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Best-Ever Potato Latkes

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Best-Ever Potato Latkes

For many, the holiday season is all about family and food. Having grown up celebrating Chanukah, this holiday food will include my favorite, potato latkes. More specifically, my mother’s latkes.

While there is still some debate in our family over applesauce vs. sour cream as the garnish (I’m on Team Applesauce, myself), there is no denying that latkes are an essential part of our Chanukah tradition.

I asked my mother to briefly explain (for those who don’t know) why we make latkes and then to share her recipe for these delicious treats:

Latkes (potato pancakes) are part of the Chanukah tradition. The Jewish holiday commemorates a military victory over the Greeks, celebrating their right to practice Judaism. When the Jews entered their desecrated temple in order to rededicate it, they found they only had enough oil to keep the Eternal Light lit for one day. The story goes that the oil miraculously lasted 8 days until they were able to press more oil. Therefore, the holiday is 8 days long and we eat foods that are fried in oil, like latkes and doughnuts.

Potato Latkes

3 medium Russet potatoes (1 lb.)—best choice of potato for latkes!
3 beaten eggs
1/4 cup matzo meal
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Applesauce and/or sour cream as garnish

Peel and coarsely shred potatoes (should have 3 cups). As you work, put shredded potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent darkening and to ensure a crispy latke. Drain. Rinse and drain again thoroughly.

In a mixing bowl, stir together eggs, potatoes, matzo meal, onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In a 12″ skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.

Work in batches: For each latke, drop 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture into hot oil. Press to flatten slightly. Fry 2 – 3 minutes or till edges are crisp; turn. Fry 2 – 3 minutes more. Drain on paper towels. Cover; keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, adding oil to skillet as needed. Serve warm with applesauce and/or sour cream. Makes 24 latkes.

So how do you like your latkes — sour cream, applesauce (or another topping)? Tell us in the comments below!


1 christineM { 12.06.17 at 2:41 pm }

Both!…We are polish, so we never used the matzo meal…Every tradition is good…Not one better than the “other”..I do both, but if I had to “forgo one”, it would be the applesauce…:0 And Yes, good idea to add a few finely chopped jalapenos(minus the seeds) I do put chopped green onions in my batter too…Such a treat to eat! Anything “left over” is “just as good “re heated in the oven” at 350 the next day or so…Really!If you are “going to take the time to make them, you might as well “make extra”, as the “next day…I still crave the taste…:))

2 Patti { 12.06.17 at 10:34 am }

NO matzo meal, NO eggs. I’ve been making latkes over 45 years. Russetts, onion, lemon juice (little squeeze to keep potato from browning), salt, pepper, oil. Always perfect! Both applessuce & sour cream for my family.

3 TommyD { 12.06.17 at 10:12 am }


4 Diane { 12.06.17 at 10:01 am }

Home made applesauce!! Use Idaho potatoes.

5 Joan Soldwisch { 12.06.17 at 8:27 am }

Sour cream…sour cream…sour cream. Missing from this recipe is a recommendation for the best potato to use.

6 Susan W { 12.28.16 at 5:36 pm }


7 Michelle { 12.28.16 at 3:39 pm }

I like to add things to the batter before frying. Try dividing into batches and do a batch with some chopped black olives, some finely diced sundried tomatoes, or some diced jalapenos. YUM

8 Depends on the mood. Sour cream, apple sauce, ketchup or mustard { 12.27.16 at 7:42 pm }

Depends on the mood. Sour cream, apple sauce, ketchup or mustard

9 Pat { 12.27.16 at 7:19 pm }


10 Susan { 12.27.16 at 5:54 pm }

Sour cream preferably but, since I’m lactose intolerant I bravely use applesauce. Not anywhere as tasty.

11 Susan Higgins { 12.07.17 at 9:18 am }

Hi Alter, using mashed potatoes is fine but you’ll be making a different dish, more like potato pancakes. Traditional latkes use shredded raw potatoes.

12 Alter { 12.13.15 at 1:32 am }

How about using mash potatoes instead of shreding potatoes ?

13 Jocelyn { 12.11.15 at 6:26 am }

Making them right now! Yes, they do cook 2 min per side on medium-high heat- perfectly brown and crispy 🙂 The trick is to keep them small as the recipe says- 2T isn’t much. I made matzo meal by putting a few sheets of matzo in the blender. Yum!

14 Susan Higgins { 12.07.17 at 9:14 am }

Hi Deb Zimmer – thanks for your comment but the directions do say to cook 2-3 minutes and then 2-3 minutes again. So you’re always flipping to cook thoroughly.

15 Deb Zimmer { 12.11.15 at 1:21 am }

I’ve never met a latke that cooks in 2-3 minutes on each side. Don’t rush it. Needs to be nice and brown. Consider skipping the peeling (just give a good scrub) to save time and nutrients. Sour cream AND applesauce, sometimes both on the same latke.

16 JLMcNeal { 12.07.15 at 5:02 pm }

Might want to try saving the starch that collects in the bottom of the soaking water to mix back into the potatoes, it helps with browning

17 Sabine { 12.07.15 at 2:23 pm }

Applesauce !!!!

18 Laurel Paulson-Pierce { 12.06.15 at 3:30 pm }

Sour cream!!
If you do not have matzo meal you can we substitute cracker crumbs.
Crush any plain crackers into crumbs. If you don’t have cracker crumbs,
or crackers to crush into crumbs, substitute fine (small) breadcrumbs.

19 teri { 12.06.15 at 7:47 am }

gotta have lots of sour cream !!

20 Jerryanne { 12.05.15 at 9:38 pm }

Although I like both, I prefer sour cream, being more into salt than sugar.

21 P. Marie Leitman { 12.05.15 at 8:59 pm }

Chunky applesauce

22 Sharon { 12.05.15 at 8:18 pm }

I use applesauce! Sooooooooooo Good.

23 Lesli { 12.05.15 at 7:56 pm }

Applesauce with cinnamon!!!

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