Golden Parsnip Latkes

From Cook This Now by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2010, Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved. 

Photo by  Jim Lightfoot

Photo by Jim Lightfoot

“Shredded parsnip makes these crispy pancakes sweeter than the usual potato latkes, and the parsnips’ dry flesh renders them extraordinarily crunchy, too,” writes Melissa Clark. She reports that that she made the latkes during one of the nights of Chanukah and her husband and daughter gobbled up the “brittle-textured, sweet-and-salty morsels.” According to Clark, you can make Crispy Potato Latkes by simply substituting potatoes for the parsnips. 

Makes about 18 latkes


  • 1 pound parsnips (about 3 medium), peeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chicken fat, duck fat, or olive oil, for frying 


  1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the parsnips and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean towel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible. 
  2. Working quickly, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the flour, eggs, salt, baking powder, and pepper and mix until the flour is absorbed.
  3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about ¼ inch of oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter in the hot pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at one time. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. When the edges are brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flip. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter. 

Cook’s Notes: You can garnish these with all the usual potato pancake toppers, including sour cream and applesauce, but they are wonderful plain, sprinkled with a little more salt. You can also serve them with stewed, braised meats or roast chicken. When you make the latkes, expect your kitchen to get a little smoky and grease splattered. So wear an apron, open the windows, and crank up the fan.