Make these winning latkes easily at home, and they'll be the food EVERYONE is talking about at your Hanukkah celebration.
There is nothing better than a warm, crispy potato latke topped with apple sauce. It's the highlight of Hanukkah for me, which is why I thoroughly recipe-tested these perfect crispy latkes to share with you!
Why this recipe works
This recipe uses ingredients that are easy to find, and yield the perfect latkes.
We leave out potato starch as it's not needed – the egg is the binder and these latkes crisp up wonderfully. During recipe testing, the batches with and without potato starch were equally crispy.
We use all-purpose flour instead of matzo meal because matzo meal comes in various levels of coarseness, and you have to alter the amount depending on the type you use. All-purpose flour is more consistent, and the only downside is that these are not kosher for Passover. Good thing we make them for Hanukkah!
The grated potatoes, onions, and apple are squeezed dry before forming into latkes, which is a crucial step to remove excess moisture. This helps the latkes crisp up when fried in oil, rather than become soggy.
The apple brings the right amount of moisture and additional flavor that balances the fried potato latke perfectly.
My make-ahead tip so you're not rushing to serve your latkes is to make them a few hours in advance and keep them warm in the oven on a wire rack at 200F with the door slightly ajar (do this for no more than 2 hours).
Ingredients & substitutions
Russet potatoes – Russet potatoes produce the best result, due to their high starch content. Russet potatoes also don't produce latkes that fall apart. Yukon gold potatoes are a close substitution, but not perfect.
Apple – Any apple will work, but I recommend trying to stick with a crisp apple variety and staying away from a grainy one, like a Red Delicious.
Oil – I use vegetable or canola oil for frying, as they have high smoke points.
Eggs – This is the binder in the recipe. I am often asked for vegan substitutes, and although I haven't tried the following in this recipe, they should work if you add a little potato starch: aquafaba or ground flaxseed in water.
How to make this recipe
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First, grate the potatoes, and squeeze the shredded mix until they are as dry as possible. You can use cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, or your hands. If using your hands, just squeeze a handful at a time and transfer the dry potatoes to another bowl.
Next, grate and dry the onion and apple. Add them both to the potatoes.
Now it's time to mix in 3 eggs and the salt. Add in ½ cup of all purpose flour, then add 2 tablespoons of the flour at a time until the mix can be formed together. A great indication that the mix is ready is when the mixture starts sticking together in your hands.
Pour ½ inch of oil into a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Wait for the oil to heat to the point where a the latke will sizzle as you add it in.
Time to fry
Ideal frying temperature is 350-375F. If you have a thermometer to help you monitor the temperature, it helps even though it isn't necessary.
Make a mini-latke to taste test for the salt level. Fry the mini-latke until it's golden brown on each side. Taste the late, and adjust the remaining mix if needed.
Make each latke about 3-4 inches wide and just under 1-inch thick in the middle. I find it really helps to form a ball first, then flatten into the patty.
When you place your latkes into the oil, do not to overcrowd the pan. Keep the latkes spread out with plenty of room. This helps them crisp up. If using a 12-inch pan, don't cook more than 4 at a time. 10-inch pan, 3, and 8-inch pan, 2.
Cook the latkes until they are golden brown on one side. Flip, then cook the other side until golden brown. Flip again, and let the latkes get darker golden and crispy on both sides.
When ready, drain the cooked latke on a wire rack, on paper towels, or on a brown paper bag for 2 minutes before serving.
Serve with a heaped helping of apple sauce and sour cream, and dip away!
Latkes can become soggy if not enough moisture is squeezed out of of the ingredients before forming the batter. Crowding the pan while frying can also yield a soggy latke.
Burning oil is central to the story of hanukkah, so oily foods or foods cooked in oil (like latkes) are eaten to commemorate the holiday.
Applesauce is sweet and a little tart, which perfectly complements the denser, starchy, and fried taste of the latkes. Combined, applesauce and latkes create the perfect bite!
Frying at the wrong temperature or not having a well-binded patty can yield an oily latke.
More Recipes for Hanukkah
Make these fantastic Jewish recipes for your upcoming Hannukah feast.
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Crispy Potato Latkes
- 3 lbs. russet potatoes peeled
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 apple
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour use up to 1 cup, and use matzo meal during Passover
- 2 teaspoon salt use up to 4 teaspoons
- oil for frying, vegetable or canola
- Applesauce and/or sour cream for serving
- Grate* the potatoes, and squeeze the shredded mix until they are as dry as possible**.
- Grate and dry the onion and apple. Add it to the potatoes.
- Mix in 3 eggs and the salt. Add ½ cup of all purpose flour, then 2 tablespoons at a time until the mix can be formed together. A great indication is when the patties start sticking together in your hands.
- Add ½ inch of oil in your cast-iron pan over medium heat***. Make a mini-latke to taste test for salt. Golden brown on each side.
- Make each latke 3-4 inches wide and just under 1-inch thick in the middle. It helps to form a ball first, then the patty.
- Cook the latkes until they are golden brown on one side, being sure not to crowd the pan****. Flip, then cook the other side until golden brown. Flip again, and let the latkes get darker golden and crispy on both sides.
- Drain the cooked latke on a wire rack, on paper towels, or on a brown paper bag for 2 minutes before serving.