Latkes are golden, crispy potato pancakes that are commonly eaten during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Traditional latkes are made with starchy russet potatoes with lacy, wispy edges fried in oil to golden perfection and served with sour cream and applesauce.
In my family, you were either strictly a sour cream latke-lover or team applesauce—you couldn’t be both. My mother would make homemade applesauce just for Hanukkah, and I grew up topping my crispy latkes with it.
Why Use Sweet Potatoes?
There’s no doubt that classic potato latkes are delicious, but if you’re looking to update or upgrade your holiday latkes, look no further than the humble sweet potato. These latkes are what happens when a Hanukkah classic meets your favorite holiday sweet potato side dish.
Sweet potato latkes are the ideal combination of sweet and savory flavors, with crispy crunchy edges and a tender potato center.
The Secret to Crispy Latkes
The key to great latkes is to remove as much liquid from the potatoes and onions as possible. Place your grated potatoes and onion into a clean kitchen towel and wring out any excess moisture. Don’t skip this step!
I always cook a tiny test latke first to check that the oil is hot enough and to make sure the mixture sticks together and is seasoned to my liking. If it falls apart, try adding another tablespoon of flour to the remaining mixture.
Time Saving Tips
You can save some time and skip peeling the sweet potatoes. There’s nothing wrong with potato skin—in fact, it’s full of nutrients!
Shredding potatoes and onions in a food processor make for quick and easy latkes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the potatoes using the largest holes of a box grater.
These latkes are bound with eggs and flour, which help the potato pancakes hold their shape. Matzo meal is a traditional binder in latkes, and you can substitute half of the flour for matzo meal if you prefer.
How to Serve Sweet Potato Latkes
Because of the sweetness of potatoes, I think these sweet potato latkes work best with a savory condiment like sour cream or labneh. Or try serving these latkes as the base for your next eggs Benedict (thank me later!).
Make It Ahead
Even though they’re pan-fried, latkes can be made in advance. After frying, place the latkes on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a day.
To reheat, bake in the oven at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes, or until crisp. Alternatively, freeze the baking sheet and reheat at 450°F for 5 to 7 minutes.
Sweet Potato For Everyone
Sweet Potato Latkes
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 large or 4 to 5 medium sweet potatoes)
1/2 medium yellow onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup sour cream, for serving, optional
Prepare the potatoes and onions:
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Peel the sweet potatoes (if desired) and onion.
To shred with a food processor: quarter the potatoes and onion. Attach the shredding disc to the food processor and shred the vegetables.
To grate using a box grater: Grate the potatoes and onion on the largest holes of a box grater. If the onion is difficult to grate, slice it very thinly instead.
Wring out the liquid:
Combine the shredded potato and onion and place on a clean kitchen towel. Wring out as much excess liquid as you can, squeezing tightly.
I like to wrap the ends of the kitchen towel around the handle of a wooden spoon and rotate the handle to help squeeze out the liquid. How much liquid you get will depend on how moist your sweet potatoes are.
Heat the oil and make the latke mixture:
Transfer the wrung-out grated potato and onion to a large bowl. Add the flour, eggs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix to combine.
Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy, tall-sided, large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when you add a piece of potato to the pan and it immediately bubbles.
I often place a small mound of latke mix into the oil to test it—this is a great time to add more salt to taste or additional flour to bind the remaining mixture, if necessary.
Fry the latkes:
Use a 1/4 cup scoop to measure the latke mix and add it to the pan, flattening the mixture with the bottom of the measuring cup or spatula. Space out about 4 latkes depending on the size of the pan. Fry until brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes, and carefully flip.
Fry until cooked through, browned, and crispy on all sides, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer the latkes to the lined sheet pan as you cook, keeping them warm in the oven.
Don’t overcrowd the pan. Adding too many latkes to the oil causes the temperature to drop, leaving you with soggy, oily latkes. Ensure you have at least an inch between each one.
Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed and letting it heat up before adding more latkes.
Serve with sour cream. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a day.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 5|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 24g||31%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||12%|
|Total Carbohydrate 35g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 27mg||136%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|