Whether or not you actually have a Jewish grandma, we’re willing to bet that you’ve probably been fed by one at some point, considering it’s practically inscribed in the Torah as a grandmotherly duty. Whether you’re craving something traditional for Hanukkah, seeking a modernized twist on an O.G. dish or are simply in need of a little extra comfort, turn to one of these 20 old-school Jewish recipes. We may not make them *exactly* like Bubbe did, but we think she’d be proud anyway.
20 Old-School Recipes Your Jewish Grandma Used to Make
- Time Commitment: 30 minutes
- Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy
The triangular cookies are commonly eaten during Purim, a holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from a Persian Empire official. They're usually filled with apricot or raspberry jams or chocolate spread, but feel free to branch out.
- Time Commitment: 10 minutes
- Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients
A side dish starring fruit, nuts and red wine, charoset is symbolic of the mortar enslaved Jewish people used to build pyramids and other structures in ancient times. While it's usually served at Passover, it's easy enough to prepare whenever.
- Time Commitment: 2 hours and 50 minutes
- Why We Love It: make ahead, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser
Is it bread? Is it cake? We don’t exactly know, and TBH, we don’t really care. This new-school twist is yeasty, sweet and swirled with chocolate and banana; in other words, we love it.
- Time Commitment: 4 hours and 15 minutes
- Why We Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy
This recipe includes five—yes, five—sliced yellow onions to give the brisket a beautiful golden color and soup-inspired, caramelized sweetness. It’s so tender that you won’t even need a knife to cut it.
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Why We Love It: make ahead, gluten free, crowd-pleaser
The sweet-tart combination of cranberries and chocolate makes this twist on a traditional dessert feel totally modern and sophisticated.
- Time Commitment: 10 minutes
- Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, no cook
OK, this isn’t exactly how Grandma used to make it. But it’s a super fun update to an iconic Jewish breakfast combo: bagels and lox. It's just the centerpiece for weekend brunch.
- Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy
There’s nothing like a succulent roast chicken for a Shabbat dinner or holiday meal. We season the chicken with lemon, thyme, rosemary and butter, and the result is tender, juicy meat with crispy, golden skin.
- Time Commitment: 45 minutes
- Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegan, beginner-friendly
A great alternative to tzimmes, a traditional Ashkenazi stew typically made from carrots, additional root vegetables and dried fruit. This goes perfectly next to roast chicken at the Shabbat table.
18. Reuben Sandwich
- Time Commitment: 15 minutes
- Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, high protein
From the marble rye to the creamy Russian dressing, this deli staple never gets old. This recipe uses corned beef instead of pastrami for a thicker texture. (We’ll take ours with extra pickles, please.)
- Time Commitment: 1 hour
- Why We Love It: kid-friendly, make ahead, crowd-pleaser
Not to be confused with fancy French macarons, coconut macaroons are a classic Passover-friendly treat, since they're made without wheat flour. The chocolate dip is optional...but why deprive yourself?
20. Old-Fashioned Egg Cream
- Time Commitment: 5 minutes
- Why We Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, beginner-friendly
Fun fact: There’s no egg or cream in this classic fountain soda (which came about in the Jewish immigrant communities of the Lower East Side and Brooklyn in the early 20th century)—just milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup.
Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.