It's just not Haukkah without the smell of latkes sizzling to perfection in the kitchen. These cripsy potato pancakes have become such a central part of the holiday's cuisine. But frying latkes isn't as easy as it seems...
Here is our guide to making the best latkes this year and every year.
Nothing like the way our bubbies made latkes in the old country! These latkes are not loaded with potato starch, flour, baking powder or other non-essential ingredients. My grandfather shared this recipe with me when I told him that I thought his were the crunchiest, lightest and most perfect potato latkes I've ever eaten.
Here's our test kitchen tried and true tips for latke success.
Now, my favorite tips and tricks, consider this your Latke Cheat Sheet.
1. Pre-Peel: Peel potatoes and keep in a bowl of water in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
2. Pre-Shred: Shred potatoes and keep in a bowl of water in the fridge for a few hours.
3. Pre-Mix: Prep latke batter and keep in a sealable container in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Day of: Fry and keep at room temp. Rewarm on a foil lined baking pan, in a single layer in a 400°F oven.
- Days before: Fry and freeze. Rewarm on a foil lined baking pan, in a single layer in a 400°F oven.
Best not to refrigerate fried latkes, unless you like ‘em soggy.
5. Mise en Place: Be your own sous chef. Have all ingredients prepped and measured and ready to go (this can even be done the night before and stored in the fridge in sealable containers) to make assembling latke batter a breeze.
6. 3, 2, 1: The perfect latke ratio is 3 large russet potatoes to 2 eggs to 1 small onion.
7. Matzo Meal or Flour? It is up to you and your tradition. Matzo meal yields a crunchier latke, flour = fluffier. We like ½ cup flour/matzo meal to our 3, 2, 1 ratio.
8. Squeeze Potatoes Dry: Using a kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
9. Fry in Evoo: perfect fry temp is 350°F. Don't have a deep fry thermometer? No problem, just use a wooden chopstick or handle of a wooden spoon. Place the end in the hot oil and when it bubbles, your oil is hot and ready.
We like to make a small tester latke to make sure seasoning is spot on. Don’t overcrowd the pan if you like crispy edges.
10. Drain and Keep Warm: Drain latkes on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
Latkes that are the same size, cook at the same rate, and are more attractive on platters. Find your perfect size by using a ¼-cup measuring cup or a cap from a canning jar (my favorite size is from an olive jar, about 2½ inches). Pack the lid with latke batter and gently overturn it into hot oil. Continue with remaining batter, in batches. Each latke will be the same size and you will look like a pro!
Find my favorite latke recipes in Jamie's 11 Latke Loves and get cooking!