RECIPES:
Dec 20, 2017

Fancy Mini Latkes

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Golden brown latkes with a crunchy exterior and the soft inside, similar to hash browns, served with a dollop of sour cream, caviar & chives.

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One of my favorite uses of potatoes is making latkes. Latkes are a popular Jewish food served for Hanukkah but are great enjoyed throughout the holiday season.

My recipe uses russet potatoes, matzo meal, egg, and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, which are then fried to crispy perfection. These latkes are mini size to get the optimal crispy outside to fluffy inside ratio! I serve the potato pancakes topped with crème fraîche, caviar and chives for a fun and fancy garnish but you can always top it with the traditional sour cream and applesauce if preferred.

Fancy Mini Latkes

Components of Latkes

People are very particular about their potato latkes. It’s just one of those dishes that people pride themselves on and prepare it the way their family always did.

The dish comes down to 4 components:

  1. The base – The potatoes are shredded with onion for the base.
  2. The binder – Eggs and flour, matzo, or potato starch are used to bind the potato mixture together.
  3. The seasoning – Lots of salt! Since potatoes are so starchy they can hold a lot of salt.
  4. The frying oil – I use a combination of schmaltz and a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil to fry the latkes. It’s important the oil is hot before adding the latkes.
Fancy mini latkes topped with creme fraiche, caviar and chives

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Schmaltz – While I love frying things in chicken fat (schmaltz) it can be hard to find large amounts of it if you aren’t roasting like 10 chickens (though I do recommend saving and freezing any leftover chicken fat). I opt to use a combination of both schmaltz and canola oil. In a pinch using only canola oil will do, I just love the boost of flavor the chicken fat adds. If you can’t find schmaltz at the store, save it from your roasted chicken!
  • Canola oil – A neutral oil like canola oil or vegetable oil it has a higher smoke point than many other oils and as opposed to schmaltz, it can be easily bought in larger batches.
  • Potatoes – Russet potatoes are the best potatoes for making latkes because of their high starch content. Also known as Idaho potatoes, they’re large, starchy, oblong potatoes. The starchy potato helps the latkes to hold their shape as they cook.
  • Yellow onion – I use yellow onion in this recipe for its mellow flavor when cooked. These onions with a brownish yellow papery skin are a great all-purpose cooking onion.
  • Matzo meal – Matzo meal is made by grinding up matzo, a traditional Jewish unleavened bread. It’s used to help bind the latkes together and keep them from falling apart as they cook.

How to Make This Mini Potato Latke Recipe

shredded potatoes and onion in food processor
Step 1: Grate potatoes and onions. 

Peel the potatoes into cold water so they don’t oxidize. Fit a food processor with a grater attachment. Grate the potatoes and onions and place into a large bowl.

See below for shredding potatoes without a food processor.

Step 2: Squeeze excess moisture. 

Wrap the mixture in cheesecloth and squeeze all the excess liquid from the potatoes and onions then return them to the mixing bowl.

shredded potato and matzo with egg mixture
latke mixture
Step 3: Mix the latkes. 

Add the eggs, matzo meal, baking powder, salt and pepper and use a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture should be wet and thick.

Step 4: Heat oil. 

Add the schmaltz and enough oil to fill a large cast iron skillet ¼” of the way up and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and shiny.

melted schmaltz in cast iron skillet
mini latkes frying in hot oil and schmaltz
Step 5: Shape latkes. 

Working in batches to not overcrowd the pan, scoop the latke batter in spoonfuls and use your hands to shape into a small disc.

Step 6: Fry the latkes. 

Add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides and the edges are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Use a spatula to remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

fried mini latkes
crispy mini latkes
Step 7: Assemble and serve. 

Serve latkes hot topped with crème fraîche, chives and caviar.

closeup of mini bougie latkes topped with caviar, creme fraiche and chives

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Tips for Making the Best Latkes
  • Don’t be afraid to be heavy handed with the salt in this potato latke recipe. The starchy potatoes eat up all the salt so to keep them perfectly seasoned you have to add more than you think you need.
  • Make sure you squeeze any excess water from the potatoes.
  • Of course you could always use this recipe to make normal size latkes as well! I just prefer bite-size latkes (smaller latkes = more crunch!).
  • After peeling the potatoes add them to a bowl of cold water to keep them from oxidizing.
  • If serving large batches of latkes, add them to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven at 200ºF (93ºC).
Serving suggestions

While I like to serve these mini latkes as an appetizer with a bit of crème fraîche, caviar and chives, sour cream and applesauce are a classic pairing! Pieces of smoked salmon and cream cheese are also great on latkes.

How to Make this Without a Food Processor

While a food processor fitted with a grate attachment cuts down on the time and effort for making the latkes, it is not necessary. You can simply shred the onions and potatoes by hand using a handheld cheese grater.

fancy mini latkes topped with creme fraiche and caviar

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this mini latkes recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Fancy Mini Latkes

Fancy mini latkes topped with creme fraiche, caviar and chives
Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 30 small latkes

Ingredients:

  • pounds large Russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cup matzo meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 cup schmaltz (chicken fat)
  • Canola oil, as needed, for frying
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoon diced chives
  • 1 ounce white sturgeon caviar (optional)

Instructions:

  • Peel the potatoes into cold water so they don’t oxidize. Fit a food processor with a grater attachment. Grate the potatoes and onions and place into a large bowl.
  • Wrap the mixture in cheesecloth and squeeze all the excess liquid from the potatoes and onions then return them to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the eggs, matzo meal, baking powder, salt and pepper and use a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture should be wet and thick.
  • Add the schmaltz and enough oil to fill a large cast iron skillet ¼” of the way up and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and shiny.
  • Working in batches to not overcrowd the pan, scoop the latke batter in heaping spoonfuls and use your hands to shape into a disc.
  • Add to the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides and the edges are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Use a spatula to remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • Serve latkes hot topped with crème fraîche, chives and caviar.

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