These classic Potato Latkes have a tender inside and crispy exterior. While they’re traditionally made for Jewish holidays, anyone can enjoy this latke recipe. With a few simple ingredients and deep fried, there’s absolutely nothing quite like them!
They are fantastic all on their own, but we love serving them with homemade applesauce.
We’re a blended family, celebrating both Jewish holidays and Christmas every year. Since my sister hosts Christmas dinner, my mom and I take turns hosting Hanukkah. One of our favorite traditions is making potato latkes together…and every year we always regret not making a double batch, because they disappear in a flash!
What are Latkes?
Latkes – or potato pancakes, if you prefer – pronounced “lat-key,” are traditionally made for the Rosh Hashanah, Passover, and Hanukkah holidays. BUT you do not need to be Jewish to enjoy them. Their deliciousness is universal!
Latkes are small potato pancakes that are comparable to corn fritters, except the main ingredients are potatoes, egg, some sort of starch, and sometimes onion (like my recipe.) Perfect latkes have a tender inside and crispy exterior – they are beyond scrumptious!
Since there always seems to be some confusion, I feel compelled to point out that latkes and hash browns are not the same thing! And latkes are never made with mashed potatoes. (Mashed Potato Cakes, while fantastic, are completely different.)
Best Latke Recipe
For our family recipe, here’s what you’ll need:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes are the best potatoes for latkes because of their high starch content.
- Onion: We include onion in ours for flavor. Onions and potatoes are perfect together.
- Flour: Just all-purpose flour. (See below regarding matzo meal.)
- Eggs: Beaten eggs act as a binder to hold the latkes together.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: For flavor.
- Vegetable oil: Use for frying.
- Use Matzo meal: This is finely ground up matzo and can be used in place of the flour for Passover.
- Blend in some fresh herbs: Adding some fresh herbs or a little garlic powder to the potato mixture will give you a different flavor.
- Add another vegetable: Combining the potatoes with a vegetable is delicious! I’ve made latkes with potato and zucchini and also Potato Carrot Latkes.
How to Make Latkes
Latkes can be made two different ways (although, I don’t completely agree with this. HA.) – one where the potato is shredded (perhaps this is where the confusion of comparing them to hash browns comes in), the other where the potato is pureed with the other ingredients (my preferred method.) Here are a few tips:
(To make this latke recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card and watch the video.)
- Use a food processor to combine the ingredients: You want the mixture to be blended with some texture, but not clumpy.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: I typically fit in about 4 at a time without them touching.
- Adjust the heat or cook time, if necessary: Keep an eye on the latkes and adjust the cooking time, the heat, or switch out the oil if you notice them browning too quickly.
How to Store Latkes
Potato pancakes, like most fritters and fried food, are best eaten right away while they’re hot and crispy. You can definitely enjoy leftovers, though (if you’re lucky enough to have any!)
Can you make latkes ahead of time? You can make the batter up to 2 hours ahead of frying it (stored in the fridge.) Once fried, latkes will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
How to reheat latkes: to reheat, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350° oven until they’re crisp again, about 10 minutes.
Can you freeze cooked potato latkes? Yes. Fry them, drain off any grease, and allow to cool completely. Store in freezer bags for up to 2 weeks. Defrost when ready to use, and reheat.
What to Serve with Latkes
Traditionally, latkes are served with applesauce or sour cream. Here are a few suggestions:
More Jewish Food:
- 1 small sweet onion , peeled, stem removed, quartered
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1 pound russet potatoes , peeled and cut into cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (see note below regarding matzo meal)
- 1 cup (or more) vegetable oil , for frying
- applesauce , for serving (optional)
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the onion and eggs and puree until smooth and fluffy. Add the potato, using off-on pulses, process the mixture until pureed, but still retaining some texture. Add the salt, pepper, and flour and briefly process to combine – do not over process.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl, squeezing out excess liquid if there is any.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
- Pour a solid layer of oil in the bottom of a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, working in batches, spoon rounded tablespoons of the mixture into the pan (make sure they don’t touch each other.) Flatten just slightly with the back of a spoon – they should be about 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. (If they start to burn, adjust your cooking time and/or change out your oil for a clean amount.)
- Transfer the latkes to the lined baking sheet to drain and place in the oven until all are cooked.
- Garnish and serve immediately with some applesauce or sour cream, if desired.
- Note: Matzo meal is finely ground up matzo and can can be used in place of the flour for Passover.