Potato Pancakes With Onion and Red Bell Pepper - Delishably - Food and Drink
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Potato Pancakes With Onion and Red Bell Pepper

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Heather is happiest when taking a beautiful photo, creating something in her kitchen, or elbows-deep in a DIY project.

Learn how to make potato pancakes like these.

Learn how to make potato pancakes like these.

A Little History

My husband and I both love potato pancakes! Our maternal grandmothers made them, then taught our mothers to make them, and we grew up eating and loving them. My husband is Jewish, so in his house, they called them latkes. My mother is Polish, and in Polish they're called placki, pronounced like "plot-skies."

Growing up, we incorrectly called a Polish breakfast crepe a "plotsky." I still call the crepes "plotskies" and call potato pancakes "latkes" or just "potato pancakes." The Polish crepes are actually called Nalesniki. And I'm actually quite curious how this mix-up of names happened, because I have seen other people online call the crepes placki and plotski—so it's very interesting! I'll share the recipe and process with you in another article, so stay tuned.

These latkes are made with Streit's potato pancake mix, which is a tasty shortcut.

These latkes are made with Streit's potato pancake mix, which is a tasty shortcut.

Using a Mix

So I'm cheating a little bit and using a mix. When I developed this recipe, I was all out of potatoes, and I was trying to finish up our fresh produce because we were going on vacation in two days! Yay! So I added some fresh veggies to a mix, and they came out so yummy that I thought I'd write about it. I'll share a more traditional recipe for potato pancakes in another article.

Brands of Potato Pancake Mixes

I've found two mixes that I like, and I usually buy half a dozen boxes at a time because they can be hard to find sometimes (we live in Arizona).

  • Manischewitz
  • Streit's

Even the international and ethnic food aisles don't have them in most grocery stores out here. So I can usually only find them at one store here. Manishewitz even makes a sweet potato latke mix. I'm not a sweet potato lover, but my husband is. This mix is even harder to find! But when I find it, I buy them and lovingly make them for him—even though I want nothing to do with them.

How Many Packets Should You Use?

I used the Streit's mix, as that is what I had on hand. The box contains two sealed packets, so you can use them as a side dish for two separate meals. Well, someone "could," but I don't know who. I always make both packets at the same time. Heck, sometimes I make two boxes at a time (four packets). One bag makes about 10 latkes, or both packets (the whole box) make about 20 pancakes.

You can make these in advance. We eat these all year long, especially on all of our holidays (Jewish and Catholic). If it's a holiday or we are having dinner guests, I'll make them the night before or the morning of. I then refrigerate them and reheat them in the oven when we're ready to eat.

This potato pancake recipe includes red bell peppers.

This potato pancake recipe includes red bell peppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Streit's Potato Pancake Mix

For this mix, you'll need:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of cold water

I also used:

  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • a generous dusting of parsley flakes

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Pan and the Pancake Mix

  1. I get my pan ready first so it's nice and hot. I cook them on about number 5 or 6 (my stove goes up to 9, and then high, so I cook them on about medium heat). I use vegetable or olive oil. Today I used vegetable. Coat the bottom of the pain and let it get hot, but watch it so it doesn't burn or turn brown.
  2. Beat your eggs in a bowl until the yolks and whites are blended nicely. I usually just use a fork. Pour in water and mix well. Add your packet(s) and mix again. It will be runny at first but will thicken.
  3. Let it stand 5 to 10 minutes. Depending on the weather, I might put it in the frig while it thickens. I make the latkes with my hands, and it's easier to work with them when they're cooler than room temperature.
  4. During the ten minutes that the mix thickens, I chop my onion and pepper. Add the onions, peppers, and parsley and mix well.
  5. I mix my batter again after sitting in the frig in case any water pooled/separated. I also mix it a few times while cooking for the same reason. As you get to the end of your batter, it might be warm and goopy again. I usually stick it back in the frig for a few.

Step 2: Shape the Latkes

  1. You can spoon dollops of mix into the pan or use your hands. I'm a "use-my-hands" kinda girl. This is why a cold mix works nicely. (Equate it to the ease of working with cookie dough, once it has been chilled.) If you leave it in the frig too long, then it's difficult to work with because your hands will be getting cold. I guess that's more fun than playing hot potato, though.
  2. I also put a few drops of oil in my palms and rub it into my hands, coating them. This helps the mix to not stick to my hands as much, and it makes washing them much easier.
  3. You can make these any size you want. I usually make them smaller than silver-dollar pancakes, but I've seen them prepared bigger. I grab some mix in my hands and sort of drop it from one hand to another, shaping it into a pancake on my fingers.
  4. I also use the backs of my fingers to flatten the latke a bit so the middle isn't super thick. This helps them cook faster and eliminates my worries about raw middles. You can do the same with the bottom of a fork. Put some cooking spray or oil on the bottom of the fork so your pancake won't stick to it.

Step 3: Cook and Flip the Latkes

  1. I place them (don't drop them) in the pan very carefully, remember—hot pan and hot oil. I've had lots of practice doing this so I don't get burned.
  2. Your pan size will dictate how many you can do at once. I usually do about three, so I have enough room to get my spatula in there. The process can take awhile. I once tried to do it faster with two pans going. Even though they were the same exact pan on the same heat setting, one set was cooking faster than my other pan and it was a huge mess. So I just take my time with this and enjoy it.
  3. You'll know it's time to flip your latke when you can see the sides are getting brown and crispy, and when the top raw parts look dull instead of shiny.

Photo Tutorial

A close-up of the pancake mixture.

A close-up of the pancake mixture.

Slide the latkes carefully into the hot oil.

Slide the latkes carefully into the hot oil.

Flip when the bottoms start turning golden brown.

Flip when the bottoms start turning golden brown.

These potato cakes are almost ready to eat.

These potato cakes are almost ready to eat.

Tips

Flipping

Flipping is a trick. You don't want to splash hot oil on yourself. I tilt the pan slightly away from me so the oil trickles in that direction (the bottom). The latke at the top of the pan is no longer submerged, and I safely flip it and slide it to the bottom and repeat until all are flipped.

If your pancake feels like it's going to fall apart, it might not be ready to flip just yet. At the same time, don't be shy to flip them. I've seen people tend to treat them much more gently than you need to. Take control and flip it. It's definitely different than flipping a breakfast pancake, but you'll get the hang of it.

Cooking

It's important that these cook all the way through—you're serving latkes, not salmonella.

Reducing Oil

As they finish, I like to put them in a Pyrex dish lined with a few paper towels. I never take them right from the pan to the dinner plate as they'll be way too oily to serve. When they've had time to lose most of their excess oil, I'll plate them or put them in a pretty serving dish.

Latkes draining on the paper towels and then being transferred to the serving plate.

Latkes draining on the paper towels and then being transferred to the serving plate.

Heather Says

This is a great way to put a new spin on an old favorite. You can also improve the overall taste just by adding a fresh ingredient. Experiment with other fresh vegetables.

These are delicious when served with sour creme or applesauce. I also like to put some shredded cheese in this mix version and make a cheesy latke.

This latke batter has a consistency similar to runny instant potatoes. Traditional recipes use shredded potatoes (like my husband and I ate while growing up), and I'll make those next time. This mix is a great way to save time if you can't peel and shred potatoes.

More Recipes from the Kitchen of Heather Says

  • Simple Potato Scones
    Make these in no time at all. If you have time to make mashed potatoes, then you probably have time for these scones. This article shows you how to make a thick and thin version-- both delicious!
  • Summertime Fried Veggie Cakes
    A spin on a traditional potato pancake recipe, incorporating fresh veggies. Super easy to make and deliciously yummy.
  • Turkey Sausage and Green Pepper Egg Pizza
    This dish is yummy any time of day, with any meal and is a great way to use leftovers. Use your favorite pizza toppings for a new spin on an old favorite or experiment and have fun!

Comments

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 20, 2015:

Heather, this is a great hub. I haven't had potato pancakes in a long time. I would love to give this a try this summer. Voted up for useful!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 17, 2014:

yeah, looks good to eat, i mean these photos. I love your step by step instructions and details were very helpful. Voted up

Heather (author) from Arizona on June 21, 2012:

Thanks again, everyone :)

Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on June 12, 2012:

Oh these look sinfully delicious! I had to bookmark this one to try later. Reading this hub made my mouth water... YUM!!

Voted up and shared.... now I'm hungry!

Debby Bruck on April 05, 2012:

Hey Heather, I must say you certainly made these tasty potato latke treats look appealing. Give you credit for wonderful photographs of the whole process and finished presentation on the plates. I like the angles and lighting. After reading this, I may whip out the potatoes and oil, even though it's a typical Hanukkah dish, my mom always made matzah meal latkes for Passover during the Spring. Blessings, Debby

Heather (author) from Arizona on April 03, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words, learner365 :) Thanks for reading

Heather (author) from Arizona on April 03, 2012:

Thanks for reading, bizzymom! I love the way my house smells when I am cooking these! You can smell them at the front door :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on April 03, 2012:

Thanks for reading, Nare Anthony :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on April 03, 2012:

Hi, Etherealenigma. I suppose you could bake them, although I never tried. I would imagine they would come out differently, though. I have made them from scratch using grated potatoes and it tastes fantastic. I'm currently working on finishing up that hub :) Thanks for reading

Heather (author) from Arizona on April 03, 2012:

Thanks for reading, prasetio30 :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 02, 2012:

It sound delicious. I love this pancakes. Thanks for writing and share with us. I can't wait to make it soon. Rated up and useful. Take care!

Prasetio

Sandra M Urquhart from Fort Lauderdale on March 29, 2012:

This sounds very interesting, and I'm itching to try it because I have a huge bag and a half of potatoes right now, and was trying to think of a way to use them. Can you bake these as opposed to frying them? I would still put some oil on the bottom of the pan, but I'd prefer not to deep fry. Also, I am not into the mixes either, because of the health issues with most boxed/canned products. I'm trying to stay with organic if I use anything like that. Any suggestions for organic? Also, I was really looking for the none boxed, made from scratch version. Have you done that one yet? Thanks.

Nare Gevorgyan on March 29, 2012:

Great! I love making this and I do it quite often. Gongrats on your hub of the day :)

Subhas from New Delhi, India on March 28, 2012:

It is just great to see potato pancakes made in such an innovative new style. I am surely going to give it a try.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on March 28, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

What a tasty-sounding dish, and with great explanations and photos.

Voted up, awesome, beautiful...interesting...and I wanted to bookmark it, but there was no bookmark link. :-(

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 28, 2012:

I love potato pancakes, too. Thanks for sharing this original take on them and your history behind it. Congrats on getting Hub of the Day!

moonlake from America on March 28, 2012:

I made potato pancakes tonight with some left over mashed potatoes. I also put onions in mine but I like syrup on them. Congrats on hub of the day.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on March 28, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! Naturally, I saw the HOTD photo at dinnertime, so what I planned to have for dinner no longer sounds very yummy. I want some of these potato pancakes instead!

Voted up and awesome! ;D

Juan Carlos from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala on March 28, 2012:

Awesome! will try this voted up and shared, you can check out some of my cooking in my hubs hope to see you around

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 28, 2012:

My mother made potato pancakes, both shredded and with mashed potatoes. I make both, and love the idea of onion and pepper with my mashed potato variety! I am a vegetarian/wheat intolerant, so I will skip the boxed mix. Thanks for the great thoughts! I was thinking about getting some of my recipes on here, too. It will happen sooner or later.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 28, 2012:

The potato pancakes of which I am familiar were fried in butter...maybe oil & butter combined. Delicious served with applesauce as you noted. My husband often takes leftover mashed potatoes and does a similar thing...just not as thin. Congratulations on receiving a hub of the day award. Voted up and useful. We do need that yummy button! :)

Milli from USA on March 28, 2012:

It look so yummy. I love anything made with potato. I will definitely make it. Congratulations for the Hub Of the Day award. Voted up and useful!

Saadia A on March 28, 2012:

A delicious Hub i would say :) I will surely try these pancakes very soon.The pictures are so cool and they have really tempted me to try the recipe as quickly as i can.Congratulations on the Hub of the day as well.

Voted up and awesome !!!

bizzymom from New York on March 28, 2012:

I love cooking with onions and peppers and this recipe looks delicious;I can almost smell everything cooking! Thanks for sharing!

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, uzma shaheen. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you and your sister are able to try these out sometime :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, Anamika S. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I hope you're able to try this sometime, or maybe just sample someone else's ;) Thanks for commenting.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Pamela99, I love how this hub has got us thinking of our mothers and grandmothers. Thanks for reading and sharing :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

susanm23b, thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub and photos. Good luck with your own latkes! You'll love them :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

2patricias, I do the same thing! I love left over mashed potatoes! Green onions sound pretty yummy. I am definitely an onion-lover. I could eat them raw or cooked on just about anything! Thanks for the kind words :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, pstraubie48.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words, vespawoolf. You're going to give me a big head ;)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, Cosmic Bus.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

homesteadbound, I love using left over mashed potatoes for this also. I just love leftovers period! Thanks for the kind words :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks for reading, chamilj.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Oh my gosh! Zucchini sounds awesome and I will have to try that when I make my traditional shredded latkes. Funny you mention jalapenos because we Arizonans put them in EVERYTHING! You have given me some great ideas! Thanks for reading and commenting :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words, vparker. I have to say, having a camera phone comes in very handy when taking pics for my hubs. Thanks for reading :)

Uzma Shaheen Bhatti from Lahore,Pakistan on March 28, 2012:

hmm it looks so delicious, my mouth filled with water, while looking at pics lolz. me and my sister are very found of potato pancacks,we will definitely try it out. thank you very much for sharing it. voted up. going to follow you now.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, bri36. I really love how this sparked some nostalgic memories-- especially of grandmothers. Thanks for sharing :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, Rusticliving. "yummy button" makes me laugh! This might become part of my regular vocabulary ;)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 28, 2012:

Thanks, Eiddwen. I too have so many recipe bookmarks online. Probably more than I can make in my lifetime ;)

Eiddwen from Wales on March 28, 2012:

Mmm looks delicious and another for me to bookmark into 'my recipes 'slot.

Take care

Eddy.

Liz Rayen from California on March 28, 2012:

Heather says!~First let me congratulate you on Hub of the Day! Second, let me say... Ohhhh! Ymmmmmmmmmmm! I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing with us one of your family recipes! Voted up and (wish there was a "yummy" button). Lisa

bri36 on March 28, 2012:

This looks very good and so so simple to make I'm going to try it. Potato pancakes were a treat in my grandmothers kitchen when I was a kid. Tahnks for the great recipe Heather Says and yes I voted^

Veronica Parker from From Mars on March 28, 2012:

I will have to print this out and try this sometime soon. Also I want to say that your photographs along with the simplified steps really make this article a wonderful Hub. Good Job! :)

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on March 28, 2012:

When I make latkes, I sometimes add shredded zucchini to the potato. It makes them a touch sweeter, and an even better pairing with the traditional applesauce. I never thought of using red pepper, though. Oooohhhh, maybe I could make spicy ones with jalapeños? My hubby loves him some spicy food! Thanks for the ideas!

chamilj from Sri Lanka on March 28, 2012:

Sounds delicious.I am going to take printout of this grate recipe for my wife. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on March 28, 2012:

I am going to make potato pancakes today using some left over mashed potatoes. great hub! Congratulations on hub of the day!

Cosmic Bus from Maryland on March 28, 2012:

Looks so delicious! Congrats on Hub of the day. Voted up.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 28, 2012:

This is a great hub with interesting photos. Having a Polish heritage and a Jewish husband makes you a potato pancake expert! Congratulations on HOTD.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 28, 2012:

Yum...reminds me of potato pancakes my Momma used to make..hers had no red pepper but that certainly would be something I will try.. thanks for sharing this and congratulations on hub of the day

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on March 28, 2012:

This looks yummy. I use left over mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes. Well, actually, when I make mashed potatoes I always make enough to put some by for pancakes.

I've never thought of adding red peppers! What a good idea - it looks delicious.

(Last week I added chopped green onions, just because I happened to have some - that was good.)

Thanks for a great cooking hub.

susanm23b on March 28, 2012:

These look really delicious! I have never cooked potato pancakes but would like to give it a try. Wonderful photos--especially your first photo--yummy! Congrats on Hub of the Day! Voted up :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 28, 2012:

My mother used to make potato pancakes when I was growing up. I haven't made them for years and never using this type of recipe. They sound delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on March 28, 2012:

Wow! Never knew of this one. This sounds interesting and the instructions are easy to follow. I am a Pancake lover and would love to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words, iamaudraleigh. Thanks for checking out my hub. :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks, Marcy Goodfleisch. I think we are definitely on the same page. I feel like no one in my generation cooks anymore-- either because they don't know how or don't want to. I love family traditions and keeping them that way :) Thanks for reading.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks, kelleyward. When my niece and nephew were younger (now they're both teenagers), I could never get them to eat these. One day, for whatever reason, they finally caved and tried them. Now they could easily eat a box each if you let them. This is a great mix to experiment with. I hope you have fun with it.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks, CJ Andrews. I can't think of a way I don't love potatoes myself. ..well maybe instant mashed potatoes ;)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks for reading, Natashalh. I hope you enjoy them.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks, alocsin. Hope you enjoy them :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks Paul. You should. Thanks for the kind words :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 27, 2012:

Thanks Simone :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on March 27, 2012:

Drool. There is drool all over my keyboard. Gorgeous photos. These pancakes sound brilliant!

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on March 27, 2012:

This is an amazing Hub. I love the instructions. Have to give this a shot!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 27, 2012:

Wow, this has one of my favorite foods, onion, and sounds delicious. Forwarding this to the family cook. Voting this Up and Useful.

Natasha from Hawaii on March 27, 2012:

This seems so amazing! I have boookmarked this page so I can make these as soon as I have the time. Voted up and useful.

Chris Andrews from Norwalk, Ohio on March 27, 2012:

I love potato pancakes. I will have to try this next time the desire hits me. Thanks for sharing.

kelleyward on March 27, 2012:

This is a beautiful hub! I love the pictures. This looks like a very tasty way to enjoy good food. I can't wait to try these out with my boys, especially my youngest. He loves food with a little spice. Voted up and beautiful!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on March 27, 2012:

These look so delicious! My family made a German version, but the art has been lost in my generation. I've been asking my precious 96-year-old aunt (who drove a car up until she turned 95) for the recipes like this. She tells me how to make them, and I'm trying to revive the traditions.

The red pepper addition sounds yummy! I will give these a try, and I also want to look for the prepackaged mixes you mentioned.

Voted up, awesome and useful (still looking for the yummy button!).

iamaudraleigh on March 27, 2012:

I grew up with potato pancaked! It is cool to see another version. They look reall good :) Voted up and shared!