Make Ahead

Simple Latkes

November 22, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes 3 dozen small latke
Author Notes

Yeah, I just posted a recipe for delicious sweet potato/parsnip/leek/feta latkes. But I'm also a sucker for the classics. To take basic ingredients from simple to stellar, I wring every last bit of moisture from the potatoes, so that you don't need to sop up the liquid with a lot of starch (which makes them sodden and less potato-y). I pre-fry the latkes and then reheat them in the oven, which lets them cook more evenly (and lets you entertain without the odor of fry oil hanging in the air). And my how-did-I-ever-make-latkes-without-this secret: put the cut ends of the onion in the oil as it heats, which infuses everything with a delicious savory flavor. - deensiebat —deensiebat

Test Kitchen Notes

These are simple yet stellar, just as the title implies -- exactly what a perfect traditional latke should be: just all crunchy potato goodness with a distinct onion flavoring. I ended up hitting the three dozen mark from just halving the recipe, so down-scaling may be required. - Andrea —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 4 mid-sized yellow onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup matzo meal
  • 1-2 cups canola oil for frying (depending upon the number of pans used)
  1. Line a strainer with a large piece of cheesecloth or a loose-weave dishtowel, and place in the sink. Grate half of the potatoes and onions on the coarse holes of a box grater and place the shreds in the lined strainer, alternating between the two and mixing the shreds together (this allows the onions to keep the potatoes from discoloring). Reserve the ends of the onions. If you don't fancy hand-grating, you can use a shredding disk on a food processor. Just return 1/4 of the mixture to the bowl of the processor, and pulse a few times to make smaller bits that will help bind.
  2. Pick up the ends of the dishtowel/cheesecloth, and gather it around the load of grated potatoes and onions. Twist and squeeze to wring as much liquid as possible from the mixture, twisting further as more liquid is released. Aren't potatoes wetter than you'd thought? When it’s as dry as possible, place the wrung-out mixture in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and onions.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, eggs, and matzo meal to the potato-onion mixture, and stir well to combine. Pour the oil into frying pans to a depth of ½”, and add the reserved onion ends. Heat over a medium flame until the onions have browned lightly and infused the oil with an oniony perfume. Remove the onions if desired. Shape ~3 tablespoons of the latke mixture into a round shape (I like to pack a ¼ cup measure ¾ full), and place in the oil. Flatten slightly to form a small pancake. Repeat as many times as your pan space allows. Cook the latkes until well-browned, ~5-7 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. When the second side has cooked, place on a plate lined with brown paper, stacking as needed. Serve right away, or...
  4. Cool the latkes, and layer them in a sealed container with parchment between the layers, and freeze. To serve, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the latkes on a cookie sheet (you can place them on a rack on top of a cookie sheet for a crisper result, but usually the sheet is fine for me), and cook until they have colored a bit more and are heated through and sizzling (~10-15 minutes). Serve with applesauce, sour cream, and additional salt if desired.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jocelyn Grayson
    Jocelyn Grayson
  • mrslarkin
  • deensiebat
  • elf1

6 Reviews

elf1 March 4, 2015
I have tried quite a few Latke recipes and this one is the best! Putting 1/4 measure of the mix back into the processor is what makes these special! Crispy outside and melting inside...thank you from me and my waistline! Delicious!
Tarragon January 7, 2012
Loved these. I've made latkes fairly often, but this recipe was very helpful in focusing me on the basics. I loved the onion tip for flavoring the oil, too. I made mini-latkes ahead of time, and served some for a Hanukah appetizer, and froze the rest for New Years Eve appetizers; worked out great.
Jocelyn G. December 6, 2010
Just made these today. I made them twice, actually. The first time was for my daughter's history class. One of the kids liked it so much, he gave me a tip! I made a batch for ourselves for dinner tonight, and they are really fabulous. Not that different from my usual recipe, but the puree of some of the potato/onion mixture seemed to be the difference. I'm relieved that I won't have to make them for another year, though. Can't afford the calories! Thanks so much for sharing.
deensiebat December 7, 2010
Two rounds! I'm flattered. And I have a similar reaction -- I adore them, but figure it's probably just as well that they only happen once a year.
mrslarkin November 22, 2010
These sound so good! Thanks for all the great cooking tips!
deensiebat November 23, 2010
These are sort of my platonic ideal of the potato latke -- let me know how you like!