23 Traditional Jewish Desserts (2023)

I’m willing to bet you’ve tried a few Jewish desserts already, even if you don’t know it.

Babka is the first thing that comes to my mind, as it’s one of the first yeast doughs I learned to bake!

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23 Traditional Jewish Desserts (1)

I’m sure you’ve tried rugelach and challah bread, right?

Even if you’re not celebrating Rosh Hashanah or Passover, these incredible desserts can often be found year-round in the stores.

Many Jewish holidays are centered around family and food, so there are plenty of tasty treats to choose from.

To save you some time, I’ve collected 23 of my all-time faves!

If you’re looking for some authentic ideas for the main course, try these traditional Jewish foods.

1. Chocolate Babka

Babka is a yeast-based dough traditionally braided and has a sweet filling, such as chocolate or cinnamon.

I happen to think chocolate babka is dangerously addictive, so I don’t make it too often.

Once you see how stunning it looks and take that first bite, you’ll see what I mean. What willpower?

For the best results, make the dough the night before so it can rest in the fridge.

Then, the following day, it will be the perfect rolling consistency.

2. Lekach (Honey Cake)

This sticky-sweet cake is mainly made to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and it’s best when you make it in advance so the flavors can mature.

Between the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, this cake is quite similar to a gingerbread recipe.

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But the added honey and apple juice give it a much sweeter finish.

This cake is wonderfully moist, so it doesn’t need a glaze. Plus, the honey gives it plenty of sugar, so a sweet glaze might be too much for some.

If you want to add something to the top, try scattering over chopped nuts.

23 Traditional Jewish Desserts (2)

3. 5-Ingredient Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroons are such a fun and simple little treat. They need just five ingredients and are gluten-free!

After whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks, you’ll very gently stir through some honey, vanilla, shredded coconut, and salt.

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I like to toss the coconut a little before adding it to the egg whites so it’s not clumpy before going into the bowl.

This will help it to evenly mix in without you having to overwork anything.

Once they’re baked, a super simple way to dress them up is to drizzle them with dark chocolate.

4. Apricot Hamantaschen

These hat-shaped Purim cookies are a staple in my house during the holidays.

I love the buttery shortbread and the cute little package it turns into with the jam. It’s almost like a tiny galette!

When making your shortbread, be sure to stop processing when the dough looks like large breadcrumbs.

Unlike pastry, you won’t want to mix it into a ball of dough.

To keep it perfectly crumbly, finish working it on the counter, pressing everything together gently until it all sticks.

5. Mandel Bread

Much like biscotti, these cookies are crispy and perfect for dipping in your morning coffee.

Made using a similar method, these babies are twice-baked: once in a large, flat log to the point it’s just about cooked, and then they’re sliced and baked again to get that crunchy finish.

Though this recipe calls for chocolate chips, you can so easily swap them out for dried fruit or nuts if you prefer.

6. Sufganiyah (Hanukkah Jelly Donut)

Sufganiyot are round jelly donuts, much like you’re used to seeing.

They’re most traditionally served for Hanukkah but are delicious any time of year when you have the time to make them.

This dough needs to be rested twice but it can be made and enjoyed on the same day.

After the first rest (which is about two hours depending on the temperature in your home), these get rolled and cut before a second rest.

This second rest is what makes these big and fluffy!

I like to use up the scraps like donut holes and toss them in sugar right after they come out of the hot oil.

For the larger donuts, be sure to let them cool before filling.

7. Easy Halva Recipe

Halva is an Israeli gluten and dairy-free candy made with sugar and tahini.

It’s very dense and a little like a super moist fudge recipe, only there’s no condensed milk in sight.

Since this sets pretty fast, make sure you have everything scaled out and ready to go before you start.

8. Molly’s Sweet and Spicy Tzimmes Cake

If you’re a fan of carrot cake, you’ll love this lightly spiced cake.

Not only does it include shredded carrot, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, but it also contains sweet potato and apple for maximum flavor.

Using sweet potato in this cake will act much like bananas in banana bread: it will make it super moist!

Since it’s so moist, you don’t need to add frosting to this. That said, cream cheese frosting would be the perfect way to finish it!

9. Rugelach

If I had a dollar for every single rugelach I’ve ever made, I’m pretty sure I could buy an island!

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These little crescent-shaped cookies are to die for, and they’re crazy easy to make!

The dough is very similar to shortbread, only it’s enriched with eggs for something a little more pliable.

The filling of brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts isn’t too sweet and just slightly nutty.

Of course, you can always throw in chocolate or other fruits, too.

10. Hanukkah Gelt (Homemade Golden Chocolate Coins)

As the name suggests, this chocolate “gold” is a typical Hanukkah gift, and you’ll need this mold if you want to get them just right.

Of course, you could always use a regular circular mold, but they won’t have the star or menorah designs.

If you use regular chocolate, it would be best to temper it, so the coins won’t melt.

11. Candy Dreidels

You’ll need just four ingredients to make these cute little dreidels, and they’re all store-bought and ready to go.

The most you need to do here is melt some chocolate!

The pretzels make nice, edible sticks, but you can also use lollipop sticks (cake pop sticks) if you want something more solid.

Since you can never have enough chocolate, I think the chocolate dipper “dreidels” are the best option.

I even found some Hanukkah sprinkles for cake decorating, which are the perfect finishing touch!

12. Jewish Apple Cake

This Jewish apple cake is very typical of what you would get in Germany or France.

It’s not overly sweet, and it’s loaded with fresh apples for taste and texture.

You’ll use oil instead of butter here for maximum moisture, and interestingly, the recipe also calls for orange juice, which adds a subtle citrus flavor to the crumb.

13. Dreidel Surprise Cookies

These dreidel cookies are super cute by themselves, and if you’re in a rush, they will be a hit at any party.

But if you have the time to go the extra mile, you’ll be the talk of the town!

It’s as easy as stacking a few cookies together and filling them with candies.

Another great option would be to fill them with Nutella, peanut butter, marshmallow Fluff, or caramel for something a little messier but just as tasty.

14. Egg Kichel (Jewish Bow Tie Cookies)

Egg Kichels are a type of cracker that is so light and airy, they’re also known as “nothings.”

You’ll notice the recipe calls for a lot of eggs. It’s not a typo.

You do need that many, and since this dough needs to be worked for around 20 minutes, you’ll definitely need a stand mixer.

Then it’s just a matter of rolling the dough in sugar and giving the strips a little twist to achieve the bow shape.

15. Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack

There’s so much to love about this recipe! First of all, it’s ridiculous how easy it is to throw together.

But mostly, you just can’t beat the combination of crispy cracker with salted toffee and smooth chocolate over the top.

You do have to make caramel for this, but it’s very straightforward.

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All you’ll do is add brown sugar and butter to a pot and let it come to a boil.

There’s no need to watch it like a hawk or use a thermometer.

I like a mix of dark and milk chocolate here, so you’ll get some fun color contrast, and I’ve even been known to drizzle over some peanut butter, too!

16. Sweet Lokshen Kugel

I remember digging into a piece of this at a potluck once, thinking it was some kind of cheesy, savory lasagna-type dish.

Boy, was I wrong!

This unique Jewish dessert is very much a sweet treat, using soaked raisins and a sweetened blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

It’s almost like a cheesecake filling in that regard.

Once baked, the filling has the same custardy consistency you would get in a bread pudding, only it uses pasta to hold everything together.

17. Parve (Adaptable Shabbat Torte)

I was pleasantly surprised by this simple little recipe and how easy it is to modify.

You really can make it in a matter of minutes and use whatever fruit you have on hand that day.

I’ve made this with everything from plums and peaches to spiced apples and a blend of colorful berries.

Just remember to thaw and drain frozen fruits and toss them in a bit of flour, so they don’t sink.

18. Chocolate-Filled Hamantaschen

Using real chocolate in these cookies is great, but sometimes, it can burn if it’s not of great quality.

That’s why I love this clever recipe!

Not only will you get a rich and chocolatey filling, but it’s almost like two desserts in one!

It’s sweet and buttery shortbread, plus an intense pop of chocolate brownie in the middle.

19. Hanukkah Dreidel Surprise Loaf Cake

Full disclosure: this recipe will take a little time.

You’ll have to make one cake (the blue cake) and let that cool completely before you can cut it.

Top tip, use a cookie cutter to make sure they’re all perfectly sized.

Next, you’ll make the vanilla cake. Once it’s ready, pour half of the batter into a lined loaf pan and then line the dreidels down the middle.

Cover the blue cake with the rest of the vanilla and bake!

When it’s cool, cut into the cake to reveal the hidden blue dreidels.

20. Chocolate Challah Bread

Challah bread is a soft, white dough made using eggs for an even richer taste.

It’s usually braided and is excellent for sandwiches, bread pudding, or your morning avocado toast.

But it’s incredibly scrumptious when you add chocolate to the mix.

The dough itself is very easy to make, but the braid can get a touch complicated.

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That said, so long as your lines cross over each other, I’m sure it will look fantastic!

21. Tahini Cookies

Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini has a very mild nutty flavor that is pretty savory and wonderfully smooth.

You’ve probably used it in hummus before and maybe a sauce for your chicken, but I promise, using it in cookies is a game-changer!

Of course, these cookies are sweet, buttery, and very moreish, but the tahini adds something special that’s hard to explain.

You’ll just have to give them a try to see how good they really are.

22. Chocolate-Matzo Layer Cake

Icebox cakes are a fantastic way to make something sweet and impressive with minimal effort.

And using matzo just means you’re skipping a step (making cookies), and it’s kosher to boot!

Between the coffee-soaked matzo and the creamy chocolate filling, this recipe is a lot like a tiramisu.

I like to top mine with a simple Baileys whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate ganache.

23. Marak Perot (Compote)

Marak Perot is a “fruit soup” used as a light and sweet way to end a heavy celebratory dinner.

The simple mix of dried and fresh fruits, water, and sugar gets gently simmered until it all reduces into a syrupy mix of sweet and plump fruits.

Lemon juice is added at the end to brighten the flavors.

This is best served chilled, and I like mine with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s also great with a slice of pound cake.

23 Traditional Jewish Desserts (3)

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FAQs

What are Jewish pastries? ›

Jewish Pastries
  • chocolate raisin babka.
  • rugelach: the royalty of jewish pastry.
  • modern bubbe's babka. on vacation.
  • marvelous mandelbread. on vacation.
  • hamantaschen. on vacation.
  • chocolate orange torte. on vacation.
  • macaroons. on vacation.
  • lemon sponge cake. on vacation.

What is the most popular dessert in Israel? ›

Kunafeh (or Knafeh) is a staple dessert in many cuisines across the Middle East, and Israel is no exception. Made from an irresistibly creamy cheese base topped with crunchy flakes known as “kadayif” and a deliciously sweet syrup, kunafeh is an absolute must-try for any visitor to Israel.

What makes a kosher dessert? ›

According to Jewish law, milk and meat should not be eaten in the same meal. Therefore, kosher desserts are usually made without cheese, cream butter or milk. And without the creaminess of dairy products, the grand finale can end on a sour note unless it is baked a special way.

Why can't Jews eat meat and dairy at the same time? ›

Prohibition on mixing dairy products with meat

Others associate it with the general prohibition on certain mixtures set out in the Torah, such as that of coupling animals from different species. Yet others see it as symbolic: the refusal to mix life (milk) and death (meat).

What are Purim cookies called? ›

Many Jewish people have been getting ready for Purim — the Jewish holiday that begins on Saturday night — by baking hamantaschen cookies, triangular treats made of dough with poppy seeds or fruit jam in the middle.

What is the most popular snack in Israel? ›

BAMBA, Osem

Bamba is Israel's top-selling snack, accounting for close to a quarter of the snacks market, according to its manufacturer, Osem. Osem produces one million bags daily of this soft-yet-crunchy, sweet-yet-savory peanut-flavored puffed corn snack.

Are there deserts in Israel? ›

You'll be wowed by the natural beauty of Israel's four main desert areas: the Dead Sea, the Eilat mountain range, the Negev and the Judean desert. Tourists can step out-of-this-world on a hike through the unique colors and rock formations of the Ramon Crater and the deeply glowing hues of Timna Park outside Eilat.

What is Israeli bread called? ›

The round challah (pronounced khala) is largely a ceremonial bread eaten by the Jews on the Sabbath. “The word challah means a loaf of bread and it is considered a blessing to bake the bread in Jewish homes, where a bit of it is always set aside as an offering to god,” a guide tells us.

What food is forbidden in Judaism? ›

Pork, Shellfish Star In Controversial Jewish Banquet Remembering Historical Event : The Salt Ancient Jewish teachings ban pork, shellfish, and meat mixed with dairy in the same meal. Some modern Jews wanting to evolve the way they eat look to a scandalous feast of the past for inspiration.

What do Jews eat on bagels? ›

Bagels with cream cheese and lox (cured salmon) are considered a traditional part of American Jewish cuisine (colloquially known as "lox and a schmear").

Are Oreos kosher? ›

Oreos, traditionally made with lard, became kosher in 1997. Until 1966, there was no requirement for any listing of ingredients on food packaging.

What pudding is kosher? ›

Certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union. Parve product (non‑dairy).
...
Osem Kosher Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding.
Total Fat3.5g5%
Dietary Fiber0g0%
Sugars20g
Protein3g
5 more rows

Is all ice cream kosher? ›

To the surprise of most consumers, the majority of ice cream and frozen dessert factories (at least outside of Eretz Yisroel) which make kosher products are not fully-kosher facilities.

Can Jews eat cheeseburgers? ›

Since only plant-based substances are used to make the Impossible Burger, its kosher certification means that a cheeseburger is legal for a person of the Jewish faith who keeps dietary law – as long as the cheese also is kosher and it is cooked on utensils deemed kosher.

Is pizza considered kosher? ›

In most places, pizza is not kosher. However, since most ingredients in pizza including dough, sauces and cheese can all be prepared in accordance with Kosher tradition, pizza can indeed be Kosher.

Can Jews drink alcohol? ›

Judaism. Judaism relates to consumption of alcohol, particularly of wine, in a complex manner. Wine is viewed as a substance of import and it is incorporated in religious ceremonies, and the general consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted, however inebriation (drunkenness) is discouraged.

What do you eat during Purim? ›

For Ashkenazi Jews, perhaps the most widely held food tradition on Purim is eating triangular-shaped foods such as kreplach and hamantashen pastries. Kreplach are pasta triangles filled with ground beef or chicken and hamantashen are triangles of pastry dough surrounding a filling often made with dates or poppy seeds.

Why are Purim cookies triangles? ›

Also on Purim, Jews eat a fruit-filled butter cookie called Hamantaschen, which is triangular-shaped to signify Haman's hat. (Some Jewish communities say the cookies are shaped like Haman's pockets or his ears, but we've always associated them with his hat.)

What does hamantaschen mean in English? ›

A hamantash (pl. hamantashen; also spelled hamantasch, hamantaschen; Yiddish: המן־טאַש homentash, pl. המן־טאַשן homentashn, 'Haman pockets') is an Ashkenazi Jewish triangular filled-pocket pastry, associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim. The name refers to Haman, the villain in the Purim story.

What is the staple food of Israel? ›

Falafel. Falafel is Israel's national dish, and if you're a fan of these famous chickpea fritters then you'll not go hungry.

Is Cheetos an Israeli product? ›

Cheetos, the crunchy cheese flavored snack in the nostalgic red bag, “immigrated” to Israel from the US in the early nineteen-nineties.

Is Lay's Israel product? ›

As with Doritos, Lay's are manufactured, distributed and imported in The Netherlands by Frito Lay's Benelux division, Smith's Food Group.

What is the desert called in Israel? ›

Israel's Negev Desert is pure, ethereal magic set in a starkly beautiful setting. Covering over half of Israel's total land area, it is an area bristling with beauty. The desert is a fascinating and enchanting place, especially for those not familiar with desert landscapes.

What does the Judean Desert look like? ›

The Judean Desert is marked by barren wilderness, mountains, terraces and escarpments rather than rolling sand dunes. The final escarpment drops steeply to the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley. The desert is criss-crossed by a number of valleys (wadis) and has deep ravines cutting through the rock.

Is Tel Aviv a desert? ›

City site. Tel Aviv is located on Israel's central coastal plain along about 9 miles (15 km) of shoreline.

What are kosher baked goods? ›

A kosher pastry is any sort of cake, cookie, or small dessert item that is baked in compliance with the Jewish laws of kosher. Among other things, kosher rules prohibit milk from mixing with any meat product or with any specifically non-dairy food.

What are kosher donuts? ›

Kosher donuts are those that were prepared adhering strictly to the rules, and devout Jewish people therefore find them acceptable to eat. Kosher donuts must have all kosher ingredients. Typical ingredients of a donut include flour, salt, and eggs.

How is kosher cake different from regular cake? ›

Kosher bakeries do not use ordinary ingredients, i.e., they use only to choose certified kosher ingredients. Also, they opt for the technique of kosher cooking while making the products. When it comes to kosher cakes, there are several varieties of the said cake available.

What does a kosher bakery mean? ›

A kosher bakery is a bakery that serves and produces baked goods that are acceptable under Kashrut, the body of Jewish laws that deal with food.

Is all ice cream kosher? ›

To the surprise of most consumers, the majority of ice cream and frozen dessert factories (at least outside of Eretz Yisroel) which make kosher products are not fully-kosher facilities.

What makes bread not kosher? ›

Bread is not allowed to contain meat or dairy (pareve). Bread is without either because bread is a staple food in many Jewish households and usually paired with dairy or meat. The eggs of suitable birds like chickens, ducks and turkeys are permitted as long as they do not contain blood.

How can cupcakes not be kosher? ›

In order to be classified as kosher, any dairy products used in the creation of desserts must be derived from kosher animals and must not contain any non-kosher derivatives. As long as those two conditions are met, milk can be used in the creation of kosher desserts.

What religion can't eat donuts? ›

A false rumour Muslims do not eat doughnuts is being re-circulated on social media by members of the Muslim community, in a humorous response to Islamaphobic taunts.

Is Dunkin Donuts kosher? ›

e following locations of Dunkin Donuts are under the certi cation of RABBI SHOLOM SALFER: All products in the above stores are Kosher.

Is dough kosher NYC? ›

Dough Doughnuts is certified kosher under IKC supervision. All vegan products are certified kosher parve, and all other products are certified kosher dairy (cholov stam).

What makes a cookie kosher? ›

To meet one of the requirements of kashrut food preparation, the food must be prepared in the presence of a rabbi. We uphold this qualification as all of our delectable kosher cookies are made under Orthodox Rabbinical supervision at the bakery.

Are eggs kosher? ›

There are three main kosher food categories: Meat (fleishig): mammals or fowl, as well as products derived from them, including bones and broth. Dairy (milchig): milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. Pareve: any food that is not meat or dairy, including fish, eggs, and plant-based foods.

Is butter kosher? ›

Kosher agencies and consumers commonly believed that butter presented no kashrus concerns because butter can only be made from the milk of a kosher animal (the milk of a non-kosher animal will not congeal). But, food production methods have developed greatly and the above logic is no longer reliable.

What is kosher bread? ›

Kosher law mandates that aside from the obvious restrictions that kosher bread only be made with kosher ingredients and on dedicated or kosherized equipment, there is an additional requirement that kosher bread be made with only pareve ingredients (i.e. it may not contain any milk nor may it contain any meat).

Is butter a Parve? ›

Real butter is always dairy. Pareve margarine is often used by the Jewish homemaker precisely because it is pareve. However, it can also be made dairy. Many questions have come into the OU office because a homemaker used a dairy margarine when the intention was that it was pareve.

What makes a cake kosher for Passover? ›

The kosher-for-Passover flour substitute affects the flavor, density and appearance of desserts. Traditionally, Passover bakers use a combination of matzo flour and/or potato starch in place of flour, Guralnick said.

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