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10 Passover Recipes to Wow Family and Friends

Chefs and foodies share what they put on their holiday table

spinner image lemon macaroons, brisket, mofongo matzo ball soup, wings and potato latkes
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Courtesy Pam Stein; Courtesy Debra Quin Goldman Markowitz; Courtesy Reagan Byrne; Courtesy La Boìte; Courtesy Blue Collar; Getty Images)

Passover, the eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the freedom of Israelites from slavery in Egypt, kicks off with a celebratory meal called a seder.

The meal shared with family and friends is a time to enjoy incredible food.

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We asked chefs and home cooks from South Florida to Tel Aviv to share their favorite dishes to serve at Passover. You might enjoy adding them to your repertoire for the holiday. 

Customs about foods acceptable for Passover vary, and these recipes reflect different traditions. Mofongo and Matzo Ball Soup | Brisket | Potato Latkes | Lemon Macaroons | Spiced Chicken Wings | Deviled Eggs | Charoset | Beet Horseradish | Celery Parsley Salad | Dressed Romaine

Bringing religions and cultures together to create one amazing recipe

Puerto Rican Jewish chef Trisha Pérez Kennealy of the Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts, is passionate about incorporating her family’s cultures and religions (her husband’s background is Irish Catholic) into her food.

She joins the classic Puerto Rican dish mofongo, made with fried green plantains, chicken and garlic, with a traditional Jewish favorite, matzo ball soup, in this delicious rendition.

Pérez Kennealy says she always makes her own stock from scratch, but she substituted the store-bought variety in this version to reduce preparation time.

spinner image Mofongo and matzo ball soup
Courtesy Reagan Byrne


Mofongo ingredients:

  • 4 green plantains
  • 4 chicken thighs, deboned and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic, divided
  • ¾ cup of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups vegetable oil


  1.  Combine 4 cloves of garlic, ¼ cup of olive oil and vinegar in a blender and pour over chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat vegetable oil on medium high in large pot to fry the plantains and the chicken.
  3. Make a paste of remaining garlic cloves and salt.
  4. Heat remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and pour over garlic and salt.
  5. Peel plantains and cut into 1½-inch rounds.
  6. Test oil to check that it is 350-375° F.
  7. Add plantains and chicken chunks in batches to the oil and cook for seven to nine minutes.
  8. Drain plantains and chicken and grind mixture with a large mortar and pestle. Add a tablespoon of garlic, oil and salt mixture and a tablespoon of lime juice to help bring the mofongo together.
  9.  Use an ice cream scoop to form the mofongo mixture into balls with little pieces of chicken incorporated.

Matzo ball ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1/3 cup rendered chicken fat either purchased or from chicken being used to make soup
  • ½ cup seltzer
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Stock ingredients:

  • 8 cups of store-bought chicken stock
  • 2 carrots cut into ¼-½ dice
  • 2 onions cut into ¼-½ dice
  • 2 celery stalks cut into ¼-½ dice
  • Cilantro
  • Shredded chicken from making stock
  • Lime wedges


  1. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Add seltzer, chicken fat (make sure it’s warm but not hot enough to cook the eggs), salt and pepper to the beaten eggs.
  3. Add matzo meal and stir, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop the desired size of the matzo balls.
  6. Drop into a pot of simmering stock. Placing the matzo balls in the stock will reduce the temperature of the broth.
  7. Allow the stock to simmer again and cook covered for 25-30 minutes.


  1.  Sauté vegetables in olive oil and a little salt on medium low heat till cooked to your liking. I prefer my vegetables al dente or on the crunchy side, which usually takes 10-15 minutes given the quantity of vegetables.
  2. Heat chicken stock to desired temperature. Remember to season your stock at this point. Kosher chickens are brined in saltwater, so they flavor the stock more than a nonkosher chicken.
  3. Arrange bowls with cooked vegetables, poached chicken, matzo balls and mofongo. Ladle hot soup over all of it. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

A classic onion soup mix is the secret to this perfect make-ahead dish

Slow-cooked beef brisket is a Passover classic that takes center stage during other Jewish holidays too. Debra Q. Markowitz, a former chef who runs the food blog The Twisted Challah, shares a favorite family recipe from her mother that you can make ahead of time.

“This brisket is quite different from the way I usually cook,” she says. “My brother and I tried to convert the recipe into one made entirely from scratch, but nothing compared to Mom’s original. There’s no going around that packet of Lipton’s onion soup.”

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spinner image Marilyn's Brisket
Courtesy Debra Quin Goldman Markowitz


  • ½ first cut beef brisket (about 6 lbs., a thicker piece is best)
  • 1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
  • 1 bottle of beer, any kind (kosher for Passover beer is available)
  • 1 small can Contadina tomato paste (original, plain)


  1. Preheat a Dutch oven on the stove top over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the pot is hot, add the brisket, fat side down. Do not add any oil. Sear the meat for about 10 minutes until it’s a rich brown, then turn the meat over (using tongs) and brown it on the other side. Don’t worry about the meat being cooked through; it will braise for a long time.
  3. Pour the contents of one packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (kosher versions are available) over the meat.
  4.  Immediately pour a bottle of beer over the soup mix.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and gently simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, use tongs to turn the meat over and replace the cover. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Continue to simmer the brisket, turning every 30 minutes, until a fork easily slides into the meat. This should take 1½ to two hours, depending on the thickness, the size and the initial tenderness of the meat.
  7. Once the meat is fork-tender, turn the brisket one last time. Add ½ can of Contadina tomato paste. Fill the can halfway with water and pour that into the pot. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon to combine. Don’t be concerned if there are lumps of tomato paste as they will melt as it cooks.
  8. Replace the cover on the pot and very gently simmer for another 30 minutes. Check from time to time to make sure the sauce isn’t evaporating. Add water if necessary.
  9.  Remove the pot from the stove and allow the meat to cool before taking it out (if you take it out too soon, it will fall apart).
  10. Once it’s cool, put the brisket into a rectangular glass or Pyrex dish and cover with plastic wrap.
  11.  Separate the gravy from the meat and store the gravy in its own container. Refrigerate both overnight.
  12. The next day, using a sharp knife, slice the meat thinly, cutting against the grain. This is important. If you slice with the grain, the meat will be stringy and less tender. As you slice the brisket, lay the slices out in rows in a rectangular Pyrex or other oven-safe dish, overlapping them somewhat.
  13. Take the gravy out of the fridge and skim off any excess fat that has collected at the top. Pour the gravy evenly over the sliced brisket, and cover the dish tightly with foil.
  14. Return it to the refrigerator or freeze it for later use. (Freezing the brisket does not diminish the quality in the slightest, and the ability to freeze it makes this a great do-ahead dish for holidays.)
  15. Forty-five minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the brisket for 30 minutes, covered. The meat will absorb some of the sauce. 

Chef Danny Serfer’s Passover-friendly potato latkes

“Every Jewish family has their own latke recipe and I’m sure this is not much different from most,” says Chef Danny Serfer of the Blue Collar restaurant in Miami. What makes his recipe “really hit,” he says, is the technique and chicken fat. 

“It is so important to squeeze all of that excess liquid (out) of the potato, as this is what allows you to use the least amount of matzo meal and get the crispiest latkes,” he says. Using chicken fat for frying adds flavor while nodding to the traditional way of making the dish, he says. Opt for cast-iron pans to best retain heat and make for the most even frying, he suggests.

“Even if you mess up a little and don’t get all of the water out, they might not be as crispy as you’d like, but everyone will love the applesauce and be super impressed that you may be stuck making latkes for all of the holidays,” he says. “That could be a good thing or bad, depending on how hard you want to show off to the rest of the family.”

spinner image Potato latkes with applesauce
Courtesy Blue Collar


Latke ingredients:

  • 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 cup matzo meal (plus ½ cup, if needed)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 pounds rendered chicken fat
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Applesauce ingredients:

  • 10 whole Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Latke instructions:

  1.  Using a box grater or the shredder attachment on a food processor/stand mixer, shred the potatoes into a bath of ice water.
  2. Gather the potatoes into a tea towel, wrap up and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Do this in batches, so you can extract the most liquid.
  3. Take the dry potato shreds and mix with the diced onion, matzo meal, garlic powder and egg to form a batter that is not too wet (you should be able to form patties that hold together on their own).
  4.  Preheat the chicken fat in a cast-iron skillet to 375° F.
  5. Form the patties into your preferred latke size (2 inches in diameter is a good bet).
  6. Gently place patties into rendered chicken fat and begin frying, doing your best to maintain an oil temperature of 325-375° F for best results.
  7. Once the edges are brown and crispy, flip the latkes. Once both sides are golden brown and crispy, remove to a wire rack and let drain, then season with more salt.
  8. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

Applesauce instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot, cover and heat on medium.
  2. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 90 minutes until it looks like applesauce. Simmer longer if you want thicker applesauce or for less time if you prefer it thinner.
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A sweet and tangy cookie with just five ingredients

“Every Passover, I host a seder where I make traditional Passover food with a twist,” says Pamela Stein, an enthusiastic home cook who shares her recipes on YouTube. “The dishes served also incorporate flavors of a particular location or type of cuisine. My family and friends don’t know the theme until they arrive and begin guessing what I’ve used as inspiration for my holiday cooking.”

Her recipe for lemon macaroons was inspired by her travels to Italy and French Polynesia. 

“Combining the lemon of Italy with the coconut of Tahiti makes for a fresh take on the traditional almond macaroons,” she says. “Using sweetened coconut balances the tartness of the lemon flavor — a perfect combination for Passover when Jews remember the tartness of slavery and the sweetness of their liberation and freedom.”

spinner image lemon macaroons
Courtesy Pam Stein


  • 5 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the shredded coconut, egg whites, sugar, lemon extract and lemon zest. 
  3. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out mounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. 
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the macaroons are slightly browned.
  5. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

A modern twist on the ceremonial seder plate

A traditional seder plate serves as a centerpiece during the meal and is not meant to be eaten. This updated version is not only for eating but is delicious, says Lior Lev Sercarz, founder and owner of global spice brand La Boîte.

“We updated the symbolic seder plate out of respect and appreciation for gathering together to reflect on where we came from and how much we have to be thankful for,” Lev Sercarz says.

It’s a collection of six recipes (each enough to serve four people) and instead of one plate, it’s meant to be served on individual plates with matzo at the middle. The amount can be multiplied as needed to fit your gathering, Lev Sercarz says.

spinner image seder plate featuring chicken wings
Courtesy La Boìte


  • 1 tablespoon Ayala N.16 spice blend
  • 1½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 pound chicken wings, separated into drumsticks and flats


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the Ayala, olive oil, lemon juice and honey.
  2. Add the chicken wings and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour (or overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the chicken wings on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, then turn over and roast for 15 minutes longer or until the wings are golden brown and cooked through.


  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
  • 5 boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped black olives
  • Salt to taste


  1. Finely grind together the mint, sumac and peppercorns to make a spice blend.
  2. Peel and cut the hard-boiled eggs in half.
  3. Remove the yolks and place them in a medium bowl. Set the whites on a cutting board.
  4. Smash the yolks with a fork until crumbly and add the tahini, water, 1¼ teaspoons of the spice blend, and chopped olives. Mash and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt.
  5. Evenly divide the yolk mixture among the egg white cavities and sprinkle with any remaining spice blend.


  • 1 cup store-bought date puree
  • 2 tablespoons ruby port wine
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped, toasted and salted cashews
  • 1½ teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1½ teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sumac
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo chile
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt


1. Combine all ingredients using a spatula, then refrigerate until serving. It can be prepared up to 24 hours ahead of time.


  • 1 tablespoon amchoor
  • 12-ounce package steamed, peeled beets, cut into quarters
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup prepared horseradish


  1. Pulse the amchoor, beets, salt and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add the prepared horseradish and continue processing until a smooth, bright puree. Serve chilled.


  • 4 ribs celery, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoon parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon hazelnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar


1. Toss the ingredients together to season.


  •  8 leaves romaine lettuce, preferably the inner yellow hearts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of fine sea salt


1. Toss the ingredients together to season.

For more Passover recipes from AARP, click here.

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