Crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy in the middle, these Classic Potato Latkes are a must for your Hannukah table. They’re made with only 3 ingredients, are flour-free, Whole30-compatible, and are very easy to prepare. Unlike some latke recipes, these ones do not require any flour, matzo meal or breadcrumbs as a binder. Instead, the potato starch is reserved to help prevent the latkes from falling apart.
What You Need For Classic Potato Latkes
- Potatoes: You can use yellow or white potatoes to make your latkes. I tend to lean towards yellow-fleshed potatoes like Yukon Golds because I prefer the colour, texture and flavour. You can also substitute red potatoes, sweet potatoes, Japanese yams, or even rutabaga.
- Onion: Adding grated onion to the mixture is really what separates a Latke from a hash brown. Just be sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible before mixing the onion with the potato.
- Egg: Along with the reserved potato starch, an egg will help the latkes hold together during frying. The egg also adds some texture and colour. However, they’re not entirely necessary and you can omit them if you have an allergy or aversion in the family.
- Salt and Pepper: These classic potato latkes are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, but you should feel free to season them with anything you like. You can add fresh chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme. Or maybe even some Old Bay!
Top Tips For The Crispiest Latkes
- Long Shreds: You can use a box grater or food processor to grate your potatoes. Either way, you want to aim for long shreds of potato so that you get a nice texture and some lacy edges. On a box grater, use the coarse side and try to go up and down as far as possible. In a food processor, use the coarse grater attachment and slowly push the potato through the feed tube.
- Drain Fully: Use a nut milk bag, cheese cloth or clean kitchen towel to squeeze and completely drain the potatoes. Do this over a bowl and NOT over the sink. You will need the potato starch!
- RESERVE THE POTATO STARCH: This is the most important tip of all! Do not discard the potato water immediately after squeezing. Instead, let the water sit for 5-10 minutes in a bowl so that the potato starch settles on the bottom. Once you can see the hard, white potato starch, you can carefully pour off the potato water and any foam on the surface.
- Lots of Oil: Latkes are best when fried in a generous amount of oil. I like to use avocado oil for frying because it’s neutral flavoured and has a high smoke point. If you happen to have some chicken schmaltz lying around, you can add some of that to the oil for more flavour.
- Drain Oil After Cooking: It’s one thing to have fried latkes and another to have greasy ones. After cooking, place the latkes on wire rack, paper towel or brown paper bag to absorb excess oil.
What To Serve With Latkes
Latkes can be enjoyed on their own or with a variety of toppings. The most popular paring is to serve classic potato latkes with sour cream and applesauce. I’ve personally never eaten latkes with applesauce. It just wasn’t how my family served them. Growing up, my brother and I would eat latkes with sour cream and sprinkled white sugar overtop. Probably to mask all the onion my mother added to her recipe.
Other ideas include crème fraîche, cream cheese, cucumbers, smoked salmon, lox, or eggs.
For a healthier option, try substituting the sour cream for full-fat Greek yogurt or make coconut “sour cream” at home.
Classic Potato Latkes – Whole30, Flour-Free
- 4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion coarsely grated
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper plus more to taste
- 3/4 cup or more avocado oil plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream for serving
- Peel the potatoes and, using the coarse side of a box grater or food processor, grate them into long shreds. Transfer the grated potatoes to a nut milk bag or cheese cloth placed over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid from the potatoes as possible and reserve the potato water. Let the potato water sit for 5-10 minutes so that the starch settles at the bottom of the bowl. Discard the potato water and any foam on the surface. Return the dried potatoes to the bowl with the potato starch.
- Using the coarse side of a box grater or food processor, grate the onion. Squeeze and discard as much liquid from the onion with the nut milk bag or cheese cloth. Add the onion to the potatoes along with the egg, salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
- Portion the latkes with a 1/3 cup measuring cup and form into round patties. Place the latkes onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and set aside.
- Preheat ¼ cup avocado oil in a stainless-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully add 3 to 4 latkes at a time and cook until golden brown on the outside and fork-tender in the middle, around 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fried latkes to a tray lined with a cooling rack, paper towel or brown paper bag. Season immediately with a pinch of salt and serve with yogurt or sour cream. If making in advance, reheat the cooked latkes in a 350F oven until warmed through (approx. 8-10 minutes).