Here's What Makes Latkes Different From Hashbrowns

With Hanukkah coming right up — this year, the Jewish holiday runs from Sunday, November 28 through December 6 (via My Jewish Learning) — it's time to start thinking about latkes. According to The Kitchn, these iconic Hanukkah fritters are made from shredded potatoes fried in hot oil or schmaltz until golden brown and crispy. Indeed, latkes are a delicacy whether you enjoy them plain or topped with applesauce or sour cream — or both.

If you've ever enjoyed a potato latke, you might have noticed that it bears a striking resemblance to another comfort food potato dish: the humble hash brown. Also made from shredded potatoes and onions and fried up crispy in plenty of fat, hash browns aren't limited to the Jewish holiday table — you can find them everywhere from diner flattops to the freezer section of your local grocery store. So what distinguishes latkes from hash browns, anyway? Read on to find out.

Latkes have a few more ingredients than hash browns

Latkes and hash browns are quite similar, but latkes are made from a few more ingredients. As pointed out by Chowhound user dixieday2, hash browns typically call for just two ingredients — potatoes and onions (and, presumably, salt) — while latkes are made from a batter. "Potato pancakes have a bit of egg and matzo meal added to give them a little more heft," the user wrote. "I like to shred my potatoes and onions coarsely and squeeze out all their excess liquid ... lots of salt and pepper, and fry in plenty of oil."

The user's comments are borne out in recipes for the two items. A Serious Eats recipe for hash browns calls for just potatoes, salt, and oil, with no mention of onions. On the flip side of the coin, a Kitchn recipe for latkes adds grated onion, egg, and matzo meal to the mix. So there you have it: These two dishes are kissing cousins, not identical twins. The good news? They're both extremely delicious.