There's a lot to get excited about this Hanukkah — the menorah, the dreidel game, and the presents just to name a few. But the real reason we look forward to the holiday season are those crispy, golden wonders known as latkes! The perfect vessel for dipping in flavorful sauces or piling high with toppings, this Hanukkah we're getting creative with our potato pancakes. If you thought potato pancakes were limited to being served with sour cream and applesauce, think again!
Let’s start with the foundation for your golden pancakes. Most of us go with a nice Russet potato and with good reason. They’re hearty, starchy, and easy to shred. Russets are sure to give you those crispy edges every good latke should have. But that doesn’t mean you should immediately dismiss other potatoes, root veggies, and squashes! Try these combos to keep your latke game on point:
- Try a half and half latke by replacing half of your shredded Russets with beets, sweet potatoes, or winter squash.
- Go all the way to the sweet side and make a 100% sweet potato latke. There are so many sweet potatoes to choose from and they all taste fantastic! Make a rainbow of latkes by selecting jewel or garnet (orange), Okinawa (magenta), stokes (purple), or O’Henry or creamsicle (white).
- Add veggies to your latkes by mixing in chopped kale, broccoli, carrots, or onions. We’ve even tried cabbage for a fusion Colcannon latke!
Even with the best ingredients, your latkes can go south pretty quickly if you don’t prepare them correctly. With these simple tips, you will never have soggy latkes again!
- Potatoes are filled with water (and so are some of the suggested add-ins above). Always make sure to get as much excess water out as possible before frying these puppies.
- Save the starch. Once you drain the water out of your latkes, the best chefs say to wait for the water and starch to separate. Then, add the starch back to your potatoes. That starchy stuff helps to make your latkes extra crisp!
- Oil is an essential part of a crispy latke, although you can bake a pretty decent latke also. (We know, we know!) Pick a neutral oil with a high smoke point to let the potato flavor shine through and to keep your smoke detector from screaming at you while you cook! Oils like canola, grapeseed, and sunflower work well.
- This is not the time to go light on the oil. Yeah, it’s got a lot of calories and fat, but latkes need to be shallow fried and submerged halfway in the hot oil.
- Don’t let your oil get too hot. Cook over a medium-high heat so they can cook all the way through without burnt spots. We want latkes that are golden brown on the outside and creamy on the inside.
- Resist the urge to make your latkes gigantic. Small latkes will cook more evenly. Keep extra latkes in the oven on low heat so they stay warm while you fry up the rest of the batch.
Now for the fun part! Let’s dip, dunk, and pile those latkes high with the best toppings you can find!
- Go traditional with applesauce or sour cream. But don’t stop there… add more toppings! Fruit compote on top of apple sauce or caviar on sour cream really brings life to the Hanukkah party!
- Place a latke on a plate and pile high with your favorite taco toppings. Try refried beans, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, and sour cream.
- Spread latkes withWhipped Tahini Feta and top with veggies, figs, or jam
- Use two latkes in place of bread on your favorite sandwich or burger. (A breakfast sandwich with latke “bread” is mind blowingly delicious!)
- Another great breakfast option: top a latke with a poached egg andtahini hollandaise sauce for a Hanukkah twist on eggs benedicts.
- Latkes and lox? Yes, please! Spread on some cream cheese or creme fraiche, then layer on the smoked salmon and finish thin slices of cucumber and a sprig of fresh dill.
- Top with sliced turkey and a dollop of cranberry sauce for a quick lunch.
- Stuff cheese into the latke mix before frying for a cheesy delight. Dip in marinara sauce for that latke pizza vibe.
- Dip those latkes in any of the awesome sauces in our free recipe library.
Bonus recipe! This one comes from one of our Soom Crew members. It’s a favorite for latke dipping!
Harissa Tahini Sauce
- ¼ cupSoom Premium orOrganic Tahini
- 4 Tbsp cold water
- 1 Tbsp harissa
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Dash of cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.