Latke (pronounced LOT-keh, LOT-kah or LOT-kee) is Yiddish for “pancake.” On Chanukah, it is traditional to serve latkes (most often potato) fried in oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle, which involved the oil of the Temple menorah lasting for eight days instead of just one (read the full story here)

Jews eat foods that reflect the significance of a holiday—such as matzah on Passover and apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah—and Chanukah is no exception. For at least the last thousand years, Jews have traditionally eaten oily foods on Chanukah.

You can also make latkes with cheese, carrot, zucchini or just about anything else that fries well. In fact, eating jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot in Hebrew) on Chanukah is a very close cousin to this custom, sharing the same source (see our sufganiyot recipes).

Check our curated collection of the most amazing latke recipes, guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Why Latkes Go With Sour Cream

Potato latkes are traditionally served with applesauce and/or sour cream, but they are perfectly tasty with nothing at all (please, oh please, do not disgrace them with ketchup).

In addition to being delicious with fried foods, sour cream is symbolically significant. Dairy treats are reminiscent of the milk-based (and intoxicating) meal that the brave Judith fed the Greek general before she decapitated him in his sleep. (Read the full story of Judith’s heroism, as well as our delectable dairy latke recipes.)

A Classic Chanukah Potato Latke Recipe


5 large potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
3 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¾ cup oil for frying

Use: 10-inch skillet
Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Grate potatoes and onion on the fine side of a grater, or in a food processor; or put in a blender with a little water.

Strain grated potatoes and onion through a colander, pressing out excess water. Add eggs, flour, and seasoning. Mix well.
Heat ½ cup oil in skillet. Lower flame and place 1 large tablespoon batter at a time into hot sizzling oil and fry on one side for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry on other side 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue with remaining batter until used up, adding more oil when necessary.

Serve with applesauce on the side.

Variation: Zucchini or Carrot Latkes: Substitute 5 medium zucchini or 5 medium carrots for potatoes.