Any Festival of Lights celebration worth its weight in gelt has latkes. Too often these fried potato pancakes are greasy and one-dimensional, and make the house smell. In this recipe, Sara Dickerman adds turnips and thyme, and fries the latkes in duck fat, for small, flavorful patties that will make any Hanukkah reveler happy. As for the smelly house, turn to these tips.

Game plan: You could serve these with duck confit and use the leftover duck fat for frying. This recipe is fleishig if made with duck fat.

This dish was featured as part of both our Frying Feast menu and our Hanukkah Recipes photo gallery.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: 1 hr 15 mins 

Ingredients (10)

  • 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled
  • 1 large turnip (about 10 ounces), peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 5 ounces), cut into quarters
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 6 ounces duck fat or 3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • Applesauce, for serving (optional)


  1. Using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with a medium-coarse shredding disk, alternately shred the potatos, turnip, and onion.
  2. Place the vegetables in a strainer over a large bowl. Squeeze to extract excess moisture, and let stand for a few minutes. Place the vegetables in a second bowl and discard the liquid collected in the first bowl, stirring any white potato starch left behind back into the vegetables. Beat together the eggs, flour, thyme, and measured salt and pepper in a separate bowl until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the vegetables and mix until evenly combined.
  3. Heat the measured duck fat or vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  4. Form a silver-dollar-size latke and carefully place it in the hot fat to test for proper oil temperature: The oil should immediately bubble on the edges of the latke. Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the latke from the oil and taste, adjusting the seasoning as needed.
  5. Form more silver-dollar-size patties and place them in the hot oil, but don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry undisturbed until the latkes hold together and become golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  6. Remove to the paper-towel-lined plate and continue frying more latkes, skimming out any vegetable bits in between batches and adding more fat when necessary. (If you add more fat, make sure it is at the proper temperature before cooking more latkes.) Serve hot or at room temperature with applesauce, if desired.