Potato Latkes

Leslie Kimmelman

2000 Beard House Latke Cookoff Winner

Contenders at the December 2000 Beard House Latke Cookoff included such exotic (and not even remotely kosher) ingredients as quail eggs, bacon, and fermented black beans in their potato pancakes. But “Tradition, tradition!” (as Fiddler on the Roof has it) won out. The Judge’s Choice winner in the amateur category was this unadorned recipe from children’s book author Leslie Kimmelman, in which the only surprise ingredient is a dash of cinnamon.


  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 3 large potatoes, grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour or matzoh meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Combine the grated vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the beaten egg. Stir together the flour and baking powder and add to the potato mixture. Add the salt and pepper, cinnamon, and chopped parsley, and check the seasonings. Pour the latke mixture into a sieve to drain off any liquid the potatoes have exuded. Discard this liquid.

Heat a large skillet. When the skillet is hot, add about three tablespoons of vegetable oil, enough to cover the entire skillet bottom. When the surface of the oil starts to shimmer, drop the potato mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls into the oil and flatten with the spoon into a pancake shape. Fry the latkes on one side until browned, then turn and fry on the other side. Both sides should be well browned and crispy. Drain the latkes on paper towels. Repeat the process, adding fresh oil when necessary, until the potato mixture is gone. You can keep the cooked latkes warm on a plate in a 150ºF oven until all the batter is used up.


4 servings