The Best Fast Food Menu Items To Serve On Hanukkah

The holidays are a magical time full of family, friends, and, above all else, food. It is impossible to imagine the holiday season without copious amounts of delicious treats perfect for each holiday. That being the case, not everyone wants to cook. With so much going on, sometimes you need a quick stop for some comfort food.

Hanukkah, in particular, has eight nights of festivities. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees and the reclamation of their land. After their success, they had just one day's worth of oil to light their ceremonial menorah. But in a miracle, that one day of oil lasted for eight. Now, to celebrate, we light the menorah each night and eat — you guessed it — fried food.

Traditional foods include latkes, which are potato pancakes. These are often served with applesauce and sour cream on the side. Another traditional food is sufganiyot, which are fried jelly donuts. And fried potatoes and donuts naturally lend themselves to a fast food trip.

Of course, there are other foods traditionally eaten on Hanukkah. Anything fried in oil keeps with the theme. Cheese is also an accepted Hanukkah traditional food, as are brisket and chocolate coins called gelt. Each family and culture has their own favorite traditions, but there is a fast food option for just about everyone.


Let's start with the low-hanging fruit. That is, the low-hanging fruit-filled donuts! Making your own sufganiyot is objectively delicious but also a time-consuming endeavor with some extensive clean up. There's also the risk of burning yourself while making them. If you are lucky enough to have a local supply during Hanukkah, it's even better, but sometimes you just need a quick pickup.

There are plenty of fast food chains that offer jam and cream-filled donuts, which, while not labeled as sufganiyot, will fill the donut-shaped holiday void. Some chains, such as Krispy Kreme, have even offered Hanukkah specials, where you can get a dozen donuts, including six jam-filled and six glazed in blue, a traditional color for Hanukkah. Other chains, such as Dunkin', also offer jelly donuts.

If jam-filled donuts aren't your thing, no worries. Most fast-food donut places have tons of options, and depending on where you are, sufganiyot can also be filled with custard. Additionally, Moroccan Jews make a donut called sfenj for Hanukkah, which is often served plain or sugar-covered. So pick up a dozen of your favorite donuts and enjoy them without the fuss.

French fries

Fried potatoes? Well, french fries fit the bill. As one Redditor pointed out, french fries are a particularly American interpretation of a Hanukkah dish. Still, it's one that absolutely fits the requirements and is incredibly easy to come by — chains such as Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, Five Guys, and McDonald's all offer french fries. You don't even have to leave your car in some cases. Simply hit the drive-through of your favorite fry place.

It is worth keeping track of which fries include what ingredients. For Jews who keep kosher style, it may be essential to know that some fast food fries, such as McDonald's, have dairy in their seasoning. This will limit what some of the fries can be paired with.

With so many chains around offering some version of a french fry, this form of fried potato is the easiest and most accessible way to get your fill of fried potato this Hanukkah.

Apple fritters

While we are on the subject of donut-based treats, why not grab an apple fritter for Hanukkah? Apples are not one of the commonplace foods for Hanukkah, but they do have a strong meaning in Judaism. Apples represent good things to come. While apples and honey are traditional for Rosh Hashanah, the enduring symbolism is also appropriate for Hanukkah. If sufganiyot typically has donuts and fruit together, then apple fritters fit the bill, perfectly melding happiness and oil.

Apple fritters are available at donut chains such as Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme. While apple desserts are often a seasonal object, it just so happens that Hanukkah typically comes around the same time that apple desserts are still on the menu, meaning there may be even more fast food options out there. Because Jewish holidays, such as Hanukkah, follow the Hebrew calendar — a lunisolar calendar — the exact days shift, but are typically sometime in December.

McDonald's apple pie

Now that we've convinced you that apples have a place at the Hanukkah table, we will also suggest one of the tried and true apple fast food desserts: McDonald's apple pie. McDonald's apple pie has had a long and somewhat tumultuous history. The original McDonald's apple pie was a deep fried apple filled delicacy. Sadly, now, due to health reasons, most McDonald's apple pies are baked.

These baked ones are still cheap, delicious, and widely available. But if you find yourself in one of the two remaining states that have the fried version, you have a perfect fast food dessert for Hanukkah. Donuts are great and all, but when you have eight nights of a holiday, mixing it up with some apple pie can be a good thing. As of March of 2023, McDonald's fried apple pie was still being served at a vintage McDonald's location in Downey, California. It is also the oldest McDonald's that is still a McDonald's, so it makes sense that they would offer this classic treat.

Additionally, as of 2019, in Hawaii, McDonald's still fried its pies. So maybe take a vacation, get some sun, and celebrate the holidays.

Burger King French Toast Sticks and Hash Browns

Why does the holiday meal have to be dinner? We say start as soon as you get up in the morning with some festive breakfast. While it is always nice to make your own food in the morning, there is often a need to grab something quickly, and we think we have the perfect solution for you: Burger King French Toast Sticks and Hash Browns.

Burger King French Toast Sticks are not just pan-fried, like the kind most people make at home, but are full-on deep-fried, very much in keeping with Hanukkah tradition. That is easily paired with the Burger King Hash Browns. For those who have not had them, the Burger King hash browns are small coin-shaped deed-fried potato bites. Which, if you think about it, makes them almost like mini latkes. If you want to start your celebrations early, head to Burger King for a quick, deliciously fried breakfast, complete with a mini version of potato pancakes. Just make sure you get there before 10:30 AM.

Chick-fil-A Hash Browns and Apple Sauce

Burger King isn't the only fast food giant with adorable mini hash browns on the breakfast menu. Chick-fil-A also offers small coin-sized fried hash browns for hungry customers. As discussed, these are basically mini latkes, which makes them a great breakfast option.

As a bonus, Chick-fil-A also offers sides of apple sauce pouches. Are these geared towards children? Sure. But that doesn't mean the company won't let you order them as an adult. The employees would do anything for "our pleasure."

With some mini fried potatoes and a squeezer of apple sauce, not only do you have one of the classic Hanukkah pairings to serve, but it is kid-friendly and utensil-free. If you need to have a Hanukkah meal on the go, this is one of the best bets, as long as it is before 10:30. After that, the hash browns are replaced by waffle fries, which are not quite the same but will work in a pinch.

Chicken Nuggets

Dinner inspiration can come from many avenues. Fried chicken is not the first food many Americans think of as a traditional Hanukkah food. Still, in other parts of the world, such as Italy, dishes such as Pollo Fritto per Chanukka (fried chicken for Hanukkah) are known to be served on the holiday.

Of course, Americans do love fried chicken. We love it so much that some version is available at just about every fast food place around. Between fried chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and, of course, the ever-popular chicken nuggets, fast food places have the fried chicken market cornered.

There is no shame in getting your favorite chicken nuggets from a fast food restaurant and serving it on the table. Not only will this likely please any children, but it will leave you happy and enjoying a nice fried Hanukkah meal. Pair it with some of those fries we talked about above and really round out the whole thing.

Now, some chicken nuggets and tenders are not dairy-free, and this can be a concern for people keeping kosher style, who do not want to mix milk and meat. KFC, Burger King, and Mcdonald's all offer dairy-free fried chicken options.

Arby's Smoke House Brisket sandwich

We have covered some smaller dishes and sides, but we haven't covered some of the more substantial options. For that, it is time to move on to the red meat category. Brisket can be a lot of work to make at home, so why not let someone else do it? Of course, Arby's has the Smokehouse Brisket sandwich. Brisket is often served alongside other Hanukkah classics, so why not have this one on the menu?

The sandwich features smoked brisket accompanied by fried crispy onions; it basically takes care of two holiday favorites in one handful. The sandwich does typically come with cheese, but for those who do not mix milk and meat, the cheese can be left off, and of course, any additional allergen or dietary concerns should be considered before ordering. Throw in some crinkle or curly fries, and you've got a lovely Hanukkah meal ready to go.

Qdoba Brisket Birria

Arby's isn't the only restaurant serving up brisket. Fast casual restaurant Qdoba offers brisket birria as one of its main meat options. The brisket birria is a slow-cooked shredded beef made with chiles, garlic, and other spices. This will make for an exciting flavor pallet to spice things up this Hanukkah.

One of the best things about this protein is that it is Qdoba. You can put it on whatever dish you want and pair it with or without whatever other toppings you want. The brisket birria can be made into a burrito, salad, tacos, bowl, quesadilla, or nachos. While we absolutely love fried food, it is nice to have a fast food option that is a little lighter and can include more vegetables. Since you are entirely in control, it is easy to ensure the brisket is not getting paired with cheese or sour cream. Also, Qudoba does catering, so if you are looking for holiday fast food for a group, this could be a good option.

Fried cheese curds

Cheese is often eaten for Hanukkah in recognition of Judith. In one variation of her story, Judith is said to give an enemy salty cheese to make him thirsty so he would get drunk. There is a little more to it than this, and there are varying accounts of the story and just how Judith was or was not related to Judah Macabee, but we are not going to get into all of that. The point is cheese became associated with Hanukkah way back in the Middle Ages.

In fact, some may be surprised to hear that latkes were originally fried cheese pancakes. While obviously, potatoes are great, fried cheese is hard to beat. As such, we feel it is only fitting to include some fried cheese on the menu.

Culver's and Dairy Queen are two fast food chains that focus predominantly on the dairy side of things, so it makes sense that both offer fried cheese curds on the menu. While these may not exactly be a cheese pancake, they sure do fit the bill of cheese and fried. Plus, they are bite-sized and easy to eat.

Fried cheese sticks

Now, if you want to go a little bigger, bring home some mozzarella sticks. These are still not quite potato pancakes, but these delicious fried cheese sticks are shareable for a table or totally fine for eating yourself. Not only do they perfectly meld the fired food category and cheese food category for Hanukkah, but they can add an interesting twist to the table. Again, we love a potato pancake, but with eight days of food, it is nice to break it up a little.

Lots of fast food places offer fried cheese sticks. Arby's and Sonic are two that are widely available.

While those who are keeping kosher style will not want to pair these with meat-based foods, these are an excellent option for a dairy meal or any vegetarians out there celebrating Hanukkah. Dairy meals are also traditional to eat for Hanukkah in general, so consider putting the meat away and break out the cheese sticks.

Burger King Donut Burger

It is not often a fast food restaurant goes all in on a theme, but in 2016, Burger King did just that when the company released the SufganiKing. The SufganiKing was a Burger King burger topped with tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, and mayonnaise. So far, this sounds like a normal burger. But instead of a burger bun, Burger King used a Sufganiyot, cut in half. This monstrosity of a creation says "horrifying" just as much as it says "holiday."

The burger was exclusively released in Israel by Burger Kings for Hanukkah. While this was clearly a gimmick, it was a moderately successful one, with reports that people were buying it. The problem is gimmicks only get you so far, and as you can probably guess, once the novelty wore off, people were not as charmed by the taste as they were by the idea.

Still, if Burger King decides to bring back this holiday creation, it will undoubtedly be one of the best fast food items to serve on Hanukkah.