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What is Kosher for Passover?

 

What Can and Can’t You Eat on Passover?

The Torah (Bible) says to eat matzah and avoid leaven during the seven days of Passover.

What is leaven, you may ask? It's any product containing any of the five grains barley, rye, oats, wheat, and spelt (a handy mnemonic: BROWS), that have been mixed with water and allowed to rise before being baked. (Think about sourdough and how it ferments and grows!)

Matza is bread made of the five grains that were mixed with water but baked immediately and not allowed to rise. (This is why cakes made from matza meal and other matza products are allowed even if they LOOK like cake. The important thing is that they contain no leavened bread.)

Many foods that are kosher during the year are NOT kosher for Passover since they contain leaven.

On the Passover no-no list: bread, bagels, cookies, oatmeal, cereal, pasta, cookies, whiskey, and anything with traces of the 5 grains that are not carefully supervised for Passover.

It is a custom among Jews whose families lived in Europe (Ashkenazim) not to eat kitniyot, a category including legumes, rice, and corn (see below for the full list).

Sefardic Jews do eat these foods, sometimes with extra checking to make sure it doesn’t have grains mixed in, as cross-contamination can occur when rice is packaged.

So what CAN you eat on Passover?

Meat, chicken, milk, yogurt, fruit and vegetables, coconut macaroons, potatoes, candy, matzo balls, and so much more! Check out all our hundreds of products and you’ll see the wide variety of foods that are available for you to enjoy on Passover.

Here is a guide to Passover substitutions that you might find helpful. https://www.kosher.com/lifestyle/the-essential-passover-substitution-guide-359

What is "Kitniyot"?

Grains considered similar to the five grains and for various reasons, some Jews do not eat them on Passover even though they are not technically chametz, leavened bread.

Ashkenazic Jews observe this custom but Sephardic Jews do not.

These kitniyot include (according to the Orthodox Union):

  • Beans
  • Buckwheat
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Corn
  • Edamame
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Fenugreek
  • Flaxseed (Linseed)
  • Green Beans
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Lentils
  • Millet
  • Mustard
  • Peas
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Rapeseed
  • Rice
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Teff

What is "Gebrochts"?

Some have a custom not to eat matza mixed with water on the holiday. This rules out anything made with matzo meal or matzo cake flour, even including matzo balls. This custom is prevalent in the Hassidic community.

 

To get started on your Passover cooking, click here for our Passover recipe collection.

To learn more about the history and customs of Passover, click here.