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Potato Pancakes

March 21, 2024

Rich with onions and fried to a perfectly crisp golden brown, our potato pancake recipe was handed down from Natalie’s grandma and we’re thrilled to share it with you.


homemade potato pancakes on a plate topped with a dollop of sour cream

A Classic Potato Pancake Recipe

We’re excited to share yet another lovely recipe from Natalie’s family today—her grandma's potato latkes recipe! She was Polish, and called them simply potato pancakes or sometimes “poletskis”. We call them delicious! Pan-fried to a perfect golden-brown, with just the right hit of onion, they’re a simple treat to make again and again. Serving them with applesauce and sour cream is the most classic choice, but Grandma Blanche served them with cottage cheese, and so we always include it in our potato pancake garnish spread, too. If you’re in a potato mood, but want something more dinner-time friendly, try our Pierogi!

potatoes, onions, flour, salt, pepper and eggs in bowls on the counter to make homemade latkes
eggs, flour, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl
eggs, flour, salt, pepper, onions and potatoes in a mixing bowl for homemade potato pancakes
eggs, flour, salt, pepper, onions and potatoes in a mixing bowl for latkes recipe

What Are Latkes?

Latke is the Yiddish word for potato pancakes, and many Jewish people enjoy them during Hanukkah, but it seems that tradition may be relatively recent. They’re popular in our homes pretty much year round! They’re a bit different from hash browns in that hash browns don’t usually have onion (or at least as much onion), and they’re usually pan fried in just a bit of oil while potato pancakes are essentially almost deep-fried in quite a bit more oil (or sometimes chicken fat).

homemade potato pancakes being fried in a skillet
homemade latkes  on a cooling rack

How To Make Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes are not an exact science—this is grandma food at its finest, so some of the technique is really about feel and preference. As you make these over the years—and if you make them once, you’ll make them again and again because they’re just that good—you’ll find what feels right to you. You’ll see in the recipe that we tell you to add a little flour if the potato pancake mixture seems a little looser than it should be and how to test the oil to see if it’s ready to fry the pancakes. All of this “by feel” stuff has a bit of a learning curve, but it is also fundamentally very simple. Here’s a quick step-by-step breakdown of how to make our potato pancake recipe:

  1. Grate the potato and onion. The grating attachment of your food processor will make short work of this. You can grate the onion and potato together—supposedly the onion will help to keep the potato from browning quite so quickly.

  2. Wring out the grated onions and potatoes. Get as much liquid out as you can! You can use a kitchen towel for this in a pinch, but a jelly bag, cheesecloth or a nut bag is best.

  3. Put the onions and potatoes in a bowl with eggs, flour, salt and pepper and stir it all together to make a potato pancake batter of sorts.

  4. Fry the potato pancakes! You'll use a small spoonful of the batter to test the oil to see if it's ready. Carefully drop the batter into the oil when you think it might be hot enough—-if it immediately sizzles, the oil is ready. If the oil starts to smoke, or the pancakes are burning, turn the heat down slightly and wait a few minutes, then test it again. Fry them for about 3 minutes per side, but watch for crispness and color (you want them to be beautifully golden brown).

  5. Serve!

homemade potato pancakes on a plate topped with a dollop of sour cream

What To Serve With the Best Ever Potato Pancakes

You can eat these just as they are, but it’s nice to offer at least one (ideally more!) thing along with them. We usually opt for traditional accompaniments, like:

  • Sour cream

  • Applesauce

  • Cottage cheese (a tradition in our home, at least!)

homemade latkes on a plate topped with a dollop of sour cream

Tools You’ll Need

More Potato Recipes To Try

homemade potato pancakes on a plate topped with a dollop of sour cream

We Love These A Lat(ke)

And we hope you do too! Every recipe we share is special, but none more so than beloved family recipes and this one truly means a lot to us. Make it, love it, make it yours. And when you do, share a photo and tell us all about it, OK? Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Potato Pancakes

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 309


  • 4 cups peeled and grated russet potatoes from 4 potatoes
  • 1 cup grated onion from 1 large onion
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Cottage cheese for serving, optional
  • Sour cream for serving, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 300 °F
  2. Place the grated potatoes and grated onion in a large kitchen towel or a nut bag. Firmly twist the towel over the sink wringing out as much liquid as possible. Open the towel, allow the mixture to loosen then wring out once more.
  3. In a large bowl mix eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Add the potato and onion mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until completely coated. Mixture should be thick, not runny. If the mixture is too runny, add more flour 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture thickens.
  4. Set a metal cooling rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside. In a large skillet add oil ¼ inch deep and place over medium heat. Drop a small amount of the potato mixture into the pan. If it sizzles then it’s ready.
  5. Working in batches drop ¼ cup of mixture into the pan, gently pressing with the back of the measuring cup to slightly flatten. Fry the potato pancakes, until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. (Your oil should not be smoking, if it's too hot, turn down the heat) Transfer potato pancakes to the prepared wire rack and store in the oven while cooking the remaining latkes.
  6. Serve with cottage cheese, sour cream or applesauce.

Note: If the mixture becomes wet while making the latkes, gently stir it to remix.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories309
  • Protein7 g
  • Carbohydrates35 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol93 mg
  • sodium597 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Potato Pancakes

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Vicky

    Can these be frozen and heated up for another time?

    absolutely! Potato pancakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. First flash freeze by laying flat on baking sheet and placing in freezer for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a freezer-safe ziptop bag. Reheat in oven directly from frozen for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

  • Janet

    I have Celiac disease & must eat gluten-free. Can I use gluten-free flour with good results?
    Thank you

    We haven't tested these with gluten free flour but imagine it will work fine. Hope you enjoy Janet!

  • Janet

    Can you make these ahead of time and freeze them? Then defrost and bake again to warm them up? Do you think they would taste just as good??? Thanks

    We haven't tried freezing these but think it would work. They won't be ask crispy reheating them from frozen.

  • Mona

    How do you store left over potato pancakes, and how to best reheat them?

    Store them in a sealed container in the fridge. Heating them in the oven will probably taste best. You could heat them on 375F for about 10 minutes. Hope you enjoy Mona!

  • Seymour

    Can I.use buttery gold potatoes instead of russet

    Should work fine!

  • Jennifer

    Fantastic! Well worth the labor that went into it.

    Thank you! We are so glad you loved it!

  • Catherine

    So delicious and simple. I used simply potatoes hashbrowns and vadalia onion. What a treat.

    Thanks Catherine, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Chuck

    Thanks, They are the closest to mom's I have been able to make. I think shredding the onion & potato together was great. Warming up the leftovers is easy in the non stick skillet with a burger press on top. A microwave reheat on these is inadequate.

    Thanks Chuck, glad you loved them!

  • Patricia

    Excellent and authentic recipe. I had a Polish grandma too.

    Awww, love polish grandmas! Glad you liked this one Patricia!

  • Julie

    OMG these were soooo good. Use a food processor to speed the process. Looking forward to more MP recipes and my new recipe book.

    Thank you Julie, so happy you loved these. Hope you enjoy the book!