Everyone’s grandmother has a different recipe and secret ingredient for making the perfect potato latkes. The Hanukkah potato treat has roots in Europe and the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Crop failures in Eastern Europe led to the planting of a large amount of potatoes and the latke was born. Before that, cheese latkes were the main staple. 

Latkes aren’t the easiest dish to make. You will need to grate your vegetable of choice (so you may want to trick a friend into cooking with you). After you grate, be sure you squeeze as much excess water from the vegetables as you can, this will help your latkes stick together and will make frying them easier (if you go that route, some people bake theirs). Below are some classic recipes and modern twists for this holiday season.


The Kosher Classic: This is a simple recipe featuring potatoes and onions. Fry your latke on one side for five minutes before flipping. Russet potatoes are used in most classic recipes.

Yukon Gold: Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern offers up his take on the classic recipe using Yukon Gold potatoes along with some matzo meal. He uses vegetable oil to get that perfect crispy outside.

Add Zucchini Or Carrots: Smitten Kitchen has you covered with this recipe that mixes potatoes with zucchini. Another alternative involves grating some carrots into your latkes.

A Sweet Alternative: Cooking legend Martha Stewart offers something a bit different with this sweet potato latke recipe. This recipe mixes sweet potatoes and regular potatoes with spices including cardamom and ginger.

Parsnips Instead Of Potatoes: Parsnips are a seasonal vegetable that don’t have as much water as potatoes. Fry them in grapeseed, sunflower or avocado oil for a new twist with this potato-free recipe.

Don’t forget to pair your latkes with toppings. Traditional ones include sour cream, cottage cheese, applesauce or sugar. If you’re feeling more adventurous other options include chives, fish roe and crème fraîche.