Wondering how to make latkes for Hanukkah? Our Test Kitchen walks you through the process of making potato pancakes step by step. The results are so tasty, you'll make them all year.
Latkes are one of those traditional Hanukkah foods that you see on the table year after year—and for good reason. These potato pancakes are versatile. They can just as easily be served up along a savory supper or finished with sweet toppers. Besides being incredibly versatile, latkes are simple to make—chances are you have all the ingredients you need already on hand.
Latkes, of course, start with potatoes. Starchy potatoes, like Russets, work particularly well. You’ll start making your potato pancakes by washing and peeling the potatoes.
Then, if you have a food processor, now is the time to pull it out of the cupboard (and if you don’t have one, think of adding our Test Kitchen’s favorite to your wish list). Use the disk attachment to shred the potatoes. This will save you so much time. If you don’t have a food processor, though, don’t fret. An old-fashioned box grater will work just fine.
Once the potatoes are shredded, rinse them in cold water and drain well, squeezing to remove excess water.
Test Kitchen tip: To get every bit of excess water out, we recommend putting your rinsed potato shreds in a tea towel and wringing out all the water you can. You might even want to consider using a second dry tea towel just to make sure you get all that starchy water out. Extra starch can make the pancakes gluey.
Step 2: Get Your Potato Pancake Mix Together
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With the potatoes prepped, you can start to add in your other ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together the beaten egg, flour, grated onion, salt and pepper in with your potatoes, making sure every shred is coated. You can also incorporate your favorite herbs into the batter at this stage. Dill, cumin, cayenne or curry powder would be welcome additions
Test Kitchen tip: Be sure to grate your onion (just use the finest side of your box grater). The tiny bits will incorporate more nicely into the mix than even the finest dice.
Step 3: Fry the Latkes
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Next, it’s time to fry up the potato pancakes. Start by heating up a quarter-inch of oil in a nonstick skillet. For this application, our Test Kitchen recommends canola, vegetable or corn oil because of their high smoke points (meaning they won’t start to smoke until they hit higher temperatures). You can learn more about the best oils for frying here.
Working in batches, drop a third-cup of potato mixture into the oil. Use a spatula to flatten into a pancake shape. Fry both sides until golden brown, using a second spatula to flip the pancakes so you don’t cross-contaminate your crispy pancakes with that first raw egg-covered spatula. Be sure not to crowd the pan. The pancakes will need a little room to get nice and crispy!
When perfectly golden brown, drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Once drained, they’re ready to serve.
How to Top Latkes
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Potato pancakes are a fantastic canvas for all sorts of toppings. Sour cream, chives and lox are a classic combination, but applesauce is also tasty if you want to take these on the sweeter side. These toppings are just the start, though. Check out more ways to top latkes.
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Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.