Traditional Hanukkah Potato Latkes (Parve)

Potato Latkes
Potato Latkes with Dill Sour Cream. Credit: Lisa Romerein/Getty Images
    50 min
Ratings (13)

"Fried food, explains Giora Shimoni, "is traditionally eaten on Hanukkah in commemoration of the oil that miraculously burned for eight days when the Maccabees purified and rededicated the holy Temple in Jerusalem."  Shimoni's recipe for classic Potato Latkes -- also known as levivot in Hebrew -- uses a food processor to simplify the prep. 

Miri's Recipe Notes and Tips:

What kind of potatoes should you use? Shimoni didn't specify a variety in the original recipe, but his accompanying photo included what looked like Yukon Golds. Many longtime latke makers swear by Russets, but when it comes down to it, both work -- so use your favorite (or a mix!).

The original recipe called for 5 potatoes -- but potatoes can vary wildly in size and weight. Given the number of onions and eggs the recipe specified, its a good idea to aim for 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of potatoes. 

Shimoni uses the food processor's standard blade instead or the shredding disc, so the resulting latkes have a smoother, more uniform texture than hand-grated latkes. (Of course, if you don't have a food processor, you can go the old school route and use a box grater for the onions and potatoes). 

Intimidated by frying? Master the art of making perfect latkes with this Latke Making 101 tutorial -- you'll find lots of tips, from picking the right pan, to getting your latkes crisp, but not greasy.  

A Latke Party Menu: If you're going to stand around frying latkes for a Hanukkah party, do yourself a favor and keep the rest of the menu simple. That way, as soon as the latkes are out of the pan, you can enjoy the festivities, too. You'll have the most versatility when it comes to latke toppings if you go with a pareve menu, like Indian Spiced Salmon, served alongside Curry Roasted Cauliflower. Instead of applesauce and sour cream, try store-bought or homemade Mango Chutney and Mint-Cucumber Raita to complement the latkes -- and the rest of the meal. Chanukah Gelt Thumbprint Cookies are a fun dessert option. 

Updated by Miri Rotkovitz

What You'll Need

  • 5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 to 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying (canola is recommended)
  • Applesauce and/or sour cream for serving (optional)

How to Make It

1. Line a platter or plate with paper towels and set aside. Peel the potatoes. Place them in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them, so they won’t turn brown.

2. When ready to prepare the latkes, drain the potatoes. Place potatoes and onions in a food processor fitted with a knife blade (aka S-blade). Pulse until smooth. Drain the mixture well.

3. Pour the potato mixture into a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Add enough flour so that the mixture holds together.

4. Pour 1 inch of oil into a large, deep frying pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

5. Carefully drop 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the hot oil. Flatten the pancake slightly so the center will cook. Repeat with additional batter, taking care not to crowd the pan. 

6. Fry for several minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to the paper towel-lined platter to drain, and continue frying the the remaining latke batter in batches. Serve immediately with applesauce and/or sour cream if desired.