Many Jewish people observe eight nights of Chanukah to commemorate a miracle in the second century BCE that occurred while Jewish tribes were fighting the Greeks and Syrians for the right to practice their religion: The eternal light in the temple had only enough oil for one night but it burned for 8 nights. So it became a tradition to make a treat that was cooked with oil. The Israelis favor doughnuts fried in olive oil; Americans like to fry potato pancakes called latkes.
By / Photography By Jennifer Olson | November 21, 2014


*Note: The secret to great latkes is said to be starchy potatoes like Yukon Golds.

Preheat oven to 250°. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to the water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel slightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in eggs and salt.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels to drain, and season with salt. Add more oil to the skillet if needed. Keep cooked latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in the oven.

Serve with sides of sour cream and applesauce.



  • 1 pound potatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ to ¾ cup olive oil
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