For members of the Jewish community, holiday meals can be mind-bending affairs. On the one hand, you’re eating a delicious meal prepared with care, delicacy, and love. On the other hand, you’re wondering: Why can’t I cook something as good as this?

Well, what if we told you that you can? One of the best things about Jewish food is that it’s so good that you think it must be difficult to cook, but actually, a large portion of recipes are pretty simple. All you have to do is set aside some time, get the apron on, and get your confidence in gear!

But where do you start? Of course, many Jewish meals are simple, but that doesn’t mean you should start by crafting a kugel! Some are certainly easier than others, so we’re going to look at what we believe are the best for beginners and how you can master them:

Matzo Ball Soup

Ah, matzo ball soup. The number one Passover meal. This is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish that is almost impossible to have one bowl of – once you’ve had a taste of the salty broth, you’ve got to keep going for more! For those unaware, matzo ball soup is a chicken soup filled with dumplings made out of a matzah meal. All you need for this one is garlic, onions, carrots, celery, chicken breast and broth, a few large eggs, and a matzo meal.

Challah Bread

There’s nothing quite like walking into a home that has the sweet aroma of challah bread baking in the oven. In many ways, it’s become more popular than scented candles for aromatic Jewish kitchens! There’s nothing too complicated about it, either.


The only complex part of the process is referred to as the “braiding” of the bread, where you have to braid the dough together as if you were braiding hair. Light, flaky, and fluffy, all you need for the perfect challah is flour, sugar, yeast, eggs, sunflower oil, and a topping of your choice – we suggest chocolate chips!

Potato Latkes

While many people look forward to Hanukkah because of the presents, a good few of us just can’t stop dreaming about the latkes! Potato latkes are essentially pancakes made out of potatoes, eaten to commemorate the victory of the Jews during the rebellion of their Syrian rulers. There are also great recipes for Shabbat potato latkes out there that do without flour entirely. They can be served with applesauce, sour cream, or even cranberries – and perhaps with a kiddush cup full of wine on the side! Ingredients include potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, and canola oil.


If you have any kids, then this one is an absolute must-cook over the Hanukkah season. There are no jelly donuts in the world that are quite as good as sufganiyot, and although they are seen to be quite difficult to make, if you have three or four people in the kitchen taking on different jobs, then the process becomes way more simple – don’t try to attempt these by yourself if it’s your first time! Ingredients for this one include yeast, flour, sugar, nutmeg, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and a whole load of jelly!


You can’t beat a bit of brisket, and for those cooking it for the first time, you should know that the trick to this dish is time, not expertise. Most briskets can take a whole day to cook. As the brisket cooks in the sauce, you are trying to make the dish as succulent and juicy as possible.


You can also serve it with any herbs and vegetables that you want and can sweeten it with brown sugar or apricots. Basically, if you’re going for this one, just have fun with it. Try something a little different. Push the boat out. But make sure you give yourself a day to do it!