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How to Make the Best Latkes

Crispy, golden potato pancakes are such a tradition at Chanukah, that they’re usually served on all eight nights. 
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Follow these tips to get the best batch every time, whether you’re serving as a main dish or making mini latkes for an appetizer. Don’t forget to serve with either sour cream or applesauce—or both! 

1. Use russet potatoes 
These starchy potatoes are the best for frying. You’ll want to peel them before grating to have a more uniform latke. 

Classic Latkes

2. Coarsely grate the potatoes 
Use the large holes of a box grater or the shredding disk attachment of your food processor. These shreds will hold together better, just like hash brown patties.

3. Remove any excess liquid 
Any moisture can keep the latkes from getting golden and crisp. Drain in a colander, pressing on the potatoes with the back of a spoon. You can also transfer to a clean tea towel or paper towels and wring out any liquid. 

Beet and Potato Latkes

4. Mix wet and dry ingredients well 
Combine the shredded potatoes with the flour and egg until evenly mixed (your hands are actually the best tool for this). This will help the latkes hold their shape in the pan. 

5. Leave room in the pan 
Space latkes 2–3 inches apart in the pan. More room helps them cook evenly and also makes them easier to flip—very helpful when working with hot oil! You can make mini- or medium-sized latkes; larger latkes will take longer to cook and might fall apart when flipped.  

Mini Latkes and Toppings Bar

6. Manage your oil temperature 
You might need to adjust the heat up slightly for the first batch as the oil gets hot. The temperature will also decrease as more latkes are added to the pan. By the second and third batches however, the oil will already be very hot and could burn. Lower the heat as needed for these batches.   

7. Let them drain 
Transfer cooked latkes to a paper towel–lined sheet pan or a wire rack to drain off excess oil. This is also the best time to season the latkes with salt. To keep them warm as you cook the next batch, place in a 300°F oven until ready to serve.  

Potato Parsnip Latkes and Applesauce 

8. Try using other root vegetables 
Once you’ve mastered potato latkes, why not get a little more adventurous? Adding other starchy vegetables, such as beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, or parsnips can add color and new flavors. 

Root Veggie Latkes

Try one of these amazing latke recipes found in this article! 

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