Prep Cook Yield Ready In
30 minutes 60 minutes 8 large latkes 90 minutes

The Ultimate Italian Way to Do Latkes

A not-so-traditional way to enjoy Hanukkah.

It’s around this time each year that we (and by we I mean crazy food blogger people types) scramble to come up with unique recipes for latkes and donuts. It’s Hanukkah, and it’s finally socially acceptable to fry stuff in excess, so let’s do this.

This year, as an homage to my Italian-American-Jewish heritage, I wanted to go a little bit outside the box and fry up some spaghetti. That’s right, fried spaghetti latkes. And because my mother’s recipe for meatballs calls for frying, not just simmering in sauce, this recipe is perhaps more symbolic than one might realize at first glance.

These aren’t traditional potato latkes (which I really do love), but they are fun, totally different and not super complicated to make. I give instructions here on how to make Italian-style meatballs from scratch, but you can just as easily (more easily, in fact) buy some frozen or pre-made meatballs. It’s the holidays, and so we’ve all got to cut some corners for the sake of entertaining. And sanity.

The one step you absolutely do not want to skip is chilling the prepared spaghetti. Taking a tip from my friend and colleague Whitney Fisch who made these awesomely unique ramen latkes a few years ago, I chose to place my cooled spaghetti mixture into greased ramekins and then chilled for several hours. Before I was ready to fry, I popped them into the freezer for an additional 10 minutes to absolutely ensure they would keep their shape when frying. And they did. Crunchy, crispy, fried delicious patties of spaghetti topped with one delectable meatball. A savory and unexpected Hanukkah treat.


For the meatballs: (you can also buy pre-made meatballs)

  • 1 lb freshly ground beef
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp beef or chicken stock (can also use water)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes OR jarred marinara sauce

For the spaghetti “latkes”:

  • 1/2 lb dried spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions in salted boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • fresh parsley and basil (optional)


  1. To make the meatballs: Place ground beef, egg, bread crumbs and seasoning into a large bowl. Mix with your hands until completely incorporated. Form tablespoon-sized balls using the palms of your hands to roll. Place on a platter.
  2. Heat a few Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry meatballs on all sides until browned. Remove from pan and blot with paper towel.
  3. Heat tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes in a medium saucepan. Add fried meatballs to sauce and allow to cook 30-45 minutes over low-medium heat.
  4. To prepare the latkes: Combine the cooked, cooled spaghetti with eggs and seasoning in a large bowl.
  5. Grease 8 ramekins (can also use muffin tins for slightly smaller latkes) with cooking spray. Divide spaghetti mixture evenly between ramekins (or muffin tins).
  6. Place in fridge for 2 hours.
  7. Shortly before ready to fry, pop spaghetti molds into the freezer.
  8. Heat a few Tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Running a small spatula or knife around the edges first, gently remove each spaghetti latke from its ramekin. 
  9. Fry each spaghetti latke for 3 minutes, or until golden brown and just crisp. Flip and repeat another 3 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Spoon 1 meatball on top of spaghetti latke and top with additional tomato sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and basil if desired. Serve while warm.

Keep on Noshing

Why Do We Eat Jelly Donuts on Hanukkah?

The answer has everything to do with agriculture, food politics and -- of course -- tastebuds.

You Should Be Air-Frying Your Latkes. Here’s How.

The secret to latkes with crispy outsides, creamy insides, and no grease.

7 Fried Chinese Food Recipes to Enjoy This Chrismukkah

Chinese food on Christmas: it just goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Like matzah balls and chicken soup. And ...