Stovetop Tzimmes

Today, it’s all about tzimmes. Lovely, colorful, sweet, yummy tzimmes.

So, just what the heck is a tzimmes?

Great question!

Tzimmes is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish stew made with sweet root vegetables– carrots, sweet potatoes, yams– and dried fruits like raisins or dried plums. The word tzimmes is also a Yiddish expression for “making a fuss” over something. Not surprisingly, tzimmes is a bit of a fussy dish… with all of those root veggies, there is lots of peeling, chopping, then more peeling and more chopping. The side dish is often served for Rosh Hashanah, where sweet foods are served to signify our hope for a sweet new year. Carrots are chopped into circles, which are reminiscent of coins, symbolizing prosperity. Sometimes tzimmes are served with meat, like chunks of flanken or short ribs, in a luscious sort of savory/sweet stew. Most often, they’re served as a side dish to accompany the holiday meal.

But here’s the most important question about tzimmes… how the heck do you pronounce it??

Tsi-miss!

You’re welcome.

If your kitchen is anything like mine during the holidays, oven space is precious. With brisket and chicken in the oven, kugel warming, and challah rolls baking, I try to find ways to cook my side dishes on the stovetop. Hence the name of this recipe – Stovetop Tzimmes!

To make this dish pareve or vegetarian/vegan, use lightly salted water instead of chicken broth to cook the ingredients. I like using chicken broth because it adds a savory element to this naturally sweet dish, giving it a nice balance of flavors. This dish is gluten free and kosher for Passover (if you use KFP certified broth/ingredients). Enjoy!

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Stovetop Tzimmes

Ingredients

  • 2 orange yams (1.5 lbs. total), peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2 white sweet potatoes (1.5 lbs. total), peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 8 carrots (1 lb) peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 6 oz dried apples (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 oz dried cranberries (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or salted water
  • 12 oz pitted prunes (3 cups)
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 8-10 side portions
Kosher Key: Meat or Pareve (use salted water instead of broth to make pareve)
  • Place cut yams, sweet potatoes, and carrots on the bottom of a large heavy pot.
  • Pour dried apples and cranberries on top.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Pour mixture over the fruits and vegetables in the pot.
  • Add chicken broth or salted water to the pot, covering the vegetables halfway. Heat pot over medium high till it begins to simmer. Stir the ingredients once gently.
  • Reduce heat to a gentle but constant simmer. Cover the pot.
  • After 45 minutes, open the pot and gently stir again. Place pitted prunes on top of the simmering ingredients.
  • Cover pot. Continue to cook on lowest heat for another 15 minutes, until potato pieces are tender and prunes have warmed and softened. Don't cook too long, or the prunes will dissolve-- it will make a nice sauce for the tzimmes, but it won't look so pretty on the table.
  • Serve warm as a side dish to a festive holiday meal.

Comments (50)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks like a much nicer version than the overcooked meat version of Tzimmes my Bubbe made…not ever a favorite of mine.
    Yours looks wonderful…the colors bright and beautiful. Great pics! I would love a bite right now!

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    So, there is no broth to this dish, or very little? This looks amazing and I will have to try it for sure. Since the dish is so sweet, it looks like a good side dish for Thanksgiving as well.

    1. Hi Shawn! The veggies absorb most of the broth, so there is very little left at the end of cooking. You could add more broth if you wanted a little liquid to serve with it. It is sweet, but the broth and salt give it a nice savory balance. It would be great for Thanksgiving too, lots of nice harvest veggies in there. :)

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I am in love with your blog and just subscribed!

    I found you over at Erika’s kitchen…so glad I stopped by!

    This looks delicious and I am thinking of adding it to our meal on Wednesday.

    Is there another fruit that can be used instead of Prunes? I am not normally fussy but Prunes just don’t thrill me and I don’t think they will thrill the family.

    Thanks and so nice to meet you!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I love your site. Shulie Foodwanderings turned me on to it. Your Tzimes looks wonderful and I will try it. I still use a little chicken fat for holidays. Oye….I know. Again, wonderful food and wonderful web site. L’Shanna Tova.

  5. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This sounds wonderful and very simple. I’m going to try this for RH this year, thank you! I think it will go wonderfully with my lamb :)

    I adore your blog/website. A friend introduced me to it last year and I’ve been coming back regularly ever since. Many thanks for the wonderful ideas as well as the great recipes, clear instructions and photos. Makes for a wonderfully enticing and informative resource. Kudos!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks delicious, Tori. I suspect with flavor party going on – it would be okay to omit the cinnamon. What a beautiful dish – and I know what you mean about precious oven space. I use two electric roasters during Thanksgiving so I have room!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this and it was delicious! I wasn’t sure what white sweet potatoes were so I used Yukon Gold and it worked well. I will make again!

  8. I made this for RH company – and it was a huge hit! It is the BEST tzimmes I’ve ever made, worth the work of cutting everything up. My husband loved it, & I will definitely make it again.

  9. I LOVE your website — so interesting and easy to get around — you are a gem — want to make the tsimmes dish — but without orange juice — any substitutes ? how would apple juice work — or if i use vegetable broth maybe just leave out the orange juice? thanks so much–

  10. I have been making Tzimmis for over 50 years..It is an enhanced recipe my mother made..I do not use any liquid..the veggies take care of that…I use sweet potatoes, carrots, short ribs, chichen wings, brown sugar, honey and maple syrup..it is good for a side dish and a main meal..it is a family favorite..

  11. Missed the prunes, ran short of honey and tossed in a little chicken – what a superb dish this is. I think it will become a regular at our thanksgiving meal (and possibly church potlucks)! Please take a bow oh Shiksa!

  12. My mom, who is now 91, on Pesach, used to make the
    Tzimmes more liquidy so I guess I got to allow those prunes to cook a little longer. Anyways watch my family’s movie it’s called Defiance its about the Bielskis who saved Jews during WWII, take note of Zus, my father.

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      I ran a Yom Hashoah program 2 years ago and our speaker was Anna Monka..she was one of the women who lived in the forest and was alive because of the Bielski brothers..what a wonderful, brave and resourceful family. Many thanks to them for all the lives saved because of them..

  13. Can this recipe be made in advance and then reheated in the oven or on the stove? Will it get dried out if I do this?
    Thank you for all your help and have a very happy, healthy holiday!

    1. Donna- I do this recipe w/o the prunes and reheating it has not been a problem. However, the original recipe warns against over cooking the prunes and turning them to goop.

  14. question: do you think this is possible done in the oven? Really prefer yams that are baked, not boiled. So much sweeter. If so, what temp? 325????

    1. Hi Alice, I think this will probably freeze well. Just know that the prunes will likely dissolve after freezing, then reheating. They are already quite soft, which is fine… when they dissolve it makes a sort of rich, sweet sauce. Hope that helps!

  15. I’m making this dish for a late Pesach seder. I’m a bit confused, though. What does “covering the vegetables halfway” mean? How is something half covered by liquid? Is that like being half-way pregnant? :-) Thanks.

    1. It means to cover the vegetables with liquid till it reaches halfway up the sides… So, if the vegetables are 6 inches deep in the pot, cover them with 3 inches deep of liquid. Hope that makes sense!

  16. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    We are running a Passover at our Church this Saturday and I going to make this yummy looking Tzimmes for 100 people! I have bought carrots & orange sweet potato as the root crops as I don’t think we have yam down here in Australia (well not readily available). I was going to make 4 pots of double quantity and I think that will be enough as there is lots of children who won’t eat much. Will it work making double quantity in a pot or will I run the risk of the bottom catching or vegies not being cooked through? Or should it work the same? Hope you can help!! Also I made 270 or your Matzo balls (just mini size though) and attempting 25L of your Chicken soup tomorrow!!! With all your positive reviews I’m counting on a good outcome. Thanks for your blog. The step by step photos really help!

    1. Orange sweet potatoes are known as yams in the U.S., so you’re fine there. A double quantity should be fine, just make sure to keep the heat moderate/low and check often to make sure no burning or drying occurs. That’s a big job, best of luck with it!

  17. this looks delish ( as does everything on your site) – can i make it a day in advance and if so would i reheat it on top of the stove or cover it and heat in the oven ?

    1. If making it a day in advance, I would leave out the prunes when you first cook it. Then, the next day, toss the veggies with the prunes and reheat everything on the stovetop with a little broth in the bottom of the pan (maybe 1/2 inch) till the veggies are warmed through and the prunes are softened. Of course, if you prefer the prunes to be cooked down to a mush and make a sort of “prune sauce,” you can cook the prunes in advance too… it just won’t look quite as nice as the picture, since they get soft quite easily.

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I am making this right now for the holiday. My house smells “delicious”. I am also making 2 sweet kugels, 1 gluten free and 1 with egg noodles.

    L’shanah tovah

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I am also making this right NOW :D
    Thanks for the great idea!
    Only problem is I may have added too much liquid and now I am not sure what to do… drain the excess? Any tips?

    1. I didn’t mean to imply that the word was inspired by the dish, but the way it read you’re right, it did seem that way. I have clarified the post. :)

  20. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Outstanding dish! I made it parve, added a dash of cumin to contrast with the sweetness. Also, used whatever I had at home: dried apricots, raisins, and prunes along with the carrots and sweet potatoes, no white potatoes.
    My Yiddishe mamaleh (for real…a survivor from Poylin whose first language was Yiddish) couldn’t get enough. Really delish and a great Rosh Hashana treat. Thank you, Tori, and Shana Tovah!

  21. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This was a delicious and easy tzimmes to make. Finding white sweet potatoes was the only slight hitch. I went to the Asian grocer and they carried a white fleshed yam from Japan that did the trick. I found that the liquids were better absorbed the second day after cooking. This was great for Rosh Hashana and I will be making it for Pesach as well.

    1. Great sub on the white Japanese yam Phyllis! You could also use a Yukon Gold potato for a more savory tzimmes, or just sub more orange yams if you like. So happy you liked it!

  22. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I’ve tried over the years to reproduce my grandmothers tzimmes. Finally I think I found the recipe here!
    A bit of trivia if someone is curious …
    I never understood what the symbolism was aside from being sweet for a sweet new year (traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year). I finally found out, and the symbolism may change the way you cut your veggies!
    The sweet potatoes and carrots represent golden coins so cut your veggies in rounds. My grandmother did this, as her mother did, as her mother did … Who knows if any of them knew the reason.
    This dish represents a blessing for a sweet and prosperous new year!
    Shanah tovah from Israel!

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