This time of the year is also the time for one of my very favorite holiday treats – the glorious latke. Now, I suppose I should start out by saying that I am not of the Jewish faith in practice, but having grown up on Long Island, I was surrounded by two of the most amazing cuisines on the planet (at least in my book), which are the Italian and Jewish cuisines.


Growing up, my very best friend was Jewish and I used to attend all of the high holidays, surrounded by foods that were completely alien to me. I was both frightened and intrigued all at once. What was this thing they were calling ‘matzoh ball soup’…and babka, brisket, and borscht for that matter? I was always so grateful for those experiences, as it broadened my horizons, reminding me that there was more to the world out there, and cultures beyond my own.

So, to celebrate Hanukkah in traditional style, I will be sprinkling in a smattering of some lovely, classic staples that are served up on the most celebrated Jewish holidays. I will begin with the ultimate shining example of the latke. For those who have never participated in consuming these warm, crusty, savory treats, you don’t know what you are missing.

A latke (pronounced laat-kah), by definition, is a potato pancake. Picture them like little formed, bite-sized patties of those shredded hash browns that you get at your local restaurant at breakfast-time. And, although usually served as a side dish and topped with sour cream or applesauce, these little beauties make a perfectly acceptable morning time treat as well in all of their crunchy goodness. I think the picture I have featured here speaks for itself, if you are a potato fanatic like myself.

So to get you started, I am gifting you with a fabulous tried-and-true recipe that was featured in Bon Appetit magazine’s latke feature this month from Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport’s own mother, Maxine. I figure, if you are going to try making something as traditional as a latke, you had better do it right, as with anything worth doing! And if you haven’t already grabbed your copy of this month’s issue, I highly recommend purchasing one and filing it away for safe keeping. It is chock full of classic recipes. Happy eating!

Golden, Crunchy, Buttery Latkes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 24

Serving Size: 2 per serving,1 serving contains:

Calories per serving: 160

Fat per serving: 4.5


  • 3 pounds large russet potatoes (4-6)
  • 1 medium Vidalia, yellow, or brown onions (about 2)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) schmaltz (chicken fat; optional)
  • 2-4 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
  • Applesauce
  • Sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Peel potatoes. Using the large holes of a box grater or the grater disk on a food processor, grate potatoes and onions. Transfer to a large kitchen towel. Gather ends of towel; twist over sink and squeeze firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Open towel; toss mixture to loosen. Gather towel; wring out once more.
  2. Whisk eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, baking powder, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Add potato mixture. Using your fingers, mix until well coated. (Latke mixture should be wet and thick, not soupy.)
  3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Set a wire rack inside another large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons schmaltz, if using, and 2 tablespoons oil (or 4 tablespoons oil if not using schmaltz; fat should measure about 1/8 inches) in a 12 inches nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into pan. If the fat sizzles around the edges, it's ready. (Do not let fat smoke.)
  4. Working in batches and adding more schmaltz and oil to skillet as needed to maintain 1/8 inches fat, drop large spoonfuls of mixture into pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten slightly. (If mixture becomes watery between batches, mix to incorporate; do not drain.)
  5. Cook latkes, occasionally rotating pan for even browning, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 1/2-3 minutes per side. (If small pieces of potato floating in the oil start to burn, carefully strain out.)
  6. Transfer latkes to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, then transfer to prepared wire rack. Place sheet with latkes in oven to keep warm and crisp while cooking remaining latkes.
  7. Serve warm latkes with applesauce and sour cream.


Saturated Fat (g) 1 Cholesterol (mg) 35 Carbohydrates (g) 26 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 4 Sodium (mg) 690