Hanukkah, the cherished Jewish “festival of lights,” celebrated from December 7th to 14th every year, is jam-packed with delicious food and drink. 

Everyone wants to enjoy fall-off-the-bone brisket or wonderfully crispy potato latkes with applesauce. Unfortunately, eating the same foods year after year can get a little stale. 

Thankfully, you can modernize them. 

The good news is that you don’t have to abandon the traditional Hanukkah flavors. You can still enjoy the traditional flavors with a little twist. 

There are numerous ways to personalize the foods you grew up with. You can swap out spices for an unusual flavor profile on a familiar dish or add a few new components to an old favorite.

If you are curious about how to go about it, continue reading to see how you can be innovative with your Hanukkah table while keeping the tradition alive.

Mix up the latkes

Potato latkes are the traditional Hanukkah dish, but why not give them a lovely little twist with everyone’s favorite spud substitute: root vegetables?

Use carrots, parsnips, and beets, along with the usual onions and scallions, as the latke base lightens and sweetens the meal without compromising the crispy, scalding hot patties.

Use a dish towel to squeeze out any excess liquid if you find any additional moisture. This will assist you in achieving the desired crunchy exterior.

Then, proceed with the recipe as usual, and prepare veggie-packed pancakes that taste so amazing that no one will notice how healthy they are.

Modify the kugel

There will almost certainly be someone at your event who doesn’t take gluten or daily, and what would a modern Hanukkah be without some flexibility?

Traditionally, kugel is a dense mixture of gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar baked to perfection in a casserole dish.

To make it more accessible to those with dietary limitations, use gluten-free ribbon spaghetti as the basis and cashew cream instead of regular cream cheese.

To prepare cashew cream, soak cashews in warm water for several hours before blending into a smooth, thick consistency.

Add non-dairy butter to the traditional components (raisins, apples, cinnamon), and everyone can enjoy this Hanukkah delight.

Turn the Gelt into a cookie topper.

Hanukkah gelt translates to “Hanukkah money”. Jewish children are given money and chocolate coins during the Hanukkah festival, so this cake recipe will be an ode to your childhood.

The vegetarian version includes dairy-free whipped cream, so whether you’re a vegetarian or searching for a healthier option, this one is for you. Don’t be afraid to enjoy a little, but keep the sweets to a minimum.

Those little chocolate coins imprinted with dreidels and menorahs are a holiday tradition. But does anyone enjoy the flavor of plain chocolate medallions?

To make it interesting, press gelt into sugar cookies and roll them in colored sugar for a colorful and festive sweet finale. It’s a Hanukkah twist on the classic thumbprint cookie that’s sure to satisfy.

You can prepare the cookies yourself or order them from a reputable company such as Manischewitz.

Manischewitz has been at the forefront of kosher culinary offerings for nearly a century. As America’s leading brand of gourmet kosher products, Manischewitz has been at the forefront of reviving the Hanukkah sugar cookie tradition with various delectable cookie kits.

The kits include a sugar cookie mix, color powders, sprinkle mix, piping bags, and a distinctive sweater cookie cutter, which promises a blend of humor, tradition, and flavor.

These kits are a must-have if you are seeking convenience without sacrificing enjoyment. A kit comes with 12 festive-shaped sugar cookies and all the essential ornamental accompaniments for a creative and memorable Hanukkah experience.

Substitute the Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot, or jelly-filled doughnuts, are traditional Hanukkah treats.

Whether you like jelly doughnuts or not, a little more modern (and wonderful) treat can keep the sufganiyot spirit alive: bread pudding with fruit compote.

You should soak chunks of soft, buttery challah bread in brandy, milk, and eggs before topping with a tangy and sweet fruit mixture. The result? A truly joyous dessert that is sure to please the entire family.

Spice up the brisket.

Traditional holiday brisket will always be a crowd-pleaser. The combination of the braised meat and the delectable aroma that permeates the house all day leading up to the big feast is unbeatable.

Keep all of the greatest parts of the Christmas tradition alive while upping the ante with a Gochujang-spiced brisket.

Gochujang is a fiery and somewhat sweet Korean chile paste that will elevate the taste profile of your brisket without dominating it.

For dinner, serve the flexible finished product with basic mashed potatoes, then repurpose the leftovers in a taco topped with kimchi. That is assuming there will be any leftovers. 

Load your latkes

You can make your ordinary latke more interesting by adding creative toppings. The choices for what you can load on top of a potato pancake are nearly limitless. And it’s all up to you to make your choice.

For a savory treat, consider whipped goat cheese with smoked salmon and chives, a garlicky aioli with shaved Brussels sprouts, or mini latke sliders.

Do you want something special for dessert? Dip your latkes in melted chocolate, set aside to cool, and then top with whipped cream. And for a post-dinner pleasure, latke eggs benedict is unrivaled.

Tips to consider when modernizing Hanukkah Recipes

You need to consider several tips for the best results when modernizing your Hanukkah recipes. These tips include: 

Spice things up: You should spice things up with curries or satisfy everyone’s sweet craving with apples or gingerbread.

Update the beverages: Besides the foods, you should also update the drinks you offer. You don’t have to abandon all the traditional drinks. For example, don’t abandon wine, but why not add a distinctive cocktail? You can raise a glass (or two) of vodka; it’s the ideal adult beverage to accompany fried Hanukkah meals.

Try an orange-infused vodka with your carrot and sweet potato latke. Alternatively, try one of the dessert vodkas, such as glazed donuts or whipped cream-flavored vodka.