Potato latkes are Hanukkah’s most famous food. But there’s a whole world of latkes that goes beyond the reliable and tasty spud!
All around the world this Friday night, Jewish people will be eating foods fried in oil to celebrate Hanukkah. In Israel, the most beloved Hanukkah food is sufganiot, big puffy jelly doughnuts coated in powdered sugar. In the U.S., we’ll be piling our plates high with potato latkes topped with sour cream and applesauce.
Latkes–pancakes fried in oil–originated in Eastern Europe (like the majority of American Jews), where the potato is king. So the potato latke is pretty much synonymous with Hanukkah in America. But we need not limit ourselves to potatoes. You can turn pretty much anything into a patty and fry it (note to Chopped contestants), with delicious results.
There are tons other types of tempting latkes, like noodles, ricotta and apples. Or how about lobster mushroom, broccoli-cheese, or sweet potato? If you can think of a vegetable or carb, there’s a latke recipe out there for it. I found 25 of the most tempting and mouthwatering latke recipes that go beyond the humble spud and elevate this holiday food to new culinary heights.
Scroll on through these 25 latke recipes and let the drooling begin!
Ada Shoshan’s Apple Latkes from “Joan Nathan’s Holiday Cookbook,” via The Denver Post. Scroll past the zucchini latke recipe for the apple one. Or make both! Apple latkes, though. Yum. This one is first on the list because I want them in my mouth right now.DENVER, COLORADO, DECEMBER 6, 2006– Ada Shoshan’s Apple Latkes, made by Jackie Feldman, to celebrate Hanukkah for Food cover story. (DENVER POST STAFF PHOTO BY GLENN ASAKAWA) (Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Check out these beautiful beet latkes stuffed with goat cheese by Miriam Szokovski for Chabad.org. I just love the deep earthiness of beets with the rich tang of goat cheese. And that gorgeous red color! So tempting.Beet Latkes Stuffed with Goat Cheese (Screencap via Miriam Szokovski-Chabad dot org)
These broccoli-cheddar latkes from Nina Safar of Kosher in the Kitch are sure to be a kid-pleaser. Broccoli and cheddar are a classic combination. These veggie-centered latkes would be a perfect side for any night of the year. I’d top these babies with some Greek yogurt (I am addicted to Greek yogurt). That’s a balanced meal right there!Broccoli-Cheddar Latkes from Kosher in the Kitch (Screecap via Nina Safar-Kosher in the Kitch)
4. Brussels sprouts
Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat makes these Brussels sprout latkes with chili flakes and dried cranberries. This formerly maligned veggie has become quite popular in the last few years, since we discovered that they’re totally yummy if you don’t overcook them like we’d been doing for years. These tempting latkes are a perfect showcase for the adorable, tasty sprouts.Brussels sprout latkes (Screencap via Amy Kritzer – What Jew Wanna Eat)
Cori Rozentāle of The Kitchen Mouse invented these cabbage latkes (or kāpostu kotletes) after buying too much cabbage. The results were so good they became a staple in her kitchen. I love cabbage. Seriously. Its hearty, satisfying crunch and mild nuttiness is great on sandwiches and tacos. These cabbage latkes would be great with some nice, lean corned beef or pastrami.Cabbage Latkes (Screencap via Cori Rozentāle for The Kitchen Mouse)
Sweet, sweet carrots are a favorite of kids and bunny wabbits. But these carrot latkes with arugula, feta and pepita salad from Williams-Sonoma are not just for kids (and definitely not for bunnies). They offset the sweet carrot with a peppery arugula salad tossed with feta and pumpkin seeds. This right here is a gourmet holiday.Carrot Latkes with Arugula Feta and Pepita Salad (Screencap via Williams-Sonoma)
I want these Indian-Spiced cauliflower latkes with cilantro chutney in my mouth right now. Samantha Ferraro, the woman behind this recipe, is a latke genius. She combines tumeric, corriander seed and curry powder for a warm, savory take on the Hanukkah classic. Indian flavors are the best. Don’t even try to argue. Shh.Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Latkes with Cilantro Chutney Recipe by Samantha Ferraro (Screencap from Samantha Ferraro via MyJewishLearning-TheNosher)
8. Celeraic (celery root)
Do not fear the celery root. It may look like a lumpy rock, but so do potatoes, and you love those! Celery root has a texture like a Yukon gold potato, but less starchy. Between that and its light, nutty flavor, it makes a perfect base for a latke. These sophisticated celeriac latkes with onion and fennel from Dr. Jill for Realfoodforager.com are sure to please both the foodie and the health-conscious.Celeriac Latkes With Onion and Fennel from Dr. Jill (Screencap via Realfoodforager dot com)
Here’s another creation from Samantha Ferraro’s Little Ferraro Kitchen: Hatch chile latkes with Hatch chile guacamole. Are you kidding me!?!? If you’ve never had Hatch chiles, you are missing a thing. They are some of the fruitiest chiles around. You pretty much can’t find them outside of New Mexico, but you can order them online. I know I’m going to go for it and get 5 pounds of them this year. And I’m definitely making these latkes with part of my bounty. OMG.Hatch Chile Latkes with Hatch Guacamole (Screencap Samantha Ferraro-Little Ferraro Kitchen)
These simple corn latkes by Miriam Szokovski for Chabad.org are one of my favorites on this list. I love corn, and I don’t think people use it enough. This dairy recipe uses high-protein cottage cheese–these latkes look hearty and satisfying. Fresh corn may be hard to find in December, so bookmark this one for summer!Corn Latkes (Screencap via Miriam Szokovski and Chabad dot org)
IMHO, fried eggplant is one of the yummiest things on Earth. It’s a staple in Middle Eastern cooking for its meaty texture and the way its mild umami flavor marries with meats and vegetables. I would serve these eggplant latkes with shallots, by Liz Steinberg for Cafe Liz, topped with sauteed sweet peppers. And maybe a fried egg for extra fried, because Hanukkah!Eggplant Shallot Latkes (Screencap via Liz Steinberg-Cafe Liz)
12. Jerusalem artichoke
What is a Jerusalem artichoke, you ask? It’s a sunchoke! Yeah that doesn’t answer your question. Jerusalem artichokes are the knobby roots of a tall sunflower-like plant. They do have a flavor reminiscent of artichokes and they have a lovely sweetness when they’re roasted or fried, like these Jerusalem artichoke latkes from Sophie’s Foodie Files. Pair with the traditional applesauce and sour cream and you, too, will be spreading the gospel of the Jerusalem artichoke.Jerusalem artichoke latkes (Screencap via Sophies Food Files)
Aren’t these leek latkes from Shabbat with Sara just beautiful? She doesn’t shred the leeks, so you can see the texture in these unique latkes. Leeks have a mild, sweet and light onion flavor, and a softer texture than most other members of the onion family. This is another recipe that would make a sophisticated side dish for, say, a standing rib roast.
Here are lobster mushroom latkes (a.k.a., cakes) by Alan Bergo for Forager Chef. No lobster, just mushrooms! I’ve only eaten lobster mushroom once. They’re delicate and woodsy, with a firm texture. If you can get your hands on some, please make these and Skype with me while you eat them so I can experience these latkes vicariously.Lobster Mushroom Cakes (Screencap via Alan Bergo for Forager Chef)
Williams-Sonoma’s Romanian noodle latkes remind me of my great grandmother on my dad’s side, who was born in Romania (actually Transylvania, to be specific.) My dad used to make her savory fried noodle kugel recipe for me when I was a kid, and I’d really never seen anything like it until i came across these. Nostalgia! They’re basically just egg, noodle and onion. You really can’t go wrong!Romanian noodle latkes (Screencap via Williams-Sonoma)
Although not strictly latkes, these spicy Indian fritters are coated in chickpea flour, fried in oil and totally addictive. I want to eat these onion pakoras (or pakodas) from Swathi’s Recipes every day. I used to have a bunch of Indian coworkers who’d bring in homecooked food for Diwali (the Indian Festival of Lights) every year, and one always brought his wife’s onion pakoras. If you weren’t standing there when he brought them out, they’d be gone and you’d be sad.
Parsnips are cousins to carrots. They’re a bit less sweet and a lot more starchy, with more of a nutty flavor than their cousins, so the two combined are a great base for latkes. These crunchy parsnip-carrot latkes from The Washington Post Food section are flavored with garam masala, which literally means warm spice. It’s basically the pumpkin pie spice of the Indian subcontinent. Pair these latkes with the onion pakodas and serve with cucumber raita for an Indian Hanukkah Festival of Lights feast.WASHINGTON, DC – Crunchy Parsnip-Carrot Latkes
photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images).
18. Parsnip-Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes and parsnips come together for a tuber teamup in these parsnip and sweet potato latkes from the Stronger Together Co-op. The natural sweetness of both veggies make for a perfect latke for a cold winter night. Top them with diced Granny Smith apple for a tart crunch, and serve with Greek yogurt.
I managed to limit myself to three of Samantha Ferraro’s Little Ferraro Kitchen recipes. I had to include this one: Plantain latkes with avocado crema. Samatha mixes her Latina and Jewish roots in delicious harmony to come up with original creations like these. Plantains are perfect for frying. I’d even serve these with a side of black beans for a balanced meal.Plantain Latkes with Avocado Crema (Screencap via Samantha Ferraro-Little Ferraro Kitchen)
These pumpkin latkes with apple cranberry sauce from Chef Laura Frankel via Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller are a flashback to Thanksgivukkahs past. And they’re just perfect for celebrating Chrismukkah! These would be delicious with that Christmas turkey.Pumpkin latke with apple cranberry sauce from Chef Laura Frankel (Screencap via Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller)
These Ricotta latkes by Gloria Kaufer Greene, via the Los Angeles Times, are my standout favorite from this list. I keep seeing them in my head when I close my eyes. These sweet latkes are probably best for breakfast, or perhaps as a dessert latke with a nice aperitif.Holiday baking photographs taken in the studio. Ricotta latkes with cherries on top. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
22. Spaghetti squash
Raw Spice Bar is an online spice-of-the month company specializing in fresh, pungent spices. Their subscriptions come with recipe ideas for their custom blends. This recipe for sweet spaghetti squash latkes calls for their Unpumpkin Pie blend and brown sugar. If you love me you will make these for my breakfast. With a large chai, please.
23. Sweet potato
I cannot even tell you what my husband said when he saw this recipe for sweet potato latkes with brown sugar syrup and candied pecans by Tori Avey. This is a family publication. FanSided has standards. Woof that’s a sexy pancake.Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup and Candied Pecans (Screencap via Tori Avey)
24. Swiss Chard
As I mentioned earlier, potato latkes are the norm with Jewish people of Eastern European extraction (Ashkenazis). Jews from Spain and the Middle East (Sephardis) have a much more varied cuisine that goes way beyond potatoes. These Swiss chard latkes from Washington-area caterer Vered Guttman via The Washington Post are a great example. Ground beef is optional in this recipe. I’d skip it!WASHINGTON, DC September 14: Swiss Chard Latkes photographed on September 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. Tableware from Crate and Barrel. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable. It goes with everything and tastes good all by itself. And it fries beautifully. Bring a touch of spring to your Hanukkah with Eric Vellend’s zucchini latkes accompanied by lemon chive sour cream. These would be really amazing with the eggplant latkes. So Mediterranean! And the Hanukkah story happened in the area, so how appropriate for the Jewish Festival of Lights!November 30, 2008 – Zucchini latkes with lemon chive sour cream. Toronto Star/Pawel Dwulit (Photo by Pawel Dwulit/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
I don’t know about you, but I want to turn this into a Hanukkah buffet. So what if it’s just me and my husband? Don’t judge me. There are so many delicious latke options, I can’t choose just one. But then, I don’t have to, because Hanukkah is eight nights long. Make three each night and one more for extra Hanukkah good luck. We’re going to need it for 2017.