The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Latkes

One of the best and most popular Hanukkah treats to grace homes has to be latkes. It doesn't get much better than biting into deliciously crisp and creamy potato cakes. There are, however, a few key issues a lot of people run into when making them at home. That's why it is important to look out for these mistakes and know how to correct them.

One of the biggest downfalls is the oil. Though olive oil is a common go-to, this definitely isn't the time for it. Olive oil's smoking point is too low, which means it just isn't the right pick for this dish. Opt for canola or peanut oil since both are more neutral in flavor and have higher smoking points. If you really want to dress up your latkes, you can use duck or chicken fat instead (via My Recipes).

Next, you want to make sure the oil is hot enough to get the latkes golden brown when they're added in, but not so hot that a fire breaks out. Shoot for 375 degrees for the perfect temperature and drop a potato strand into the oil to test it. Keep in mind that the temperature will drop as you add latkes into the oil. So give the temperature time to rise between batches.

Make sure there's just enough oil to cover the cakes well without actually deep frying them either. It's important that there's enough oil for a solid shallow fry.

These are other common mistakes to avoid with latkes

While the oil can be tricky to get right, there are a few other areas you need to keep in mind when frying up your latkes. The prep of the potatoes is another important step. Though it's common to be instructed to wring out all of the liquid, leaving some of the starchy liquid will help make your latkes creamier and crispier. So, don't get rid of all the liquid. Instead, just drain off the excess liquid rather than wringing the potatoes. You'll be glad you resisted the urge to strip them of their natural starchy liquid (via My Jewish Learning).

Always season your latke mixture with plenty of salt, too. It's helpful to sprinkle another coat on after they come up from frying while they're still hot too. The salt will really help the flavor sing.

Finally, make sure you never overlap your latkes while they are frying. This can cause them to steam, rather than fry, where they're overlapped, so give them all the space they need. It might take longer to get through all of the cakes, but it's worth it when you get a big batch of perfectly golden brown fried latkes. Even when you take them up to drain and cool, they'll get soggy if they're too close there as well.

So, keep these tips in mind and make your best latkes yet.