How to Make the Best Latkes

Hanukkah is just around the corner, and Chowhounds have plenty of opinions about what makes the best potato latkes. Ruth Lafler asserts: “I can definitively say that the ‘best’ recipe is your grandmother’s.” But a couple of hounds recommend this latke recipe, which includes soaking and wringing out the grated potatoes. It’s “basic and great,” says Ellen, who adds that it “never fails.” ChrisVR says it was responsible for “hands down the best latkes I’ve ever made,” though she grates her potatoes fine.

Regardless of the recipe, most hounds agree that great latkes are all about technique. Several use the same old-fashioned wire mesh potato grater their grandmothers favored. Most remove as much water as possible from the potatoes before adding onion, egg, and flour or matzo meal if using, though Ruth Lafler believes squeezing them breaks them down and makes for gummy latkes. another_adam wrings them out in a dish cloth over a strainer set over a large bowl, then allows the collected liquid to sit for five minutes or so to allow the starch to settle. He then pours the water off and adds the separated potato starch to the latke batter. And ola notes that if you use a slotted spoon to form the latkes, you can remove even more liquid.

Ruth Lafler prefers to fry latkes in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), olive oil, or a combination of olive and neutral oil. Ellen says, “if you can cook them in duck fat, you will die happy.” Ruth Lafler also offers this tip: don’t drain latkes on paper towels, or they will become sodden. Instead, put them in a single layer on a cooling rack over paper towels; if you need to delay serving them, put the rack on a baking sheet in a warm oven.

And, if your latkes still aren’t working out after all that advice, then take a look at our video to find out why You’re Doing It All Wrong.

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