Chef John's Classic Potato Pancakes Recipe -
Chef John's Classic Potato Pancakes Recipe
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Chef John's Classic Potato Pancakes
See a great technique for making perfect potato pancakes. See more
  • READY IN 45 mins

Chef John's Classic Potato Pancakes

Recipe by  

"The one and only way to not get perfectly crispy potato pancakes is to not squeeze them properly. More than half the procedure was dedicated to grating, soaking, draining, and squeezing the potatoes. If you don't thoroughly squeeze all the liquid from the potatoes, the pancakes just won't crisp up as well. Top with thinly sliced smoked salmon, sour cream, and fresh dill."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    10 mins

    45 mins


  1. Place potatoes and onion into a large bowl and pour enough cold water in the bowl to cover by several inches. Let rest until potatoes and onion are completely soaked, 20 to 30 minutes. Pour potato mixture into a colander, rinse, drain, and squeeze repeatedly to remove all moisture.
  2. Whisk eggs, flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Mix potato mixture and egg mixture together in a large bowl with a spatula.
  4. Heat 1/4-inch oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, drop large spoonfuls of potato batter into hot oil and flatten with a spatula to about 1/2-inch thick. Cook until the edges of pancakes are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, flip pancakes, and cook until golden brown and crispy on the other side, about 5 minutes more. Repeat cooking process with remaining batter.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • Cover the bowl of pancake batter with plastic wrap while pancakes are cooking to prevent batter from browning.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jun 22, 2014

These are great potato pancakes aka Latkas. I used 4 large russet potatoes, about 2 pounds. Water and starch are the enemy of crispy potatoes - here are a couple of tips. Peel and place the potatoes in cold water. I grate the potatoes and onion using the grater attachment on the food processor. Then back into cold water in the basket of a salad spinner. Rinse well and change the water a few times to remove the starch. Once the water is almost clear, let soak completely covered in cold water in the basket of the salad spinner. Whisk the eggs, flour, salt pepper together. Drain the potatoes and spin them dry, empty the water out of the salad spinner bowl - shake the potatoes and spin them again. Mix the dried potatoes with the egg mixture - it will appear as if there is not quite enough egg mixture but don't worry, there is plenty. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes out and into the hot oil. Do NOT move the patties until the edges are crispy. Flip and continue cooking over medium heat until golden brown. Heat you oven to 170 degrees and place the potato pancakes on a paper towel lined sheet pan in the warm oven to hold while you make the next batch. If you don't have a salad spinner, Chef John's method of squeezing and drying with paper towels works OK or use a clean thin cotton dish towel and wring them out with that.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 14, 2015

though very tasty these are just way way way to greasy... I used a lot of kitchen paper to soak up the oil and it still was too greasy to eat! I don't know if I did something wrong or not...

Apr 21, 2015

and if all else fails, grab your waffle iron and a bag of tater tots. Spray with Pam, lay them out and close the waffle iron. Cook about 10 min. Amazing, crunchy and pretty too.....

Jan 13, 2015

Fantastic recipe. Put in the proper time & effort to squeeze as much of the moisture out as you can - you will be super impressed with the results! 5 stars.

Apr 21, 2015

My family recipe for potato pancakes/latkes uses the potato starch. I use a clean dish towel and put half of the onion potato mixture in it and twist the towel over a bowl of cold water. After squeezing all of the water out over the bowl you will note a layer of white starch has settled to the bottom on the cold water. Carefully pour the water off and add the starch layer back into the onion/potato mixture. This pure starch will act as a binder to hold the mixture together during the frying process of the pancakes. Chef John makes the point of instructing you to remove as much water as possible and that it the key to light crispy pancakes. To not remove the water results in soggy latkes that are gut bombs.

Mar 17, 2015

3/15: very good followed exactly except much less onion.

Apr 24, 2015

Thanks Chef John. So happy to see an authentic recipe for potato pancakes. My Polish mom made these every Friday for dinner and I make them at least once a month for my family. Wonderfully crisp, tender and flavorful pancakes; try them topped with applesauce and or sour cream with chives. Just make lots and lots.

Apr 22, 2015

That's how it's done! Follow these simple instructions for perfect potato pancakes every time.


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  • Calories
  • 315 kcal
  • 16%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 52.1 g
  • 17%
  • Cholesterol
  • 93 mg
  • 31%
  • Fat
  • 8.3 g
  • 13%
  • Fiber
  • 6.3 g
  • 25%
  • Protein
  • 9.3 g
  • 19%
  • Sodium
  • 633 mg
  • 25%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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