Potato Latkes

Potato latkes

Crispy potato pancakes fried in oil and traditionally served with sour cream and apple jam – you’ll eat a whole batch without realising! Latkes are a classic Jewish dish to celebrate Hanukkah and they are irresistible.

Jewish cuisine has so many incredible dishes – mouth-watering challah bread, shakshuka with eggs on steroid, the comforting matzoh ball soup, and of course the irresistible latkes.

Latkes aren’t just a delicious holiday treat but a symbol of the miracle of Hanukkah. The oil used to fry them recalls the one day’s oil miraculously lasting eight nights in the temple.

Despite latkes being a very traditional food, none of the ingredients we currently use are traditional, strictly speaking.

As it often happens in food history, recipes evolve together with society and culture.

Oil and potatoes were not available in Eastern Europe in the past. Most people were using shortening, mostly from chicken, and potatoes became a common crop in Europe only in the 19th century.

According to Yoni Appelbaum, senior editor of the Atlantic, the potato latkes that we know today evolved from a North European version of pancakes made of rye or buckwheat fried in schmaltz. And in turn, the rye pancakes evolved from fritters with ricotta cheese – shocked gasp! Quite a journey!

Apparently, the original version of this dish goes back to the 14th century and was simple fried ricotta. This recipe was rooted in Mediterranean culture and linked to the story of Judith that medieval Jews conflated with the Hannukah’s tale.

Judith was a smart lady who took revenge on a general of an invading army by seducing him with wine and our famous fried ricotta pancakes. As he fell asleep, she snapped his head and showed it to the other invaders. These brutes were terrified and fled – the land was saved!

As they say, the way to a man’s heart (or head in this case) is through his stomach.

I am so fascinated by the story behind food and recipes. The kitchen is always a school of life showing us that the only constant is change. These stories also remind me of people that hate new versions of traditional beloved dishes – it’s important to respect our roots but we should never turn our back to innovation. What would be life without potato latke? The only way is forward!

I hope you’ll enjoy potato latkes this holiday season – they are truly addictive but watch out from eating too many – you don’t want to be beheaded!

Potato latkes

Course: Snacks, StartersDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time



Crispy potato pancakes fried in oil and traditionally served with sour cream and apple jam – you’ll eat a whole batch without realising! Latkes are a classic Jewish dish to celebrate Hanukkah and they are irresistible.


  • 800 g potatoes

  • 150 g onions

  • 2 eggs

  • 50 g breadcrumbs

  • Food cupboard
  • Sunflower oil for frying, salt & pepper to season

  • To serve
  • apple sauce or sour cream


  • Scrub the potatoes and coarsely grate them (keep the skin!). Grate the onions as well – it’s easier if you have a food processor. Alternate potatoes and your onion so to start mixing in the ingredients
  • Transfer your grated potatoes and onions to a tea towel and energetically squeeze all the water out of them. Keep going, it’s very important you squeeze all the water out of it in a big bowl.
  • Let the liquid rest for five minutes. At this point, the potato starch will separate from the liquid and stay at the bottom of your bowl. Discard the liquid and keep the starch – it will help combine the latke together.
  • Add the shreds of potatoes and onions to the bowl with starch. Add the breadcrumbs, one egg, salt and pepper, and mix it all together. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  • Now you can form the latkes, that’s quite fun! Take two big spoons of batter and form a ball (around the size of a golf ball), flatten it into a patty, and set it aside.
  • Fry the latkes – I do a maximum of three at a time so to keep the oil hot. Cook 3 – 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Watch out for the hot oil and adjust the heat if needed.
  • Drain the delicious latkes with kitchen paper, use a fork if needed to remove the excess oil.
  • Serve immediately with applesauce and source cream, to be traditional, or with yogurt (sssh) if you forgot to buy sour cream like me.


  1. This is such an interesting story! Started as fried ricotta? Whaaat? We also have these type of potato pancakes in Lithuania and I never knew they have Jewish origins.

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