lynda, I am very glad that you liked my hub. Thanks for an amazing appraising.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      Angeline, thank you! However, I don't agree that "Nobody needs to read any other hub after reading yours". I shared links to your hub about Hanukkah and to Whitney's about Dreidel and Hanukkah menorah, because they add much to mine.

      And thank you for voting! I appreciate it!

    • lmmartin profile image


      10 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      A feast of information. Thank you for sharing all we ever needed to know about Hanukkah -- particularly the recipes. Great Hub! Lynda

    • anglnwu profile image


      10 years ago

      Vera, this is a truly amazing Hanukkah hub--full of interesting details and examples. Love your food creations and your son's basketball Hanukkiah. Nobody needs to read any other hub after reading yours--rated awesome, useful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing my pictures!

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      10 years ago from HubPages, FB

      It looks delicious. Thanks ReuVera.


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