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Crispy Potato Latkes

These delicious potato latkes have a crispy exterior and a light, tender inside that are topped with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce. The perfect appetizer for Hanukkah or any time of year!

Crispy Potato Latkes

I’ve always wanted to make latkes and since it’s Hanukkah, it’s the perfect time to try. I found a recipe on Cook’s Illustrated website that sounded delicious and fun to make. The key to a light and crispy latke is you need to remove as much water as possible from the potato shreds by wringing them out in a kitchen towel and then you want to prevent the release of what water remains by microwaving the shreds briefly which causes the starches in the potatoes to form a gel. It adds a few more steps to the process but it really does make deliciously crispy potato latkes.

Crispy Potato Latkes

How to Make Crispy Potato Latkes

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Shred the potatoes and onion then place the shreds into a large bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and toss to coat evenly.  Place half of the potato mixture on a clean dish towel. Gather the ends together and twist tightly to drain as much liquid as possible, reserving the liquid in a measuring cup.

Transfer the drained potato to a second microwavable bowl and repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture. Set potato liquid aside and allow the starch to settle to the bottom, for at least 5 minutes.

Cover the potato mixture with a paper towel and microwave until just warm, but not hot, for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring the mixture with a fork every 30 seconds. Spread the potato mixture on another rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. Don’t wash out the bowl.

Crispy Potato Latkes

Pour out the water from the reserved potato liquid, leaving potato starch in a measuring cup. Add eggs to the starch and whisk until smooth and well combined. Return the cooled potato mixture to the bowl then top with the egg mixture and season with freshly cracked pepper, to taste; toss until evenly combined.

Set a wire rack on a clean rimmed baking sheet then top with a triple layer of paper towels.  Heat 1/4-inch depth of vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (about 350 degrees).

Place a 1/4-cup mound of potato mixture in oil and press with a nonstick spatula into a 1/3-inch-thick disk. Repeat until 5 latkes are in the skillet. Cook, adjusting the heat so the oil bubbles are latke edges, until golden brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip them over and cook for about 3 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a baking sheet preheated in the oven.

Repeat with remaining potato mixtures, adding oil to maintain a 1/4-inch depth and returning oil back to 350 degrees between batches. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place them on a serving plate and top with snipped chives. Serve immediately with sour cream and applesauce. Enjoy.

Crispy Potato Latkes

Crispy Potato Latkes

Crispy Potato Latkes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Sides
Servings: 5 (10 latkes)
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking / Original Cook's Illustrated

Equipment

Ingredients

Potato Latkes:

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and shredded **Use the largest holes of a box grater
  • ½ cup grated onion **Use the largest holes of a box grater
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chives, snipped, to taste

Serve with:

  • Sour cream
  • Applesauce

Instructions

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. 
  • Shred the potatoes and onion then place the shreds into a large bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and toss to coat evenly.  Place half of the potato mixture on a clean dish towel. Gather the ends together and twist tightly to drain as much liquid as possible, reserving the liquid in a measuring cup. 
  • Transfer the drained potato to a second microwavable bowl and repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture. Set potato liquid aside and allow the starch to settle to the bottom, for at least 5 minutes. 
  • Cover the potato mixture with a paper towel and microwave until just warm, but not hot, for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring the mixture with a fork every 30 seconds. Spread the potato mixture on a second rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. Don't wash out the bowl.
  • Pour out the water from the reserved potato liquid, leaving potato starch in a measuring cup. Add eggs to the starch and whisk until smooth and well combined. Return the cooled potato mixture to the bowl then top with the egg mixture and season with freshly cracked pepper, to taste; toss until evenly combined. 
  • Set a wire rack on a clean rimmed baking sheet then top with a triple layer of paper towels.  Heat 1/4-inch depth of vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (about 350 degrees). 
  • Place a 1/4-cup mound of potato mixture in oil and press with a nonstick spatula into a 1/3-inch-thick disk. Repeat until 5 latkes are in the skillet. Cook, adjusting the heat so the oil bubbles are latke edges, until golden brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip them over and cook for about 3 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels and transfer to the baking sheet preheated in the oven.
  • Repeat with remaining potato mixtures, adding oil to maintain a 1/4-inch depth and returning oil back to 350 degrees between batches. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Place them on a serving plate and top with snipped chives. Serve immediately with sour cream and applesauce. Enjoy.
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8 Comments

  1. I’ve also never made latkes but it seems like as good a time as any to try! These look fabulous. Cook’s Illustrated sometimes has crazy techniques but they always seem to work.