Impress Everyone By Making Homemade Potato Knishes

Nothing beats a classic potato knish. Make your own at home with this recipe, complete with jammy onions and flaky crust. Serve as a side dish, appetizer, or snack with deli mustard.

Impress Everyone By Making Homemade Potato Knishes
Potato Knishes on a Plate with a Bowl of Mustard
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Knishes are made of savory fillings enveloped in a flaky, soft dough, formed into a ball and baked or fried until golden. A great knish is a symphony of textures: flaky, soft, and bursting with fillings ranging from meat to buckwheat. 

My favorite kind is a potato and onion knish with a heavy seasoning of black pepper. They appear at luncheons, Friday night dinners, brunches, or on the go with a dollop of deli mustard. No matter the filling, knishes taste like comfort and remind me of sharing a meal with my grandparents.

A Rich History

Knishes have been quintessential New York street food for nearly 100 years, appearing on the menus of every Jewish deli and stacked high on street carts dotting the city. It’s not hard to imagine why knishes are the ultimate handheld comfort food since they’re chock full of starchy potatoes and carbs. 

Knishes are of Jewish and Eastern European descent and gained popularity in North America when Jewish immigrants brought them to New York and opened knisheries in the early 1900s. These knish shops helped the Jewish population launch into society and make a better life for themselves.

Potato Knishes on a Plate with a Bowl of Mustard
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Tips for Making the Perfect Potato Knish

  • Make it in stages: Knishes can be labor intensive, so break it into steps. Make the dough and the filling up to 3 days in advance and chill in the fridge.
  • Season liberally: Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper, the potatoes can take it!
  • Chill the dough: Chilled dough is easier to handle than room temperature dough.
  • Roll it thin: Don’t be afraid to roll the dough too thin. You’ll wrap it around the filling, and a thin dough means more flaky layers around the potatoes. 

Put Your Own Spin On the Knish

These potato knishes are classic but also easy to tweak with different fillings, a shortcut dough, and more:

  • Cook the onions in shmaltz (chicken fat) for added flavor
  • Short on time? Roll in puff pastry for a shortcut version that still tastes delicious. You can swap the potato filling for leftover mashed potatoes, too.
  • Experiment with fillings like sweet potato and roasted garlic, spinach and ricotta cheese, or mashed squash and ginger for a new take on the classic knish.
Potato Knishes on a Tray with One on a Small Plate
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Classic Jewish Deli-Style Recipes

Prepare the dough:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the water, oil, egg, and vinegar and pulse until just combined. It will resemble a shaggy dough that no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 1 hour at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Flour, Eggs, and Oil in Food Processor for Potato Knish Recipe
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Potato Knish Dough in Food Processor
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Potato Knishes Dough Resting in a Bowl
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Cook the onions:

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they have browned and softened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Onions in Skillet for Potato Knishes Recipe
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook the potatoes and assemble the filling:

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water until fork tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the cooked onions to the potatoes along with the butter. Mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Let cool.

Mashed Potatoes in a Bowl for Knish Recipe
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Roll the knishes:

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a very thin rectangular sheet (approximately 10 x 20 inches).

Place a 2-inch wide log of the potato mixture running about an inch from the bottom of the dough. Roll the dough around the filling and into a log. Not too tight—it should roll around the filling 3 to 5 times. 

Potato Mixture with Knish Dough Folded Over It
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Potato Knishes Log Cut into Knish Pieces
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Form the knishes:

Use your finger to make 11 indents equally spaced down the log approximately 2 inches apart. Use a small knife to cut the log at these points, making 12 knishes.

Pinch at one end to seal; this will be the bottom of the knish. Pinch and twist at the other end or leave open.

Bottoms of Potato Knishes Folded
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Different Types of Folds for Potato Knishes
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva

Brush with egg wash and bake:

Combine the whisked egg and water in a small bowl. Place the knishes on the prepared baking sheet evenly spaced apart, pinched-side down. Use a pastry brush to brush each knish with the egg wash.

Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with deli-style mustard.

Store leftover knishes in a paper towel-lined airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Reheat refrigerated knishes on a baking tray at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes until warm.

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Potato Knishes on a Tray with a Bowl of Egg Wash
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva
Potato Knishes on Tray with One Cut
Simply Recipes / Micah Siva