Perfect potato pancakes

The eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is officially in full swing! Whether you observe the Festival of Lights every year with your family, or simply want to explore a different religion and culture, frying up these delish potato pancakes will give you a taste of tradition.


Grab a parent or an older sib and get in the kitchen! You’ll want someone there to help you with the frying. Be careful with the hot oil and enjoy your latkes, ladies.


What you’ll need:


1 pound of potatoes (the starchier the potato—think baking potatoes—the crispier the latke)

½ cup of finely chopped onion

1 egg, beaten

Pinch of salt

Black pepper to taste

Olive, peanut or canola oil for frying


Tip: Adding a 1/2-cup of all-purpose flour per pound of potatoes used will make your latkes a little bit heavier and will help the ingredients hold together while frying. Stir the flour into the mixture when you add the eggs.


What you’ll do:


1. Peel and grate your potatoes by hand. As you grate, add the potato bits to a bowl of water. When your finished, allow the potato to sit in the water for a few minutes, then drain thoroughly using a colander. To rid your grated potatoes of excess water, wrap them in a towel and ring them out, then place them in a fresh bowl.


2. Stir in the onion, egg, salt and pepper.


3. In a large pan, add your oil. You’ll want about a quarter-inch in the pan while frying. Note: Pick a pan with high, straight sides if you can. That’ll keep the splashing, popping oil from messing up your kitchen and your clothes.


4. Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s hot enough to fry your latkes. Test it by dropping in a shred of potato. It’s ready when the potato sizzles immediately upon being dropped into the pan.


5. Now it’s time to make your pancakes! You’ll want to make them two to three inches in diameter. Use a normal tablespoon to shape them—think two spoonfuls of potato per pancake—and slide them into the oil.


6. Fry them until the edges are browned, then flip. It should take about five minutes for them to cook. Once they’re finished frying, use a spatula to lift them out of the pan and set them on paper towels to drain off excess oil.


7. Season with salt and serve with sour cream or applesauce. Yum.


Not eating right away? Preheat an oven to 200 degrees F. and place your latkes on a parchment paper-lined tray. Slide them into the oven until you’re ready to serve.


Did you know… The frying of latkes in oil recalls the miraculous oil of old, which burned for eight days rather than just one during the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement. For more on Hanukkah traditions, check out


by GL | 2/1/2016