It’s traditional for fried foods to be served during Hannukah, celebrating oil in memory of the miracle (a small amount of lamp oil lasting for eight days instead of just one) that started the holiday. Latkes and sufganiyot (doughnuts) are two of the most popular items, staples at just about every Hannukah party/celebration. Both are tasty, but I am a particular fan of latkes. The potato pancakes are deliciously crispy and, when served with applesauce and sour cream, immensely satisfying. They are also not the healthiest thing you can eat during the holidays. A little indulgence is not a bad thing, but I prefer to make an oven-baked version for snacking at home.
I’ve been making this recipe for quite some time now. My pet peeve with baked latkes is that they are often either undercooked or not crispy at all. I avoid both of these pitfalls by making the latkes fairly thin, so that they cook all the way through, and by baking them at a high temperature to ensure that they crisp up well. I use spray cooking oil to grease my pan, but there is no oil in the latkes themselves, just a mixture of potatoes, onions, egg, flour and seasoning. I tend to season generously with salt and pepper, as potatoes can be a bit bland, adding 1/2-1 tsp of salt per batch. Overall, I think that they’re a good substitute for the “real” thing, with a lot of good potato flavor.
These pancakes should be served hot, within an hour of being baked, for maximum crispness. If you want to serve them at a party, you can make mini pancakes with the same potato mixture, but since the baking time may need to be adjusted, bake a test batch before hand to make sure you don’t overcook (i.e. burn) any minis.
1 1/2-lbs. russet/baking potatoes (or Yukon Gold)
1 small, sweet onion
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper, to taste (approx 1/2 tsp salt)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray.
Wash and dry potatoes (no need to peel) and grate, using a coarse grater. Peel onion and grate with coarse grater.
Combine potato and onion in a colander or sieve and press down firmly to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and stir in egg, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper.
Drop potato mixture onto prepared baking baking sheet, forming 3-4 inch pancakes that are about 1/4-1/3 inch thick (each pancake will probably take about 3 tbsp of potato mixture).
Bake for 20 minutes, until the bottom of the pancakes are light brown. Turn pancakes over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until pancakes are golden and cooked through.
Served immediately, or shortly after baking, with apple sauce and sour cream.
Makes about 12 largeÂ latkes.
Note: The pancakes will have one smooth side (pictured above) and one bumpier side, simply because it is how they cook. If you want to get a really smooth, golden color to them, spread the oil/cooking spray around with a paper towel on the baking sheet; if you just spray on the oil, the pancakes will be a bit less even in color.
LydiaDecember 3, 2007
Latkes with apple sauce are the tradition in our house. I’ve tried baking as an alternative to frying, and while I appreciate the fat savings, I still feel like I need a bit of fried crispiness! We only make latkes on one night of Chanukah, so I guess I give myself permission to indulge!
suzerDecember 3, 2007
I haven’t made potato pancakes in forever, and they are so amazing.
I’ve been through all 150 pages of your blog in the last week…fantastic. Thanks for sharing, from a Yank Down Under to a Mate up Over.
MichelleDecember 4, 2007
OMG Nicole. I’ve been reading your blog for ages, and this is a first time I find myself shouting at the screen and saying, “Noooooooooooo!!! She can’t POSSIBLY!! It’s sacrilege!!” Channukah is the one time of year where I don’t freak out over deep fried stuff…where I just let al my food issues GO. The idea of baked latkes…wellll…I just can’t. I’m sorry, but I can’t.
(But I will admit they look pretty nice in the photo)
PS G’bread photos coming soon!
Bellini ValliDecember 4, 2007
Will they last long enough in my household to be served? I love the facr tht these latkes are baked in the oven!
NicoleDecember 4, 2007
Michelle – I guess since I’m not actually jewish (just attend the hannukah parties my friends throw every year), it’s not quite as sacrilegous. Plus, I like having these more than once a year, at brunches and such. Although I definitely agree with everyone that there are some indulgences that you *definitely* should go for on holidays/special occasions with absoultely no guilt!
ohiogirlDecember 4, 2007
How cool! I can’t wait to try them! I make and eat the traditional latkas, the fact that these are healthier, faster, and I won’t be covered in oil from standing by the stove frying, might mean I can make – and enjoy – these more.
Fingers crossed, I am going to try them tonight or tomorrow!
ohiogirlDecember 5, 2007
Okay, I didn’t line my baking sheet with foil (I had a DAY and forgot) but I did oil it Generously – and they stuck horribly! I had to hang up on my 74 year old mom so that I could chip them off the sheet, spray a new baking sheet (figuring if oil didn’t work, spray might) and transfer them and rebake.
THEN they worked.
I really think you need to tell folks to stick to non-stick spray, because the oil was a nightmare.
The recipe has much promise, but oil – no.
Gluten-Free BayDecember 5, 2007
I’ll admit to being a little skeptical about how good a baked latke could taste – But I’m so intrigued I’m going to have to try it for myself (with my gluten-free latke recipe). I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Grifola frondosaDecember 26, 2008
This is a perfect match for my oven browned chicken.
In a couple of tablespoons of oil, add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and your favorite dried herb.
Add skinless chicken pieces.(I use thighs)and coat the chicken.
Coat with fresh bread crumbs and panko and a TBsp of the spices you put in the marinade.
Spray with oil and bake at 400 degrees til brown.
beldujourJanuary 8, 2009
Baked latkes? Is nothing sacred? If you don’t want to have to fry, why not make a potato kugel? (If you want individual portions, which are both adorable and more festive, just bake your potato kugel mixture in muffin tins instead of a baking dish.)
JMO, from a small town in Eastern Europe where potatoes are a (daily, in some cases) dietary staple.
tmmyAugust 5, 2010
Okay, so I know that frying the latkes is practically sacred to some, but THANK YOU for this recipe! I have a very difficult time digesting fried food for a number of health reasons but love latkes…these sound like the perfect way to still enjoy them.
primaDecember 8, 2014
If it was just a small group of us I would continue to fry – but I am hosting a Hanukkah party for no less than 20 kids ages 2-8. Baking will mean I can get more on the plates with less chances of oil splatters on the kids. I have three racks in my ovens – plus if I do decide to fry some and use 3 fry pans I may only have to cook for 30 minutes and have enough for everyone! Thanks for the baking how-to!!!!