Potato Pancakes aka Latkes

potato pancakes

Potato pancakes

My regular potato pancake recipe has baking powder in it in addition to flour. I picked it up from a booklet on frugal cooking that I bought 20 years ago. These used to regularly show up on the dinner menu here, with applesauce. After going to a few Hanukkah parties we added sour cream to the table along with the applesauce. Last night I served them with some chicken apple sausages.

I tried a new recipe last night, this one from Smitten Kitchen, except I knew a whole onion would never go over here so cut that down to half an onion.  They were good, more egg. I think I’ll go back to my regular one next time.

The keys to good crisp potato pancakes are twofold: really squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the shredded potatoes and onions (if using) and make sure the oil is hot enough before you start cooking. Cheese cloth works great for squeezing the potatoes but you can also just pick up handfuls and squeeze them out.  Don’t great the potatoes ahead of time or they will turn grey.

I purposefully made extra last night because I read this bit on Amateur Gourmet’s blog about freezing latkes and reheating them in an oven. I flash froze a small tray of them last night and will test this out, reheating them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes are a kid-pleasing dish. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or ketchup.

  • 3 medium or 5 smallish potatoes, peeled and grated and drained
  • 1 onion, grated (optional)
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

I use the grater on my Kitchen Aid mixer to grate the potatoes and onion. Peel, grate, and wrap them in paper towels or cheesecloth and squeeze out the moisture. Heat the oil while you're doing this, just a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. It should be pretty hot but not smoking. If it's not hot enough, the pancakes will absorb too much.

Add the egg in a bowl and mix a bit, then add the potatoes, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, and mix up. Drop by large spoonfuls into the oil. They should "sputter" a bit if it's hot enough. Flatten with the back of the spoon or a spatula and let cook about 5 minutes per side. Don't crowd the pan too much.

As they're done, place them on a paper towel in an oven proof dish and place in a warm oven until you're ready to serve. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or ketchup.