International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Latkes cooling

(Israeli Jewish potato pancakes)

Image by slgckcg

Average: 3.8 (13 votes)

Jewish latkes originated with the peoples of northeastern Europe. They are a favorite treat year round, but are especially popular during Hanukkah when foods fried in oil are traditional.

Potato pancakes are not for Jews only. The Germans call them Kartoffelpuffer, or Reibekuchen. In Russia they are known as draniki; in Polish placki. The Swedish version, rårakor, is often served with lingonberry jam.

4 to 6 servings


  • Potatoes, peeled -- 2 pounds
  • All-purpose flour -- 1/3 cup
  • Eggs, beaten lightly -- 2
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil for frying


  1. Grate the potatoes into a large bowl of cold water. Let the potatoes soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the flour, egg, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame until it begins to shimmer, or to about 365 to 375 degrees F. Working in batches, drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil and flatten out to form patties. Fry until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and brown on the second side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and hold in a warm oven as you finish the rest of the pancakes.
  4. Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.

Latke Variations

  • Add some grated or minced onion to the potatoes for extra flavor. Use about 1/2 of a medium-sized onion.
  • Some recipes call for potato starch or matzo meal instead of flour. Use about 1/4 cup of potato starch or 1/2 cup of matzo meal.
  • Add chopped chives, dill or parsley to the batter if you like.
  • Try using sweet potatoes for latkes with a light sweetness and a wonderful golden hue.


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