Potato Latkes fall into that wonderful category of Jewish comfort foods. There is so much joy that comes from preparing, serving and eating warm and crispy potato latkes. Potato Latkes are so delicious and satisfying that everyone will be asking for more.
What Are Latkes?
Latke is the Yiddish word for pancake, a traditional Jewish dish and most Jewish people enjoy them during Hanukkah. However, they are popular in many homes all year round! By the way, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy latkes. Potato latkes make a wonderful appetizer, a great side dish, or a fancy breakfast.
In my family no Hanukkah celebration is complete without potato latkes. Every time I make them, it takes me back to fun-filled Hanukkah nights at my grandparents’ house. We would gather around the Chanukiah and eat latkes and Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) until our tummies hurt. I hope you will create your own memories and traditions with this classic potato latkes recipe too!
Russet potatoes: Washed, peeled, and then grated. Russet potatoes are starchy and great for frying.
Onion: Adds a delicious flavor.
Eggs: Give the latkes structure and a slight lift.
All-purpose flour: A binder that helps hold the mixture together. Other optional binders are potato starch, bread crumbs, cornstarch, or Matzo meal.
Baking powder: Gives the latkes a lighter texture in the middle.
Easy Step-by-Step Guide for Potato Latkes
Step 1: Grate the potatoes and onion: Use a box grater or food processor to grate the potatoes and onion coarsely. Immerse the grated potatoes in cold water to keep them from browning. If you have time, let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Soaking in water removes excess potato starch, which helps achieve maximum crispness. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Step 2: Squeeze out excess water: Get as much liquid out of your potato and onion shreds before adding the other ingredients. Wrap in a clean tea towel or cheesecloth, hold over a bowl or sink and twist the towel to squeeze out the moisture. That’s a step you don’t want to skip!
Step 3: Make the latkes: Put the grated potatoes and onion in a bowl with eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper and stir it all together. Form your latke mixture into compact patties. I generally use about three tablespoons of mixture per latke.
Step 4: Frying: In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Heat until hot, but not smoking. To test the oil take a small spoonful of the batter and carefully drop it into the oil. If it immediately sizzles, the oil is ready. If the oil starts to smoke or the latkes are burning, turn the heat down slightly, wait a few minutes, and then test it again. Fry the latkes in small batches for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Watch for crispness and color; you want them to be a beautiful golden brown.
Step 5: Serving: Drain on paper towels or place them on a cooling rack. Serve warm with a generous dollop of sour cream and applesauce.
How to Get Extra Crispy Edges?
Soak the shredded potatoes in water: Soaking in water removes excess potato starch, which helps achieve maximum crispness.
Squeeze out the moisture: You will want to remove as much moisture as possible because excess water will create steam, and the latkes will turn out soggy. You want the latkes to be as crisp as possible.
Drain on a cooling rack: Putting fried food on a cooling rack means the excess oil will drip off, and the bottoms don’t get soggy.
Always serve latkes hot and fresh if possible. The longer they sit, the less crisp they’ll be.
What If My Latkes Are Falling Apart When Frying?
If your latkes aren’t holding together stir more flour into the mixture, two teaspoons at a time, until the batter “holds.” You can also add another egg if needed.
Can I Use Other “Binders” in this Recipe?
Yes! You don’t have to use flour; other binders include potato starch, bread crumbs, cornstarch, or Matzo meal.
Can I Make Latkes with Other Vegetables?
Yes! Try mixing shredded potatoes with other root vegetables such as shredded carrots, beets, or sweet potatoes. Zucchini can be used too, but be sure to squeeze out any excess moisture.
How to Store and Freeze Potato Latkes?
Like most fried foods, potato latkes taste best the day they are made, as soon as they’re cool enough to eat. Cooled latkes can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and held at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
If you have leftovers or want to make them ahead, you can wrap them in foil or place them in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
To freeze, drain the latkes and allow them to cool. Then place them in single layers separated by wax or parchment paper in an airtight sealed freezer bag or container.
To serve, pop them straight into a hot oven (400°F/200°C) for 10 to 15 minutes.
What Are Latkes Served With?
Serve the warm latkes along with any of these toppings:
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Crème fraiche
- Cream cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Smoked salmon
- Apple sauce
- Sugar and cinnamon
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Crispy Potato Latkes (Not Just for Hanukkah)
- 4 large potatoes (about 3 lbs/1.5 Kg), washed and peeled
- 1 medium to large onion, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour or a little more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- neutral oil like Canola, for frying
- applesauce, sour cream, and smoked salmon. optional for serving
- Use a box grater or food processor to grate the potatoes and onion coarsely. Immerse the grated potatoes in cold water. Optional: let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Wrap the grated potatoes and onion in a clean tea towel or cheesecloth, hold over a bowl or sink and twist the towel to squeeze out the moisture. Get as much liquid out before adding the other ingredients.
- Add grated potatoes, onion, flour, eggs, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir well.
- Add oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Heat until hot, but not smoking.
- Fry the latkes in small batches for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Watch for crispness and color; you want them to be a beautiful golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels or place them on a cooling rack.
- Serve warm with a generous dollop of sour cream and applesauce.