Savory Potato & Onion Knishes Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Asha Loupy



9 Ratings

  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Makes 12 to 16 small knishes

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Author Notes

How could you go wrong with these traditional potato-filled Jewish pastries? This savory version is filled with a classic potato filling accented by caramelized onions and leeks, cream cheese, and chives—plus some Parmesan cheese for added depth. The twist? These beauties are adorned with a sprinkling of crunchy everything bagel topping! The dough and the technique is adapted from Joe’s Pastry’s recipe for “The Tra-dish Knish.” —Asha Loupy

Test Kitchen Notes

Hearty and cozy, knishes—the word, according to Britannica, is “a Yiddish derivative of the Ukrainian word knysh or Polish knysz”—came to the United States by way of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. The pastries earned a beloved following in New York City in the early 20th century, and that following still exists today. At Russ & Daughters Café—the restaurant outpost of the century-old appetizing shop—you can get pillowy knishes chock-full of soft potato and caramelized onion (plus spicy mustard on the side). At B&H Dairy, a kosher diner that opened in the 1940s, you can pick from a slew of filling options: broccoli, mushroom, plain potato, sweet potato, kasha, mixed vegetable, or spinach (all served with savory gravy). Let these menus inspire your own knish adventures at home, using Asha’s flavorful recipe as a starting point. Scallions instead of leeks? Goat cheese instead of cream cheese? Sharp cheddar instead of Parmesan? What riffs would you make? Let us know in the comments. If your spice cabinet is already overflowing and you don’t want to buy the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, and onion flakes, swap in premixed everything bagel seasoning—or just pick your favorite from the list. Knishes are a project, so save this for a leisurely weekend, and don’t hesitate to break up the recipe into stages: You can make the dough and let it chill overnight in the fridge, then pick up the recipe from step 3 (this will actually yield a more deeply flavored crust). —The Editors

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What You'll Need

  • Dough:
  • 2 1/4 cupsall-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 1 teaspoonbaking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoonsunsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoondistilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cuplukewarm water
  • Filling & Topping:
  • 4 tablespoonsunsalted butter
  • 2 large white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoongranulated sugar
  • 2 medium leeks, whites only, trimmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cupwater, plus one teaspoon
  • 1 poundYukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 6 ouncescream cheese
  • 1 bunchfresh chives, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cupParmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoonswhite or black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoonpoppy seeds
  • 1 teaspooncaraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoondried onion flakes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  1. To make the knish dough, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, water, and vinegar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten egg and wet ingredients. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir the mixture together until it starts to form a loose dough.
  2. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a couple times until the dough comes together (don’t over-knead it or your dough will be tough). Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature. You can also make this dough ahead of time, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. While the dough is resting, make the knish filling: Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and let the onions slowly cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to turn translucent and begin to breakdown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover the onions and stir in the teaspoon of sugar. Continue to cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized and has turned golden brown, about another 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the leeks and 1/4 cup water into the caramelized onion mixture, cover, and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the leeks are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the onion and leek mixture from the stove and set aside.
  5. While the onions and leeks are cooking, cook the potatoes. Place peeled potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes well.
  6. In a large bowl, mash together the cooked potatoes, reserved onion and leek mixture, cream cheese, chives, and the Parmiaigno-Reggiano until combined (I like a more rustic, chunkier filling, but if you want a smoother filling, you can use put the potatoes through a ricer before combining with the other ingredients). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat the oven to 350° F while you assemble the knishes. To assemble: Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured surface, shape half the dough into a rectangle and roll out into a very thin sheet. It should end up being about roughly about 18 by 8 inches.
  8. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, create about a 1 1/2- to 2-inch thick log from half of your potato and onion mixture on the bottom of the dough. Roll the filling up in the dough, creating a long log, making sure not to roll it too tight—a little slack will help your knish not burst open when baking. You should be able to roll it about 2 to 3 times (this will result in delectably flaky layers in the finished product).
  9. Using your finger, make indentations across the log every 2 1/2 inches. Gently twist the dough at each indentation (the log will resemble links of sausage). With a sharp knife or dough cutter, cut the dough at each twist.
  10. To form the knish, take one of the cut segments, pinch closed the twisted ends, place one of the twisted ends down, and gently flatten the knish into a squat round. Pinch the top closed and make a small indentation in the center of the knish—another way to prevent them from breaking open in the oven. Repeat with the remaining cut segments, placing the finished knishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  11. Repeat the rolling and assembling process with the remaining half of the dough and filling. You should end up with about 12 to 16 small knishes.
  12. For the everything bagel topping, mix together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds and dried onion flakes in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg and the remaining teaspoon of water. Brush the top of each knish with the egg wash and sprinkle with the everything bagel mixture.
  13. Bake the knish for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are lightly golden on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Bread
  • Jewish
  • Caraway
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Vinegar
  • Cream Cheese
  • Chive
  • Sesame
  • Bake
  • Hanukkah
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Jewish-Inspired Recipe

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16 Reviews

Mirra November 20, 2022

I've tried other but, your recipe is the best. The dough was so flaky and buttery. The filling had great taste. I folded them square and they were delicious and beautifully baked.

Rosie May 9, 2022

Filling was amazingly creamy and flavorful. Dough was light and flaky. The whole thing was tender. Dough was easy to handle, instructions were easy to follow. Lots of steps but not difficult. Real comfort food. Thank you for this recipe!

MPak January 16, 2021

Knishes are delicious! I followed the recipe to a T, except I used "everything but the bagel" seasoning I had in the pantry. I had a LOT of stuffing leftover, so I think I'll fry it up into potato pancakes for breakfast.

jaeroe September 28, 2020

Wow. This was amazing. The crust was think and crispy and exactly what I remember from old Philly deli's back in the day. I ditched the bagel toppings and put an egg wash on instead. Also split the batch between the potato and onion here, and did a half with a cup of kasha (buckwheat groats) mixed into the filling. Will be making this again for sure whenever I need to scratch that itch!

Christine C. May 20, 2018

Made these knishes, minus the topping. They came out perfectly and tasted delicious!

Jade I. August 14, 2016

Super delicious! I am loving how these are a laid back brunch option that still have a knockout effect! I'm loving these!

Asha L. August 15, 2016

That is so great to hear, Jade! I love keeping some frozen knish on hand to heat up for last-minute brunch guests too. Cheers!

LCSmith June 16, 2016

Can't wait to make these!

LeBec F. May 12, 2016

asha, congrats! thrilled to see you win, with all your hard work!
p.s. you might want to go to your profile and allow people to email you via 52; if you choose that option, an envelope will appear to other 52ers when they pull up your profile (but you won't see it yourself. go figure!)

Asha L. May 12, 2016

Thanks Le Bec Fin! Thanks for the tip about allowing people to email me directly via 52. I looked in my profile settings and I couldn't find that option, any advice?

susan G. June 16, 2016

Email [emailprotected] - they're good at helping.

Julia C. May 12, 2016

Yum! Congrats on this delicious recipe.

Asha L. May 12, 2016

Thanks, Julia!

savorthis May 7, 2016

Congrats, these look delicious!

Asha L. May 7, 2016

Thanks! Looking forward to making your soup soon!

Bevi May 6, 2016

Yum! This takes me back to my hotel brat days!

Savory Potato & Onion Knishes Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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