5 Easy Twists for Extra Special Latkes

Make those crispy little patties of shredded potato perfection even better.

December  6, 2023
Photo by Julia Gartland

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 asparagus; beets, carrots, parsnips, and all other root vegetables; persimmon; or just loads of herbs. All of a sudden, your plain, beige plate just went technicolor.

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 to 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, while not a traditional latke ingredient, guarantee that crispy texture.

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 of fried eggs and smoked salmon—two more things that go well with cheese.

5. Swap out your bun.

We're well acquainted with the ramen burger and the hordes of people who used to line up for 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 The Thanksgivukkah Double Down—a leftover turkey sandwich on turkey schmaltz-fried sweet potato latkes. You could also stuff your latke inside a sandwich for an extra festive egg and cheese.

This article was updated 12/6/23

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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Maren Bell
    Maren Bell
  • AntoniaJames
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.


Maren B. December 10, 2023
It never fails to amaze me how many experts on latkes don't get the most basic thing: it's the starch in the potatoes that makes them crispy and if you add a whole table spoon of salt to your grated potatoes you trigger this thing called osmosis. Osmosis is the process of equalizing concentrations, in this case the tablespoon of salt just added to the outside of your shredded potatoes. The potato shreds expel water to equalize the salt concentration inside and outside of the potato shreds. And when you squeeze off the water from the salted shreds, you also remove the potato starch, which otherwise would have crisped the latkes nicely. So save yourself the squeezing and breading of your latkes (this is not a Wiener Schnitzel) by adding salt and pepper in the pan as your latkes fry. They will be lovely crisp and it's half the messy work described in the video here. One starchy Russet potato makes for a handsome and quick meal for two. If you have it, add a few shreds of other root vegetables, a few chopped herbs, an egg and a bit of flour and you got yourself the crispiest latkes in no time, without the mess.
AntoniaJames December 7, 2023
That latke egg and cheese sandwich is calling my name . . .

Thanks for this helpful and interesting piece. ;o)