‘Tis the Season

For latkes! Below, my recipe for potato pancakes (from a 2005 post). But first: anyone up for live blogging tonight, or are y’all still Christmasing?

Latkes (potato pancakes)

For my wife and son, both small eaters, I use one good-sized russet potato, one small onion, and two eggs.

Peel and coarsely grate the potato. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss to mix. Over the next few minutes, the potato will give up some of its water. You can pour this off, but in my experience the ultimate pancake is only subtly different.

Beat two eggs in with the potatos. Add a heaping tablespoon of matzo meal (NO, flour or bread crumbs will NOT substitute) and mix well. Coarsely grate one small onion and add this to the mix. The onion is optional, but I think it adds considerable character. Freshly ground black pepper is a must.

The matzo meal will absorb some of the liquid over the next five minutes. That’s about as long as I have patience to wait. In a nonstick pan, heat vegetable oil (a thin layer — don’t skimp, but your pancake shouldn’t swim, either) until a bit of potato sizzles.

I make my latkes about three inches across. I flatten them slightly with a fork. If your cooktop doesn’t heat evenly, turn the pancakes before flipping. Before flipping, you want ‘em GBD, as Alton Brown says (golden brown and delicious). The second side will brown more unevenly than the first, but don’t worry about that.

Drain. Serve with sour cream.

Or just eat ’em hot.



  1. Suisan says:

    I’ll live blog. What time? 7?

    Neo and I went into my youngest daughter’s second grade class this year and lit the menorah and made latkes. I gave Neo credit for Social Studies/History for the presentation. It was pretty fun.

    I seem to have broken through some sort of latke barrier — I never made them well before, and now I’m making them all the time. For every batch I buy a small container of sour cream and a jar of applesauce.

    Neo asked me the other day, “Why do we have tons of jars of applesauce? No one in the family eats the stuff except for you. And you only eat it when you’re sick.”

    Note to self: no more applesauce.

  2. Walnut says:

    Yeah, let’s shoot for 7!

  3. Stamper in CA says:

    Your recipe is very similar to mine…I put in less onion (probably about 2-3 tablespoons) as I don’t handle oinon that well.
    I just eat ’em hot. Yum-o as Rachel Ray would say. I never understood the appeal of applesauce with latkes or sour cream. To each his own.

  4. shaina says:

    we made latkes for the first time this year…used 2 regular potatoes and one yam (cheaper than sweet potato but with the same effect), one egg, and a few tablespoons of flour. oh, and a little salt and pepper. they were GREAT. your recipe sound interesting too 😀 but i have a feeling there are as many recipes for latkes as there are Jewish grandmothers in the world, lol.

  5. shaina says:

    oh, forgot the onion. my dad and i are VERY sensitive to onion so we used the bare minimum, maybe a fifth of a small onion.

  6. Our mixed-religion-by-culture, Atheist-by-practice household found that latkes made a wonderful side dish… for a cider-braised pork roast. Hey, the carmelized onions and apples stood in for applesauce really well.

    I used a lot more onion, plus minced chives. Also, I used Yukon golds, grated into a bowl of water to keep them from discoloring. Our recipe used 2 eggs and flour; it also called for you to carefully pour the water out of the potato bowl and scrape the precipitated starch from the bottom into the batter as additional binder. They were quite good; I’ll be making them again.