These Crispy, Golden-Brown Latkes Are The Only Recipe You Need For Your Hanukkah Celebration (2024)

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Looking for ultra-crispy, golden-brown latkes to serve at your Hanukkah celebration this year? Your search stops here: our tried-and-true, best-ever recipe is the only one you need. Celebrating the Festival of Lights calls for eating plenty of deep-fried foods such as loukoumades and sufganiyot, but if you ask us, no celebration is truly complete with these perfect latkes. We kept things classic and simple in this recipe, making them a perfect base for any of your must-have latke additions. Set out the sour cream and applesauce, and keep reading for all of our top tips on how to perfect this classic recipe:

Latkes vs. hash browns:
While they may seem similar, latkes and hash browns are far from the same thing. Latkes incorporate eggs and a binder with the shredded potatoes, and oftentimes will include other ingredients like onion and plenty of seasonings. Hash browns are usually only made up of shredded potatoes, before being pan-fried in much less oil that latkes require.

How to make the best latkes:
The potatoes. We love to use classic Russet potatoes in our latkes; their high starch content allows them to get extra crispy. We choose to peel our potatoes, but you can keep the skin on if you prefer.
The best way to shred your potatoes. If you only have a box grater, that will work, but we prefer to use a grater attachment on our food processor for perfectly consistent shreds.
The key to crispy latkes. The enemy of a crispy latke is moisture. To eliminate any extra moisture in our latkes (and to guarantee crispy bites), we shred our onions separately, and remove the onion juice at the end of shredding. Then, we squeeze our potato shreds in a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture, and save the potato starch at the bottom of our bowl to help bind our latkes later.

These simple latkes make a great base for whatever seasonings and additions you desire! Add grated onion if you think no latke is complete without it, or any of your favorite must-have seasonings: garlic, paprika or rosemary would be a great place to start.

How to serve latkes:
Personally, we don't think any latke is complete without sides of sour cream and homemade applesauce. But, if you want to take things up a notch, load your latkes up with whipped cream cheese, capers and red onion, or top with ricotta and hot honey for a sweet-salty version. To get even more creative, check out our favorite latke recipes that take these potato cakes to the next level.

Made them? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!

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Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 1/2 lb.

    Russet potatoes, peeled (about 2 medium)

  • 8 oz.

    White onion, peeled (about 1 medium)

  • 2

    large eggs, beaten

  • 3/4 c.

    matzo meal

  • 1 tbsp.

    kosher salt, divided

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 2 tbsp.

    freshly chopped chives

  • Applesauce, for serving

  • Sour cream, for serving


    1. Step1Ideally using the grating attachment on a food processor, or usingthe medium holes on box grater, grate potatoes. In a separate bowl do the same with the onion, discarding any onion juice that is created. Transfer the grated vegetables to a large bowl.
    2. Step2Working with a bit of the potatoes and onions at a time, add the vegetables to the center of a clean kitchen towel orcheese cloth, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible over a bowl. Repeat this until all of the shreds are dry.
    3. Step3Take the bowl of potato and onion juice and carefully pour out the liquid. This should reveal some paste-like potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.Reserve the potato starch.
    4. Step4In a large bowl, toss together the reserved potato starch, saltand the dried, shredded vegetables. Then gradually add the egg and matzo meal, alternating adding a bit of each at a time, until you are able to form the latkes into patties but the mixture isn't too dry.
    5. Step5In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/4” oil until shimmering. To test if oil is hot enough, use a bit of latke batter and make sure it sizzles and begins to brown.
    6. Step6Form as many latkes that will fit into your skillet without overcrowding and add to the oil.Fry until crispy and golden, about 2 to3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then sprinkle with a bit more salt.Repeat with the remaining latke batter.
    7. Step7Serve with chives, applesauce, and sour cream.

These Crispy, Golden-Brown Latkes Are The Only Recipe You Need For Your Hanukkah Celebration (2)

These Crispy, Golden-Brown Latkes Are The Only Recipe You Need For Your Hanukkah Celebration (4)

These Crispy, Golden-Brown Latkes Are The Only Recipe You Need For Your Hanukkah Celebration (7)

Rian Handler

Rian Handler is a food writer,editor, and recipedeveloper with a fierce love for sour gummies.

These Crispy, Golden-Brown Latkes Are The Only Recipe You Need For Your Hanukkah Celebration (2024)


What is the significance of latkes during Hanukkah? ›

These potato pancakes (called latkes) are meant to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah, when the oil of the menorah in the ransacked Second Temple of Jerusalem was able to stay aflame for eight days even though there was only enough oil for one day. The symbolism comes in the form of the oil in which latkes are fried.

What were latkes primarily made of before they were made of potatoes? ›

They weren't eating potatoes. Make your inbox more interesting with newsletters from your favorite Atlantic writers. So what was a latke before the arrival of the potato? Still a pancake, but made from grain—most commonly buckwheat or rye—and fried in schmaltz.

Do you eat latkes on Rosh Hashanah? ›

Symbolic Foods in Judaism

On Chanukah, we eat latkes. On Purim, we eat hamantaschen. On Shavuot, we eat dairy foods like crepes and cheesecake. And on Rosh Hashanah, we eat apples and honey.

What is the symbolic meaning of latkes? ›

During the Jewish holiday, eating crispy, fried, slightly oniony potato pancakes represents perseverance, and a little bit of magic. But miraculously it lasted eight days. Centuries after the fact, Jews were told to celebrate by eating foods cooked in oil.

What is the difference between potato pancakes and latkes? ›

Potato pancakes have a creamy, almost mashed-potato-like center, with a thin, golden, crisp exterior. Latkes, on the other hand, should have a deeply browned crust, with wispy, lacy edges. Latkes also aren't hash browns.

What were the original latkes made of? ›

Of course we associate potato latkes with Hanukkah, but in reality latkes descends from Italian pancakes that were made with ricotta cheese. The first connection between Hanukkah and pancakes was made by a rabbi in Italy named Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (c. 1286-1328).

What is the tradition of the latke? ›

The latke is traditionally prepared during the Hanukkah holiday to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem lasting eight days.

Are potato latkes the same as hash browns? ›

Hash browns are shredded potatoes, fried (or air-fried), til golden brown. They typically remain loose, or in shreds. Latkes, a.k.a potato pancakes, are grated or ground potatoes that are mixed with egged, flour, or other binding agents. They are one piece, like a pancake.

Can you eat latkes outside of Hanukkah? ›

By the way, you don't have to be Jewish or actually celebrate Hanukkah to love latkes. These crispy little potato pancakes make a wonderful appetizer or a great side dish all year long.

What is the most popular Hanukkah food? ›

Hanukkah foods don't get more iconic than latkes. This bite-size iteration of the crispy potato pancakes makes a great holiday appetizer, and you can top them however you want (say, with sour cream and applesauce, or cream cheese and smoked fish).

What is forbidden during Rosh Hashanah? ›

As with Shabbat, the Torah explicitly forbids work on Rosh Hashanah, as on other major Jewish festivals. Among modern Jews, practices vary. In Orthodox communities, refraining from work on both days of Rosh Hashanah is considered the norm. Among more liberal Jews, some will refrain from work only on the first day.

What not to eat on Rosh Hashanah? ›

Favorite recipes and sweet foods are popular choices for families on the first and second nights of Rosh Hashanah. Sour foods are usually avoided. Some people avoid nuts during Rosh Hashanah since the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the word “nu*t” add up to the same number as the word “sin.”

Why do Jews eat applesauce with latkes? ›

Tradition says so

Latkes are usually served at dinnertime along with a meaty main, like brisket. Mixing milk and meat at the same meal is a no-no for those who keep kosher, so sour cream would be out as a latke condiment leaving the underdog apple sauce victorious.

When did latkes become a Hanukkah tradition? ›

Latkes Are a Hanukkah Staple

The tradition traces back to 14th century Italy. According to "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food," Italian Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus introduced Italian potato pancakes into Jewish tradition by including them in a poem about Hanukkah in the early 1300s.

What is the most important symbol for Hanukkah? ›

The most famous symbol of Hanukkah is the hanukkiah, the nine-branched candelabra which is lit each night, and can often be seen in house windows. Hanukkah celebrations are centred around lighting the hanukkiah, and families will gather to light the candles together.

What are some interesting facts about latkes? ›

We all know latkes are delicious, but there are many other important facts you should know!
  • We Eat Them Because They're Oily. ...
  • Latke is Yiddish for “Pancake” ...
  • In Hebrew They're Called Levivot. ...
  • Maimonides' Father Talks About Fried Hanukkah Foods. ...
  • Potatoes Are Most Popular. ...
  • Cheese Dishes Are More Traditional.

What is the most important thing in Hanukkah? ›

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates in particular the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival.

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