The Trick You Need To Use For The Best Latke Color

Whether you've been making latkes your whole life or are planning to create a batch for the first time this year, there are a lot of tips and tricks on how to perfect the process. While the ingredients are relatively simple, there are a lot of areas where you can go wrong and potential mistakes you might make.

For example, you want to use the right tools for the job. PBS recommends using a cast-iron skillet or stainless steel pan and suggests you steer clear of non-stick coated pans for this particular purpose. As when frying anything, you'll want to ensure you select a neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point, as The Kitchn explains.

Now, if you've consistently managed to craft perfect latkes that stay together and taste incredible, but you just never get that perfect golden brown color on the exterior, you're in luck. There's a simple tip for that as well, and it starts before the latkes ever hit the sizzling hot oil for frying. What you need to get that perfect color is a bowl of ice water and a few minutes of extra time before you combine your mass of shredded potatoes with the other ingredients in your latke mixture.

Submerge, squeeze, and fry the starchy bites

As The Kitchn outlines, you want to take the shredded potatoes destined for your latke mixture and toss them in a bowl of ice water. This will help prevent the potatoes from browning while you gather your other ingredients, and the submersion in the icy water will remove excess starch, Potato Goodness explains. While you might assume that starch is a positive in a food that needs to bind together, too much of it can create an undesirably sticky texture on your latke exterior, which will prevent that golden brown crust from forming.

Once you're ready to combine the shredded potatoes with the other ingredients to make your latke mixture, all you have to do is squeeze the potatoes to remove any excess liquid and they're ready to use. The more dry the potatoes are, the more brown and crispy they'll get in the pan. Yes, properly squeezing out all that moisture takes a bit of extra time, but it makes a huge difference.

Finally, if you've gone through all the hard work of submerging your shredded potatoes and squeezing the liquid out, you don't want to mess it up at the cooking stage. As Food Network warns, be careful not to crowd the latkes in the pan — an overcrowded pan will yield steamed latkes rather than perfectly crispy fried latkes. Either be patient, or get two pans going at once to fast-track the process.