Potato Knishes feature a flavorful mashed potato filling that’s wrapped in a thin dough and baked to golden, flaky perfection. It’s a popular Jewish recipe, aka New York knish, and this homemade version is simple to make and oh-so-good!
Homemade New York Knish
Potato Knishes – aka New York Knish – feature a super flavorful mashed potato center that’s wrapped in a thin dough and then baked to golden, flaky perfection. I love all kinds of potato dishes, so this is my kind of comfort food!
In this classic Jewish recipe, Russet potatoes are boiled and mashed until creamy, then combined with caramelized onions (YUM!), and wrapped in a thin homemade dough and baked. The end result is a flaky golden outside and a rich, creamy, flavorful inside. They’re irresistible!
Besides being delicious, they’re also incredibly versatile. You can enjoy them hot, at room temperature, or even cold (they’re great picnic food!).
What is Knish?
Knish is an Ashkenazi Jewish recipe made with a potato filling wrapped in a light, flaky dough that’s baked until golden and flaky.
While there are many variations that include deep frying knish, the traditional dish is baked and not fried.
Knishes became popular in New York City in 1910 when Yonah Schimmel began serving the dish from a street cart in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The snack exploded in popularity – you could find it on nearly every corner in New York, from Jewish restaurants to street carts.
And that’s why people often refer to these as “New York knish”!
They eventually declined in popularity and many of the carts went out of business. But they’re still a popular dish in the Jewish community.
Potato knishes begin with a simple dough that’s made with pantry staples. The filling is made with just a few ingredients, too – the main one being the potatoes. See the recipe card for the full measurements.
For the Dough
- Flour – Be sure to measure the flour accurately so the dough isn’t too tough or sticky.
- Baking powder
- Vegetable oil – Canola oil or similar will work.
- White vinegar
- Warm water
For the Filling
- Potatoes – Russet potatoes are ideal as they make light and fluffy mashed potatoes.
- Onion – Adds lots of flavor to the filling.
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- Thyme – This herb adds beautiful flavor. If you don’t like thyme, consider a bit of rosemary or chives.
How to Make Potato Knishes
These potato knishes come together easily. I find the process of working with the dough and shaping the knish both fun and rewarding!
- Make the dough. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir to combine until a ball of dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until soft and elastic. Wrap in plastic and set aside.
- Prepare the potatoes. Boil the potatoes with salt until you can easily pierce them with a knife. Drain and mash until smooth.
- Cook the onions. Cook the onion in melted butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until caramelized and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Add the fresh thyme.
- Combine the ingredients. Stir the caramelized onions into the mashed potatoes. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
- Assemble the knish. Roll out half of the dough into a large rectangle that’s about 12″ long and 1/8″ thick. Top with half of the potato filling, about 2 inches from one of the long edges. Brush the opposite long edge and the shorter sides with egg wash. Roll up the dough around the filling to form a log.
- Form the individual knishes. Create dents in the log every 2 inches. Cut the log at these dents. Set the knish onto prepared pan, with one cut end facing down and the other facing up. Squish down the tops a bit and tuck everything into the center to form a plump round shape. Gently twist the upper end into a swirl with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Bake. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Tips & Variations
Here are a few tips for making potato knishes, as well as a few variation ideas.
- How do I know when knish is done baking? Bake the knishes until they’re golden brown.
- Cool before serving. Let the knishes cool for 30 minutes or so before serving, which gives the potato center time to cool down enough that you can bite into these without burning your mouth.
- Make the dough in advance. If desired, you can make knish dough up to a day in advance. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Let it warm up on the counter before working with it.
- Play around with the filling. This recipe features a common potato and onion filling, but feel free to change it up if you like. Shredded cheese is a popular addition and schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) is often added for more flavor. You can include other fillings, such as mushrooms, sweet potatoes, browned ground meat. If something tastes good with potatoes, you can probably think about using it!
Do You Eat Knish Hot or Cold?
Potatoes knishes are most commonly enjoyed hot, but they are also delicious at room temperature and even cold.
They’re very versatile for that reason and are great for packing in lunches and taking on picnics.
What Do You Eat With Potato Knishes?
Potato knish is traditionally served with mustard, horseradish, and/or sour cream for dipping. Sauerkraut is also a popular side to enjoy with a knish.
Enjoy as a snack or lunch, or serve them as a side dish, maybe with some chicken and vegetables.
How to Store Leftovers
The best way to store potato knishes is in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also wrap them individually in plastic wrap or a plastic baggie, so you can grab one and go (for picnics, lunch on the go, etc).
To reheat, place in the oven at 350° F for just 10 minutes or so. You can reheat them in the microwave but you won’t get the same flaky texture.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can freeze any leftover knishes. Once they’ve cooled, flash-freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat in the oven.
More Potato Recipes:
- New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Grilled Skillet Potatoes
- German Potato Salad
- Grilled Potatoes with Lemon, Dill, and Feta
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For the Dough
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ cup warm water
For the Filling
- 3 large Russet potatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon water
Make the Dough
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients (vegetable oil, egg, white vinegar
and warm water).
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour liquid ingredients into the center. Stir to combine until a ball of dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and elastic. Wrap it and set aside while you make the filling.
Make the Filling
- Put quartered potatoes into a large pot with the teaspoon of salt, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife, about 10-15 minutes. Drain, then transfer potatoes to a large bowl and mash until smooth.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine butter and olive oil. When butter has melted, add onion and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and golden, about 10-15 minutes. At the end of sautéing, add the thyme leaves.
- Transfer caramelized onion to bowl with mashed potatoes, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.
Assemble the Knishes
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375° F.
- Split dough in half, placing one half back under plastic wrap. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other dough half into a large rectangle about 12" long and ⅛" thick.
- Place half of the filling over one long end, about 2" away from the edges.
- Beat egg yolk with water and brush over the opposite long end and a little on the sides. Roll the dough around the filling and into a log.
- Use the side of your hand to create dents in the log every 2". Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the log at these points, making 6 knishes with each roll.
- Set the knish onto prepared pan, with one cut end facing down and the other facing up. Form a plump round shape by squishing down the tops a bit and tucking everything into the center. Twist the upper end into a swirl with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Bake the Knish
- Arrange knishes on prepared baking sheet so that they donʼt touch and brush with egg wash.
- Bake, turning pan halfway through, until golden, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool at least half an hour before serving. Eat them warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.