Hanukkah Chicken Recipes including Chicken with Apricot Jam

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Hanukkah Chicken Recipes — a necessary complement to the symbolic fried foods like latkes that we love to eat for Hannukah. This post includes a recipe for Chicken with Apricot Jam and links to several other easy Chanukah main course options.

full pan of baked apricot chicken at an angle with white tablecloth

What is Hanukkah? Chanukah? Hannukah? Channukah?

Hanukkah is the eight-night Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorating the rededication of the temple in 165 B.C. More importantly it is a celebration of the oil that miraculously lasted eight days (hence the length of the holiday) when it really was meant to last only one.

A “hannukiah”, the traditional candelabra lit on Hannukah – here it is the 6th night.

The exact dates of Hannukah change because it is based on the Lunar calendar. Sometimes it overlaps Christmas and sometimes it starts a couple days after Thanksgiving. And as for the myriad spellings – it is a phonetic translation of a Hebrew word leaving it open for interpretation.

What are Traditional Hanukkah Foods?

Since Chanukah celebrates the oil that lasted longer than expected, the traditional foods are fried especially potato latkes and soufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). In our house, a little rolled pastry called a rugelach is our tradition.

soufganiyot with Gregorys jam on white plate

This soufganiyot is filled with Gregory’s jam – a recipe I developed in memory of my son.

Often people play a game called dreidel and use gold-wrapped edible chocolate coins as the game tokens. And when the game is over, the money is eaten.

What do People eat with the Fried Foods?

It’s very possible to make a satisfying meal out of latkes with lots of sour cream and applesauce with a big salad and some vegetables. But very often, at least in the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition (from Eastern Europe), a brisket or chicken dish is a must.

Brisket can be made ahead of time as can a good baked chicken dish. And if you are serving a large crowd, how about one of each?
hanukkah chicken recipes photo of chicken with apricot jam in blue pan

Chicken with Apricot Jam, Meyer Lemon and Mustard

I discovered this sweet, savory, tangy, and easy recipe years ago in a cookbook called: The Great Hadassah Wizo Cookbook. Hadassah is an international Jewish Women’s philanthropic organization that supports women and children in Israel and around the world. This particular cookbook comes from a group in Edmonton, Canada.

jewish cookbook with lemon glazed chicken recipe open and closed

I’ve been cooking this yummy chicken dish since my mother gave me the book almost 35 years ago, but I adapted it to work with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The original recipe called for bone-in chicken and is called Lemon Glazed Chicken. It is wonderful made with bone-in pieces, but if you are in a rush or serving a crowd on a buffet, boneless chicken is so convenient.

Tips for Making Chicken with Apricot Jam

  • You can use boneless chicken or bone-in. Boneless cooks more quickly and is easier to cut into portion size pieces for a crowd. Bone-in allows the flavors to develop more as it cooks longer. You also get the color of the crispy skin. If you are serving bone-in breasts, ask your butcher to cut each one in two pieces for better portion sizes for serving a crowd.
  • You can prepare the sauce mixture for the chicken ahead of time. 

chicken sauce in white bowl with red spoon

  • You can prepare the pans of chicken and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them, even a day ahead of time.

uncooked lemon chicken with apricot jam in blue pan

Other Hanukkah Chicken Recipes

Ottolenghi’s Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon

Roasted Chicken with Clementines

Whole Roasted Chicken

Chicken with Mushrooms and Thyme from Pastry Chef Online

Roasted Herb Chicken with Mandarin Orange from Fearless Dining

Persian Chicken Kabob from Family Spice

Helpful Kitchen Tools for Making Chicken with Apricot Jam

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4.29 from 7 votes

Lemon Chicken with Apricot Jam

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, give this chicken with apricot jam a try. It's tasty, easy, and always enjoyed by everyone in the crowd from young children to adults.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Cooking
Keyword apricot jam, Hanukkah, hanukkah chicken recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 servings
Calories 119 kcal


  • 1 cup apricot-pineapple preserves or use apricot jam
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon sliced or 2 if they are small
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 - 10 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves or an equivalent amt. of thighs or use bone-in chicken


  1. Cut your boneless skinless breasts or thighs into appropriate individual serving size pieces and arrange in the baking dish.

  2. Combine preserves, mustard, lemon rind, lemon juice, thyme and pepper in a medium size bowl and combine. If you are baking the chicken right away, pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish. Then lay a lemon slice on each piece of chicken or just evenly cover the whole baking dish.

  3. Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered. Or 325 convection for 40 minutes or 350 convection for 30 minutes.

  4. If you are not cooking the chicken immediately after preparing the sauce, you can refrigerate the sauce or you can pour it over the chicken and then refrigerate the whole baking dish until you are ready to cook. Be sure to let it sit out of the fridge for 15 - 30 minutes before you put it in the oven, if you can.

Recipe Notes

  • If you prepare this with bone-in chicken pieces instead, double the cooking time and add the lemon slices halfway through the cooking process. I love when the lemons slices get really toasty but if you prefer them less "burnt" add them halfway through the cooking.
  • You can prepare the pans of chicken and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them, even a day ahead of time.
  • You can prepare the sauce mixture for the chicken ahead of time. 


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11 Responses to Hanukkah Chicken Recipes including Chicken with Apricot Jam

  1. Dahn January 8, 2020 at 8:51 pm #

    That chicken with apricot jam sounds fabulous. I make something similar with orange marmalade, I will have to try this. Welcome to MVP!

    • Beth Lee January 9, 2020 at 3:07 pm #

      Thanks for the warm welcome to MVP! Oh orange marmalade would be wonderful.

  2. Rita Held December 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm #

    Nice and simple. I love lemon anything, so I’ll probably have to make this

    • Beth Lee December 24, 2019 at 5:57 am #

      It’s so easy but a mouthful of flavor!

  3. Laura December 20, 2019 at 7:20 am #

    This dish looks incredible! A great meal for any night of the week, especially Hanukkah! Happy holidays, my friend!

    • Beth Lee December 20, 2019 at 9:10 am #

      Thanks Laura! It really is a year round chicken dinner but I enjoy the lemony fruity counterpoint to the rich latkes!

  4. Richard Bernhardt December 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I don’t know how Chanukah came to be on the first of December this year, but it took me by surprise, but no matter. Enjoy the lights, enjoy the latkes, enjoy the dredels, enjoy most of all the smiles from the kids and family. Happy Chanukah! – Richard

  5. Kristen December 3, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Happy Hannukah to you! Love your train and that chicken dish.

  6. [email protected] December 3, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Oh wow, this looks DELIGHTFUL!
    I’m so gonna try this recipe soon. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cindy November 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi Beth. How about that great Lipton onion soup recipe that we used to love. Wasn’t that something your mom made you or do I have faulty memory. The apricot/pineapple preserves made me think of it.

    • omgyummy December 2, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      You’re right Cindy – I think it was apricot jam mixed with onion soup. It was yummy wasn’t it? I had forgotten about that favorite. Wonder if we would think it is still so good now that our palates have matured. Probably – because it would taste like comfort food.

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