Bubbe’s Coconut Oil Latkes

by Ann Marie Michaels on November 29, 2010

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menorah candles

This recipe for latkes (or potato pancakes) is from Bubbe, Kate’s grandmother. It’s an everyday food at Jewish delis (I love it with my salami and eggs) but it’s also very traditional for Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday. This year it begins on December 1st this year. I’m excited because we are flying to New York to see Bubbe and Papa for Bubbe’s 70th birthday party. For the first time, we get to celebrate Hanukkah with Bubbe and Papa.

Hanukkah includes the custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil, as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the discovery of a small flask of pure olive oil. This small batch of olive oil was only supposed to last one day, and instead it lasted eight. Potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, are traditionally associated with Hanukkah, especially among Ashkenazi families, as they are fried in oil.

Recipe Notes
I fried the latkes in refined-expeller pressed coconut oil, but you can also use olive oil. I’m such a big fan of coconut oil because of the health benefits. Make sure you use the expeller-pressed version, since you don’t want the taste of coconut. I also used sprouted flour instead of the traditional matzo meal.

I really recommend buying organic potatoes. Did you know that non-organic potatoes don’t sprout? Yeah, isn’t that weird? I try to buy organic potatoes and organic onions if possible.

Bubbe’s Coconut Oil Latkes


Potatoes, organic if possible — russet or Idaho (2 pounds)
Large white or yellow onion, organic if possible (1/2)
Large eggs ,pastured, or at least organic, free-range (8)
Sprouted flour , or rice flour if you are gluten free (6 TBS) — where to buy sprouted flour
Sea salt (4 tsp) — where to buy sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper — where to buy black pepper
Refined, expeller pressed coconut oil (1 1/2 cup) — where to buy coconut oil
Sour cream , grass-fed and organic if possible, full-fat — where to buy starters
Apple Sauce , organic if possible


Cheesecloth or thin dish cloth
Food processor or box grater
Optional: Thermometer


1. Peel the potatoes, then shred them using a box grater or using your food processor.
2. Using cheesecloth or a thin dish cloth, wring the potatoes hard over the sink, extracting as much moisture as possible.
3. Add the shredded potatoes to a large mixing bowl (or two bowls, if necessary). Mix in the onion, eggs, sprouted flour and salt.
4. Add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and combine throroughly.
5. Heat the coconut oil in a large cast iron or enamelware skillet or Dutch oven. You can use a thermometer to test the temperature. I did not find it necessary but you may want to for precision. Heat the oil to about 300-340
degrees, or, if not using a thermometer, until you toss in a bit of batter and you get lots of tiny bubbles.
6. When the oil is hot enough, carefully place generous tablespoonfulls of the potato mixture into the skillet. Press down on them slightly to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch patties.
7. Fry on each side until cooked through and golden brown.
8. Drain on paper towels. Set aside or in the fridge and warm in the oven just before serving.
9. Serve with sour cream and Apple Sauce.

More Holiday Recipes

Jenny at Nourished Kitchen will be teaching this and other Hanukkah dishes — including braised beef short ribs, whole-grain challah, and homemade sour cream — in her holiday cooking series, Happy Healthy Holidays.

If you want to learn more holiday recipes for Hanukkah and Christmas, including traditional egg nog and Christmas cookies, click here to sign up now. Hurry! The series starts December 1st.

This post is a part of Real Food Holidays: Hanukkah 2010 at Real Food Digest and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Tori Sellon November 29, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Thanks for this idea. I think I’m acutally going to try it out with sweet potatoes and non-expeller pressed version of the coconut oil. I love the flavors of sweet potatoes and coconut oil together. Potatoe Pancakes great idea, especially for the gluten free.


tessag July 5, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Sweet potatoes…great idea. I think I would like it better that way.


Vinny November 29, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Excellent recipe. Sound like it is very tasty. I am going to try this very soon.

BTW, very happy to have you back posting.


emily duff November 29, 2010 at 12:45 PM

latkes are a favorite in my house. we eat them year round cooked in schmaltz (chicken fat) with raw sour cream and homemade applesauce. sometimes we top them with wild smoked salmon, a dollop of raw sour cream, wild alaskan salmon roe and dill. a great way to start a meal. enjoy!


Naomi Snider November 29, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Hi Ann Marie!

Are you saying that if my potatoes are getting eyes and sprouting, then they are organic? Because I didn’t buy them as organic, just regular potatoes. But ALL my potatoes sprout if I don’t use them up rather quickly. I’ve never bought organic ones. What gives, do you think?



cheeseslave November 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Not sure, but I have bought non-organic potatoes that do not sprout. Maybe it depends on how much pesticides the farm uses.


cheeseslave November 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM

@Vinny Thanks – I am trying!


judy November 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

It is my understanding that some of the potatoes are sprayed with something to keep them from sprouting. This is in addition to the pesticides that are used. I don’t know if all potato growers do this. I am thankful we had a good crop from the garden this year.

I grew up with potato “patties” made with the exact ingredients you have in this recipe. The amounts were adjusted depending on how many potatoes we were grating. We never ate applesauce & sour cream with them, but they were very good as a side dish just as is. Haven’t made them in a long time; thanks for reminding me of this good potato side dish.



cheeseslave November 29, 2010 at 3:30 PM


I think you are right about that!


Shannon November 29, 2010 at 5:40 PM

I am going to be making all sorts of latkes for Hanukkah this year. Last year I did it with parsnips and coconut flour and they were so good. Anything fried in coconut oil is good for sure, though.


Lisa @ Real Food Digest November 29, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Thanks so much for linking this to “Real Food Holidays”!
I usually don’t use flour in my latkes, I think I’ll try rice flour this year and see how we like it(I just bought sprouted rice flour at the WAP conference).


Amy B. November 30, 2010 at 8:35 AM

I don’t mean to freak anyone out, but here’s some interesting information about the sprouts on potatoes. Obviously, these aren’t the most reliable websites, but Nourishing Traditions does contain a little blurb about the solanine in potatoes that have begun to sprout. I’m at work now, so I don’t have the page #, but you can probably find it if you look in the recipe or subject indexes and look for the potato recipes. And now that I just read these a little more, it looks like the solanine is more an issue in potatoes that are starting to turn green than in ones where the eyes have simply begun to sprout. (And I’m guessing most of the people reading this blog don’t keep potatoes around long enough for them to go green! Especially if you’re buying fresh, from a trusted source.)




(And as an aside, I’ve eaten potatoes that have sprouted. That was before I knew about this. I removed the sprouts and cooked as normal. Never got sick from them, but it was also only in small quantities. It’s not like I was eating potatoes that had sprouted on a regular basis.)


Melody Stroud November 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Okay, I know this is not supposed to be asked on this post, as it has nothing to do with the delicious recipe, but I know you’ve served your daughter liver since she was a baby. I have a 10 month old girl, lots of pastured chicken livers, and no clue how to fix them for her. Please help, Ann Marie! (and if you do give me directions, please talk to me like I’m a two year old; I’m soooo new to all this!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Again, sorry to toss this SOS in the wrong place. :)


cheeseslave November 30, 2010 at 6:24 PM

@ Melody

I just always fed Kate chicken or duck livers (or hearts, when I got them) lightly sauteed in butter or duck fat or coconut oil. When she was a baby, she ate them up! Until about 18 mos-2 years, when she started refusing them.

I also used to freeze raw beef liver and grate it onto her runny egg yolks.

She had these things pretty much daily from 6 mos until she was about 18 mos old.

Here’s a cute pic of her eating her duck livers:


Oh, and I also fed her liver pate (goose and duck) which I bought at Whole Foods.


Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen December 1, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Happy Hanukkah Ann Marie and family!


K December 1, 2010 at 11:32 AM

These look really yummy. I am going to make mine with my expeller-pressed oil to avoid the coconut flavor. It just doesn’t sound good to me in this recipe! But the recipe itself, yum!


cheeseslave December 1, 2010 at 4:39 PM


Thank you – back at you! :-*


cheeseslave December 1, 2010 at 4:39 PM


Read the recipe – I only use expeller pressed coconut oil for this recipe


K December 2, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Of course I read the recipe. How else would I know it looked yummy? I was commenting on my preference for expeller-pressed in this situation.


Sue December 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM

If you cut back on the eggs, then you don’t need the flour. Also, you don’t say what to do with the onion. I put mine through the food processor with the potatoes and then wring them them all out together. Coconut oil is great for this, but ghee is great too. If you are serving them with sour cream anyway, then it’s perfectly kosher to use ghee for frying. Both coconut oil and ghee will give you a nice crispy texture.


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