The Carrot Trick To Help You Fry Perfect Latkes

Carrots are an amazing vegetable for so many reasons. From a health perspective, they provide a significant source of nutrients and vitamins, especially vitamin A, which is beneficial for immunity and eye health (via Healthline). From a culinary standpoint, they are also incredibly delicious and adaptable — useful in both sweet and savory dishes. Carrots can also provide one of the greatest hacks for frying the perfect latkes.

With a crisp exterior and fluffy innards, latkes are everyone's favorite potato fritter. Typically eaten during Hanukkah, PBS explains that potato latkes are a descendant of ricotta latkes made by Jewish Italians of the 14th century — that is, until a few centuries later when abundant potatoes finally replaced the cheese in the recipe, morphing into the pillowy pancake that we know and love today.

When it comes to frying the perfect potato latke, there are many factors to consider. Which type of potato works best? How should you shred your spuds? Do you add chopped or grated onions? When should you salt? Luckily, when it comes to the actual frying process, there's an unlikely trick that can help you make your best latkes yet — and before you ask — yes, it does involve a carrot.

Carrot chunks prevents burning and bitterness

While many recipes tend to advise shallow-frying, deep-frying latkes results in more even browning and a crispier texture. That said, using a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola or peanut oil, is key, as is maintaining the proper temperature. Epicurious advises that the oil reaches about 375°F as lower temperatures will make latkes greasy, and higher temperatures can lead to fritters that are raw on the inside but burnt on the outside.

To further avoid the risk of burning latkes, there's another (albeit unconventional) hack: separately add a carrot or two to the heated oil. Food52 shares that tossing in pieces of raw, trimmed carrot can help you determine if the latkes are close to burning. It can also attract any stray spud and onion shards that often burn and turn the oil bitter. The Sun says this hack works because carrots have a high concentration of water — higher even than onions or potatoes — and they're able to absorb an incredible amount of heat and will therefore burn much faster in comparison to other foods. Let carrots be your canary in the coal mine for your next batch of classic latkes.