Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah every year. The holiday lasts eight days and nights and involves many symbolic and delicious foods. I’ve curated 18 gluten-free Hanukkah recipes to help you enjoy this meaningful celebration when you can’t eat gluten. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
I love the story of Hanukkah because it’s a story that not only celebrates Jewish culture but also Jewish survival.
The story takes place in the second century BCE when Syrian-Greek oppressors prohibited Jews from practicing their religion. They also converted their Holy Temple in Jerusalem into a place of idol worship. While the Greek empire didn’t physically kill Jews, they “killed” the Jewish way of life.
A group of Jewish rebels, the Maccabees, fought against the Greeks and recaptured the Holy Temple. When the Maccabees went to (re)light the Temple’s menorah, they found a small amount of oil that should have only lasted for one night. However, the miracle of Hanukkah is that the flame, lit by that tiny vial of oil, lasted for eight nights.
The miracle of the oil is vital to the Hanukkah story, and it’s why Jews worldwide eat foods cooked in oil.
For people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, Hanukkah can be a difficult holiday because many traditional Jewish foods contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
If you follow a gluten-free diet or have other dietary restrictions, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered with plenty of traditional Hanukkah recipes and classic Jewish foods that celebrate not only the miracle of Hanukkah but also the miracle of the Jewish people.
Editor’s Note: While the story of Hanukkah took place thousands of years ago, it’s not lost on today’s Jews that this story is replaying itself once again on the world stage. The only remnant of the Holy Temple today is the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. An Islamic mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock, was built on top of the holiest Jewish site in the world, and Jews are forbidden, once again, to visit their sacred Temple.
(1) Gluten-Free Jelly Doughnuts (Sufganiyot)
Jelly donuts, also called sufganiyot, are one of the most popular foods Jewish people eat on Hanukkah. Of course, traditional jelly donuts are made with wheat flour and are not gluten-free.
My gluten-free jelly donuts, however, are made using my trusty 1-to-1 gluten-free flour and are safe for anyone following a strict gluten-free diet. The donuts come out spongy and sweet, and oozing with delicious raspberry jam.
While these jelly doughnuts require some fuss in the kitchen, the grand effort will help you celebrate the Hanukkah miracle in style.
Get my Gluten-Free Jelly Donut recipe.
(2) Gluten-Free Latkes
Latkes are potato pancakes made with shredded Russet potatoes (although some people use sweet potatoes), onions, flour, egg, and salt. They’re fried in hot oil until golden brown.
Classic latkes are topped with tangy sour cream or sweet applesauce. I like to make homemade applesauce to elevate the meal.
Get my Gluten-Free Latke recipe along with my secret tips for making latkes extra crispy.
(3) Homemade Applesauce
Nothing goes better atop potato latkes than applesauce, so why not elevate your applesauce this year by making your own?
My homemade applesauce recipe is naturally gluten-free and contains no added sugar, although you could add a little maple syrup to sweeten the deal. You’ll need only five simple ingredients and less than an hour to make it.
Get my 5-Ingredient Homemade Applesauce recipe.
(4) Hanukkah Gelt
Children love playing with and eating Hanukkah gelt. Gelt are coin-shaped chocolate wrapped in gold or silver foil.
Do you ever really know if store-bought Hanukkah gelt is gluten-free? I have yet to find one labeled as such.
Get my homemade Gluten-Free Chocolate Gelt recipe.
(5) Savory Beef Brisket
They say you eat with your eyes, and my eyes love a savory brisket with a brown gravy sauce. I’m not sure why Jews love brisket, but no Jewish holiday is complete without one.
(6) Gluten-Free Challah
When Hanukkah falls on Shabbat, be sure to add a tasty gluten-free challah to your table. My popular gluten-free challah recipe always gets rave reviews!
I use a challah-shaped mold pan so the challah holds its shape. Gluten-free dough is sticky and impossible to braid.
Get my Gluten-Free Challah recipe.
I also love this menorah-shaped challah from Jamie Geller and could watch this video on autoplay all day!
(7) Chocolate Babka
No Jewish holiday is complete without a chocolate babka on the table. A babka is a braided yeast-risen sweet bread that can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. It’s traditionally made with wheat flour.
Thanks to Heart & Hand’s Sweet Dough Mix (formerly known as Lorraine’s Gluten-Free), I can make a delicious gluten-free chocolate babka that everyone raves about. Heart & Hand mixes are now certified kosher.
Get my Gluten-Free Chocolate Babka recipe.
(8) Holiday Cut Out Sugar Cookies
You don’t have to feel left out of the Christmas cookie-decorating fun. Instead, you can make your own gluten-free cut-out sugar cookies and cut them into fun Hanukkah shapes using these Hanukkah-shaped cookie cutters. Cut the cookies into dreidels, menorahs, and Stars of David, and decorate with blue and white icing and sprinkles.
You can use my no-spread gluten-free sugar cookie recipe or the gluten-free sugar cookie recipe I used for my Halloween cookies, which are dairy- and egg-free and include an egg-free royal icing recipe.
Another fun way to enjoy Hanukkah cookie-making with little kids is with the Little GF Chefs Hanukkah Cookie Kit. This seasonal baking kit is only available during the winter holidays and will help you make these adorable driedle-shaped cookies with ease.
(9) Black & White Cookies
Another great cookie that has Jewish roots and can be enjoyed during Hanukkah is the black-and-white cookie.
I’ve worked hard at making gluten-free black and white cookies that taste delicious, and I think they’re the perfect addition to your Hanukkah celebrations.
Get my Gluten-Free Black and White Cookie recipe.
To make the cookies more festive for Hanukkah, I made them blue and white instead. Check out these beauties!
(10) Gluten-Free Rugelach
No Hanukkah is complete without delicious gluten-free rugelach. These Jewish cookies include a flaky and buttery cream cheese pastry filled with sweet apricot jam and crunchy walnuts and raisins.
I use Better Batter flour, which contains xanthan gum, to make my rugelach, which I know will perfectly complement your Hanukah celebrations.
Get my Gluten-Free Rugelach recipe.
(11) Salmon Quinoa Cakes
If beef brisket isn’t your thing, try making these salmon quinoa cakes instead. They look like little latkes but are made of shredded salmon, tri-colored quinoa, seasonings, and gluten-free flour. They’re lightly fried in oil, so they perfectly complement your celebratory Hanukkah meal.
Get my Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes recipe.
(12) Gluten-Free Apple Fritters
Don’t sweat if you’re not up for making gluten-free jelly donuts. It’s a lot of work.
A much simpler doughnut-like option is to make gluten-free apple fritters instead. They’re also fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil. And they taste delicious, too!
Get my Gluten-Free Apple Fritters recipe.
(13) Hanukkah-Themed Snack Board
You can have lots of fun building your own Hanukkah-themed snack board. My snack board includes Dandies mini marshmallows, Crunchmaster crackers, fresh blueberries, blue M&Ms, hummus, apple slices, Hanukkah gelt, and dreidels (for decor, not for eating).
(14) Matzo Ball Soup
While matzo ball soup is traditionally enjoyed during the Passover holiday, it’s a beloved traditional dish that always has a place in Jewish holiday celebrations.
I particularly enjoy serving matzo ball soup during Hanukkah since it’s usually cold outside; matzo ball soup will warm you from the inside out. Be sure to use gluten-free matzo meal when making this recipe.
Get my Gluten-Free Matzo Ball Soup recipe.
(15) Noodle Kugel
Recipe coming soon.
(16) Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
If you don’t feel like making gluten-free sufganiyot (jelly donuts), you can make these delightful gluten-free raspberry thumbprint cookies instead. You’ll enjoy the jam filling, and they taste and look a bit like mini jelly donuts.
Get my Gluten-Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie recipe.
(17) Apple Butter
Instead of applesauce, you might enjoy delicious apple butter to smear on top of your latkes. My slow cooker apple butter recipe hits all the right holiday notes and is delicious for Hanukkah and all your holiday celebrations. It would also work beautifully on your Hanukkah-themed snack board.
Get my Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe.
(18) Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
Another great option in lieu of beef brisket is savory beef short ribs. I use boneless short ribs that I slow cook in onions, garlic, tamari sauce, beef broth, and a variety of seasonings and spices to jazz it up. It truly makes for a delicious and festive Hanukkah meal.
Get my Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs recipe.
I hope you enjoy these 18 festive and fun gluten-free Hanukkah recipes. Chag Sameach!
Hanukkah Gift Idea
Looking for a great gift idea for your Jewish friend? Check out Lev Haolam, a subscription box that sends you artisan products from the land of Israel.
When you purchase a Lev Haolam subscription, your money will be used to buy high-quality products from Israelis affected by war, terror, and international boycotts, and you’ll support small businesses and artisans living and working in Israel.
Lev Haolam sent me a box in December 2023 to see the magic for myself. In the picture, you’ll see all the beautiful items inside, including skincare products, an artistic jar, and food items such as pure honey, olive oil, and a garlic and pepper salt shaker. Every month is different and special – so be sure to join.
Please note Lev Haolam, on occasion, sends food items, which may or may not contain gluten. Read labels carefully before consuming any products. That said, most products are non-food items, and any item(s) that contain gluten you can easily rehome.
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