Latkes are a Jewish holiday staple for Hanukkah! While a classic latke is made with white potatoes, this fun version is made with shredded sweet potatoes. They are like savory sweet potato cakes with a crispy outside and soft potato inside. A perfect appetizer or holiday side dish for a Hanukkah celebration!
What are Latkes?
Latkes are a savory Jewish pancake made with grated potatoes and onions. Traditional Potato Latkes are usually made with russet potatoes (or yukon gold or red rose varieties), and are pan fried with a crispy outside and soft potatoes inside.
The latkes are pan fried in oil, which symbolizes the miracle of the oil lamp that stayed lit for 8 days, when it only had enough oil to last one day.
This sweet potato latke recipe is a twist on the classic white potatoes version. They are crispy and delicious, with savoriness from the onions and a little sweetness from the sweet potatoes. Another great latke variation is my baked Potato Latke Muffins which are great for Hanukkah as well as Passover!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Extra crispy sweet potato latkes have the perfect crunch.
- Warm spices make these irresistible and a fun twist on the original.
- They can be made ahead of time and reheated.
- Always a crowd pleaser!
When to Serve Latkes
This sweet potato version is a great way to add some variety to the holiday table. When having a party, it’s fun to have more than one flavor of latkes. Since there are eight nights of Hanukkah, serve sweet potato latkes as a tasty alternative for one of the nights!
Sweet potato latkes are also fun to serve on Thanksgiving as a sweet potato side dish.
Passover is another good time to make sweet potato latkes. Since they are wheat-free, they can be eaten for Passover to add some more variety to the menu that week.
These are so delicious and always gobbled up, so why not serve them any time of year! They’re a great side with soup, and are a special side dish for a shabbat dinner. I especially love them paired with a chicken or brisket entree.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Potato starch - Potato starch is a powdery ingredient that is derived from the starch in potatoes. It’s mostly flavorless, and used as a thickening agent. It is not the same thing as potato flour. You can however substitute potato starch for matzo meal or all purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio. I’ve tested the recipe with all of them, and they work equally well.
- Garam masala - Garam masala is an Indian spice blend usually containing cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, bay leaf, mace, and black pepper. It has a lovely warm flavor that is similar to pumpkin spice, which makes it pair especially well with sweet potatoes. Alternatives to try are baharat, ras el hanout, or pumpkin spice mix.
- Produce - Sweet potatoes and yellow onion. The savory onion will balance out the sweetness of the potatoes. Go for orange fleshed sweet potatoes like jewel or garnet varieties. For more info on sweet potatoes, check out How to Cook and Store Sweet Potatoes.
- Frying oil - I prefer to use grapeseed or avocado oil to fry. Other neutral high-heat oils will work as well.
- Optional garnish - Mint, cilantro, or green onions add a freshness to the dish.
- Optional dipping sauces - A dollop of sour cream or apple sauce are great options! Vegan sour cream is a great option if you need it to be dairy free.
You can try this same latke recipe with swapping out sweet potatoes for zucchini for a latke style vegetable fritter. Make sure to squeeze out the excess moisture from the zucchini.
Other popular versions of latkes are Classic Potato Latkes. This recipe has been passed down in my family for generations! This is a popular recipe in my Jewish Holiday Cooking Facebook group. Many readers make this recipe every year to rave reviews.
Potato Latke Muffins are a fun Passover-friendly version of traditional latkes made with matzoh meal and baked in the oven.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, potato starch, salt, pepper and optional garam masala.
Shred onions using a food processor or a grater. Squeeze out excess liquid. Add to the egg mixture.
Peel and shred sweet potatoes and squeeze out excess liquid. Mix shredded potatoes with egg mixture.
Scoop ¼ cup of loosely packed latke mixture with a measuring cup.
Press down the mixture to release any moisture and shape the latke. Tap the measuring cup into your hand to release the latke.
Heat oil in a large frying pan to about 370°F (188°C). Fry latkes in the hot oil until golden brown on each side.
Transfer cooked latkes to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve these warm sweet potato pancakes with sour cream dip.
Why Did My Latkes Fall Apart?
Latkes could fall apart for three reasons.
- Oil is not hot enough. If your oil isn’t around 370°F (188°C), the latkes could sit in the oil too long while cooking. This could lead to them falling apart and also becoming greasy or soggy.
- Didn’t fry for long enough. If you take the latkes out prematurely, they can fall apart if they didn't have enough time to firm up in the oil.
- Egg to potato ratio is off. If you don’t weigh the potatoes properly, you could end up with too many sweet potatoes and not enough egg binder. If this happens with your first batch, try adding an extra egg into the batter.
The good news about latkes - they reheat well! You can prepare latkes earlier in the day and reheat them when you are ready to serve. You can also prepare a few months in advance and reheat before serving.
Reheat latkes from cold or frozen by placing them on a baking sheet and warming in a 375ºF (190°C) oven.
To keep the latkes warm before serving, heat the oven to 200°F (93°C) and place latkes on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm while you finish making more batches of latkes.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store sweet potato latkes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
How to freeze: Flash freeze fried latkes on a baking sheet so that the latkes are not touching. Once frozen, store in an airtight container or bag. Take out as many as you need at a time. Freeze for up to 3 months.
How to reheat: Reheat from the refrigerator or freezer. Place latkes on a baking sheet and reheat in a 375ºF (190°C) oven. Heat until the latkes are hot, crispy, and the surface is sizzling. About 5-7 minutes from the refrigerator, and about 10-12 minutes from the freezer.
What to Serve with Latkes
Latkes go well with traditional Hanukkah dishes. They also make the perfect side dish for a soup or salad!
- Holidays Evoke Memories and Grandma's Potato Latke Recipe
- French Green Beans with Mustard Shallot Sauce
- Braised Brisket with Onion Gravy
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Salad
- Fall Harvest Salad with Apples and Pomegranate
- Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- Chicken Marbella (for Slow Cooker and Oven)
- Parsnip and Apple Soup
More Side Dish Ideas
Crispy Sweet Potato Latkes Recipe
- Large nonstick skillet or stainless steel skillet
- Food processor or box grater
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1¼ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon (heaping) garam masala optional, see notes for alternatives
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes 3-4 medium potatoes
- 1 cup grapeseed or avocado oil or other neutral high-heat oil
- Mint or cilantro as garnish optional
- Line a cooling rack or baking sheet with two layers of paper towels for later. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, potato starch, salt, pepper and optional garam masala. Set aside.
- Shred onions first using the food processor or a grater. Squeeze out excess liquid by squeezing onions in a clean kitchen towel over the sink. Add to the egg mixture.
- Peel the potatoes. If using a food processor, cut peeled potatoes into wedges that fit through the food processor shoot, and shred using the shredder attachment. If shredding with a grater, leave potatoes whole, and shred using a box grater.
- Squeeze out excess liquid by squeezing grated sweet potato in a kitchen towel (can use the same towel from earlier) over the sink.
- Transfer squeezed potatoes to the egg mixture. Mix all together with a mixing spoon.
- Pour oil in a large skillet (10” or 12” pan is good) so that oil comes up about ¼” in the pan. Turn heat to medium high and wait until the oil reaches 365°-375°F on an instant read thermometer. Alternatively, test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a bit of the latke mixture into the pan, and if it sizzles right away around the edges it’s ready to start frying. Once oil is hot enough, reduce heat to between medium and medium-high to prevent the latkes from burning and oil from splattering.
- Shape your latke: Fill ¼ cup measuring cup with latke mixture, NOT packed, just until it reaches the top of the cup (weighs about 1 oz). Then, press the potato mixture into the cup, compacting it and allow any excess liquid that builds up to pour out of the cup (have a small bowl to discard the liquid in). Tap the measuring cup against your hand to release the compacted latke-patty.
- Place into the fry pan of oil and use a spatula to press down the mixture, so it’s about 2-½” in diameter. Fry for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and fry for 2 minutes on the other side or until each side is nicely golden brown. Cook 5-6 latkes in the pan at a time. Once cooked, transfer to prepared paper towels to drain.
- Make several batches until all the batter is used. All more oil as needed for subsequent batches.
- Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce, top with fresh herbs
- To keep the latkes warm before serving: Heat the oven to 200°F (93°C), and keep the latkes warm on a baking sheet in the oven while finishing the rest of the batches.
- Why did my latkes fall apart? Latkes may fall apart for three reasons: not cooking long enough, oil isn’t hot enough, or potato to egg ratio is off. If this happens, try adding another egg to the batter.
- Alternatives to garam masala include other spice blends such as baharat, ras el hanout, or pumpkin spice mix.
- How to store: Store latkes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- How to freeze: Flash freeze fried latkes on a baking sheet so that the latkes are not touching. Once frozen, store in an airtight container or bag. Take out as many as you need at a time. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- How to reheat: Reheat from the refrigerator or freezer. Place latkes on a baking sheet, and reheat in a 375ºF (190°C) oven. Heat until the latkes are hot, crispy, and the surface is sizzling. About 5-7 minutes from the refrigerator, and about 10-12 minutes from the freezer.