When Hanukkah starts on Sunday night, people around the world will celebrate in the most delicious way they know how: eating latkes loaded with sour cream and apple sauce until their hearts threaten to explode.
Hanukkah, the eight-night festival of lights, commemorates the victory of the Maccabee army over King Antiochus, who had disallowed practicing Judaism. When the army reclaimed the temple in Jerusalem, it found one menorah and one cruet of oil that was expected to burn for only one night. (Some of you may remember that story from a very special Rugrats Hanukkah episode.)
Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days and eight nights — and that’s why those who celebrate Hanukkah eat doughnuts, latkes and other foods fried in oil. The upside: fried food is delicious.
The latke, which is a potato pancake, can be as humble as leftover mashed potatoes baked with oil or as elaborate as carrot cake versions drizzled with sweet cream cheese icing.
Here are a few of the most scrumptious variations in the wide world of latkes.
The O.G. latke is crispy outside, creamy inside and entirely addictive. Here’s the recipe.
These latkes are sweet and salty with a beautiful golden hue. Pull out the tub of sour cream and put on your eating pants.
This dim sum-meets-Hanukkah-party hybrid is light, crunchy and a little sweet. It pairs well with salty smoked salmon, a fried egg or Chinese barbecued pork (no, that part isn’t kosher) for a memorable brunch.
Savory potato muffins are the way of the future. These Parmesan-infused latkes are baked in a muffin tin and use less oil than traditional, flat latkes.
Don’t give up on those Thanksgiving leftovers just yet. Repurpose them into these wondrous Franken-food balls and let your tastebuds decide if the time spent to make them is worth the final result. (Spoiler alert: It is.) Here’s the recipe.
Two fried foods come together in perfect harmony in this Middle Eastern-spiced latke. Don’t forget the spicy, creamy harissa-tahini topping which takes this latke from yearly indulgence to daily craving.
Elizabeth Taylor liked to be draped in diamonds and piping hot latkes like to be draped in caviar. It’s a fact.
Crispy latkes are baked in a waffle iron and then stacked with oven fried chicken and maple syrup. “Shalom y’all” never sounded so delicious.
Leftovers get the golden brown and cheesy treatment with these oven baked latkes. Fold in your favorite herbs or cheeses and go crazy with the toppings. Here’s the recipe.
Step aside, carrot cake. These sweet cakes, made with sweet potatoes, carrots and cinnamon, are served crunchy and warm beneath a blanket of tangy, sugary cream cheese icing.
Some of the traditional Indian flavors found in samosas, like curry, peas and onions, make their ways into these baked latkes. Don’t forget to add some mango chutney and raita for serving. Here’s the recipe.
The only way nachos smothered in creamy queso and topped with avocado and black beans gets better is when the nachos base is latkes instead of tortilla chips. Bring your fork and don’t expect to share.
Why bother putting fries alongside your burger when they could just act as your bun? Go seasonal with a turkey burger and cranberry relish or old school with an all-beef patty topped with pickles and ketchup.