Dangerously cheesy! Flamin’ Hot Latkes (hotkes?) topped with Cool Ranch Sour Cream are the most extreme latke at this year’s Hanukkah spread!
Okay this is either the most genius idea I’ve ever had OR the dumbest idea. Nothing in between. It’s either gross, or so gross it’s good again. Now I love Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, even if they do turn my fingers red, and these latkes taste just like them. So if your Hanukkah gets a little too lit, and your munchies kick in, there is nothing better than these Flamin’ Hot Latkes inspired by everyone’s favorite Cheeto! You know you love them too.
Now I probably could have crushed up some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and added them to my latke batter and come up with something pretty tasty. But what’s the fun in that? So I set out to create a recipe from scratch inspired by that suspiciously bright red snack. You start with classic russet potatoes, as you do, but then add the spices. We are not shy with the cayenne here! Plus, powdered cheddar cheese gives it that certain je ne sais quoi. And you actually don’t need eggs since the cheese helps with binding!
The disturbingly unnatural shade of orange gives our latkes a vibrant hue. But to really recreate the flamin’ vibe, I added some red gel food coloring. Totally optional, if that weirds you out, but you are already frying potatoes tossed with powdered cheese so let’s get off our high horse for a moment here. It’s a holiday! Live a little!
I topped our latkes with even more powdered cheese, because ’tis the season, and the a dollop of homemade Cool Ranch Sour cream and a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto with a sprinkle of chives for a sophisticated garnish.
I made these bite size for more crispy edges. Can you just imagine these are your Hanukkah soiree?! I can!
Spicy, crunchy, cheesey, ranch-y. Flamin’ hot latkes have it all!
Flamin’ Hot Latkes
For Cool Ranch Sour Cream
For Flamin' Hot Latkes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (approximately), washed (to get 5 cups shredded)
- Ice water
- 1 tbsp potato starch (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1-2 tsp cayenne powder (depending on how hot you want it) (I did 2)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/3 cup powdered cheddar cheese
- Red gel food coloring (optional)
- ½ cup canola oil (or other oil for frying like grapeseed)
- 1 tbsp chives
- Flamin' Hot Cheetos for garnish
- Make your Cool Ranch Sour Cream first. This can be made 3 days ahead of time. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Adjust seasonings to taste Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Now, it's latke time. Start by peeling your potatoes one at a time and shredding them with the large holes of a box grater into a bowl of ice water. You should have about 5 cups of potatoes. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove potatoes, squeezing out the moisture into the water. Dry potatoes very well with towels or cheesecloth and keep covered. Let the water sit for 5-10 minutes for starch to accumulate on the bottom. Carefully drain water, reserving the white starch on the bottom. This part is optional, but helps make crispier latkes with soft insides. You can also add potato starch to the potato mixer directly, but why do that when you already have it in the potatoes?!
- Place potato mixture in a large bowl, dry again very well. Then add in the paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix until combined. Mix in red gel food coloring until you have your desired color, if you like.
- Set up a cooling rack over paper towels.
- Meanwhile, heat up canola oil in a large (cast iron) saute pan. A dab of schmaltz never hurt either. Pro tip- add a little piece of peeled carrot to the oil to soak up the brown bits that flake off so they don't get in your latkes!
- Scoop 2-tablespoon spoonfuls of the potato mixture and – this is important- dry very well again with towels. The cheese makes the mixture watery as it sits, so it's important the mixture is very dry before frying. Anyway, scoop the spoonful into the oil (they should sizzle!) and flatten slightly and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Don't worry about your latkes being perfectly round. Those fly away pieces get extra crispy and delicious! Don't overcrowd the pan.
- Repeat with remaining latke batter, drying each spoonful of latke batter before frying. Drain on a rack over paper towels and sprinkle with more salt. Sprinkle with more powdered cheese, a dollop of Cool Ranch Sour Cream and a Flamin' Hot Cheeto and chives to garnish. Eat!