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.
- 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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.