It doesn’t have to be Chanukah to enjoy Great Grandma’s Traditional Potato Latkes. This simple, delicious recipe has been in our family for four generations, and never fails to impress- there’s no way we could only have them eight nights out of the year!
The tradition is based on the miracle of Chanukah where a ration of oil meant for one day lasted eight days and nights. And I fully embrace eating oily fried foods… all for the sake of Chanukah, of course.
Traditional Potato Latkes Tips and Tricks
Don’t Cut The Cheese…
…but do grab your cheese grater and cheese cloth.
Despite the fact that there is no cheese in this recipe, both of these tools are super useful!
You will use your cheese grater to shred both your potatoes and onions once they are peeled.
Using a cheesecloth is the most efficient way to remove any extra liquid from the potatoes and onions. If you don’t have a cheese cloth, you can simply use your hands to squeeze the shredded potatoes and onions over the sink to release the extra liquid.
Get the mixture as dry as you can before adding the egg and flour to get the crispiest possible exterior and to avoid too much hot oil splattering out of your pan!
You’ll Need Binders
Not the organizational kind. The keep your latkes from falling apart kind.
You’ll need an egg and some flour to help bind these together. For four medium-sized potatoes, one egg and one and a half tablespoons of all-purpose flour is just right.
Adding too much of your binders will make your latkes cakier. This recipe yields about 14 latkes. If you need more, I would highly recommend doubling the recipe instead of just chucking in some extra potatoes. I’ve been making these for YEARS and find the ratio of potato to egg and flour is critical to getting that perfect latke.
Green tip: Look for pasture-raised eggs (over free-range or cage-free) and organic flour to support agriculture that is less reliant on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Dip Your Toes In Before You Cannonball
Always test that your oil is hot before dropping your latkes in. I find that five minutes over medium heat does the trick. You should have about an inch of oil in your pan.
Drop a shred of potato in and if it sizzles right away, adult swim is over! You’re latkes are ready to dive right in!
In Love With The Shape Of You
Though latkes are most likely not the subject of Ed Sheeran’s worldwide hit song, it still applies here.
Shaping the latkes is as simple as using two hands to form your mixture into a ball, dropping it into your hot oil, and then using a spatula to flatten it out! The flatter you get ’em, the more crispy crunchy exterior there will be. Don’t be shy with the spatula!
In the Very Rare Occasion You Have Leftovers
First of all, you deserve a self control award, because these are gone sooner than I can flip ’em in my house!
Green tip: Did you know that of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes. It’s always best to avoid food waste as much as you can by eating up those yummy leftovers!
But in the rare occasion that you do have leftover Traditional Potato Latkes, they are super easy to reheat! 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven until they are nice and crispy will have them tasting as delicious as ever. They are usually perfect after about 8-10 minutes.
Resist the urge to reheat them in the microwave, they will come out hot and soggy. Womp, womp.
Grab Your Crew!
I have the best memories growing up of making these with my family. We would all be in the kitchen with music on, rolling up our sleeves, and forming an assembly line to make enough latkes for our annual Chanukah party!
We had a potato peeler (the most coveted position), an onion chopper and peeler, a grater, and a flipper.
You may have to flip a coin to decide who has to cry over the onions, but it makes for a wonderful family activity and the best memories.
The Swiss Army Knife of Appetizers
These golden brown beauties are the swiss army knife of appetizers because they can be served so many different ways.
The most traditional savory way to serve them is with sour cream. I like to crack on some salt and pepper, garnish with fresh parsley or scallions, and finish with a dollop of sour cream.
My dad controversially eats them with ketchup, and I have been known to dip them in honey mustard or ranch on occasion, too.
The traditional sweet way to serve these up is with applesauce. I like to garnish with a little sugar and cinnamon and dip them into some unsweetened apple sauce.
Basically, these Traditional Potato Latkes are a sauce lovers dream because I can’t really think of a dip that wouldn’t taste amazing with these latkes!