Papa Leo’s traditional potato latkes are the perfect dish to serve for Hanukkah or any day of the year!
When Hanukkah rolls around every year, I have a hard time straying away from the traditional potato latke recipe passed down from my Papa Leo. Crispy, salty, savory potato pancakes in all their glory – it doesn’t get any better than this for a side or main dish! We top them simply with a little sour cream, fresh parsley, and apple sauce. And that’s all you need! If you’ve ever been curious about latkes, here is your sign to give them a try!
- Using a food processor with the grating attachment to shred the potatoes and onions will save you time and prevent knicking your fingers.
- Squeeze out as much water as possible from the grated potatoes. Paper towel or a kitchen tower works really well. Keep squeezing until you can’t squeeze anymore. Note: If using a food processor, do the potatoes separately from the onions so you can squeeze them. Onion juice = flavor. Potato water = soggy sadness.
- Make more than you think you’ll need! More than likely, you’ll only make these once a year. Go crazy and make a double batch, you’ll thank yourself all week long.
How to Make Traditional Potato Latkes
Start your potato latkes by using either a food processor or grater to grate your potatoes and onion.
When you’ve finished grating your potatoes, transfer them to a large bowl and use a paper towel to squeeze as much excess water out as you can. Then add the grated onion.
Into the bowl of the potato and onion, crack in your eggs.
Then stir in your matzo meal.
Finally, sprinkle in some salt for flavor.
Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
Then in a large cast iron skillet or pan, heat a couple inches of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to portion your batter into the oil.
Be careful not to overcrowd the pan and use a spatula to flatten your latkes. After a couple minutes, flip your latke so that it can cook on both sides.
Once your latkes are evenly browned, remove from the oil and plan on a pan or plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
Continue working in batches until all of your potato mixture is gone, then serve your traditional potato latkes with sour cream and apple sauce and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What were original latkes made of?
Before potatoes, they were most likely made with a grain like buckwheat or rye.
What is traditionally served with potato latkes?
Sour cream and apple sauce is the traditional topping! However many also enjoy them with a horseradish sauce.
Are latkes only for Hanukkah?
While latkes are traditionally served on or around Hanukkah, you can enjoy them any time of year!
More Holiday Favorites
- Jewish Apple Cake
- Classic Matzo Ball Soup
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
- Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
- Easy Sugar Cookies
Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, my family’s Traditional Potato Latkes are a delicious dish worth trying.
Your fork is waiting.
Traditional Potato Latkes
- 4 russet potatoes (peeled and grated finely water squeezed out)
- 1 medium onion (grated finely)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup matzo meal or more if needed
- canola oil (for frying)
- sour cream (and apple sauce for serving)
- Using a food processor or cheese grater, grate the potatoes and place in a bowl using a paper towel to remove excess water. Grate the onion in with the potato.
- Add egg, salt, and matzo meal to the potato/onion mixture and mix well with a fork. If mixture seems too watery, add more matzo meal.
- Heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium-high heat In a deep pan or cast iron skillet. Add a drop of the potato mixture to test the heat of the oil. If it bubbles, it's ready!
- Using an ice cream scoop or large soup spoon, drop the potato mixture into the oil being careful not to over crowd the pan. Flatten the pancakes with a metal spatula to ensure even cooking.
- After 3-4 minutes, check for color and flip once browned on one side. Flatten again with the spatula and cook until browned on both sides.
- Lay cooked latkes on plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- Continue working in batches until all of the potato mixture is gone. Serve with sour cream, horse radish, or apple sauce.
54 thoughts on “Traditional Potato Latkes”
how could I not consider Papa Leo’s latke recipe?! May his memory be a blessing (and it is)
These look wonderful. About how many latkes does this recipe make?
It honestly depends on the size of your scoops!
Can you sun bread crumbs or corn meal for matzo meal?
It will alter the taste and texture a bit, but you could sub out for one of those!
From someone who’s never made latkes…when you say 4 russet potatoes, how many pounds should I use? The sizes vary greatly! Thanks so much.
Hi Kim – This recipe is very forgiving so no need to be that precise. Just look for 4 typical sized Russet potatoes and you’ll be ok! :)
i just love latkes! great recipe. if u dont have a food processor, u can use a blender. growing up in a household of 9 many hands to help. in my late 20s my kids helped, then i got carpel tunnel in both hands and by 30 & 40’s just couldnt grate it anymore. plus my mom who is 25 years older than me, neither one of us good grate anymore :( well i didnt want to give up on this great food so i came up with a blender and tadah!! problem solved. home it helps for others.
Good idea about the blender!!!
Potato latkes and sufganiot… but the smell of fried food is permeating in our apartment. Aside from opening all the windows while frying, any other ideas to clear the air, lest the odor/aroma will linger long after Chanukah is gone… when I’ll need to start my diet!
Yumm..these look Perrrfect!!! And I love how you add the NI (or not?) haha