Pure Potato Latkes Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Nathaniel Wade

Adapted by Joan Nathan

Pure Potato Latkes Recipe (1)

Total Time
1¼ hours, plus cooling and chilling
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Perfect for Hanukkah or any time of year, these latkes bring out the pure flavor of potato, because that is basically the only ingredient in them. Making latkes can be a last-minute nightmare, with overeager cooks putting too many patties in hot oil, thus taking longer to fry and resulting in a greasy mess. But these can be prepared in advance. This recipe, adapted from the chef Nathaniel Wade of the Outermost Inn on Martha’s Vineyard, starts with parbaked potatoes, which are cooled, grated, seasoned with just salt and pepper, pressed into patties and refrigerated, then fried just before serving. You can either serve them with crème fraîche or sour cream, smoked salmon and tiny flecks of chives, or traditional brisket and homemade applesauce. —Joan Nathan

Featured in: A Genius Method for Making Latkes

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Yield:8 latkes

  • 4large Idaho or russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 8ounces sliced smoked salmon (optional)
  • Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh chives, for serving (optional)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

346 calories; 26 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 16 grams monounsaturated fat; 7 grams polyunsaturated fat; 23 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 1 gram sugars; 8 grams protein; 416 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Pure Potato Latkes Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Adjust the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake the potatoes directly on the rack for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes until they are hot throughout but still raw in the middle. Remove and let cool for about 30 minutes.

  2. Step


    Slice the potatoes in half widthwise. Holding the curved peel side with one hand, grate the flat, flesh side of each piece using the large holes of a box grater. The grating process should open them up like a jacket, leaving you with potato skins perfect for frying later, if you’d like. (You could also use a food processor with a grating blade instead; just peel your potatoes beforehand.) Sprinkle the grated potatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

  3. Take about ½ cup grated potato in your hands and gently squeeze between your palms to form a patty. Press the patty until about ½-inch thick and carefully set the latke on a plate. Repeat with the remaining grated potatoes to make about 8 latkes. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

  4. Step


    Just before serving, heat a large, heavy skillet with about ¼ inch of canola oil over medium-high. When it is hot, a shred of potato dropped into the oil should sizzle. Working in two batches, gently fry four latkes until crisp and deep golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels or a paper bag to drain, and repeat with remaining latkes.

  5. Step


    Serve hot, topped with a slice of smoked salmon, a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and a few sprinkles of chives, if you like.



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Cooking Notes


How about partially cooking whole potatoes by microwaving them for five or six minutes, then allowing them to cool?

Robin E

Wondering if I could add grated onion? Any thoughts?

Jeff R

This may be good but latkes MUST have grated onion

Dr. Ed Prochownik

Try frying the latkes on cookie sheets that have been heated to 450 in the oven. Only a small amount of oil is needed. You can get about 8 latkes per sheet and can easily do 2 sheets at a time. Bake the latkes for 10 min on each side. This will give much crispier exteriors than does frying on the stove top and minimizes work. They even retain their crispiness through the next day.


For those who insist on onion, do what I do: Use Joan's NYT recipe for fried shallots. Use the shallot oil to fry the latkes in, then sprinkle fried shallots on top of the sour cream. Absolutely delicious.


I plan to make these latkes and can’t wait to try them with lox on top.But can I indulge a pet peeve regarding the “last minute nightmare” sentence?Too many authors place cooking in a “everyone hates doing xyz” or “xyz is so hard” or “everyone does xyz wrong” context.I find this maddening. Cooking should be a joy, sometimes a challenge but never just a misery to be overcome. Be messy, get it wrong, wreck the kitchen, who cares? Just have fun and enjoy. No anxiety no matter what happens.

Joel Silverman

I think clearly the problem with onion here is that that would add moisture, which would require a binder like egg, which means you just make them the way you've always made latkes. This is a different latke, but don't tinker with it - one thing I've learned over decades of cooking from her books and one lucky time cooking with her -- don't ever second-guess Joan Nathan!

Richard F.

These were tasty but they are not latkes. They are hash brown patties. Add a little matzah meal and minced onion you will have latkes.


What an effort! I made latkes last night and it did not take hours. I just grated potato and onion (by hand) squeezed out the water, salt, pepper, a little flour mixed with baking powder and fried them up. They were delicious and easy.


We're eager to try this recipe, as is, though we'll leave potatoes unpeeled — as has been our custom for years when using other recipes. Peels add crunch and flavor to latkes.


45 minutes at 350 is too long and baked ends of some potatoes through (especially smaller ones). I'd reduce bake time by 15 minutes. Also 8 latkes from 4 potatoes are too few and the resulting latkes are too big (1/2 potato each). Aim for 12 slightly smaller latkes for better crisp and crunch through the center.


Onions are the heart of the latke. Why not add some grated onion?


I don't think microwaving the potatoes would work. They don't dry out when cooking in the microwave. They need to be dry baked, long enough to release moisture. That's why potatoes cooked in a microwave don't taste or feel or smell like baked potatoes. A toaster oven should work; I'll try it.

higgs boson

Onion is the heart of latkes but clearly adding fresh grated onions increases the risk of "unbinding" the patties before or during frying, as grated onions release a soapy liquid. Maybe try adding some dry onion powder to the mix .


What about onion? THat is the most important flavor in potatoes latkes.


Made as described and they totally fell apart when cooking. Nothing to bind it together? Total fail as a latke, ended up as greasy hash browns, Recommendation; Try a different recipe.

Lana K

I have always wanted to make latkes for my annual holiday party but never found an easy way to do so until now - only change I made: I followed another reader's advice of baking them on a pre heated cookie sheet at 450 degrees - 15 mins on each side. Crispy and yummy! Will try adding onion next time.


We grated 1 large onion, squeezed the liquid out with cheesecloth and mixed it in with the potatoes before cooking. Simply marvelous! Pre-cooking the potatoes really helped them stick together without having to use eggs and other binders.


I usually follow the recipe exactly but this time I made a few changes out of sheer laziness. I baked the potato as usual but once cooled I peeled it and ran it through my food processor on the grate setting. Made for quick work of a usually messy job. I then ran an onion through my food processor as well, squeezed the water from it and added it to the mix. My final adjustment was to fry these in the oven, another commenter suggested that - LIFE CHANGING (to say the least). Very good recipe!!


I've been making latkes for many years and always dreaded squeezing the potatoes dry. To tell the truth I've been making them out of mashed potatoes for a while now but missed the crispy bits. This recipe has changed my outlook on Chanukah! What a joy!


One reader said use TJ’s onion salt to get onion flavor.Another reader said added about 2T olive oil to mixture and baked in 375 oven


As much as I have loved onions, all my life, I can no longer eat them, without it resulting in extreme pain & suffering, so I'll pass! I've learned to appreciate the pure potato flavor (and sometimes add some grated zucchini).

lisa san diego

The Swaiman/Ryan family from Minneapolis has always served latkes with cinnamon sugar. My grandparents were originally from Lithuania and were then called Shvainek and Rein. I assume they brought the tradition with them.


Tried “frying” on a cookie sheet in the oven compared with traditional on the stove top. The oven frying was a disaster: smoking oil ( of course, heating to 450 degrees F) and latkes did not brown. Had to remove the mess and fry on the stove. The texture of these pure potato latkes is excellent. Flavor is a bit bland and they fell apart despite refrigeration overnight. Will try the par baked potato then grating, adding some chives and an egg, forming latkes and refrigerating, then frying.

marjorie m

Made these latkes again this year and I stand by my previous comments! It’s the technique, not the ingredients, that allowed me to make latkes that keep their shape. Followed the directions, lakes rated overnight in the frigid, and I am pleased with the results. If I’d read all the negative comments before initially trying this method I might have decided against it. But it works for me!

Nancy Darling

I've been making potato pancakes for years, and know that the potatoes turn black if not cooked immediately. How do you refrigerate patties for a few hours or overnight without them turning black?

California Thinking

The "pure" taste of the potatoes is completely boring in a latke. Onion or die!


If I use onion, my digestive system will soon make me wish I was dead!


I love this recipe. I've made these a bunch of times for friends and family, and everyone has loved them so far. The fried skins are a hit too. I came a cross a recipe for salt-baked potatoes in the microwave that I use for this recipe too. It's much faster, and I think it tastes better. After scrubbing the potatoes and drying them, I rub olive oil all over them, roll them in coarse kosher salt, wrap each in cling film, and put them in the microwave for 7 minutes.

T DiDona

everyone seems to agree onion is needed - why not add dehydrated onion before forming and putting in the fridge - no moisture is added and the dehydrated onions can soak up the moisture that is already there. I am going to try this.


This is my new favorite latke recipe. Unlike my bubbe's (and others I've tried) the potato flavor really shines through.I wonder if anyone has tried this technique for potato kugel?

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Pure Potato Latkes Recipe (2024)


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