Potato Latkes

In our many latke-making adventures, we found that russets work best because they're the starchiest potato and available at every market, big and small.

I like to serve latkes in batches as they come off the stove, while hot. If you'd rather serve them all at once, place a baking sheet in the oven and heat the oven to 250°F. Transfer the cooked latkes to the baking sheet to keep them warm until you're ready to serve.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 to 15 latkes (2 1/2 inches)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 half pounds russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium potatoes)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • About 1/4 cup canola oil, or more if needed
  • 1 cup sour cream, for serving

Special equipment:

Method

1 Make the potato-onion mixture: Peel the potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water until needed (this helps prevent graying as well). Chop 3 of the potatoes and the onion into 1-inch chunks; leave the last potato in the water.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chopped potatoes and onion. Pulse the mixture until it forms a pulp-like puree, scraping down the sides of the work bowl once or twice.

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2 Squeeze the potato-onion mixture: Fold a large square of cheesecloth on itself until you have 4 layers and a roughly 12-inch square. Line a colander with the cheesecloth. Tip the potato-onion mixture into the colander.

Gather the corners of the cheesecloth around the potato-onion mixture and begin twisting. Keep twisting the top and squeezing the ball of potatoes and onions with your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible (you may get up to a cup of liquid). Leave the potato mixture in the cloth once squeezed to reduce exposure to air (which can start to turn the potatoes gray).

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3 Grate the last potato: On the coarse side of a box grater, grate the potato.

4 Make the batter: Transfer the potato mixture from the cheesecloth to a bowl. Add the grated potato, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper. Stir well.

Potato Latkes

5 Fry the latkes: In a large cast iron or non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When it is shimmering (a crust of bread will brown in 10 seconds), add large, generous spoonfuls of the batter to the pan (about 1/4 cup of batter) — you will probably fit in 4 or 5 mounds. Use the bottom of the spoon to flatten the mounds.

Cook for 3 minutes, or until brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is also browned, about 3 minutes more.

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and briefly drain them of any excess grease. Continue cooking the rest of the latkes in batches, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

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6 Serve right away. Serve immediately while hot, with sour cream or applesauce, or transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in 250°F oven until ready to serve.

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Comments

  • Claudia Serafin

    I buy Simply Potatoes Hash Browns instead of grating my own. Get the plain kind, no added seasoning. You can find then in the coolers by the eggs. By doing this, there is no need to dry out the potatoes. Simply add grated onion, flour, egg, etc.

  • Molly

    When making latkes for our annual Hanukkah dinner, I grate the potato and onion together and then keep them submerged in a large bowl of water (covered in the fridge) until we’re ready to drain/squeeze, mix with egg, S/P and matzoh meal, and fry. I’ve never had an issue with discoloration.

    I have to say I was a bit disappointed to see this recipe call for the use of disposable cheesecloth instead of washable, reusable towels. I think people (myself included) are finally being clued in to how much waste can be generated in the kitchen, and reducing that waste is something we can all strive for. Speaking for myself, I have never had any complaints about using kitchen towels to do the “heavy wringing” for latkes.

  • Cass Mitchell

    I made latkes for 25 years at my wine country diner. We called them Potato Pancakes and served them with sour cream, sausage and applesauce. I would prepare 5 gallons of potatoes at a time, and purple pancakes just wasn’t an option. To head off the inevitable the color change of raw, cut potatoes, here’s what we did: soak the grated spuds in lots of water. After about an hour, we drained them into a colander and rinsed them until the water ran clear. When I’m making these at home, the potatoes are then ready for making into the batter. At the restaurant, we wanted days of batches, so we took it one step further: after draining the shredded spuds, we dumped them into a large pot of boiling water, brought the water back to a boil and cooked them just a few minutes, until the raw taste had gone off. Careful here, otherwise you lose the bite of freshly grated potatoes. Then the poached potato shreds were quickly poured back into the colander, and flooded with cold water to stop cooking. When drained, we measured out the amount for each recipe, put them in zip lock bags and into the freezer. Result: perfect potato pancakes every time! Sometimes I do this whole poaching and freezing process at home too, cuz having the prepared spuds ready in to freezer makes it way more likely I’m going to make latkes. My family loves this idea!

  • Gina Kaufmann

    My mom fried in chicken fat (schmaltz) but I do love the combo of pureed potato and grated. You must get it as dry as possible. Love to make minis and serve with sour cream as an appetizer

  • Sandy S.

    These latkes look so pretty. How do you get them to have such nice edges? Mine tend to look like gobs of fried hashbrowns. This said, I love your addition of the grated potato to the otherwise mash potato like batter. I like a bit of texture, too! Thank you for sharing you father’s hut for the perfect Latkes!