Tips for Making Latkes for Hanukkah
1 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Making Hanukkah Latkes
After the Hanukkah candle lighting, it’s time for singing songs and feasting on latkes. Learning how to make latkes is pretty easy; the cooking tips included here will help you make the best latkes for your Hanukkah celebration.
Latkes can be made of all sorts of foods from buckwheat to noodles to cheese, but the most common are lacy-textured latkes made of grated raw potatoes mixed with onions and eggs and fried. Some people use mashed cooked potatoes instead for a pancake with a softer interior. At home, most people shallow-fry their latkes, but some cooks, especially at restaurants, deep-fry them and then they resemble fritters.
At Hanukkah parties, latkes star as a course on their own, served with sour cream and applesauce. For the kids (and some adults, too!), some also offer jelly, sugar, or cinnamon and sugar. Potato pancakes are also great partners for fish, chicken, or meat.
In kosher kitchens, sour cream is not served with latkes if they accompany meat or poultry dishes, but you may find applesauce on the table. Usually, you don’t need additional toppings for latkes when they are companions for main dishes like stews or any that come with a sauce. You simply spoon some of the sauce over the latkes, too.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re making potato latkes:
Most cooks recommend using baking potatoes for latkes: They’re a good choice because they tend to be less watery. If you can’t find them, large boiling potatoes give good results.
It might surprise you that potato latkes reheat beautifully, unlike most other fried foods. To make potato latkes ahead, fry them and put them on a cookie sheet and then refrigerate or freeze them. After the latkes are frozen, you can transfer the homemade delights to a freezer bag. Before serving, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. If your latkes are frozen, remove them from the freezer about 15 minutes before heating so that they partially thaw.
Bake the refrigerated or partly frozen latkes on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 5 minutes or until they are hot. Frying potato latkes in advance is better than making the batter ahead, as the raw potatoes in the batter tend to discolor.
No matter what kind of latkes you are making, heat the oil well before adding the latkes. That way, they don’t stick.
Don't turn your latkes over too soon, or they will stick and break. Once their bottoms have begun to brown, they don’t stick. Check by lifting the edge of one carefully with a spatula when they appear to have begun browning at their lower edges.
When frying potato or vegetable pancakes, turn them carefully so that the oil doesn’t splatter. It’s easiest to use two slotted spatulas or pancake turners to do this