Here’s a way to make delicious Potato Latkes without the usual mess and fuss. An easy recipe for delicious potato pancakes.
You don’t often (ever?) hear the word “easy” associated with making potato latkes, but I’m happy to share this recipe for delicious, oniony, crunchy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside potato latkes, that are easy to make!
I almost feel guilty at the thought of not having to work so hard to make latkes this Hanukah. I feel like I’m breaking with tradition – it’s what I’ve always done. For decades I’ve used a technique that my own family and every other Jewish person I’ve known uses – a technique that I would call “an ordeal” – it involves a lot of work, a lot of oil, and a big mess! Raw potatoes are peeled, grated, then squeezed by the handful – in clean dishtowels – to get rid of the excess water and starch. Then they’re quickly mixed with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Onions are grated and added to the potatoes, along with eggs and flour. To avoid more liquid seeping out of the onions and potatoes, you have to work quickly and in batches – grating and squeezing and lemoning, frying, grating, squeezing, lemoning, frying…. as I said – it’s an ordeal.
The new “Easy Potato Latkes” technique: throw potatoes – skin and all – into boiling water and cook for a half hour. Chill cooked potatoes for a few hours or over night.
Once cooled, the potatoes are easy to peel and grate, and they don’t need to be squeezed or lemoned! Just mix them with sautéed onions and a few other ingredients, shape them, and fry them! That’s it! Because the potatoes are precooked, they absorb less oil and brown faster than raw potatoes.
If you follow Panning The Globe, you might remember the Swiss shredded potato casserole recipe I shared in back in June – I used a similar technique of boiling the potatoes before shredding them. I had an epiphany when that casserole came out of the oven all browned and beautiful, and I told you at the end of that post that “I’ll be making my potato pancakes this way in the future.” Here it is!
Hanukkah is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time to reflect on Jewish survival and faith – a time to enjoy family and food, to share gifts, to feel grateful, and to relish our yearly rituals – one of which is to eat delicious fried potato latkes!
You don’t have to celebrate Hanukah to enjoy these. They make a killer appetizer! Form fairly small pancakes – about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Serve them topped with creme fraiche and caviar or with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives! Or make larger pancakes and serve them as a side dish with meat, chicken or fish!
One more note: There are lots of ways to get creative with latkes – like adding shredded parsnips, leaks, or zucchini, for example. If you want more great latke ideas plus an explanation of why we eat fried foods on Hanukkah, check out this article with links to 8 Cooking Light Latke recipes.
Easy Potato Latkes
Potato pancakes that are crisp on the outside, tender inside. Delicious as an appetizer or a side dish on Hanukkah or anytime.
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 10
- Category: Side Dish
- 3 pounds russet (Idaho) potatoes (4 large)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for gluten free substitute rice flour)
- Canola or grape seed oil for frying
- Optional Accompaniments:
- Apple sauce
- Sour Cream
- Boil the Potatoes Bring a large pot, halfway filled with water, to a boil. Add the potatoes. When the water returns to a boil set the time for 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from the pot. Let them cool for 15 minutes, then put them in the fridge – covered with foil – for at least 2 hours or over night.
- Make the Latkes Line a baking tray with two layers of paper towels and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown. Transfer onions to a clean plate and leave them to cool. Don’t wash the onion pan – you’ll use it to fry the latkes.
- While the onions are cooling, peel the potatoes. You can peel them by hand, with a vegetable peeler or with a knife. The skin will come off easily. Grate the potatoes into a large bowl, using the large holes in a hand or box grater. They’re extremely easy to grate. (Or you can shred them in the food processor, using the shredding attachment) Add the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, flour and cooked onions. Toss gently to combine everything.
- Pour enough oil into the skillet to come up to about 1/8 of an inch. Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the oil wrinkles – hot but not smoking. Form the latkes into any size you like by scooping with a tablespoon and using your hands to gently pat them into the desired shape. Lay each latke carefully into the hot oil after you form it, working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until they are golden brown. Adjust the heat so they don’t burn and add more oil, as needed. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel-lined tray. You can keep them warm in a 225ºF oven until ready to serve.
- Serve latkes alone or with apple sauce, sour cream or ketchup. This recipe makes about 30 2 1/2 inch latkes.