Delicious Potato Latkes For Hanukkah takes a lot of effort to make. Mostly because of the time it takes to peel and grate the potatoes and onions. For this reason, I have not made potato latkes for Hanukkah in years.
Ok, I’ll be honest. I have only made them once or twice in my life. When my kids were little my mother-in-law lived nearby and she would make them. So, as a busy working mom, I relied on her every year. And, she never did disappoint! They were thin, crispy, salty patties from heaven. If I had my choice, I would eat them every night of Hanukkah instead of a meal.
But, my mother-in-law moved away five years ago and now, if I want those delicious potato pancakes, I have to make them myself. For the last couple of Hanukkahs I have been too crazy with work and life during December. I barely had enough time to get gifts, let alone make latkes! So, I bought them at a local deli and they were very good, but absolutely cannot compare to the taste and texture of a potato pancake that comes straight out of the pan.
Now that my kids are older and with more time on my hands since Covid, I vowed I was going to make them this year. Yesterday, I pulled out the recipe and bought all the ingredients. I am now prepared and this weekend my family will once again have fresh, homemade latkes for Hanukkah.
Instead of grating everything by hand, I am going to use a food processor to do the work. This will cut down on the time significantly and maybe save my fingertips from being accidentally sliced off! Aside from the peeling, grating and frying which is all time very consuming, it is pretty darn easy.
To make a delicious potato latkes, here is the mother-in-law’s recipe — one that was passed onto her from her grandmother — so please forgive if some parts are not “exact.”
5 lbs Idaho potato, peeled and cut into chunks
4 “nice” onions — (this means large in the Jewish culture) — peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
Vegetable oil (recipe doesn’t say how much, but keep it nearby and eyeball it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Toppings: Sour cream/applesauce — see step #10 below
1. Grate potatoes and onions (in the food processor- you may have to do it in batches).
2. Take a clean dish towel and put potato/onion mixture into it and wrap towel up. Squeeze all of the water out of it over a large bowl or into the sink. Make sure to get out as much liquid as possible. You may have to do this in several batches.
3. After draining mixture, put it in a large bowl and add eggs, flour and the rest of the ingredients. Mix very well. — you can use a spoon, but your hands are better!
4. Heat about 1 cup of oil in large pan (I like to use a cast iron) until very hot. To test if pan is ready, throw a drop of water into it. If it sizzles, it is ready.
5. Carefully drop about 1/4 cup of mixture into pan and flatten into a four-inch patty with a spatula. Repeat until pan is full (with enough space between each patty to flip them when ready).
6. Fry each patty until golden brown on one side and then flip it over and fry until the other side is golden brown. As they are done, one by one remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain oil.
7. Repeat the process with the second batch of mixture. At this point, check to make sure you have enough oil in the pan — you may need to add more, as the latkes soak up a lot of oil.
8. Depending on how big you have made your patties and how large your pan is, you may have to do this process several times.
9. If you want to keep the latkes hot while you are frying the other batches, put them on a tin foil-lined cookie sheet in the warming drawer. (Only after they have sat on paper towel a good 5–10 minutes).
10. Once they are all done and drained you are ready to serve. Some people serve latkes with applesauce and some like them with sour cream. If you are kosher and are having the latkes with meat, you cannot mix meat and dairy and therefore sour cream is not an option. My family does not keep kosher so I serve it with both. YUM!
Once you eat these homemade, out-of-the-pan latkes you will see why putting in the effort makes all the difference in the world. I apologize in advance if your house and hands smell like fried onions for days. That is the one sacrifice you will have to make!
Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate — I hope you carve out the time to make these over the next eight nights.
And, to those of you that don’t celebrate, I hope you give this recipe a try at some point. I love discovering food from other cultures and sharing the foods of my own. In my opinion, a crispy fried potato tastes great no matter what your background or where you come from!