The Surprising Ingredient I Always Add to My Latkes

updated Dec 8, 2023
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Pan-fried latkes
Credit: Joe Lingeman

My family is funny when it comes to holiday food. They’re lukewarm toward Thanksgiving and uninterested in birthday cake (I know!). But get them in front of a plate of crispy latkes, and they’ll beam like menorah candles for eight straight days.

I love latkes too, but around the 4th night of Hanukkah, I start combing the pantry for any other vegetable I can shred to add a little intrigue to what are essentially just fried potatoes. When I came across half a bag of Brussels sprouts lingering in my fridge last year, I thought, “Hey, why not?” and a new delicious Hanukkah treat was born.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

How to Make Brussels Sprout Latkes

It’s super simple to make Brussels sprout latkes — especially if you have any previous latke experience (although it’s not necessary). I use a pretty standard latke recipe every year, riffing on it as inspiration moves me.

First, I use the shredding attachment on my food processor to shred my unpeeled potatoes and halved yellow onions, adding them to a bowl of water to keep the potatoes from browning.

Then I shred the Brussels sprouts the same way, thoroughly drain the potatoes and onions, and add the brussels sprouts to the mix.

When it comes to making latkes, I go by feeling, but a good rule of thumb is to use about 3/4 as much of the Brussels sprouts as potatoes. To that, I add an egg and a tablespoon of starch — it could be matzo meal or flour — to bind everything together.

While I’m making the latke mixture, I heat up vegetable oil in a sauté pan. I keep about a half inch of oil going at all times, adding a splash of oil as necessary. When my mix is ready and the oil is hot, I form the latkes in the palm of my hand, squeezing out any extra moisture (which will make soggy latkes — an unforgivable crime) and gently add them to the pan.

I pan-fry the latkes for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until they’re golden-brown and cooked-through. Then, using a fish spatula, I remove them from the oil and allow them to drain on a sheet tray lined with a cooling rack and paper towels, adding a little sprinkle of salt to finish.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

What Makes Brussels Sprout Latkes So Good?

What I really love about Brussels sprout latkes is the way they combine a Hanukkah classic with another seasonal ingredient I happen to love. Brussels sprouts always remind me of my dad, and because he’s no longer with us, it feels like one special way to include him in our holiday festivities. 

It’s also nice to have a bit of green on the table during what is otherwise a very beige holiday. The Brussels sprouts add a bit of fiber and, more importantly, flavor and extra crispiness. Think of your favorite fried Brussels sprouts, and you’ll have some idea of what these latkes have to offer. I like to serve these with a lemon wedge and sour cream. That’s all they need to shine.