Traditional Hanukkah Potato Latkes

Traditional Hanukkah Potato Latkes

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 36 mins
Total: 51 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 24 to 28 pieces
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
479 Calories
29g Fat
47g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 479
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 309mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 18mg 88%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 988mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fried food is traditionally eaten on Hanukkah in commemoration of the oil that miraculously burned for eight days when the Maccabees purified and rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This recipe for classic potato latkes—also known as levivot in Hebrew—uses a food processor to simplify the prep. The resulting latkes have a smoother, more uniform texture than hand-grated latkes. Of course, if you don't have a food processor, you can go the old school route and use a box grater for the onions and potatoes. What kind of potatoes should you use? Many longtime latke makers swear by russets, but when it comes down to it, both work—so use your favorite (or a mix!).

Latkes are wonderful as a side dish, and make excellent appetizers. Make them smaller and top them off with a bit of sour cream and caviar for an extra special treat for your guests. Or top appetizer latkes with shrimp, barbecue pieces, or cheese crumbles and minced fresh herbs.

1:36

Click Play to See This Traditional Hanukkah Potato Latkes Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds potatoes

  • 2 onions (peeled)

  • 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup canola oil (for frying)

  • Optional garnish:

    Applesauce (or sour cream, for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Hanukkah latkes
    The Spruce
  2. Line a platter or plate with paper towels and set aside. 

    Line a plate with paper towels
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  3. Peel the potatoes. Place them in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them, so they won’t turn brown. When ready to prepare the latkes, drain the potatoes.

    Peeled potatoes in bowl of water
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  4. Place potatoes and onions in a food processor fitted with a knife blade (also known as the s-blade). Pulse until smooth. Drain the mixture well.

    Potato and onion mixture draining in fine mesh sieve
    The Spruce
  5. Pour the potato mixture into a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

    Latke mixture in bowl with salt and pepper
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  6. Add enough flour so that the mixture holds together.

    Flour folded into latke mixture with wooden spoon
    The Spruce 
  7. Pour 1 inch of oil into a large, deep frying pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

    Oil in cast-iron pan on stovetop
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  8. Carefully drop 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the hot oil. Flatten the pancake slightly so the center will cook. Repeat with additional batter, taking care not to crowd the pan. 

    Latkes frying in pan
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  9. Fry for several minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. 

    Latkes turned with wooden spatula
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  10. Transfer to the paper towel-lined platter to drain, and continue frying the remaining latke batter in batches.

    Fried latkes draining on paper towel
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  11. Serve immediately with applesauce or sour cream if desired. 

Can You Freeze Leftover Cooked Latkes?

To freeze, arrange the cooled latkes on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer them to a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container and freeze them for 2 to 3 weeks. Reheat frozen latkes in a preheated 450 F oven for about 5 minutes.

How Long Will Latkes Last In the Refrigerator?

Refrigerate leftover cooked and cooled latkes in airtight containers for up to 2 days for best quality.

What Cooking Oil Is Best for Latkes?

A high temperature neutral oil is best for latkes. Canola oil and peanut oil are excellent choices. High heat safflower oil, generic vegetable oil, and shortening are fine as well.

Tips

  • After processing the potatoes and onions, place the mixture in a wire mesh strainer over a bowl and press out as much moisture as possible. To remove even more moisture, put the mixture in a clean kitchen towel and wring it to remove liquids.
  • At the bottom of the liquids you drained from the latkes is a layer of white starch. Once the starch as settled on the bottom of the bowl, pour off the liquid and add the white starch back to your potato mixture.
  • To test the oil for temperature, add about 1 teaspoon of the potato mixture. If it sizzles right away, the oil is ready.
  • Keep the latkes warm in a preheated 200 F oven while making subsequent batches.
  • Wear an apron to save your clothing from splatters.


Recipe Variations

  • For gluten-free latkes, replace the flour with some potato starch, rice flour, or arrowroot flour.
  • Instead of onions, use 3 to 4 medium peeled shallots.
  • For extra color and flavor, stir about 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions into the potato mixture before frying.
  • Sour cream and applesauce are classic latke toppings, but you might try a different garnish, such as tzatziki, fruit chutney, onion jam, sliced avocado, or Greek yogurt.