How to Make Gluten-Free Latkes

Snag pro tips to keep them crispy and delicious.

December 06, 2019
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Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Latkes are delicious no matter how you fry them — even when they are gluten-free! Although many variations of latkes do use all-purpose flour as a binder, there are so many ways to make them without gluten that are just as delicious (and often preferred!). Get ready to celebrate Hanukkah with these gluten-free versions — we'll bet your guests won't feel they're missing anything!

Use potato starch

What's a great way to make latkes gluten-free but still allow them to hold together when they are fried? Use potato starch. You can either buy a jar to have on hand or save the potato starch straight from your potatoes, as in this oven-fried version, which is naturally gluten-free (pictured). As with any binder, add only a little potato starch at a time so your latkes don't turn out too gummy.

Use rice flour

Mickey Neely, executive chef at Ludlow Liquors in Chicago, fries up okonomiyaki fritters (Japanese cabbage pancakes) at his bar, so latkes, even gluten-free ones, weren't a challenge for him. After testing many different binders, he ended up using rice flour in his recipe to get a crispy latke.

Neely shreds potatoes with a box grater, then wraps the shredded potato in cheesecloth and squeezes out as much liquid as possible. He then grates onions, reserving as much liquid as he can. He adds the grated onion to the shredded potato in a large bowl, then folds in rice flour, salt and pepper until just combined. He shapes the mixture into patties about an inch tall and 3 inches in diameter and fries them in oil in a cast-iron skillet until they are golden brown and delicious.

Use chickpea flour

On the Food Network Kitchen app, Dan Churchill makes gluten-free sweet potato latkes using chickpea flour. Cook along with the on-demand class in the app to learn about how chickpea flour and a few choice spices balance the flavors of a sweet potato latke.

Molly Yeh loves celebrating the Jewish holidays with unique twists on the traditional, such as her brussels sprout latkes. In this recipe she offers an option to substitute chickpea flour for all-purpose flour to make the pancakes gluten-free.

Just skip the flour

Who says you need flour at all? Sure, it's nice to have a binder of some sort, but if you like your latkes crispier and less cakey, it may be worth forgoing any sort of flour or added starch.

Executive Chef Brian Millman of the Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago prefers a flour-free version. "To forgo flour altogether and make a crispier, less cakelike version, use a little more egg to help bind the latkes, and add in some garlic and fresh herbs for flavor — thyme is my favorite," he says. "When you grate the potatoes, do not rinse them, as you want that starch from the potatoes to help hold them together. Once you mix all the ingredients together, fry the latkes over medium heat right away; do not let them sit."

He recommends adding salt at the end, so as not to draw out the water in the potatoes. Salting earlier in the process can result in latkes that get soggy and won't crisp up as you desire.

"Pan-fry the latkes in oil that covers about half of the latke, to help aid crispiness," Millman advises. "Fry over medium heat to make sure that the potatoes are cooked in the middle with a crispy outside. Frying at too high a temperature will burn the outside while the inside is still cooking."

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