Sweet potato and parsnip latkes

A tasty variation on the traditional potato latkes

Isabelle Boucher Latkes

Apparently, there are 16 different ways you can spell Hanukkah; but no matter which one you choose, they all mean the same thing at our house: it's time to make latkes!

Fried foods are a Hanukkah tradition, symbolizing the oil lamp that is said to have burned miraculously for eight days and eight nights. We normally stick to the traditional potatao variety (sometimes fried in oil from the Christmas goose, on years when the two holidays overlap), but sometimes, it's nice to shake things up, which is why I've added sweet potato and parsnips to the mix this year. Baking powder, as odd as it may sound, is the key to perfect latkes. It helps the outside crisp to golden-brown perfection, while keeping the inside light and fluffy.

Like all latkes, these are best eaten piping hot, straight from the pan, with a large dollop of sour cream.

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes

1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 yellow onion, grated
1 lb sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and grated
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
canola oil, for frying
sour cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 250F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towel, and set aside.

Wrap up the grated potato and onion in a clean dishcloth. Gather up the ends and twist firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Open up the dishcloth, loosen the potato, and then wrap up again and wring out once more to remove any remaining moisture. Add the sweet potato and parsnip.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, baking powder, ground cumin and pepper until combined. Add the grated vegetables and stir to coat evenly.

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil and heat until a drop of batter sizzles as soon as it hits the pan.

Working in batches of 2-3 latkes at a time, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot pan, using the back of a spatula to flatten them into flat cakes. Cook about 3-5 minutes per side, or until browned and crispy. Transfer the cooked latkes to the prepared baking sheet to drain, and place in the oven to keep warm while you prepare the rest of the latkes. (Or, just pass them around to your guests as they come out of the oil, and save the last batch for yourself — that's usually how we do it.)

Serve immediately, with small bowls of sour cream and/or applesauce.

Serves 4-5
Prep Time:
10 minutes
Cook Time:
10 minutes