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Hanukkah 2014: Making a perfect potato latke (FAQ/recipe)

Photo by Olga Massov via Flickr Creative Commons

Hanukkah 2014 begins Tuesday, Dec. 16, at sundown, with not a thread of a stain from last year's spotlight-stealing "Thanksgivukkah." Hybrid holidays. Very 2013.

This year, celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with your own oil-based miracle: The Potato Latke.

You need six ingredients to make the perfect latke — potato, onion, flour, egg, salt, and oil — but how they come together is a bit of a journey. Latkes are not difficult to make, but they are a bit labor intensive. These are the hand shredded, no food processor version for people who like doing things the hard way. It's tradition.

This Bubby-inspired recipe is also a great excuse for experimentation because there are no measurements here, only technique. Real latkes are made by feel. You have to follow your kishkes. 


  1. Shred Russet potatoes (washed and unpeeled) using the large holes on a box grater.
  2. Rinse shreds until water runs clear and they're not slippery.
  3. Place cleaned shreds into a large pot of ice water as you work.
  4. Repeat for each potato.
  5. Shred a few large yellow onions with the same grater.
  6. Drain potato shreds and press out all water with a towel.
  7. Mix together with shredded onion, beaten eggs and flour until the mixture "holds together" and is "not too wet, not too dry," according to my Bubby, who insisted those were the measurements.
  8. Fry large, pressed tablespoonfuls in a deep pan filled with HOT Canola oil. Corn oil, also good.
  9. Brown, flip, brown.
  10. Remove latke, blot on paper towels, sprinkle with kosher or sea salt.
  11. Remove rogue potato shreds from oil to reduce burning.
  12. Repeat until the bowl is empty. Ideally have two pans going at once.
  13. Serve with cranberry apple sauce and Sriracha sour cream.


How do you make your latkes?