Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, Vegan Latkes (Potato Pancakes) are perfect for Hanukkah but really any time you want a delicious golden brown appetizer perfect for dipping into virtually anything. They’re easy to make, easy to customize, and gosh, are they easy to make disappear.
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Hey Internet, I’m still feeling that Hanukkah prep, so here’s a recipe for easy vegan latkes, AKA potato pancakes.
Why do Jews eat latkes on Hanukkah?
We eat foods like latkes (and vegan sufganiyot / jelly donuts!) on Hanukkah to symbolize the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 nights instead of 1, this oil that fueled the menorah lamp a long long time ago after the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Israel was destroyed.
Confession: I already have a recipe for vegan spinach artichoke latkes which are fabulous, but they’re also baked.
And I was missing my mom’s golden brown super crispy fried latkes. So here we are.
The trick was not using any eggs. I tried a few different egg replacers. Several worked, and a clear favorite definitely emerged.
Oh and my goodness, are these delicious and exactly like what I remembered. People love these--Jews or Goyim (non-Jews), people will eat as many of these as you make.
Especially when I dipped them in my homemade tofu sour cream and my mom’s classic super cinnamon-y tart applesauce that is legit LIFE CHANGING.
But Liz, doesn’t your mom live in Florida? How can she make you applesauce?
Well, I’ll tell you. She let me put her family recipe in my Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book so now I get to make it and inhale it whenever I want.
I do really miss her and her amazing cooking, though. Guess I’ll just have to go visit. :)
Anyway, back to the potato pancakes at hand.
You NEED these easy vegan potato pancakes in your life and I’m here to hand them over.
What You’ll Need
- Onions: Not a necessity but they add some flavor and crunch.
- Russet potatoes: While technically any potatoes will work (sweet potato latkes are awesome in case you’re wondering), Russets tend to be a little firmer and hardier, making them crisp up nicely in the oil.
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer or similar: I tried a few different egg replacers, and the one that most replicates egg to me is Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. I get it from my regular grocery store, mix a 1:2 ratio with water with a whisk, and it thickens in less than 30 seconds. Other egg replacers I’ve tested that work include Just Egg and ground flaxseed eggs, though I’ll note the ground flaxseed makes it a little heavier; less fluffy.
- Baking powder: Now this definitely helps them become fluffy and delicious just like mom or bubbe or whomever used to make.
- All purpose flour: While other flours may work, this is what my mom used and it does keep them pretty light and fluffy. Chickpea flour and gluten-free all purpose flours also work, which make them perfect for gluten-free folks.
- Safflower seed oil: Or another high heat but neutral flavor oil. Traditionally, Hanukkah foods include oil to symbolize the oil lasting 8 nights. If you don’t prefer to cook with oil, these can be baked or air-fried.
A Note on Equipment
It’s not a necessity, but a food processor with a grating attachment makes a HUGE difference in the prep time and effort for this recipe.
It’s imperative to shred or grate the potatoes, and shredded potatoes or hash browns from the freezer section of your grocery store don’t work as well.
I’ve found that my food processor is a workhorse and helps me immensely in the kitchen.
I also HIGHLY recommend a frying thermometer or similar (NOT an oven thermometer) to test how hot the oil is. We don’t want it to be too hot--350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) is ideal.
A splatter screen will help protect your skin against oil splatters.
I recommend a firm flipping spatula to help press down the vegan potato pancakes but one with slots is also useful for transferring to a paper towel lined plate after the latkes are cooked.
How to Make Vegan Latkes
- Start by peeling and quartering your onion and putting it through your food processor with a grating attachment. You can also just use the regular S-blade to chop it very finely.
- Peel your potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise (and again if needed) and feed through the food processor with the grating attachment. If you don’t have one, you can also use a box grater.
- Using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, squeeze out as much excess water out of the potatoes and onion as you can. My husband likes to spread them out on one towel, cover with another, and then use a rolling pin or his hands to press out the extra water. I’ve seen others put all the shreds in one big towel and ring out over the sink. However you do it, just get as much liquid out as possible--it makes a big difference in how well the latkes stick together and their overall taste and texture.
- Add the shredded potatoes and onions to a large bowl. Now add the vegan egg replacer, flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Stir well with your hands. You should be able to take a golf-ball size clump and stick it together in your fist. If it falls apart, you need more binder. If it’s squishy wet, add a bit more flour.
- Heat about a quarter inch of oil in a large heavy bottom pot with tall sides over medium high heat. You want it to be about 350ish degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) but if you drop a tiny piece of batter (like a shred of potato) in the oil and it sizzles, it’s ready.
- Decide what size vegan latkes you want--every family does it a little differently. A heaping tablespoon will make a latke that’s 2-3 inches in diameter, while two tablespoons (about a golf ball size) will make a larger 5-6 inch latke.
- Depending on what size you chose, pack the latke ball well into your tablespoon. If doing a larger latke, pop out the first ball, add another one, and then combine in your hands, compacting the mixture together.
- Carefully drop into the oil (it can splatter) and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then use the bottom of your strong spatula to flatten the latke pot into a nice round disk. Cook for approximately 2-4 minutes each side (depends on pan, size of latke, heat of oil--you’ll get a rhythm down). Depending on how big your latkes and the size of your pot, you can cook around 3-5 at a time.
- Flip carefully and gently press down and cook the other side. I find that the second side cooks faster as the latke has already come to temperature.
- Carefully transfer cooked latkes to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still warm.
- Cook the remaining latkes--you may choose to cover the plate of cooked latkes with a kitchen towel to keep them warm.
- Serve with vegan sour cream and applesauce--or whatever else you like. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftover latkes in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. I recommend reheating in a frying pan or air fryer, as a microwave may just make them soggy. You can also freeze your latkes for up to 3 months--again reheating in a pan (with a small amount of oil) is best.
More Plant-Based Jewish Recipes
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Free Jewish Recipes
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- Spinach Artichoke Latkes
- Vegan Spinach Noodle Kugel
- Vegan Challah
- Chocolate Vegan Babka
- Vegan Potato Kugel
- Vegan Apple Cake
- Great for Rosh Hashanah: Vegan Honey
- Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
- Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake
- New York Style Vegan Bagels
- Vegan Hamantaschen
- You have to try my vegan corned beef and vegan pastrami
- Vegan Brisket
- Vegan Schnitzel
- Liver-Style Vegan Mushroom Pate
Or check out my e-Book for 50+ veganized Jewish classics: Plant Based Jewish Recipes which makes a great gift for yourself or others.
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. We devour many of them every time I make them. It’s my favorite thing about Hanukkah.
These Vegan Latkes are:
- Crispy on the outside
- Soft and potato-y on the inside
- Fun to dip in applesauce, tofu sour cream, or whatever else you like
- And perfect for a great appetizer (or the main dish, as we usually do), perfect for a holiday celebration--or anytime, Jewish or not!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!