7 Tips for the Best Latkes Ever

Whether you inherited a cherished latke recipe from your Bubbe or are a first-time fryer, these tips will help you make the most irresistibly crisp potato latkes you've ever had.

potato latke recipe
potato latke recipe. Photo: Oxmoor House

Choose the right potato

Russets are traditionally used in latke recipes because they are naturally starchy, which helps the shredded potatoes brown and stick together. Save a little time and don't bother peeling them, but make sure they are well scrubbed and clean. A food processor with a grater attachment is the best and easiest way to grate a pile of potatoes. You can also use the large holes of a box grater, but a food processor will give you the most even results.

Grate the onion

A little onion adds a much-needed bite to the mild potatoes. Instead of chopping the onion, grate it in the food processor (or with the large holes of a box grater) so that the shredded onion fully incorporates throughout the latke.

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Wring out the liquid thoroughly

Potatoes and onions are full of water, which can make soggy latkes. Wring out the excess moisture by placing the shredded potatoes and onions in a clean kitchen towel (the thinner the better), then gather the ends of the towel and twist it over the sink to wring out as much liquid as possible. Repeat once or twice for best results.

Add a binder

Although the potato starch acts as a natural binder, you need a little extra to keep the latkes from falling apart. You can use matzo meal (finely ground matzo), flour, or even fine plain breadcrumbs. When mixing the potato-onion mixture with the binder and eggs, be sure to season it well with salt and pepper.

Fry in cast iron—and use the right oil

Cast iron retains heat and has a nonstick surface that's perfect for flipping latkes. A neutral cooking oil like canola, peanut, or vegetable is best for frying. For an old-school experience (and the most flavorful latkes you've ever had), use equal parts oil and chicken fat, also called schmaltz.

Don't overcrowd the pan

You don't one giant potato pancake, so fry the latkes in batches. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the pan (about two tablespoons per latke) and space them apart in the pan as they cook.

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Drain, then keep warm

To keep your cooked latkes piping hot and crisp, drain them on a paper-towel lined baking sheet for a few seconds. Then transfer the drained latkes to a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Keep warm in a 250˚ oven.

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