Hanukkah Dessert Recipes

We guarantee that our Hanukkah desserts will light up your kitchen table for eight straight days. If you want super quick and easy cookies, we have lots of festive options to choose from. Think: adorable Gelt Cookies—sugar cookies that get decorated with gelt and green sanding sugar. Not to mention a myriad of rugelach recipes that turn out as neat, flaky crescents, from an Apricot and Walnut Rugelach to a Raspberry Rugelach. There are also centerpiece desserts that are sure to impress family and friends (no need to tell them how quick and easy they were to pull off). Take our Honey Cake. It tastes like a pound cake, but it’s beyond moist and flavorful, thanks to a mix of warm spices, honey, vanilla, lemon, and strong black tea. It gets baked in a bundt so it’s statuesque, and then dusted with simple confectioner’s sugar. Mazel tov!

Jelly Doughnuts

Also known as sufganiyot, these deep-fried Hanukkah sweets symbolize the miracle of the burning oil lamps in ancient Jerusalem. Think you can’t pull them off at home? Think again. The Real Simple food editors came up with a shortcut recipe using pre-made pizza dough and strawberry jelly. Be sure to let your pizza dough come to room temperature before rolling: this makes it a lot easier to work with. 

Raspberry Rugelach

Flaky, buttery, and perfectly doughy and sweet, our recipe for Raspberry Rugelach breaks down a time-consuming but worth-it treat. The traditional Jewish cookie combines a moist cream cheese batter with layers of filling. In this case, we went beyond the typical chocolate, vanilla, or cinnamon filling and tried seedless raspberry jam for a tart, fruity note. After mixing the batter and chilling until firm, you’ll roll it out on a lightly floured surface, spread the jam over the top and cut the slab into wedges before rolling them up, like crescent rolls. After roughly 30 minutes in the oven, these pillowy bite-sized sweets are irresistible.


There are plenty of rugelach recipes out there—we’ve got a handful of variations on our site alone. And plenty of folks have family recipes, passed down through the generations. So what makes this version stand apart? Simplicity and ease. For a shortcut that cuts down drastically on prep time, we turned to packaged refrigerated pie crusts, rather than making your own dough. No, it won’t taste exactly the same—but these apricot rugelach bites require a mere 15 minutes hands-on time. They’re ready to eat in under an hour. We used apricot jam, but you could use any flavor your family loves.