This recipe for potato latkes was shared with us by Chris Daly, who says: “As a member of an interfaith family, I came to Hanukkah with no background in making the traditional Jewish potato pancakes known as latkes. So, I had to learn by doing. Turns out, they are easy and fun to make, especially with kids helping. I turned to a Jewish cookbook we had in the house, and I adapted this recipe from Flo Greenberg.”
Chris’s recipe can be easily scaled up to feed a crowd — he notes that for big groups, he routinely starts with five pounds of potatoes for latkes. We’re sharing a version that should work nicely for a family of four.
- 2 lbs. potatoes, such as russets
- 1 medium-sized white onion
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- 2-3 Tablespoons matzo meal or flour
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup of oil (such as canola or vegetable oil) for frying, more as needed
- Sour cream and applesauce for serving (optional)
- Peel the potatoes and onions and cut into wedges.
- Shred the potatoes and onions. Chris notes that he uses the “shredding gizmo” on a food processor to make quick work of this step, but “this is an ancient recipe and can certainly be done on a box grater — just watch your knuckles!”
- Transfer the shredded potato and onion to a large bowl. Add one beaten egg and two tablespoons of matzo meal to the potato and onion mixture and mix thoroughly. If the mixture seems too dry, add more egg; if it’s too wet, add a little more matzo meal.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir.
- Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan or skillet until it’s hot enough for drops of water to sizzle.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into potato pancakes about the size of your palm. This amount of mixture should make about 8 latkes.
- (Carefully!) Plop the pancakes into the hot oil. (Chris recommends wearing an apron to protect yourself from splatters.) You will probably have to work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
- Watch the latkes carefully, checking how the bottoms look. When the bottoms are golden brown, flip the latkes over and continue cooking until both sides are browned.
- Transfer the latkes briefly to paper towels. Serve while still hot — do not eat cold or try to save leftovers for another day
- These latkes are good eaten plain, but as you wish, you can serve with toppings of sour cream or applesauce.