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13 Jewish Desserts Everyone Needs to Try

From moist apple cake to sufganiyot, here's a closer look at Jewish desserts.

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Passover Rainbow Cookies

Shannon Sarna, a home cook and editor at The Nosher, shares her family’s most beloved dessert: rainbow cookies. These classic New York treats are traditionally served in synagogues and at Jewish celebrations, but actually have Italian roots. To make, you’ll bake three thin cakes, spread jam between them and coat with smooth melted chocolate.
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As desserts go, you won’t find anything much more enticing than a fresh jelly doughnut, and that’s essentially what you’re getting with sufganiyot. This pillowy fried treat is eaten during Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the temple oil.
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Rugelach is often found on cookie trays during Christmas, but it’s actually a Jewish delight. It consists of a triangle of pastry rolled around a filling of anything from chocolate to fruit preserves. Its horn-like shape makes it perfect for Rosh Hashanah, during which a ram’s horn is blown to usher in the new year. Find more recipes for rugelach.
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Taste of Home


Babka is a dense braided bread stuffed with sweet fillings like chocolate, cinnamon sugar, apples, or raisins. You can thank Jewis grandmothers for its creation, as they would often twist leftover scraps of challah with seeds and nuts for a handy Sabbath snack. Don’t forget to pick up one of these Jewish cookbooks for more amazing desserts.

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Apple Cake

One of the most common desserts seen during Rosh Hashanah is apple cake. This is a top choice because the apples represent sweetness for the new year and because it uses oil instead of butter (making it a suitable pareve dessert). Learn more about Rosh Hashanah foods.
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These hat-shaped cookies are named after Haman, the villain of the Purim story. The shortbread dough is folded into a triangle and while it’s traditionally filled with poppy seeds, fig paste, chocolate, and even cheese are sometimes used. See how to make hamantaschen.
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Tzimmes Cake

Tzimmes is actually a Jewish stew containing carrots, sweet potatoes, dried fruits and nuts, and someone wisely decided the ingredients should be turned into a cake! Such a cake is so sweet, it’s ideal for a Rosh Hashanah dessert.
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Homemade chocolate egg cream, beverage with milk, soda water and chocolate syrupistetiana/Getty Images

Egg Creams

Egg creams are an iconic Jewish drink. This fizzy, frothy drink is said to have been created in the 1900s by Louis Auster, a Jewish candy store owner in Brooklyn, New York. Interestingly, the drink contains no eggs—just 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup carbonated water and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup. (Purists use the brand Fox’s U-bet!)

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Honey Cake

Honey cake is also common during Rosh Hashanah, as honey is a symbol of hope for the new year. It can be made special by including spices such as cinnamon or cloves, flavorings like coffee or whiskey, or nuts like candied almonds or walnuts.
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Everyone’s heard of macaroons (not to be confused with macarons), the sweet little cookies made from coconut, eggs and sugar. The fact that there’s no added leavening makes them perfect for Passover.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our other Hanukkah desserts!

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Mandelbrot are sometimes referred to as Jewish biscotti. The cookies, often consumed after Shabbat dinner, are unique in that they’re made using oil and traditionally contain almonds. Try these twice-baked treats with a steaming cup of tea. You can add this to the list of Jewish foods everyone should learn to make!
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Lemon Poppy Seed CakeTaste of Home

Poppy Seed Cake

This uniquely delicious cake is often seen during Purim because the Yiddish word for poppy seed, mohn, is similar to the name of the villain of the Purim story, Haman. It can be in the form of a loaf, a Bundt cake or even a towering layer cake.

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Hanukkah dreidels with some Hanukkah coins and Hanukkah candles on a vintage wood green background. Translation of the hebrew text: Letter Nvladi79/Getty Images


What’s a game of dreidel without gelt? These waxy chocolate coins wrapped in shiny gold foil have a rich history and are a staple during Hanukkah, especially for kids. For something homemade, don’t miss our recipes for Hanukkah.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.