Getting Creative with Latkes and Donuts

December 17, 2019

10 min read


Get in the festive mood with these creative recipes that put a new spin on traditional latkes and donuts.

Eight days and nights of Hanukkah calls for extra creativity and energy for latke making and donut creations. I start the week with traditional latkes but tend to get fun and unique as the week goes on depending on the crowd, the party, or my latest brainstorm. Today I’m sharing latke tips, recipes, and few varieties that are both delicious and a bit different. And a few donut creations that puts everyone in an extra festive Hanukkah good mood.

Latke Cooking Tips

Prepare your setup. Heat the oven and prep a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack, so latkes can stay warm and crisp. Prepare a paper towel-lined baking pan ready to receive hot latkes for draining.

Grate the potatoes and onions. Use the large shredding blade on your food processor to grate the potatoes and onions in seconds. A box grater works well too (it just requires some extra elbow grease).

Squeeze the potatoes and onion dry. To get crispy latkes, the potato and onion mixture needs to be dry. Use a strainer lined with a paper towel or a cheesecloth.

Fry the latkes. Heat the oil (and schmaltz, if using) and make sure it's hot before frying. The latkes should sizzle immediately upon entering the oil. Fry until each side is dark golden-brown.

Drain and serve. Remove hot, crisp latkes from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve or keep warm in the oven.

Make ahead: Latkes are best made and served right away. They can be fried and kept warm in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and re crisp in a 300°F for 5 to 10 minutes. Watch the latkes when reheating so they do not burn.

Doubling: The recipe can be doubled, but take care to drain them well. The oil (and schmaltz, if using) will need to be replaced halfway through frying. Pour the used oil into a heatproof bowl, wipe out the skillet, then heat fresh oil and continue frying.

Classic Latkes


Photo by Tori Avery

Makes about 20

This is a classic, perfect every time latke.

  • 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (3 to 4 potatoes),peeled
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal or flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz, or a combination of both
  • Applesauce and sour cream, for serving

Grate potatoes and onion with the shredding disk in a food processor. With a towel or cheesecloth squeeze liquid from potato and onion.

Add egg, matzo meal, salt, and pepper to the potato/onion mixture. Mix and set batter aside for 10 minutes.

Place the oil or schmaltz (or a combination of the two) in a large skillet so that when melted there is a depth of 1/4 inch (for a 10-inch skillet you'll need 1 cup of melted oil/schmaltz). Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.

Place about ¼ cup batter into the hot oil. Flatten to form a latke. Fry the latkes until golden on both sides. Repeat until the pan is full but the pan is not too crowded.. Cook until deeply golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.

Drain the latkes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain for 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream, or transfer the latkes to the wire cooling rack set in the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you continue cooking the rest of the latkes.

Potato Latke Waffles with Smoked Salmon


Photo by Food Network

Serves 6

This is a fun appetizer or brunch treat. It’s easier than frying latkes and the taste is great.


  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 yellow
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Everything but the Bagel Spice pus more for garnish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk, or milk
  • 3 tablespoons margarine, melted

For Serving:

  • 8 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill

Special equipment: a waffle iron

For the waffles: Coarsely grate the potatoes and onion on a box grater or with the grater attachment for the food processor. Wrap the grated potatoes and onion in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and "everything bagel” spice together in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and onion mixture, eggs, soymilk, and margarine; stir to combine.

Preheat a waffle iron. Using 1/3 cup batter per waffle, cook the waffles for about 4 minutes (or according to manufacturer's directions). With an offset spatula, flip the waffles and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown. As you go, transfer the cooked waffles to a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven.

To serve: Top the waffles with smoked salmon and a dollop of Tofutti sour cream or creme fraiche, sprinkle with dill and a little more Everything bagel spice.

Potato Latke Muffins


Photo by Flour by a Fork

Makes 12

I’m not sure if I should call these potato latke muffins or potato kugel muffins, but the shredded potato, makes them more like a latke than a kugel. These are a bit healthier than traditional latkes because they are baked and not fried (is that even allowed?). I like to make them for Hanukkah brunch events and serve them with a nice poached egg on top.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus some for brushing the top
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ¾ pounds Idaho or yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: sour cream and sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a nonstick 12-muffin tin.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onions, and saute over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika; remove from heat.

Coarsely grate the potatoes by hand or in a food processor. Put them in a large strainer, and press out excess liquid. Transfer them to a bowl, and stir in the onions, remaining tablespoon oil, eggs, salt and pepper.

Put 1/3 cup of the potato mixture in each muffin tin. Smooth the tops lightly, brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle with a little paprika. Bake about 40 minutes, until brown at the edges and firm.

Remove the muffins and serve at once, or leave in the pans to keep warm for 15 minutes or so.

Donut Fun!

Fall Flavor Donut Icebox Cake


Photo by Rachael Ray

Serve 10

I saw this dish prepared on the Rachael Ray show. It's a lot of fantastic drama in presentation and tastes divine too. They made it for a Thanksgiving pumpkin dessert, but I think it's a great idea for Hanukkah. Feel free to use any doughnut flavor of your choice, but I’d stick to unfilled donuts for this recipe and use more of a cake style variety.

  • 10 cake style donuts like pumpkin or apple cider donuts
  • 2 cups pareve whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

Halve each donut horizontally, then halve each half horizontally again; you should have 4 donut slices from each donut.

With an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.

In a 9-inch springform pan, arrange 10 donut slices in 2 concentric rings, using about 6 on the outside ring and 4 on the inside ring, jamming them in to fit. Dollop 1/3 of the salted maple whipped cream over the donuts, smoothing it out to evenly cover the donuts. Repeat twice more with 20 donut slices and the remaining whipped cream.

Decoratively shingle the remaining 10 donut slices on top, then wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl, and lightly dust over the cake. Cut into slices and serve.

Donut Tiramisu


Photo by Donutmiso

Serves 12

This can be served right from the rectangular baking dish or prepared in individual glasses as pictured. I usually make it in a glass 9x13 dish and slice it into rustic squares to serve it. I love the addition of donuts to tiramisu, it gives it an extra cake-like texture and a little more sweetness than traditional lady fingers. This can be made pareve or dairy.

  • 1 cup pareve or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • One 8-ounce container tofutti cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 8 plain cake donuts
  • 3/4 cup cold coffee
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons grated chocolate

In a stand mixer, whip cream to soft peaks. Add sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and mix until well combined. Add Tofutti cream cheese/mascarpone and whip until combined.

Halve each donut horizontally. Arrange eight halves, overlapping as needed, into the bottom of a 9 x 13 shallow baking dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the donuts with half of the coffee, then top with half of the cream mixture. Arrange the remaining donut halves on top and brush with the remaining coffee. Top with the rest of the cream mixture, and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, dust the tiramisu with cinnamon and shaved chocolate.

Doughnut Bread Pudding


Photo by Kitchen Bellicious

Serves 10

This is not dietetic but is delicious and fun alternative to sufganiyot for Hanukkah. Buy a wonderful caramel or chocolate sauce and serve it warmed on top of bread pudding.

  • 1 stick unsalted margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups pareve whipping cream (to lighten it up use a mixture of whipping cream and vanilla soymilk)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted (optional)
  • 16 cake style doughnuts
  • For serving: store-bought caramel or chocolate sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, combine margarine and sugar briefly, just until it forms into a ball. Add eggs, pareve cream, cinnamon, and vanilla, and process until blended.

Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Break up the doughnuts into 1-inch pieces and layer in the pan. Scatter the raisins and pecans over the top. Pour the egg mixture over the doughnuts; soak for 5 to 10 minutes. You will need to push doughnut pieces down during this time to ensure even coverage by egg mixture.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes to brown the top. The doughnut bread pudding is done when the custard is set, but still soft.

Serve warm with store-bought caramel or chocolate sauce.

Click here for more delicious Hanukkah recipes.

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