I grew up eating latkes, usually when my mom worked a long day and needed a quick dinner for my sister and I. She made German potato pancakes (kartoffelpuffer) but always called them latkes in English, and I don’t think she ever used sweet potato. She did sometimes mix in other veg like carrots, so this is just a slight variation on that, really.
Sweet potato latkes are a little different from those made with starchy potatoes, mostly in that the texture is slightly different. These do (optionally) use egg, which helps with the crispiness factor, but the key thing is to use a hot pan and the right oil.
You can make these really quickly if you have a large pan, or can have two pans going at once. Top with applesauce (traditional), yogurt, or ketchup if you want to go crazy. My omi does not approve of ketchup on latkes but I like it every once in a while – a side effect of growing up in Canada!
Scroll to the bottom of the post or click “skip to recipe” above to see the recipe card with full ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Sweet potato
- Chickpea flour
- An egg (see substitutions)
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Water, for the vegan method
Shred the sweet potato and onion into a large bowl, using the large side of a box grater. You can also use the grating attachment on a food processor if you prefer.
Add the chickpea flour, egg (or water for the vegan option), oil, vinegar, and spices. Stir very well to combine, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Set the latke mixture aside while the pan heats – this allows the chickpea flour to absorb the water from the vegetables.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan fully with a thin layer of oil. Place about 2 tablespoons of the latke mixture into the pan for each latke, flattening with the back of a spoon. Don’t crowd the pan – this causes the pan to cool too quickly.
After a couple of minutes, the latkes should be golden brown on one side. Flip and flatten with the spatula again (they should be about 1.5 – 2cm (about 3/4 in.) thick). Fry for another couple of minutes, or until that side is golden as well.
Repeat until all of the batter has been used, either serving the latkes as they cook, or placing them into a warm oven to keep warm. Serve hot, with any desired toppings.
Tips and Notes
I’ve never put my latkes onto a paper-towel lined plate after cooking them. I also don’t have paper towel in the house. You shouldn’t need to do this unless your pan is too cold, as if it’s the correct temperature, the latkes shouldn’t be absorbing much of the oil and they shouldn’t be greasy.
Some readers have noted that the batter is too wet for them – this is for a couple of reasons. One, chickpea flour soaks up a lot more water than other types of flour (like wheat flour) so if any changes have been made in that regard, the batter will be wetter. Chickpea flour also varies a bit from brand to brand.
The other is sweet potato types – some are drier than others, and the water content tends to be higher when they’re out of season. If your batter is too wet – refer to the step-by-step photos – then simply add more flour.
To make these ahead of time, you have a couple of options. The batter can be made they day before and refrigerated in a sealed container to be cooked the next day.
Alternatively, the cooked latkes can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in a frying pan (don’t microwave them!). I’ve never tried freezing them but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, they’d just need longer to reheat from frozen.
To make these vegan, simply leave out the egg and add the water instead. They’ll still hold together and fry well without an egg (thanks to the chickpea flour) but they’re not as crispy without it. These options are noted in the recipe card.
If you don’t have chickpea flour, you can use wheat flour (whole wheat is best) or buckwheat flour. You will need a little bit more to balance out the absorbing factor, so go by look. The cooking time will change slightly.
The obvious substitution is regular potatoes, of course. You can do half-half if you prefer a more traditional tasting latke.
More Sweet Potato Recipes
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Sweet Potato Latkes
- 160 grams sweet potato, shredded (a medium sweet potato)
- ½ small yellow onion shredded
- 25 grams chickpea flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- Coconut oil for cooking
- Water for the vegan option see note
- Apple sauce or yogurt for topping
- Shred the sweet potato and onion into a large bowl. Add the chickpea flour, egg (or water), oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix very well, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Set aside to rest while the pan heats.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Make sure the pan is hot before starting to cook the latkes or they won’t crisp.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the latke mixture into the hot pan, flattening slightly with the back of the (metal) spoon.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms are golden, then flip and flatten with the spatula. You may need to add more oil at this point. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until both sides are golden and crisp.
- Cook three or four latkes at a time, but don’t crowd the pan. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.
- You can place the finished pancakes into a warm oven to keep warm until they’re finished cooking. Serve hot with your desired toppings.
This post was originally published in January 2018. It has been updated with new step-by-step photographs, changes to the text, and some slight alterations to the recipe, as of September 2020.