Air Fryer Chanukkah Latkes are served during the Jewish holiday of Hanukah to remind us of the miracle of the burning of the oil lamp.
All the flavor of traditional Latkes, without all the grease. These latkes can be made in you Instant Pot Air Fryer or you can use the traditional method and fry in oil!
These Air Fryer Chanukkah Latkes are perfect for a traditional Chanukkah meal, but because of using an Air Fryer, will have much less calories.
Pro Tip: To keep the latkes traditional with the oil, you can always drip the latkes in the oil and then use the air fryer, so that would make them closer to traditional without pan frying and without all the splatter all over your oven!
Latkes are traditionally cooked in Oil during Chanukkah. I like to use Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, or Grapeseed Oil but feel free to use Vegetable Oil, or whatever you like. Just make sure that whichever oil you use, works well with high temperatures.
What is Chanukkah?
- In 164 BCE, Judah Maccabee and his group, saw that the Oil Lamp (the eternal flame) had only enough oil to last one day. It took them eight nights to replenish the Oil. Miraculously, the Oil Lamp burned for eight days, until there more Oil was obtained.
- Chanukkah starts on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar and lasts for eight days.
- It falls between late November and December each year. This is based on the Hebrew Lunar Calendar. It is about eleven days shorter than a solar year. Every two or three year, an intercalation of a month is added to the Hebrew Calendar to bring it in line with the solar year.
- Chanukkah is also known as “The Festival of Lights” or the “Feast of Dedication.”
Why Do Jews Fry Latkes in Oil?
- Latkes symbolize and commemorate the miracle of the burning of the oil lamp in the Jewish Temple.
- In other countries, doughnuts are fried in oil, are eaten during Chanukkah. If attending a Chanukkah party, you may notice many types of food served, have been friend in Oil.
The ingredients are very basic and simple. Exact measurements are found on the recipe card below.
What Binds the Potatoes together:
- Matzo Meal
- Potato Starch – you can use the starch from the potato water or add a small bit of dried Potato Starch for extra crispness
Some people skip the eggs and then add additional binder, including all purpose flour, but I prefer to use the eggs and the starch from the potato water. The latles come out super crispy yet moist inside.
Peeled or unpeeled Potato Latkes?
- I change off, as I like them both ways.
If you want to get really authentic, after grating the Potatoes, put about 1/3 of them back through the Food Processor for a second grating.
The Potatoes will start to oxidize and turn brown pretty fast. Place the Grated Potatoes in a Medium Mixing Bowl with Water to prevent the oxidation. The extra starch will release and the Potatoes will be nice and white again.
A touch of vinegar will help to keep the potatoes from turning brown, but try to get the mix together quickly in order to keep the potatoes from oxidizing.
The onions can also be shredded using the food processor. They release a ton of water, so pour out all the water.
- Some people like to make savory style latkes to eat with their meal. Herbs, such as Chives and Scallions can be added for additional flavor. Oh, those are really good!
- Garlic Powder, Nutmeg and Allspice are sometimes used in making savory latkes too. An interesting twist for Thanksgiving is to add bit of Pumpkin Spice to the potato mix. OMG, that is good!
It is super important to get out as much water from the onions as possible. This is KEY in getting a perfectly crisp latke. Use a Tea Towel or a strong Paper Towel and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Extra water will cause the Latkes to fall a part, which is not good.
Whisk up the Eggs really well before adding the rest of the ingredients.
The soaking of the Potatoes actually makes these Air Fryer Chanukkah Latkes taste better.
Soaking Potatoes for any use, almost always makes potatoes taste better. Check out my Air Fryer Perfect French Fries and my Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes. There is a reason the reviews are so terrific. Soaking potatoes is key to better tasting potatoes!
After draining the water from the Potatoes, you will see some pure white starch left behind. Save that Potato Starch!!
Add the Shredded Potatoes to the Bowl with the Onions and mix it all together well.
Scrape out the Potato Starch from the Bowl where the Potatoes were soaking and mix it into the Latkes mix. Notice the color of the Mix. No brown or green color here. I have a story about that. Check the other Latkes recipe for that story.
Grab about 1/4 cup of Latkes mix and form into a flat circle.
Why Coat Air Fryer Latkes with Potato Starch?
- Potato Starch will help hold the latkes together and will help give them the crisp they need.
- Also, the potato starch will protect the latkes from becoming oily, as the excess Oil mostly will remain on the outside of the latkes.
- I find that it gives and extra crisp to the Air Fryer Chanukkah Latkes. This is only done when making latkes in an air fryer.
Often times, Chremslach, Yiddish for “fried pancake,” appear on deli menus as Potato Pancakes. They are not the same thing as Latkes, which are thin and crispy. Chremslach, are made with potatoes that are first mashed and then made into a thick batter. Almost like a Knish, but without the crust.
Pro Tip: Coat the latkes in potato starch!
Prior to using your Air Fryer, make sure to read my Article on How to Properly Season an Air Fryer. I like to use a glass oil mister and I suggest this Glass Oil Mister. It doesn’t clog and once you pump it, you can spray and spray and spray.
You will want to completely coat the latkes with the oil, so spray, spray, spray.
I have another Latkes recipe. Check out my Air Fryer Potato Latkes Bites. They are super yum and crispy too. Those are easy to make and fun to serve at parties.
Don’t worry about making perfectly shaped latkes, after all, latkes are not perfectly shaped and pieces of the potato stick out all around and become super crispy.
Just plop them into the air fryer and flatten them a bit more. Yummy! Really, these are delicious.
You know how so many of us try to save calories by baking latkes? They are yummy, but not YUMMO yummy. These Air Fryer Hanukkah Potato latkes are definitely YUMMO yummy.
You can be proud of them, knowing that they are the real deal. After all, Jewish law never indicated how much oil one had to be use for frying latkes.
So, here is a whole batch of Latkes fried in about a Tablespoon of grapeseed oil.
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer
- J.A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Culina Stackable (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Cuisinart Large Food Processor
- Rösle Stainless Steel Flat Whisk– a MUST have, probably my most used utensil
- Cilio Olivewood Spatula
- Alton Brown Salt Box and Electric Pepper Mill
- Olive Oil Sprayer / Mister for Cooking
- My FANTASTIC Teak Cutting & Charcuterie Board & Compartments
- 3.5 Quart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
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Here is the handy printable recipe:
- Scrub Potatoes well. Peel if you like. Run potatoes through Food Processor to grate and then place in a Bowl with cool waters. Set aside.
- Rinse out Food Processor and shred or grate Onions. Place Onion in Tea Towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out all liquid.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together Eggs. Add Salt, Pepper, Matzo Meal, 1 TBL Potato Starch, Baking Powder (if using) and drained onions.
- Drain Water from Potatoes and save the Starch left in the Bowl. Squeeze out all water from Potatoes and add to Onion Mixture. Scoop out the Starch from the Potato Bowl and add to Latkes mixture.
- Use a cookie scoop and dip into potato starch, if desired. With a spatula, flatten latkes to about 1/4 thick. Spray one side of Latkes well with Oil. Place oil side down in well oiled Air Fryer. Generously spray Latkes with Oil.
- Air Fry at 380 degrees for 9 minutes, turning over after 5 minutes. Serve with Applesauce and Sour Cream.
- To keep the latkes traditional with the oil, you can always drip the latkes in the oil and then use the air fryer, so that would make them closer to traditional without pan frying and without all the splatter all over your oven!