These Classic Potato Latkes have a tender inside and crispy exterior. While they’re traditionally made for Jewish holidays, anyone can enjoy these potato pancakes. With a few simple ingredients and deep fried, there’s absolutely nothing quite like them!
We’re a blended family, celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah every year. Since my sister hosts Christmas dinner, my mom and I take turns hosting Hanukkah. One of my favorite traditions is making latkes together. And there should be no confusion about latkes, even though there is.
Latkes – or potato pancakes, if you prefer – pronounced “lat-key,” are traditionally made for the Passover and Hanukkah holidays. BUT you do not need to be Jewish to enjoy them. Their deliciousness is universal!
What are Latkes
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.)
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.)
- Use a food processor to combine the ingredients really well. 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.
- If the latkes start to burn, try adjusting your cooking time, slightly adjusting the heat, or switching out the oil.
Variations for this Potato Latke Recipe
- Adding some fresh herbs or a little garlic powder to the potato mixture will give you a different flavor.
- Combining the potatoes with a vegetable is delicious! I’ve made latkes with potato and zucchini and also Potato Carrot Latkes.
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 other suggestions:
These potato latkes are ridiculously good, you guys. You will most definitely wish you had made a double batch, because they disappear in a flash!
Watch them Being Made
Classic Potato Latkes
- 1 small sweet onion , 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
- 1 cup (or more) vegetable oil , for frying
- sour cream or apple sauce , 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.