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Shared by Barbara Taranto

Potato Knishes

Yield: 30 knishesTime: 1 h 45 min

Potato Knishes

Yield: 30 knishesTime: 1 h 45 min

Family Journey

Ovruch, UkraineMontrealD’Arcy, Canada
SaskatoonVancouverNew York City
Tel Aviv

When Barbara Taranto was little, women like her grandmother Sarah and her mother Goldie would gather to make their signature potato knishes for parties and celebration. She watched her mother and other women at the local JCC roll out dough for knishes, using an unusual technique in which the dough was formed into a large ring and then broken with the heel of one’s hand. Made with a smooth, sticky dough that stretches thinly to envelop its mashed potato filling, Barbara continues to make these knishes today, baking them in Tel Aviv with her son, Isaac. But she’s never been able to stretch the dough quite as her mother does, adding that, “to me, the magic is in the hands of who makes it.”

This recipe was shared by Barbara Taranto. Read more about her family in "A Community of Women Kept a Ukrainian Knish Tradition Alive in Canada’s Prairies" and try her recipe for cheese and rice knishes.


For the dough

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder

For the filling

  • 1 ¾ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 small), peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil or schmaltz (chicken fat)
  • 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For assembly and baking

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Baking ProjectsMain CoursesVegetarianMeat Eastern Europe


  • Step 1

    Make the dough: Add the egg, water, vegetable oil, and vinegar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix on medium for 30 seconds to combine. Add the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix on medium-high for 12-14 minutes until a sticky smooth dough is formed, and it starts pulling away from the sides.

  • Step 2

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

  • Step 3

    While the dough rests, make the filling: Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water and ½ tablespoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and reduce to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (about 10 minutes). Drain the potatoes, and transfer to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes until smooth using a fork or potato masher. 

  • Step 4

    Heat the schmaltz or vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and black pepper and mix to combine. Saute until the onions are softened and start to brown, 15-20 minutes. Add them to the potatoes, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

  • Step 5

    Once the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

  • Step 6

    Assemble the knishes: Cover a work surface with a clean thin cotton cloth or bedsheet. Sprinkle lightly with flour and place the dough onto the surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large circle. Once it gets too large for the rolling pin, begin to gently stretch the dough by hand until it measures 20 inches in diameter. To avoid tearing, rest the dough every once in a while between stretching.

  • Step 7

    Evenly place the filling in a ring shape along the edge of the circle. Rub 1 teaspoon of oil into the center of the dough, and press a finger into the middle, creating a small hole.

  • Step 8

    Roll the edge of the dough over the filling, encasing it. Continue rolling into the center until the dough is a long ring log shape. As you roll, the center of the dough will tear.

  • Step 9

    Use the heel of your hand to cut 3-inch long pieces from the log to create each knish portion. Once all the knishes are separated, twist each knish end closed to seal in the filling, and stand them up vertically on the baking sheets. Use your thumb to press down the top sealed end.

  • Step 10

    Brush each knish lightly with oil and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the knishes are golden brown and cooked through.