Can a potato latke recipe that’s twice cooked be twice as good as a traditional potato latke? No, but in some ways, it can be even better!
Hanukkah starts today and it’s customary to eat foods that are either fried in oil or made with cheese. So is it any wonder that my favourite part of the celebration is eating potato latkes?!
To kick off the celebration, we developed this make ahead recipe.
The beginning of Hanukkah can range from late November to late December and occasionally overlaps with Christmas. Because we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukah, I consider myself lucky that the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle and the date Hannukah falls on each year fluctuates. Since celebration and food always goes hand in hand, having the holidays too close together is sometimes too much of a good thing!
Traditional vs this Latke Recipe
This recipe is different from a traditional latke recipe (which I actually made as hors d’oeuvres for our wedding reception). The latkes have a cakey consistency because of more flour and baking soda than usual.
We flipped the traditional latke recipe around. Whereas you typically fry first and can reheat in an oven, we bake ours first and then fry!
My traditional recipe uses russet potatoes which have a high starch content. It also uses grated onions and garlic (which contributes to moisture content). On the other hand, this latke recipe uses yellow potatoes and only powdered onion, garlic and bouillon to flavour. Surprisingly, we tried one batch with real onion and garlic and another batch with powder versions and found we really didn’t miss the real ingredients. The onion just contributes additional water that has to be removed anyway.
We love latkes but not so much the prep work and frying. Our least favourite part of making latkes is squeezing out every last bit of moisture so you can get a crisp exterior when you fry them. Because of moisture, it’s pretty much inevitable to get hot oil splatter during cooking. We prefer not to suffer oil burns for our good eats 😉. This latke recipe solves these two problems because it cooks twice. First, you bake these in the oven – in muffin top tins – to remove the surface moisture. So no splatter when it comes time to fry them!
If you like your latkes greasy (like my brother-in-law), feel free to shallow fry instead of pan frying. Either way, the baking soda allows the potato to get a bit puffy in the oven while the final pan frying crisps up the exterior like a typical latke! Actually, it solves one more problem: you don’t have to fry them all in one go. Once out of the oven, you can store them for later; a real convenience.
We use small potatoes instead of bigger ones; they just have to be cut anyway to put through the food processor.
Because it can be difficult to know how many potatoes you’ll need, we weigh them. This batch weighs in at under 2 1/2 pounds (2 pounds 6 5/8 ounces to be exact), or 1.1 kg. Although we used more than the recipe calls for, aim for at least 2 pounds.
Of course, you can hand grate, but a food processor makes quick work of it!
Oil the muffin top tins well and set aside.
After peeling the potatoes, we pop them into water right away to prevent oxidation.
We also put a bit of water into the bottom of the food processor. However, if you have some lemon, skip the water and just add a little after squeezing all the water out of the potatoes with cheesecloth.
Aside from the pan we use, the secret to the success of our latkes is using an organic bouillon cube. This particular brand is organic and has real chicken flavour and chicken fat which you really need to boost the flavour.
After mixing in the egg and dry ingredients, you’re ready to get them onto the pans.
We use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop them consistently.
All measured out.
Then flatten them slightly to spread out to the edges.
Optionally, you can add oil to the top half and flip these half way through the bake to get both sides a bit brown. We tried it and didn’t feel it was worth the extra time to flip them.
After 12-14 minutes In the oven, the edges should start to crisp.
Underneath, they’re golden brown.
You can stop right here and refrigerate or freeze them for later. But we always pan fry at least 1/2 a dozen to eat right away. We start them face down in the hot pan.
If you want additional flavour, use a high smoke point oil (like Grapeseed oil), but combine it with schmaltz (chicken fat). We always save the chicken fat each time we make chicken soup. You can see how to properly store chicken fat here.
It really doesn’t take much oil to finish them off. Use as much or as little oil as you prefer.
Is this the best latke recipe? You can be the judge, but like we said, these are different. And we love the convenience of being able to make these ahead! You can’t do that with traditional latkes since you have to cook the raw potato and egg mixture all at once!
Serve with sour cream or apple sauce.
Our recipe category, The Unknown Chef, can be found here.
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Potato Latke Recipe
- 4 large potatoes (2 pounds) we’re using yellow
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder we like Go Bio cubes
- 3/4 cup flour we use gluten free flour to make these gluten free
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Grapeseed oil optional: add in some chicken fat too if desired to fry these
- Peel the potatoes and pop into a bowl of cold water until ready to grate. Grate. Drain well, squeeze out moisture (cheesecloth helps with this) and return to bowl. Add eggs and mix thoroughly.
- In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture, mixing well.
- Grease 12 muffin top tins (or large muffin tin) with oil and fill them with the potato mixture using a 1/4 cup measure. Bake in 475 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t worry if the top isn’t brown, the final pan frying will take care of that. The recipe can be made in advance to this point and stored or frozen for later.
- To serve, pan fry the latkes briefly in oil until brown. Serve hot with sour cream or apple sauce.