There’s nothing quite like golden brown potato pancakes hot off the griddle. Get our family’s kid-approved latkes recipe below. Follow the tips and instructions for perfect potato pancakes. So crispy, so good.
It’s been rumored that my Grandma Gertrude made the best potato pancakes ever. Making latkes was a special summer occasion; she’d invite the whole family over and serve them fresh out of the frying pan with blueberry soup.
I remember these evenings with great fondness she’d make me my very own batch of mashed potatoes. Sadly, I was not an adventurous eater and didn’t partake in the potato pancake feast. Oh, how I wish now that’d I’d have tried them.
That all being said, potato pancake night was the only time my mother would allow me to eat just mashed potatoes for dinner because every one was eating just potatoes, too. As a kid, I thought that was awesome. Man, I still love mashed potatoes.
A few years ago, my daughter was learning about different holiday celebrations at school when she came home with a recipe and book about latkes. She’d tried potato pancakes at school and was excited to share the latkes recipe with the family. I jumped on the opportunity.
We read the book as we peeled and grated potatoes. I’m not going to lie, making potato pancakes is a lot of work, BUT it is a wonderful opportunity to get your family involved and can be quite the bonding experience. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time when making this latkes recipe!
Over time, we’ve combined my daughter’s original school instructions with suggestions from Food Network and AllRecipes.com to make the perfect potato pancake recipe. Check it out below, then be sure to read the tips after the recipe too.
- 20oz Bag of Shredded Hash Browns (Our favorite brand: Simply Potatoes)
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt and ground pepper
- Oil for frying
- Peel and grate the russet potatoes. Place the grated potatoes into a colander with a bowl underneath.
- Take a potato masher and squish the peeled potatoes down to remove excess moisture (my kids love this part). Add your bag of shredded hash browns to the fresh peeled potatoes.
- Let the potato mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, mash your peeled potato mixture one last time and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Alternative instructions: Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes into sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, and squeeze out the moisture.
- Do not throw away the drained liquid, we need that! Pour off the top liquid, saving the white potato starch that settled in the bottom of the bowl. To that starch add dried onion flakes, beaten eggs, salt and ground pepper. Slowly stir in the flour to avoid clumps. Pour this starch mixture into the bowl of peeled potatoes and toss to combine.
- Pre-heat oil in a large skillet or on a griddle at medium-high heat. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side. The latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides.
- Serve with applesauce or with sour cream and fresh chopped shallots.
A couple of notes and tips:
Don’t skip the russet potatoes. Peeling and grating pounds of potatoes is *not* fun. We tried the recipe with just store-bought pre-grated potatoes and it was NOT the same. You need that fresh potato starch to make this recipe work. If you try supplementing with just flour, it just doesn’t cut it.
Mixing fresh with store-prepped works great. We’ve found mixing a bag of hash browns with two large russet potatoes is the perfect solution to reducing prep time. We use the hash browns from the refrigerated isle vs the frozen ones; Simply Potatoes in the green bag is our favorite.
Using the mix of fresh and store-prepped potatoes also keeps the color of the potato pancakes brighter, which is a nice too. When we used all fresh, the pancakes turned a somewhat unappealing gray.
Be cautious with little fingers. Using two large potatoes allows kids to helps with peeling and grating. We love our Progressive Stainless Steel Tower Grater because the circle handle on top is easy to hold and the triangle base is nice and stable. It is perfect for kids. We grate the potatoes on the medium grater.
Dried onion flakes, really? The first time we made latkes we used fresh shallots and they were delicious. That being said, I don’t usually have them on hand. We tried dried onion flakes and they worked great, too. The potato mixture has a lot of liquid, so they get nice and soft.
Also, for families with onion haters, do not skip this ingredient. They are a must. Because the flakes are small they are visually hidden within the potato pancakes. Latkes are blah without this ingredient. Trust me, throw ’em in.
Don’t skimp on the oil. We tried skimping on the oil to make this recipe a bit healthier. Um, yeah. That didn’t work. Use LOTS of oil to ensure nice golden brown potato pancakes. Also, make sure the oil is *HOT* and the pancake mix sizzles immediately when it hits the griddle.
Skillet vs griddle. All the recipes we’ve found suggest making latkes in a pan with 1/4 cup of oil. My thought, ain’t nobody got time for this. We used our pancake griddle and simply added oil to the griddle with each set of latkes.
Push it. Push it real good. The recipe calls for a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture. We use a small cookie scooper to keep things simple. Once you plop the mixture onto the griddle, use the backside of the scoop to flatten the pancake out as thin as possible.
After about 4-minutes (once the edges are brown), I flip the pancake. Once flipped, I also push the pancake flat onto the griddle with the spatula. Are you humming this song now, too? Push it real good.
Sweet & salty or savory; it’s up to you. Our family all eats potato pancakes differently. My husband eats them plain. I love them with fresh ground salt and applesauce. My daughter enjoys them with ketchup. My youngest likes them slathered with butter. We’ve tried them with sour cream and fresh shallots; it’s delicious too. Don’t judge. Let your family roll with whatever version they like best.
Latke leftovers ROCK. This is the perfect potato pancake recipe because the serving size is enough to feed a small army. Ok, ok, let’s just say it garners leftovers for a small family of four. After your latke is fried, put it on a cooling rack until room temperature. Then store in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. We tried freezing them and they were “ok,” but I wouldn’t recommend it.
When you’re ready to eat the leftovers, put them on a baking rack over a cookie sheet. Stick them in a cool oven and set the temp for 425 degrees. Warm as the oven heats-up for approximately 8-10 minutes. You’ll have hot and crispy potato pancakes to serve with your favorite meal!
Make it a family tradition. Honestly, my favorite thing about this recipe is that it is a pain in the butt to make. When we do make it our girls KNOW it is special and that they need to help with prep, production, and clean-up without complaint. This is one of our favorite weekend traditions. Pour some home-brewed iced coffee, get some music in the background and enjoy this opportunity to SLOW down with your family.
I hope you’ll try this tradition with YOUR family. If you’ve got any questions about the recipe or my aforementioned tips, let me know in the comments below or here on Facebook.
Join this free group and see the latest recipe additions.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”