7 latke hacks that will take them to the next level this Hanukkah

Latkes
Potato, zucchini, and carrot latkes. freeskyline/Shutterstock
  • Latkes are one of the most popular foods that Jewish people eat while celebrating Hanukkah.
  • Since they’re so beloved, people tend to overlook how time consuming it can be to cook them.
  • Latke cooking hacks, like using pre-shredded potatoes or using a blender, will save you time.

Latkes, or simply potato pancakes, are a delicious, crispy treat served with sour cream and applesauce, but there are ways to cut time on making them.
Latkes in a frying pan.
Latkes. Coren Feldman
In 164 BC, a small Jewish army called the Maccabees overthrew the Greek Syrian king after he attempted to impose Greek religion on Israel. Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and how, when they went to relight the ritual candelabra, there was only oil to last them one day. Instead, it miraculously lasted for eight.

Now, during Hanukkah, Jewish people light a menorah over eight nights and eat foods fried with oil, such as latkes.

This year, Hanukkah started on November 28 and will conclude on the evening of December 6. 

We’ve rounded up the best latke hacks that improve tastiness, health, and speed. Keep scrolling to up your latke game this Hanukkah.

Use pre-shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns instead of grating your potatoes by hand.
Latkes topped with sour cream and applesauce.
Latkes. Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Any seasoned latke maker knows that grating the potatoes is the most time-consuming — even dangerous — part of making potato latkes.

One hack, shared by websites including Kveller.com, bypasses this altogether by relying on the frozen-food section. Most supermarkets sell pre-shredded potatoes (aka hash browns) in the freezer aisle. Using them instead avoids the mess and potential finger slicing of grating.

Or you can avoid grating by using the wet chop method with a food processor.
Latkes hannukah
Latkes. Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Wet chopping originated with Vitamix blenders, but any high-powered blender or food processor should do the trick.

To wet chop your potatoes, cut them into chunks, put them inside the blender, add water to the top, turn the speed on low, and voila! Your potato will be cut into the perfect latke-sized chunks. Don’t forget to strain the water, though. Soggy latkes are not great …

To avoid an oily mess, try using a waffle maker instead.
Waffle latke potato pancake
Potato waffles. Shutterstock/Natallya Naumava
If you’re sick of potato pancakes, maybe potato waffles are your answer. Smitten Kitchen has a straightforward recipe on how to turn your latkes into waffles, and it even includes the addition of a fried egg. Essentially, it’s the same process but you forgo the frying pan and oil, and put your potato mixture on a waffle maker instead.
Ditch the egg and use flour and cornstarch instead for vegan-friendly latkes.
Latkes cooking in oil.
Vegan latkes. Shutterstock/adastra
Most latke recipes call for some form of eggs to bind the grated potatoes together, but corn starch, baking powder, and flour work just as well.

And though sour cream is a popular side for potato latkes, there are vegan versions of that, too.

If you’re looking for a lighter alternative to potato latkes, try other vegetables like zucchini.
A plate of potato, zucchini, and carrot latkes.
Potato, zucchini, and carrot latkes. freeskyline/Shutterstock
Potatoes are very starchy vegetables, so some people try to avoid them. But fear not! Latkes don’t have to be cut out completely.

There are plenty of alternatives to potatoes out there, like zucchinis, carrots, or even Brussels sprouts.

Or use sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato latke
Sweet potato latkes. Shutterstock/vm2002
Sweet potatoes should be a staple in your diet, since they taste good with anything and are much healthier than your average potato.

Latkes are no exception to this rule, as long as you don’t mind if they come out a little more orange.

To add another level of deliciousness, you can create a latke grilled cheese sandwich, or a latke burger.
Latke burger
Latke burger. Alexandr Karpovich/Shutterstock
What food isn’t improved with melted cheese? Latkes are no exception. The key here is not to overcook and burn the cheese. The Nosher recommends cooking the latkes until they are light brown and then adding the cheese.

For an even bigger sandwich, Thrillist has a recipe for brisket burgers with latke buns.