A Guide To Making The Best-Ever Latkes

Plus: four crisp and delicious latke recipes, from the classic to the creative.

A plate of latkes on a blue dining table.

(Photo: Erik Putz)

Latkes are delicious year round, but they’re best known as a Hanukkah delicacy. Whether you enjoy your potato pancakes with apple sauce, sour cream or topped with smoked fish, here are our easy-to-follow tips to ensure you get perfect latkes on Hanukkah—or anytime.

How to make latkes

Pick the proper potatoes

Choose high-starch potatoes so they won’t fall apart in the pan. Yukon Gold or russet potato latkes crisp up golden, yet stay creamy on the inside.

It’s all about the grating

For lacy edges, grate potatoes using large holes on a box grater or food processor. For a dense, smooth-edged latke, finely grate potatoes. If adding onion and veggies, do the potatoes last so they don’t oxidize (turn brown) quickly. For a fluffy latke, don’t grate the onion at all—just thinly slice, then mix in.

Squeeze out access moisture

To avoid soggy latkes, squeeze excess water from potatoes before mixing. This helps latkes stick together during frying. The drier they are, the crisper they will be.

Keep your latkes small

Bigger isn’t better. To avoid greasy latkes, keep them small. This helps to create crunchy outsides and creamy centres Loosely pack mixture into a 1/4 cup (50 mL) dry measure or ramekin. Carefully drop into hot oil, then using a fork spread out and flatten to form a circle about 4 in. (10 cm) wide.

Fry in small batches

Latkes are shallow fried and should be done in a frying pan. Fill a large wide frying pan with oil to come 1/4 to 1/2 in. (0.5 to 1 cm) up the side. If the oil is too hot, the outsides and edges will burn before centre is cooked. Heat oil between 250F and 325F (120 to 160C). A good test—drop a small amount of latke mixture into hot oil–if it turns golden within 1 to 2 min., the temperature is right. Fry in small batches—3 to 4 at a time.

Now that you’re ready to fry, here are four latke recipes, from the classic to the creative.

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