My kitchen was a disaster. Potato bits coated the floor, forest-green sprinkles of dill and drops of oil were everywhere and a handful of bloody potatoes sat in the corner — It was my first time making latkes (and I cut my finger).
After reading dozens of recipes, I decided to experiment on my own (hence the kitchen disaster). I left out flour because I wanted to make it gluten-free, and then cooked batches of latkes in three different types of pans, varying amounts of oil, heat, and even dipping the potato mixture in beaten eggs before frying (delicious, but it looked kind of like an omelette).
Even though my first batch ended up as hash browns, I eventually realized that a lot of oil, moderate heat and patience were key for good latkes. (But I'd still love any advice from experienced latke makers on how to improve.)
- 2 pounds of baking potatoes, preferably russett, scrubbed clean
- 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, beaten gently
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch of cayenne, or more, to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill, plus more for garnish
- Salt, to taste
- Olive oil, for frying
Using a box grater (or a food processor)*, coarsely grate the potatoes over a bowl (you can peel the skins of you like). Add the onions, then place the potato-mixture in a large dish towel and use the jelly-roll technique to wring out an extra moisture. (You may need to use more than one towel and work in batches). Then place the potato-onion mixture in the same bowl, wiping clean any residue in the bowl.
Then add the eggs, lemon juice, zest, cayenne, dill, and generously salt the mixture; combine well.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a very generous amount of oil. When hot (but not smoking), lower the heat to medium, and, working in batches, add large spoonfuls of the potato mixture, gently using the back of a spoon or fork to flatten. Cook the potato pancakes for about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. When done, lay on paper towels to drain.
To serve, garnish with dill and applesauce and/or sour cream on the side.
*Note: I didn't have a grater or food processor, so I used a mandolin to thinly slice the potatoes then chopped them up very finely.
Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Pancake recipes.
Chef Joseph Paulino's Favorite Potato-Apple Latke Recipe
You've probably seen your fair share of traditional latke recipes—you know, shredded potato pancakes either topped with a little dollop of sour cream or applesauce? But have you ever made a latke that is made with shredded apple, making for a savory and sweet flavor duo before the dipping sauce is even factored into the equation? If you're looking to branch out of your comfort zone, we encourage you to give this latke recipe a whirl.
Recipe courtesy of Joseph Paulino, Executive Chef of Wall Street Grill.
Makes 24 latkes
Have a Happy Chanukah and Enjoy These Latke Recipes and History!
Everyone at JamieGeller.com joins me in wishing you a Chag Chanukah Sameach! May your holiday be filled with light, happiness and delicious food!
Just for you, here&aposs a bit of history and then some inspired latkes.
The Jewish holiday of Chanukah or Hanukkah (which means "dedication" in Hebrew) celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. by the Maccabees, following a successful revolt against the Hellenist Syrians. Returning to the defiled Temple and facing the daunting task of restoring it to its former glory, the Jews found only enough pure oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the flame remained lit for eight days, just enough time to find more oil to maintain the fire.
While the historical and religious significance of Hanukkah are well-documented, the culinary history is less familiar. Until the Middle Ages, there is no mention of any specific Hanukkah foods. As the status of Hanukkah became elevated as a counterpoint to Christmas, Jews reclaimed the culinary roots of their holiday and treats such as sufagniyot (doughnuts) and potato latkes (potato pancakes) became an integral part of the Hanukkah tradition.
According to Jewish food historian Gil Marks, the original latkes were actually made from curd cheese. Over time, the combination of geography and poverty led European Jews to turn to the potato latke, frequently fried in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) when olive oil was scarce, as a source of sustenance and symbolism.
I could happily eat traditional potato latkes for eight days and eight nights, following a recipe inspired by Joan Nathan, Traditional Potato Latkes, that always gets rave reviews. This year, I wanted to share eight recipes that are delightfully different and influenced by the cuisine of France, Italy, Japan, Spain, South America and American South. The recipes for Rosemary Mascarpone Potato Latkes and Cinnamon Apple Latkes were finalists in the st Latke Ever!”
The recipes below are intended to spark your imagination. I generally start with a traditional latke recipe, and then experiment with mix-ins and toppings. My kids love to help and I can keep them away from the frying pan while they mix the toppings. Although apple sauce and sour cream are common condiments, try a Romesco sauce – a sweet red pepper pesto-like sauce popular in Spain. You can mix sour cream with zataar or add hummus and pine nuts to give your latkes a Middle Eastern flair. For a pizza-riffic appetizer, try a crispy latke topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese – it is a fun treat kids and adults will fry for!
What a pop of color! These latkes are distracting they’re so pretty. Give them a try and watch them melt in your mouth.
“These delicious potato latkes are golden and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. They're garnished with perfectly roasted tomatoes, zucchini, ricotta cheese and fried eggs.”
Latke Central: 8 Tips for Making the Best Potato Pancakes
Latkes latke לְבִיבָה "Pancake" (Yiddish) fried potato pancake often eaten on Hanukkah plural: latkes. are the quintessential culinary treat of Hanukkah. Why do Jews stuff themselves with these fried potato pancakes every winter season?
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers – the Hasmoneans – over the army of the Syrian Greek king, Antiochus IV. As the story goes, when the Jews recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, they found it to be defiled and all the oil pots for lighting the ner tamid ner tamid נֵר תָּמִיד "Eternal light" the light that hangs above the ark in every synagogue symbolizes God's omnipresence in our lives. were smashed. Only one pot of sacred oil, enough for one day, was found. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, long enough for more oil to be made. In honor of this miracle, Jews light a special menorah menorah מְנוֹרָה Seven- or nine-branched candelabra commonly refers to the nine-branched Hanukkah lamp plural: menorot. called a hanukkiyah hanukkiyah חֲנֻכִּיָּה Nine-branched candelabra used during Hanukkah – eight branches for each night of the holiday, plus another branch (often taller, central, or more prominently displayed) for the shamash (helper) candle, which is used to light the others. for eight days, and foods cooked in oil are eaten during the holiday.
Latkes have become the cornerstone of many Hanukkah celebrations. Interestingly, latkes have been around only since the late 19th century, when potatoes began to be grown in earnest in eastern Europe. When eastern European Jews came to America, they brought their recipes and traditions with them.
Like matzah balls on Passover, latkes are made from many dearly held recipes. One thing all Jews agree on (a miracle itself!) is that the finished latkes must be crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. How to prepare and cook them to achieve this result is a wholly different matter.
1. Choose your potatoes, and start shredding.
Russet (or Idaho®) potatoes are the most popular choice for making latkes since they have the highest starch content. Once you’ve selected the potatoes, they must be shredded.
Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats’ editor emeritus suggests using a food processor for this step, forming tiny matchsticks that separate more easily than hand-grated potatoes, stay intact, and don’t grate your knuckles.
Cookbook editor Olga Massov disagrees, insisting that hand-grating is the only way to go for truly crispy latkes – and that it takes less than a minute to grate a potato.
2. Get rid of the moisture.
Whichever method you use for grating the potatoes, chefs and Jewish grandmothers agree it’s vital to get rid of the moisture, the enemy of crispy latkes.
Drain the potatoes by placing them in a cheesecloth or kitchen towel, wrapping the ends together, and squeezing out the water. Alternately, wrap the corners of the cloth around a wooden spoon and twist until the water floods out.
Onions – which should be chopped, not grated – also should be well drained. Grated onions release more moisture into the latke batter, which prevents even browning.
3. Choose your binding agent.
Flour and an egg are often used to help bind the pancake together. Max Falkowitz recommends matzah meal instead of flour, insisting it binds the potatoes without making them heavy. Laura Frankel, author of Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes, suggests using only the egg white. This method will make the latkes crispy, instead of cakey, and enable them to be reheated successfully in the oven – without becoming soggy.
4. Don't forget about the oil!
The oil in which latkes are cooked also is a source of much discussion. Most cooks use canola or vegetable oil to fry latkes. Some recipes call for olive oil, which gives latkes a distinctive flavor, but is difficult to keep at the proper temperature without it turning bitter. One recipe I found calls for clarified butter instead of oil, but butter burns too quickly.
5. Try this little trick.
Olga Massov offers the best trick to achieve crispy latkes: After draining the water from the potatoes, wait for the starch to separate, and add it back into the latke batter. According to Massov, it’s this starch that creates latkes that are brown and crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside.
6. And if you bake them, do it right.
Chef Katie SImmons shares nine tips for making the ultimate baked latkes. She explains how to make baked latkes "poof," how to keep them from burning, and how to keep them healthy-ish.
7. Experiment with ingredients.
Of course, there are countless variations on traditional potato latkes – and the recipes to make them. There are recipes for apple latkes and sweet potato and carrot latkes, not to mention this cranberry pear sauce, a twist on applesauce, which (along with sour cream) is a traditional accompaniment for latkes.
8. Try a few alternatives to latkes, too.
The story of Judith, a widow in Bethulia during the second century B.C.E., also is associated with Hanukkah. As the Assyrians, led by General Holofernes, invaded the small town, Judith snuck into their camp, where the general, struck by her beauty, invited her to a banquet in his tent. There, Judith fed him salty cheeses and wine to quench his thirst. When he was so drunk that he fell asleep, she used his sword to cut off his head, saving Bethulia and its people. A recipe for lemon ricotta pancakes, an updated version of classic kaese latkes, hearkens back to Judith and her faith and bravery, which like latkes and the oil they’re fried in, all are facets of the Hanukkah story.
Whichever latkes you choose, have fun making them. I hope they bring you a celebration filled with light, joy, laugher, and lots of latkes!
Latke Recipes to Try This Hanukkah
What kind of latkes are you making this holiday season? We'd love to see your photos! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and don't forget to check out the rest of our recipes for a festive Hanukkah.
- It is crucial to squeeze out the excess moisture from the potatoes and onions to get crispy latkes.
- If you own a cast iron skillet, now is the time to use it! If you don&rsquot, be sure to use a oven safe pan.
- Experiment with all sorts of sweet and savory toppings!
- Sub full fat fat greek yogurt for the traditional sour cream. It's tastier and healthier!
Are the latke hacks a game changer for ya?! I&rsquom drooling just thinking about these deeply browned crispy crusts!
Have ya tried this recipe? I&rsquod love to hear about it and see it too! Please leave a comment below and take a pic and tag it on Instagram with #wavesinthekitchen. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more colorfully delicious food and all sorts of awesome adventures!
Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh dreamed up the answer to your latke prayers: A dish that combines your favorite pie filling with a crispy potato latke crust. Yeh describes it as being "like dipping your fries in a pumpkin frosty, if pumpkin frosties existed."
While traditional poutine is made with french fries, cheese curds and gravy, this version swaps fries for miniature potato pancakes. Chanie shares her recipe for mini latkes and homemade parmesan gravy on her blog, Busy in Brooklyn.
Prepare the Batter
In a large bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a food processor fitted with the &ldquokugel&rdquo blade, add onion and potatoes. Process.
Use your hands to scoop out potato mixture and over the sink or a bowl press your hands together to try and squeeze out as much &ldquojuice&rdquo as possible.
Add &ldquodryer&rdquo potato mixture to the egg bowl.
Repeat until all the potatoes and onion have been added. Mix until combined.
Add flour and stir until fully incorporated.
After grating the onion and first three potatoes with the kugel blade I like to switch to the fine &ldquostringy&rdquo grater (C blade) and do the last potato like that. This gives the latkes just the right amount of fluffiness with all the goodness of the crispy strings!
Also, instead of using my hands to squeeze out the potatoes, I like to use a large fine mesh strainer. I press down with the back of a large spoon to push all the liquid out of the potato. I then transfer my grated potato and onions to a bowl to mix with all the other ingredients and then return the completed latke mixture to the strainer so that any more liquid that accumulates can just drip right through to a bowl. This will keep the last latke you fry just as crispy as the first one!
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to fill the pan one inch high.
When oil is hot, use a ladle to drop in large scoops of potato mixture, making sure not to over crowd the pan. (This may take a few batches but the more room each latke has to fry, the crispier the result will be!)
Allow each latke to fry for two minutes on the first side, then flip and fry one more minute. Remove to a cooling rack or paper towel to drain (To Paper Towel or Not To Paper Towel) and repeat with remaining batter.
Need a latkes recipe? These are the best recipes for your Hanukkah dinner
You can celebrate a minimalistic Hanukkah with just nine candles & a match, but if you ask us, no celebration or festivity is truly complete without the cuisines that make up a culture. And for the occasion of Hanukkah, a crispy batch of latkes are exactly what you need to complete the festivities.
Festivals are the best excuse to consume all the deep-fried, sugary foods you normally wouldn’t eat. For Hanukkah, these are either latkes which are pancakes made with grated potatoes, or sufganiyot, which is a round doughnut filled with either jelly, jam or custard along with loads of powdered sugar (no doughnut is complete without a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar), among other delicacies.
It’s also important to note that much like every other festive recipe, latkes will have a traditional recipe being carried over across the generations of your family. If you think there’s one, learn the latkes recipe from the older generations. If not, here’s an easy one to make homemade latkes.
The recipe for latkes
We start off with the basic prep: First up are the potatoes. You don’t need to peel the potatoes but you can cut them in half for convenience. Next, grate the potatoes using the medium holes on a box grater. If you’re using a food processor, you can grate potatoes & onions in that, using the shredding disk feature.
The next step is to drain them as much as possible. You can do this either by squeezing liquid using a clean dish towel or you can let it drain sitting in the refrigerator overnight. In the latter case, you will need to start the rest of the prep next day, if it wasn’t obvious.
If you do let it drain, make sure you allow the potato starch to settle & save it & discard the rest of the liquid. The real latke ingredients come together at this stage. Bring the potatoes, onions, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper & mix ‘ em up in a bowl of starch. Feel free to go all in with your fingers. It’s honestly the only way you can make sure that the potato starch breaks up & gets evenly distributed.
If you use any other tool to mix them up, they are likely to be unevenly scattered – think of it as the equivalent of lumps in our usual pancake mix or batter. Set aside the batter mix for around 10-15 minutes.
You can now do this either in an oven or fry them in a large skillet. In case you’re using a frying pan, heat the oil. You have to be generous in your pour because a basic pan would require a cup of oil. Now we have to heat it enough so that the latke will sizzle immediately when dropped into the crackling oil.
Then pour over the mix over it. How much, you ask? Let’s say 1/4th of a cup is great for a 4-inch pancake. From here, the drill is the same as any pancake in any country or tradition – fry until both sides turn golden.
How are latkes best enjoyed?
You can keep frying more & more latkes until the pan becomes crowded. Cook until they’re golden brownish in color. Then pull them out of the oil, drain them on a baking sheet for 2 minutes.
Latkes are best accompanied by applesauce & sour cream. It’s best if latkes are had immediately – nothing like crispy & hot latkes to make for a festive feast in the cold. You can also make the applesauce from scratch at home. But if you’re planning to buy it, consider supporting a small business involved in applesauce trade, spread the festive cheer everywhere possible!
Partner: Kritika Narula Kritika is a writer and communications consultant based in India. She loves consuming stories in all forms – books, movies, TV shows – and places these stories under a fierce assessment to see if they are feminist, empathetic or entertaining enough. All of Kritika's work is undergirded by her passion for mental health.
Yes, Latke Waffles! Easy Vegan Latke Recipe (Potato Pancakes)
I have been waiting patiently to break in my new iCake multicake. So when I decided to whip up a batch of my favourite latke recipe to get into the Hanukkah spirit, I decided it was the perfect time and to put it to use and take advantage of the Belgian waffle plates to cook up some experimental “Belgian-Style” vegan latkes while I fried up the rest in the frying pan.
And it was definitely the right decision, adding a great crispness and texture that my son loved. This latke recipe is easy to make, and held up well to both the waffle iron and being fried in the traditional patty form, despite having no egg or egg substitute.
I really want to experiment with different variations on the traditional latke, which is essentially a potato pancake, but for this batch I kept it simple, grating potato, zucchini and onion, and adding some flour and a bit of salt. I know some people like to prepare a pulse from the ingredients to form the patties with, but I prefer to keep my vegetables grated for a more textural patty.
What keeps these vegan latkes from falling apart without an egg? The flour seems to combine with the starch from the potato and the extra liquid to create a glue that binds everything together, allowing it to keep its shape while being cooked/fried. It is important to squeeze out the extra liquid once you’ve finished grating everything, before adding the flour and salt, so that it isn’t too wet.
You can opt to go a slightly healthier route and place your patties on a baking sheet, brush lightly with oil and bake on 180 C, turning half way and repeating so both sides brown nicely and the edges crisp. Otherwise, heat a cm of oil in a skillet and gently fry these little potato pancakes until nicely brown crisp.
There are lots of different sauces that you could serve your latkes with, but I love eating them with a simple applesauce.
Ready to make your own? Here’s my potato zucchini latke recipe.
Looking to change things up even more? Try these sweet potato veggie burgers for a new spin on the traditional latke.