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Classic Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

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Yields 18 to 20 pancakes.

  • To learn more, read:
    Crispy Potato Pancakes
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 89

  • 2-1/2 lb. russet (Idaho) potatoes (4 medium), peeled, cut in quarters lengthwise, and reserved in cold water
  • 2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • About 3/4 cup corn oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream and applesauce, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 250°F.

Set a colander in the sink. Grate the potatoes in a food processor fitted with a medium (4 mm) grating disc. Transfer them to the colander and sprinkle with 2 tsp. of the salt. Toss and let drain for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, replace the processor’s grating disc with the chopping blade. Add 1 Tbs. of the oil and the onion, egg, flour, baking powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt to the food processor bowl.

In batches, squeeze the liquid from the shredded potatoes with your hands. Put the potatoes in the food processor with the other ingredients and process for 10 seconds. Stop the machine, scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, and process until the mixture is finely chopped, 10 to 15 seconds more. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Have ready a large plate lined with paper towels. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1/8 inch of the remaining oil over medium heat until the surface of the oil shimmers very slightly. With a soupspoon, carefully ladle four mounds of the potato mixture into the oil and spread them slightly with the back of the spoon until they are about 3-1/2 inches in diameter. (The oil should be bubbling gently around the pancakes.) Cook until the pancakes are a deep golden color, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift the pancakes with a slotted metal spatula and carefully turn them over. Continue to cook until the second side is a deep golden color, about 2 minutes more. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to the paper-towel-lined plate and blot well with more paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Use the spatula to transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet; keep them warm in the oven while you finish the rest. Continue to add oil between batches as needed to maintain the 1/8-inch level of the oil. Serve with the sour cream and applesauce on the side, if using.

Make Ahead Tips

If you’re preparing several batches for a crowd, fry the pancakes, let them cool, and freeze them on baking sheets. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to freezer bags. You can reheat the pancakes on rimmed baking sheets in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 20 servings; Calories (kcal): 130; Fat (g): fat g 9; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1.5; Protein (g): protein g 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 170; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 10; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

The recipe is great. Recipes with too much flour taste gluey. This recipe was just right. Great flavor. I dont have a food processor so i used the smallest holes on a box grater. I saved the small pieces of potato left after grating them almost all the way and tossed that into the blender with the egg flour baking powder and onion. Once i pulsed that and added it to the grated potatoes it was a perfect texture. Pretty much how my polish grandfather does it but just a little easier with blending a part of it. I used coconut oil instead of corn for health reasons. Also, didnt have enough russets so i used half russet and half yukons, worked out really well. Anyway, delicious and i could eat a whole batch myself if I'm not careful.

I've been using this recipe every year since it was published. It's not so much that there's any secret ingredient or unique flavor (sorry Arlene!), but the method/technique is the revelation. And, in fact, one of the things I love about this recipe is its authentic, traditional flavor. Before this recipe I always made latkes the same way as my grandmother. Get out the box grater and grate the potatoes and the onions. A tear-inducing, knuckle scraping hassle. But it was the only way to get the right texture for the latkes. People who use a food processor's grating disk and stop there end up with something more akin to hash browns than an authentic potato latke! Nothing like that ever came out of my grandmother's kitchen. Make these. They're easy, quick (relatively), and delicious. Happy Hanukkah!

Pure potato heaven! I've always wanted to try latkes and I'm so glad I did! This recipe is very well written. I followed every step and had terrific results. My husband and I nearly made ourselves ill eating so many of these crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside bites of joy.

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