As yesterday marked the start of the Festival of Light, aka Hanukkah, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the holiday means to me — or, more precisely, what I plan to cook. I’m half Jewish, so my family and I celebrate Hanukkah every year by a) making latkes, b) playing dreidel and c) dressing my dog up in his Hanukkah costume. (Trust me, it’s adorable.) The following is a foolproof recipe for the best latkes ever. If you want, get experimental and swap some of the potatoes for sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, or even celery root. The key, though, is to make sure all the ingredients are super dry before frying them, or else you’ll end up with a hot (soggy) mess.

Potato Latkes (adapted from

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 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 water, then drain well in a colander. Spread grated potatoes and onion on a

    kitchen towel and twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Put potato mixture into a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

    Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot (but not smoking). Dropping in 4 latkes at a time, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, and then spread into 3-inch rounds with

    a fork. Reduce heat to medium and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more

    oil to skillet as needed. Serve these glorified tater tots with apple sauce and sour cream.