Rosh Hashanah—or "head of the year" in Hebrew—is the Jewish New Year. It's the first of the Jewish high holy days, celebrating the anniversary of the creation of the universe, when God created Adam and Eve and was coronated as king.
Rosh Hashanah is a festive occasion, as well as a time for prayer and reflection. The new year is celebrated over a two-day period, during which Jewish people refrain from work. Many attend morning prayer services at synagogues, where they listen to the ceremonial blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn. Prayers are made for a year ahead of peace, prosperity, and blessing, and good intentions are set for the mitzvahs (good deeds) that will be done. It is believed that a person's actions on Rosh Hashanah have an enormous impact on the rest of the year. At home, Jews celebrate this festive holiday with two consecutive nights of feasting.
Perhaps no other food custom is more important to Rosh Hashanah than the eating of apples and honey together. At the start of each Rosh Hashanah dinner, everyone seated at the table dips a piece of apple into honey. This is eaten to symbolize the hope that the new year will be a sweet one.
Many other Rosh Hashanah food customs have developed over the centuries, with special symbolic meanings. Today, these traditional recipes are enjoyed in Jewish homes all around the world, following the lighting of the candles at the Rosh Hashanah table.
Whether you are planning a traditional holiday meal or looking for elevated versions of classic Jewish foods, you'll find wonderful ideas in our collection of Rosh Hashanah recipes. From the most amazing matzo ball soup to classic potato kugel, a bubbe-approved brisket and even a stunning chocolate cherry challah bread pudding, enjoy these delicious recipes you can serve at your Rosh Hashanah holiday feast.
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In Jewish culture, circular challah bread represents the unending cycle of life. It is a must-have at Rosh Hashanah, when it also symbolizes the wish for a good new year. You can make this large, sweet, vanilla-scented holiday raisin challah in a single afternoon for your special holiday meal.
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Gefilte fish is an iconic Jewish holiday food. While you can buy it jarred, this homemade version is far superior, and surprisingly easy to make in the food processor. The fish and vegetable mixture is formed into balls, chilled, and then simmered in vegetable broth until cooked through. Serve cold as an appetizer, with a generous amount of horseradish for dipping.
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For many families, no Jewish holiday meal would be complete without chicken matzo ball soup. The Instant Pot makes it possible to whip up a rich-tasting broth, with light and fluffy matzo meal dumplings, in little more than an hour. The secret to the complex-tasting broth is bone-in chicken thighs, which deliver a fantastic depth of flavor.
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Apples and honey are traditionally eaten together on Rosh Hashanah to signify a sweet new year. Both ingredients shine, along with spicy fennel, crunchy walnuts, and creamy Greek yogurt, in this healthy slaw that is refreshing, bright, and gluten-free. Use a tart variety of fall apple, such as Cortlands, Galas, or Empires, in this salad.Continue to 5 of 17 below.
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Beets are an important vegetable at Rosh Hashanah and represent a wish that those who wish to harm us will depart. This elegant salad inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine mingles sweet roasted beets with tangy red onion and salty feta cheese, in a creamy, citrusy mayonnaise dressing accented with sumac and honey.
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It wouldn't be Rosh Hashanah without a rich, saucy, tender beef brisket. You might think it takes an experienced cook to pull off this iconic Jewish entree, but this four-ingredient recipe makes it easy. You only need to marinate the brisket in a mixture of simple ingredients, before cooking it low and slow. Plan to cook it a day ahead and reheat it, as the meat takes on extra flavor while it sits in the fridge.
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Many Jewish families eat leeks at Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the wish for protection from enemies in the new year. In this soul-satisfying main dish, leeks and potatoes nestle alongside chicken breasts flavored with fresh chopped garlic and basil, which are roasted to perfection in the oven.
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Salmon is a popular kosher fish (others include cod, flounder, halibut, and trout). At Rosh Hashanah dinners, it represents the hope that the new year will be bountiful. This special occasion-worthy seafood dish dresses perfectly-baked salmon steaks with deli-style ingredients, including sour cream, red onions, lemon, and dill.Continue to 9 of 17 below.
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Pomegranate seeds are typically eaten on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the intention to do good deeds in the new year. They add great color and refreshing tartness to this healthy baked cauliflower side dish with cumin, turmeric, pistachios, fresh parsley, and lemon.
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Tzimmes (literally "a big fuss" in Yiddish) is a much-loved, deeply-comforting, colorful Jewish casserole. This vegetable side dish is made with sweet potatoes, carrots, and dried fruits, sweetened with honey, brown sugar, butter, and orange juice, and spiced to perfection with cinnamon.
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Carrots are a classic side dish to serve for Rosh Hashanah, and this easy holiday recipe is a real kid-pleaser. It features cute baby carrots flavored with sticky sweet honey. You can add golden raisins if kids like them or leave them out for a simpler dish.
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Potato kugel, sometimes called potato pudding, is a staple of Jewish holiday meals. This classic kugel with potatoes, onions, and eggs is tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and makes the perfect side dish for brisket, roast chicken, or salmon. Slice it into squares for serving, with sour cream and chives available for topping.Continue to 13 of 17 below.
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Couscous often makes an appearance at Jewish holiday tables. It has a special meaning on this holiday, when the many tiny couscous grains represent the wish for plentiful blessings in the new year. Tossed with simply-roasted zucchini and bell pepper, and Italian seasonings, it makes a light, healthy side dish that is vegan if you skip the feta cheese.
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Honey cakes, known as lekach, are a must-have dessert at Jewish new year. Dense, sweet, and spiced, and drizzled over with a sweetened honey glaze, this honey cake bakes up easily in a loaf pan. Enjoy it for Rosh Hashanah dessert, and snack on leftovers (if any) with your morning coffee the next day.
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Apples are one of the main ingredients associated with Rosh Hashanah, promising sweet days to come. This crockpot apple crumble with fresh sliced apples, maple syrup, and a crunchy spiced granola topping is a wonderful, warming, practically effort-free way to start the new year off right.
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Challah Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Cherries
Made with tender challah, oozing with rich dark chocolate, studded with tart dried cherries, and flavored with Amaretto liqueur, vanilla, and cinnamon, this elevated Rosh Hashanah bread pudding is sure to wow your holiday dinner guests. It is also dairy free, for those avoiding milk products.Continue to 17 of 17 below.
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Sweet, spicy, homey, this dried fruit compote is a simply delicious ending to a filling meal. It's easy to make by simmering dried fruits on the stovetop in a spiced sugar syrup, before chilling for several hours. Make it up to 2 weeks ahead, storing in the fridge in an airtight container. Serve cold.