These easy homemade potato latkes are crispy and delicious. Best of all, this cooking method lets you feed a hungry crowd while still having time to enjoy the party! No more spending the whole night over a hot pan of oil frying potato pancakes.
Potato Latkes Are a Hannukah Must-Have
The main thing I remember about my childhood Hanukkahs is my mother’s potato latkes. And not just the latkes themselves—as delicious as they were, crispy-fried, fresh from the frying pan.
There is also the image of my mother in the kitchen, first peeling and hand-grating (the food processor just doesn’t cut it here) piles of potatoes and then hunched over a pan of hot oil frying the little potato pancakes to a crispy golden brown.
Every year my mother threatened not to make them, but every year, our whining and declarations of how she was the best mother/cook/latke-maker won out. And again, she’d spend an entire night toiling away in the kitchen while the rest of us enjoyed ourselves. No wonder my mother is not the biggest fan of Hanukkah, but her latke recipe really was worth it (to us, anyway).
To Hand-Grate Your Potatoes or Use a Food Processor?
I’ve tested a lot of recipes for potato latkes over the years, trying earnestly to find one that doesn’t require me to hand-grate pounds of potatoes or spend hours hunched over a pan of hot oil.
In the end, I’ve concluded that there really is no way to make delicious latkes without spending a certain amount of time hunched over a pan of hot oil. And of course, the whole point of the holiday is to celebrate the oil, right? Baking just won’t do. And yes, you really do need to hand-grate the potatoes for
But I do have a trick to share with you for making easy potato latkes: Grate, mix, and form the patties ahead of time. This frees you up at party time, but it also makes the cooking process worlds easier. Chilling the formed patties in the fridge for several hours helps them hold together so that frying them is simple.
What Kind of Pan Do You Fry Potato Latkes In?
I like to fry my potato pancakes in a large cast-iron skillet (or two if I am able to borrow my neighbor's!) The oil gets nice and hot and it heats evenly throughout the pan. In a 14-inch cast-iron skillet, I can fry up to 6 good-sized latkes at a time.
When I have two skillets going, that's an easy dozen at a time. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, don't worry. You can use any good, heavy-bottomed skillet.
What Makes this Latke Recipe So Easy?
The trick is shaping the patties ahead of time and then chilling them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them.
You can even do this step well ahead of time. Shape the patties in the morning, cover with plastic wrap, and they'll be ready for frying whenever you are.
When you're ready to fry them, use a sturdy spatula to lift them off of the baking sheet and slide them right into the hot oil.
Not peeling the potatoes and parboiling them before grating also makes the whole process much quicker and easier.
Here's How I Make My Latkes
- Boil potatoes briefly and then drain and rinse in cold water.
- Grate the boiled potatoes and onion on a box grater.
- Mix the grated potato and onion with the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
- Form the mixture into patties and arrange them on a baking sheet.
- Chill the patties in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a skillet and then fry the patties for about 2 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.
With this super easy potato latkes recipe, you can finally have your potato pancakes and eat them, too, right along with your guests!
What do you serve with latkes?
The big question is always, sour cream or applesauce with your latkes? I am a big fan of serving both. Of course, you can't go wrong with my easy Instant Pot Applesauce, but a good store-bought one will be fine as well.
More Jewish holiday recipes you'll love
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Matzoh Fattoush
- Matzoh Toffee
- Honey Cake
- 2 pounds large red-skinned potatoes
- 1 onion
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- vegetable oil, for frying
- Applesauce or sour cream, for serving
- Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and just cover with cold water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, cook for 6 to 7 minutes (less if the potatoes are small) until the potatoes are just barely tender but not soft.
- Drain the potatoes, cover with cold water. Drain again, cover with cold water again and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them sit in a colander until ready to proceed with the recipe (the longer the better).
- Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the potatoes (you can leave the skins on, discarding any pieces that come off in large sheets). Grate the onion on the same holes.
- In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes and onion with the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Form the potato mixture into patties about ¾ inch thick and 3 inches across and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet (use additional baking sheets if necessary). Chill the patties for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to cook, as long as 24 hours. If chilling for more than 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add several of the patties, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, flip and then cook until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel-lined platter and serve immediately. If you’re cooking a large amount, place the cooked
patties on a baking sheet and keep them warm in a 250ºF oven.
Amount Per Serving Calories 250Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 188mgSodium 1000mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 10g
Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.