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Latkes Recipe


A crispy potato latke lifted from the oil on a slotted spoon
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3.25 from 28 votes
This simple yet flavor packed potato latke recipe is a must during the holidays. The most perfect use of potatoes are potato pancakes with their mahogany crunchy edges, crispy golden midsection, and tender, rich interiors. Traditionally fried in December for Hanukkah, potato latkes are hash browns on steroids. There are thousands of recipes, but this simple version, given to me by a rabbi's wife and modified only slightly, is by far my favorite. You can use the oil more than once, but don't try to make it last eight days. Leftovers can be frozen and later warmed in a 450°F oven, for about 7 minutes, but they will not be quite as crispy.

Course:
Dinner
,
Lunch
,
Side Dish
,
Vegetable
Cuisine:
Jewish

Makes:

About 8 latkes
Servings: 8

Takes:

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or deep frying pan

Ingredients

Notes:
About the potatoes. Go for Burbank Russet, King Edward, or Yukon Golds.
About the salt. If you use table salt, use about 1/2 the amount.
About the oil. You can also use peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil or a blend of oils if you wish, but fresh harvest season olive oil is the tradition.
About the baking soda. The baking soda makes carbon dioxide bubbles and gives lightness to the interior. Leave it out if you want a denser pancake.
Optional add-ins. I like to add 1 grated carrot and 2 tablespoons of chives, mainly for color.
About the flour. The flour helps bind things together. Traditionalists use Matzoh meal. To make this recipe gluten free, use 1 tablespoon pure corn starch. Argo is gluten free.
Optional toppings. It is common to serve latkes with a dollop of sour cream or apple sauce on top or on the side and perhaps a sprinkle of chives or parsley. Some people have been seen serving them with ketchup, mayonnaise, cinnamon, or sugar on top. Yuk! Me? I eat mine nekked.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Preheat. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Take a sheet pan, put a rack over it, and put it in the oven. This is used for draining and crisping the pancakes and keeping them hot when they come out of the oil.
  • Prep the binder. Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl, and beat it lightly with a fork or whisk. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper and stir together with the fork. Don't worry if there are lumps.
  • Tater time. Peel the potatoes. Now shred them with the big holes on a box grater or a food processor so they are all uniform in size. Mix in the onions. This next step is crucial. We are now going to try to get as much moisture as possible out of the potatoes and onions. Nothing works better than squeezing the shreds in a potato ricer (below). Don't worry, it won't push them through the holes.  If you don't have a ricer but you have a salad spinner, take the taters for a ride. If not, with your hands, pick up a small amount of the grated potato/onion mix and, over the sink, squeeze out as much water as possible. Repeat. Then spread the grated potato mix out on a double layer of paper towels, cover with another double layer of paper towels, and press hard. Another method is to put the mix into the center of a few layers of cheesecloth, a clean T-shirt, or a clean kitchen towel, pull together the edges making a pouch, and twist and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Add the potato mix to the bowl with the egg mixture, and stir gently until the potatoes are all coated.
  • Cook. Pour enough oil into the pot to cover the bottom about ¼ inch deep. You don't want to totally submerge the patties so steam can escape the side above the surface. More importantly, you want the potatoes in contact with the bottom because hot metal conducts more heat that hot oil. Heat the oil to about 375°F. Get it all the way up there because the cold potatoes will cool it off quickly.
  • Patty time. One at a time, make patties about 3 inches across and about 1/2 inch high, but leave the edges jagged. An ice cream scoop is a good measuring device. Ease the patties into the oil one at a time about a minute apart, being careful not to splash. You should be able to fit four into a 12 inch pot at a time, and they should not be touching much. The reason to stagger their start time is to keep the oil temperature hot. If you add four at a time, the oil temp will drop and the pancakes can get soggy. When you add the last one, you should notice the edges of the first one are getting golden after 5 to 7 minutes. Check the bottom of the first patty by lifting it with a slotted spatula. It should be golden, but there still may be milky parts showing. Flip it, and it is easiest with two spatulas or a spatula and a large spoon so they don't splatter or break. Flip the patties away from you so they don't splash. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side until golden. Remove the patty and gently put it on the rack over the baking pan in the oven to crisp even more and to make sure the center is cooked through.
  • Treats! When they are all done, scoop out the bits that are left behind in the oil, drain, cool, and eat them yourself. Cook's treat!
  • Serve. After they have been in the oven for about 15 minutes the latkes will darken a bit, crisp even more on the outsides, and cook thoroughly through the center. Sprinkle lightly with large grain salt and serve hot. L'chiam!

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 262mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 31IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg