Exploring a Unique Spin on Latkes: Ginger Sweet Potato Pancakes with a Hint of Orange Zest

by Andrew Wright
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Ginger Sweet Potato Latkes

Embarking on a culinary twist, these ginger sweet potato pancakes infused with orange zest offer a refreshing variation from the classic latke recipe. While traditional Hanukkah latkes typically feature russet or Yukon gold potatoes seasoned with simple ingredients like salt, pepper, and onion, this recipe introduces a delightful combination of shredded sweet potatoes, fresh minced ginger, and orange zest.

The incorporation of ginger lends a distinct earthy warmth to the pancakes, while the orange zest contributes a zesty, citrusy flair. To enhance these flavors, it’s advisable to generously season the mixture with salt and pepper. Similar to conventional potato pancakes, these sweet potato latkes pair excellently with either applesauce or sour cream, providing a familiar yet novel taste experience.

Venturing Beyond the Traditional with a Variety of Latke Options

In my household, traditional potato pancakes are a cherished favorite, particularly during the Hanukkah season. However, the concept of pan-seared fritters presents a tempting opportunity to explore beyond the classic potato. Hanukkah, with its eight nights, offers ample time to experiment with different latke variations.

Consider utilizing an array of vegetables such as beets, zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, or cauliflower for a unique twist. These variations will naturally differ in taste and appearance from the potato latkes, but they add an exciting diversity to the holiday festivities. The seasoning possibilities are endless—think fresh herbs, curry powder, cumin, minced garlic, za’atar, chili powder, Aleppo pepper, or sumac. Complement the pancakes with seasoned Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream for added flavor.

The Sweet Potato Advantage

One significant advantage of using sweet potatoes is their lower water content compared to russets, eliminating the need to dry them out. However, achieving crispiness requires more attention, akin to the challenge with sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes have less natural starch, which is key to crispiness, but adding a little cornstarch and flour can help. Also, be mindful of their natural sugar content, which can lead to burning if cooked on too high heat. It’s important to monitor the cooking process carefully, adjusting the temperature to ensure even browning without burning.

Cooking Techniques for Perfect Latkes

To ensure even cooking, press down on the pancakes in the pan. This allows for more surface contact and even browning. It’s crucial to check that each pancake is browned and firm before flipping. Adding fresh oil and bits of butter for each batch enhances the flavor, and occasionally wiping the pan with a paper towel helps prevent burning from residual bits.

For serving, either keep the latkes warm in a preheated oven or serve them fresh from the pan. Remember, for a kosher meal with meat, stick to olive oil and avoid butter or sour cream.

Storing and Reheating

Sweet potato latkes can be stored for two days in the fridge and reheated in a preheated oven on a wire rack for optimal crispiness.

Recipe for Ginger Sweet Potato Pancakes

Yield: About 30 pancakes, serving 10


  • 2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil
  • About 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • Applesauce and sour cream for serving


  1. Grate the sweet potatoes using a food processor or handheld grater.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs and minced onion. Add sweet potatoes, ginger, and orange zest. Toss well.
  3. Sprinkle in flour and cornstarch, season with salt and pepper, and combine thoroughly.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Scoop 1/3 cup of the mixture into the skillet and press into flat circles. Cook until golden brown on each side, monitoring heat carefully.
  5. Drain on paper towels, then transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with remaining mixture, adding more oil and butter as needed.
  6. Serve warm with a sprinkle of kosher salt, accompanied by applesauce and sour cream.

Note: This recipe is from Katie Workman, a regular contributor to The Big Big News, author of “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” Her blog can be found at The Mom 100. Contact Katie at [email protected].

For more culinary inspirations, visit [Big Big News Recipes](https://bigbignews.net/recipes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ginger Sweet Potato Latkes

Can I use other vegetables besides sweet potatoes for these latkes?

Yes, you can experiment with various vegetables such as beets, zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, or cauliflower for different latke variations.

What makes these sweet potato latkes different from traditional potato latkes?

These latkes are made with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and are flavored with fresh ginger and orange zest, offering a unique twist with earthy and citrusy notes.

Do I need to squeeze the moisture out of the sweet potatoes like traditional latkes?

No, sweet potatoes contain less water than russets, so you don’t need to squeeze them dry. However, they require more attention to crisp up in the pan.

Can these sweet potato latkes be made kosher for a meat meal?

Yes, for a strictly kosher meal involving meat, use only olive oil for frying and avoid serving with dairy products like sour cream.

How can I store and reheat leftover sweet potato latkes?

Leftover latkes can be stored for two days in the fridge. Reheat them in a preheated 300-degree oven on a wire rack for 7-10 minutes.

Are there any alternative toppings I can use besides applesauce and sour cream?

Yes, you can get creative with toppings like Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or seasoned sour cream, or enjoy them plain to savor the unique flavors.

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