Latkes — potato pancakes — are generally made by standing over a hot stove, grease sputtering and popping, and frying the cakes 2 or 3 at a time. It's a long, labor-intensive process. Here's a better method: bake them in the oven, so you can serve a dozen hot latkes, all at once, with very little effort.

In addition, latkes are traditionally made with raw grated potatoes, squeezed dry in a towel or pressed in a colander to remove their liquid. Here's an easier method: cook the potatoes first, then put them through a potato ricer. Gently combine with the remaining ingredients, bake, and you'll make latkes that are crispy-crunchy outside, and soft within.

And homemade applesauce doesn't mean standing over a hot stove, either. Simply core apples (peels on or off; your choice); microwave till soft; mash; and sweeten to taste. The combination of sweet applesauce and salty latkes simply can't be beat. Enjoy!

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds Russet baking potatoes or yellow boiling potatoes, about 3 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons salt
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced or shredded; about 3/4 cup shredded onion
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
about 1/2 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  1. Peel the potatoes. Cut each potato into about 6 chunks.
  2. If you're using baking potatoes, place them on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkle with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste (more if you like a saltier latke). Cover the plate with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  3. If you're using yellow boiling potatoes, cut each of the chunks in half, and place them in a medium saucepan. Cover with about 4 cups of water; the water should cover the potatoes by about 1/2". Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons salt to the water (yes, tablespoons; use the greater amount if you like saltier latkes). Boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes, or until they're fork tender. Drain in a colander.
  4. Allow the potatoes to cool a bit while you shred or dice the onion, and whisk the egg. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Use a potato ricer to rice about 1/3 of the cooked potatoes into a bowl. Sprinkle with half the onions and 1 tablespoon of the flour, and drizzle with about half the beaten egg. Rice another third of the potatoes into the bowl, and sprinkle with the remaining onions and flour; drizzle with the remaining egg. Rice the remaining potatoes into the bowl.
  6. Gently combine all of the ingredients. Don't stir too much; you don't want thoroughly mashed potatoes.
  7. Line two rimmed baking sheets with easy-release aluminum foil (for easiest cleanup, and guaranteed no-stick latkes). Or simply get out two rimmed baking sheets. Pour 1/4 cup oil into each, tilting the pan to spread it around.
  8. Place one of the pans into the oven, and allow the oil to heat for 2 minutes. this step isn't necessary if you use easy-release aluminum foil, but helps avoid sticking if you're using a plain aluminum foil.
  9. If you've heated the pan, remove it from the oven. Scoop a heaping 1/4 cup of potatoes onto the pan; a muffin scoop works well here. Repeat till you've scooped 6 or 7 latkes onto the pan. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers (be careful!), gently flatten the latkes to about 3/8" thick.
  10. Repeat with the second pan and the remaining potatoes.
  11. Bake the latkes for 10 minutes. Reverse the pans in the oven — upper pan to the lower rack, lower pan to the upper rack — and bake for an additional 15 minutes, till the bottoms of the latkes are golden brown.
  12. Remove the pans from the oven, and carefully flip the latkes. If you're not using easy release foil, and they stick, try baking for a few more minutes; when they're thoroughly cooked on the bottom, they should flip over without sticking.
  13. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned.
  14. Remove the latkes from the oven, and serve warm.


Cooking Tips

  • What's the difference between baking vs. boiling potatoes in latkes? Not much, other than the preparation method. Some of our tasters discerned a slightly more "potato-y" taste in the baking potato version; but both types of potatoes made latkes that disappeared from our tasting area in a flash.