5 Twists on Latkes

December  9, 2014

Latkes are the best thing in the world, just the way they are. That's our starting premise, and we won't budge from it. However, we will say that even the best holiday snacks can always benefit from a push to be just a little bit better -- especially when it comes to fried patties of crispy, shredded potato perfection.

Latkes are a process, and they'll leave your hair and half your home smelling like fried something-or-other, but the payoff is a celebration of light and joy and oil for your tastebuds. Here are five ways to make the eight days of Hanukkah as latke-licious as possible. 

1. Add some color to your latke platter. Sweet potatoes make for slightly more nutritious latkes, and they also add color and pattern to a platter of potato pancakes. Same goes for carrots, parsnips, purple potatoes, and all other roots. All of the sudden, your plain beige plate just went technicolor. 

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Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes with Feta and Leeks

2. Add scallions. Ditto for any alliums, really. If you've learned nothing else in the kitchen, you should know by now that a base of onion and garlic is the quickest route flavorful dishes -- and heavenly smells in your kitchen. Latkes especially welcome crispy garlic and onion into their folds of potato shreds. 

3. Yes, you can panko that. Every good latke delivers a bit of crunch, and panko breadcrumbs (though maybe not a tradtional ingrdient in your average Jewish kitchen) guarantee that crispy texture. 

Golden Panko Latkes

4. Mix in some cheese. Potatoes and cheese are a match made in heaven (See: Potato skins. Gratin. Poutine. Need we go on?) So it makes perfect sense that a latke would take well to some shredded sharp cheddar, crumbles of feta, or maybe even some Parmesan or Pecorino. Cheesy latkes make the perfect breakfast pairing with a couple fried eggs and smoked salmon: two more things that go well with cheese. 

5. Swap out your bun. We're already well aquainted with the ramen burger and the monstrous, snaking lines of people who want one. It might be time, then, that a new burger bun replacement stepped up to the plate. So why not the latke? Two crispy potato latkes are just the thing for a gluten-free burger, breakfast sandwich, or really, anything you can think of to put between them. Don't believe us? Check out last year's Thanksgivingukkah Double Down for proof: 

Thanksgivingukkah Double Down

Have we mentioned that latkes are perfect? 

What do you do with your latkes to make them extra special? Let us know in the comments! 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Trine Midtun
    Trine Midtun
  • kamileon
  • ivy greene
    ivy greene
  • charlotte massik
    charlotte massik
  • aargersi
I'm a former Food52 Julia Child Food Writing Fellow now studying law so I can make food fairer, more delicious, and more sustainable for everyone. I was born and raised in Montreal (mostly on poutine and matzoh ball soup), but in my heart I am an Italian grandma—I live on pizza and make a mean eggplant parmesan.


Trine M. December 11, 2014
Wow, looks delicious! We often make home made burgers out of chicken or beef, with two slices of bread. But this looks better, so I'm going to try this soon.
kamileon December 10, 2014
If you want them to have that extra brown crispy flavor and texture, a tiny dash of baking soda (like, 1/8-1/4 tsp for the whole batch) will give you much better browning! Same principle as pretzels.
ivy G. December 10, 2014
If you freeze and reheat....line cookie sheets with brown paper bags and place frozen latkes directly on the bags. The bags will absorb the oil and will be very crispy. I give credit for this tip to Judy Zeidler, one of the most reknown Jewish cooks here in Los Angeles.
charlotte M. December 10, 2014
Do not peel the potatoes! That is where the flavor is. I also fry them in rendered chicken fat.
aargersi December 9, 2014
Two words. Duck fat.