Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup & Candied Pecans

Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah

As you might already know, this year the Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays overlap for the first time since Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. This once-in-a-lifetime combined holiday has been dubbed “Thanksgivukkah” by many American Jews, who will be celebrating both holidays at the same time. It is a very rare occurrence; due to the Jewish calendar slowly going out of sync with the solar calendar, this overlap won’t happen again until the year 79,811. In other words, we’ve got one major party to prepare for!

During Hanukkah, it is Jewish tradition to eat food that is deep fried in oil, a tasty and caloric reminder of the Holy Temple miracle (learn more here). Once a year, we are given guilt-free rein to enjoy fried foods like latkes. Of course, Thanksgiving has its own go-to foods. With Thanksgiving and the second night of Hanukkah falling on the same day this year, it seemed only natural to develop a killer Sweet Potato Latke recipe. Consider this your go-to Thanksgivukkah latke recipe!

I prefer my latkes savory and salty, but Thanksgiving tradition calls for a sweeter version. The good news is, these latkes can go both ways. Prepare them as written and sprinkle with salt for a crispy treat that veers toward savory; the latkes will have a bit of natural sweetness from the potato, nicely balanced by cinnamon, salt and a touch of curry. If you’re craving a sweet dish, drizzle them with a simple brown sugar syrup and sprinkle with cayenne candied pecans (recipes below). Prepare to swoon. Even though I like my latkes savory, I couldn’t get enough of the sweeter variation on this recipe. The candied nuts have a touch of heat, and the syrup brings out the spices in the latkes. It’s a really special flavor combination.

Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah

Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans

Latke Ingredients

  • 2 ½ lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (regular or panko style)
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • Olive, grapeseed or peanut oil (for frying)

You will also need

  • Sheet tray or wire cooling rack, paper towels, mixing bowls, food processor or hand grater, colander, cheesecloth or clean tea towel, large skillet

Brown Sugar Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

You will also need

  • small saucepan, whisk

Cayenne Candied Pecan Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw pecans (you can sub walnuts, almonds, or any other nut you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

You will also need

  • Mixing bowls, whisk, slotted spoon, baking sheet, aluminum foil or silicone baking sheet, food processor (optional)
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: about 16 latkes
  • To make Sweet Potato Latkes: Before you begin making the latkes, place your wire cooling rack or a sheet tray lined with paper towels close to the area where you will be frying the latkes.
  • Peel the potatoes, then grate them using a hand grater or food processor shredding attachment with fine holes (small shreds). I really recommend using the food processor, it saves a ton of time.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Place potato shreds in the center of a clean tea towel or multiple layers of cheesecloth. Wrap the shreds up in the cloth, twisting the cloth to secure the bundle, and squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid from the shreds.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Pour potato into the clean, dry bowl.
  • While oil is heating, stir the breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, potato starch, salt, cinnamon and curry powder into the potato shreds. Take care to make sure the egg and seasonings are fully mixed throughout the potato shreds. Let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pour oil into skillet to a depth of 1/8 inch. Heat slowly over medium to about 365 degrees F.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Scoop up 4 tablespoons of the potato mixture. I do this by using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Squeeze the mixture firmly in your palm over an empty dish to remove any excess liquid (if you squeezed the potatoes out thoroughly in the cloth, you may not have much excess liquid to squeeze out). Shape the potato mixture into a tightly compacted disk.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Place the disk carefully into the hot oil. Latkes can break apart at this point, they're very delicate. If you can get them into the hot oil in one piece, chances are they will stick together--frying them is like the "glue" that holds them together. It takes a gentle touch, and it may take you some practice to get the "feel" for it.
  • The oil should sizzle but not pop when the latke hits it; if the oil jumps wildly or smokes, it is too hot. If it only bubbles weakly, the oil is not hot enough. Use the first latke to test the oil temperature, and don't fry a whole batch until the temperature is right.
  • Continue shaping the latkes in this way, using 4 tablespoons of potato mixture for each latke. Fry in a few separate batches, but be sure not to crowd the pan, for 2-3 minutes per side till brown and crispy. Note: If your latkes aren't holding together, stir more potato starch into the mixture, 2 teaspoons at a time, till the batter "holds." You can also add another egg to the mixture and more panko, if needed.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Remove the latkes from the pan using metal spatula and place them on a wire cooling rack or a sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain (I prefer a wire cooling rack, which helps to keep them more crisp).
  • I recommend serving latkes fresh within 10 minutes of frying them, if your cooking schedule permits. If you need to make them ahead, fry them 4 hours or less before serving. After letting the latkes drain on the wire cooling rack, place them on an ungreased, unlined cookie sheet. Leave them at room temperature till ready to reheat. Place in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes (7 if using a convection oven), until heated through, just prior to serving. Serve latkes sprinkled with sea salt to keep them more savory, or drizzle with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans for a sweeter treat.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #ThanksgivukkahTo make Brown Sugar Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, water and salt.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Bring mixture a boil, whisking regularly.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  • To make Cayenne Candied Pecans: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, water, sugar and salt until foamy.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Add nuts and toss to evenly coat.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Add spices and toss again.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Remove nuts from bowl using a slotted spoon and spread them evenly on a sheet tray lined with foil or a silicone baking sheet.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until browned.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Once cool, pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are roughly chopped. This can also be done by chopping them with a knife. They can be served whole if you prefer.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah Drizzle the sweet potato latkes lightly with brown sugar syrup and sprinkle with the cayenne candied nuts, if desired. Serve.
  • Sweet Potato Latkes - Savory or Sweet with Brown Sugar Syrup and Cayenne Candied Pecans #Hanukkah #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivukkah

Comments (82)Post a Comment

  1. I love the recipes and the pictures!!!
    Can we bake the latkes at a high temperature, around 400-450 instead of frying? Had anyone tried that?

    1. Hi Fran– I do not recommend baking latkes, they never come out as tasty as they do from the frying pan (and we tend to save them as a treat just a few times a year, so we prefer them fried). That said, many people do it to save on calories. If any other readers have suggestions on baking please feel free to chime in.

  2. I’ll open with a Willie Mays handle,
    “Say Hey,” Tori,
    I an aways delighted to get your recipes on Sunday
    evening. Thank you !!
    Here are two thoughts that I would like you to feed back
    on; I want to substitute Pumpkin for the Sweet Potato
    Latkes. If possible can canned Pumpkin puree be used?
    And, number 2 Question: I do not know anything about Grape Seed Oil. I do not use Peanut oil and I want to use the Grape Seed Oil but, I know nothing about its properties.
    Tori, please tell me your feeling about this oil and the
    best ‘quality’ brand to pruchase.
    Thank you,
    Geoffrey
    (email removed)
    (My website address is constructed in memory of my Polish Grand Mother)

    1. Hi Geoffrey! You are very kind. I would not use pumpkin puree for this particular Sweet Potato Latkes recipe. You could, however, substitute it in the recipe at this link: link to theshiksa.com You may need more breadcrumbs and egg to bind it together though, pumpkin is quite soft. Keep in mind that the pancakes won’t be very crispy if you use pumpkin. Regarding Question #2, grape seed oil is terrific! It has a very high smoke point (meaning you can fry without worrying about creating smoke), and it has no cholesterol. I sell it in my online market here: link to theshiksa.com however it only comes in packs of 4, so if you’re just trying it you may want to pick up a bottle from your local grocery store and try it first.

  3. For this recipe, I had a little trouble finding potato starch this time of year. I did end up finding a box, but was curious – if I could not locate it, could corn starch have been substituted?

    1. Hi Miriam, you can actually omit the starch if you can’t find it, it’s only there to help hold the latkes together a little better. It’s helpful but not necessary.

  4. I’m with you on savory latkes, I make parmesan garlic zucchini latkes every fall until I run out of zucchini. I make sweet latkes for my family, their favorite combination is sweet potato, carrot, apple seasoned with cinnamon and brown sugar. I’m going to have to try your recipe this year, the syrup and candied nuts look great!

  5. Is there any substitute for the bread crumbs if you have a friend who is gluten free? I have a friend who is allergic to wheat, and is very excited about this coming Thanksgivmakkuh, and I would like to help him realize a latke’s full potential for satisfaction on this special day. You’re my go-to! Help!

    1. Hi Casey, sorry for getting back to you late– I had hundreds of comments leading up to the holiday and wasn’t able to answer all of them in a timely manner. I recommend my gluten free latke recipe if you’re looking for a truly great GF latke: link to theshiksa.com

  6. Have you ever tried the sweet potato latkes baked?
    What about gluten free? If so, what flour would you substitute?
    thanks!
    Linda

    1. Hi Linda, I have no tried tried these latkes baked, but I am certain the results would not be nearly as crisp as they are when fried. Also, frying helps to hold the latkes together, so I’m not sure if baking would cause them to fall apart. As for gluten free, there isn’t any flour in this recipe, but the breadcrumbs are very helpful as a binding agent. You could try substituting a gluten free all-purpose flour for the breadcrumbs, but I have not tested that method so no promises on the outcome. I do have a gluten free latke recipe here if you are interested: link to theshiksa.com

  7. made these for thanksgivukkah with a couple of changes.
    1)omitted the pecans
    2)ommitted the curry powder
    3)added 2 Tbsp of maple syrup to the brown sugar syrup
    4)fried them in a mixture of oil and schmaltz

  8. Made these for thanksgivukkah…AMAZING! we omitted the cayenne pepper in the pecans and added allspice instead and it was amazing!

    Thank you :)

  9. I use a different sweet potato recipe, but will try this one next year. I use your Panko Latke recipe and love it!

    One question: your photo of the grated sweet potatoes looks like you are using a Cuisinart Elite 14 Cup processor, since I see the finger holes in the disc. I have had a ton of problems with mine grating carrots, etc. because large chunks fall thru the holes. Any suggestions? I looked for a non-Cuisinart replacement disc (that might not have the holes), no luck.

    Thanks again, Tori, for a wonderful web site! And Hag Sameach!

    1. Hi Ed, yes I have that problem too… a few chunks always fall through. I just fish the chunks out and mince them up, then add them back to the shreds. It still takes less time than hand grating them all. I do agree it’s a bit of a design flaw, I’m not sure how to correct it.

  10. Instead of squeezing the water out of the potatos.
    Why not simply add potato flour until the desired consistency is achieved? It will save tons of time and mess and, …. I dare someone to tell the difference.

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