My best friend Mallori just got back from a vacation abroad in Germany. As she mentioned the details of her trip, from Berlin to Cologne and to the countryside where her uncle lives, I couldn’t help but ask “But what did you eat?”. Sheesh. Here I am, listening to her amazing European adventure, and all I’ve got is food on the brain. Typical, Kim. Typical. Out of all the types of German fare, there was one thing that really stood out: her aunt’s potato pancakes.

Potato pancakes, or latkes, are usually made to be eaten during the celebration of Hanukkah, but you don’t need to be Jewish in order to enjoy these any time of the year. Swap them out to be used as hash browns alongside a fried or poached egg and a good slice of ham, or eat them alone with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of chives (in lieu of the traditional accompaniments: creme fraiche and caviar). Since these are so easy to make and really hearty, you might just sneak them into every breakfast. I won’t tell.

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

from Smitten Kitchen


  • 1 large baking potato, peeled (1 lb)
  • 1 small white onion, peeled (4oz)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • peanut/vegetable/canola/olive oil for frying


  1. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.