Classic Crispy Potato Pancakes aka Latkas

If you have seen the recipe / technique for Crispy Hash Browns you will recognize this method. Water is the enemy  of really crispy potatoes and using a salad spinner to remove all the water and thoroughly dry the potatoes works like a charm.  It is important to remove the starch from the potatoes by soaking and rinsing well.  If the starch is not rinsed away you will end up with gummy potatoes.  The salad spinner takes care of both those jobs in a couple of easy steps.

I was thrilled to find that Chef John’s Classic Potato Pancake recipe needed a picture.  This is a solid recipe but he has you drying the potatoes by squeezing them and blotting on paper towels.   Personally, I think using the salad spinner is far more effective.  Before the invention of the salad spinner, my Auntie would grate and rinse the potatoes, place them in the middle of a clean thin tea towel, gather the ends together and take them outside and spin them like a prop on an airplane.   Thank God, someone invented the salad spinner!

Potato Collage 1

Potato Collage 2

Potato Collage 3

One thing to remember, you will have excess egg, flour, potato moisture in the bottom of the bowl.   You just want to toss the potatoes with that and use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove potatoes from the bowl and place into the hot oil.

The recipe says it serves four but this made 6 large potato pancakes, I suppose some people would like to have 2 but this could easily serve 6 people.

If you would like to print this method, you can find it here.
Classic Potato Pancakes aka Latkas.


Posted in Real Food Tagged , permalink

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, "Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my "name" Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don't bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


Classic Crispy Potato Pancakes aka Latkas — 12 Comments

    • Gosh I wish she was still with us. I would get her a salad spinner!
      Mind you, she would probably declare it a waste of money! ‘Who needs a salad spinner when you have a tea towel?’ LOL.
      Thanks for stopping in!
      Happy Sunday to you!

  1. Good evening! I have always been very partial to Potato Cakes. Your recipe is similar to mine only you have taught me to rinse the shreds until clear nand to deep fry instead of pan fry. Also, I have always had to squeeze the water from the shreds instead of using a salad spinner. In a restaurant in NoCal, a cook lifted the shreds with her fingertips and just plopped them on a flattop with a pat of butter. They were always crisp and flavorful. I have never been able to duplicate that skill and I wonder just what else could be a binder for something that loose. Hmmm.

    • Hi Mike!
      Rinsing the potatoes removes the starch which causes ‘gummy’ potatoes. These aren’t really deep fried and could certainly be done on a flat top (although I don’t have one) so I used a cast iron skillet. The cook you mentioned – were those potatoes dipped in an egg and flour mixture? The egg is the binder and the flour absorbs any water – not moving them allows them to set up and become a ‘patty’ before flipping them. If you try to move them before they are crisp, you will end up with scrambled potatoes.
      I have done hash brown potatoes, just potatoes rinsed thoroughly and dried well and fried in clarified butter. Same idea just thinner.
      Either way they are really good!
      Give them a go! They are delicious!
      Thanks for stopping in!

      • Those potato shreds were in a mixing bowl covered by a plate that she pulled from the fridge so, they may well have been as you say. Back then, my food knowledge did not extend beyond , Yup! I like it” or Yuck. Feed it to the hogs”

  2. Hello Baking Nana, lovely photos. I like your method of making these pancakes. My mom used to do what your aunt did, fond memories!I have 2 spinners, one for lettuce and the other for stuff like drying potatoes.

    • Hi manella! I still remember my Auntie twirling that cloth full of potatoes. We would all stand back in case she were to let go! 😉 She would have loved a salad spinner!
      Thanks for stopping in!

  3. I first used your tip on rinsing and spinning shredded potatoes when I made the Johnsonville muffin cups – what a great tip! I will be sure to do that the next time I make latkes! I love them with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives!

  4. One of these days I’ll try this method. I have never made hash browns or latkes. I guess I’ll have to invent a reason to make them! Nice photos!

    • Thanks Marianne! My early attempts at hash browns were pathetic. This is such a great method. Although, I must say – it is dangerous to know how easy it is to make these.

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