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Easy Potato Pancakes (Latkes) With Cinnamon Apple Slices

These potato pancakes are not quite ready to flip over.

These potato pancakes are not quite ready to flip over.

Hanukkah Latkes

I only make these latkes once or twice a year (usually on Hanukkah), but they are so delicious that my children ask for them all the time. Although I can buy potato latkes at a nearby deli, they are not nearly as tasty and crispy. No matter when I make them, it seems like there are never any leftovers. Even my friends who are watching their weight cannot seem to help eating three or four of these delicious potato pancakes.

You Can Make Ahead and Freeze

If you are making these classic latkes for Hanukkah or a dinner party, I recommend making them several weeks ahead of time. The aroma of the potato pancakes permeates your house on the day that you make them.

I usually arrange them in single layers on top of parchment paper, wrap them in foil, and then put them in a sealable freezer bag. They will last for eight weeks in the freezer.

Fully defrost them before you heat them in the oven. Heat them at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes.

Perfect Side Dish or Hors d'Oeuvre

When I serve these latkes as a side dish, I use a large serving spoon to put the potato mixture on the pan. They are a little smaller than three inches. However, you can also make these half the size to use for a cocktail party.

A slotted spatula helps keep the grease in the pan when the latkes are finished cooking.

A slotted spatula helps keep the grease in the pan when the latkes are finished cooking.

Pro Tips for Potato Latkes

These tips will help you make potato pancakes as delicious as mine.

  • Do not rush these; latkes should be golden brown and crispy before removing them from the oil.
  • Start with 1/2 cup of potato starch, but depending on the size of your potatos, you may need to add a little more.
  • The potato mixture will thicken slightly after it sits a few minutes. It should not look watery although there may be a little liquid in the bowl when you are completely finished making them.
  • If you are doubling or tripling the recipe for a large family or party, use a food processor instead of a hand grater.
  • Use a slotted spatula, so you do not transfer extra grease from the pan to the paper bag or towel.
  • Drain the finished latkes on a paper towel or bag to eliminate excess grease.
  • If you are serving these at a party and do not want to make the apples at the last minute, substitute applesauce.
Remove excess grease by letting the potato pancakes drain on a paper towel or paper bag.

Remove excess grease by letting the potato pancakes drain on a paper towel or paper bag.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

50 min

1 hour 5 min

4-5 servings (side dish)


For the potato pancakes:

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 shallot, peeled and grated or very finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 1/2 ounces water
  • 1/2-2/3 cup potato pancake mix, Streit's or Manischewitz brand
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup or more canola oil

For the cinnamon apples:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Use a paring knife to peel the potatoes. Grate them with a food processor or hand grater.
  2. If you have a food processor, shred the shallot too (or finely chop it, if necessary).
  3. Combine all the ingredients except the oil, and stir it with a fork until it is well combined.
  4. Let the potato latke mixture stand for a few minutes. It will thicken slightly.
  5. Heat 1/2 a cup of oil in large skillet. Have extra oil available in case you need it. If you are using a small pan, coat the pan generously, but do not use all the oil at once. (There should be some oil pooling in the pan, but not enough so they are completely submerged.)
  6. Over medium heat, let the oil get hot.
  7. Using a large slotted serving spoon, drop potato mixture into the pan to form round pancakes of 2 1/2 to 3 inches. Flatten them slightly with the back of the spoon.
  8. The first potatoes may take as long as 10 minutes on the first side. When you flip them, they should take another 5-8 minutes. Subsequent batches may take a little less time.
  9. Remove the pancakes when they look golden brown and crispy. Place them on a paper towel or bag to drain off the excess grease. Cover them with a second paper towel to absorb grease from the top of the latkes.
  10. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. I cut them in quarters and slice them in a thin, half-moon shape. Put the cinnamon and sugar in a sealable bag, add the apples, and shake the bag to coat them.
  11. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium frying pan. Cook the apples for about 6 minutes until they are just soft. Serve the apples as an accompaniment to the latkes.

How Making Latkes Led to a Gift

When I was newly married, I decided to host a holiday party. To satisfy all my friends, I made some traditional Christmas and Hanukkah dishes. so the potato latkes were for my Jewish friends. My husband usually stayed out of the kitchen, but he offered to help as long as he could sit in front of the television watching football. At the time, I did not have a food processor, but I had hand-peeled a whole bag of potatoes to make latkes.

I cheerfully set up a snack table and brought him a manual grater, 30 peeled potatoes and two bowls. He did not realize that grating 30 potatoes by hand was going to be very hard on his fingers. The very next day he bought me a food processor, but he has never offered to help make Hanukkah potato latkes again.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky