Potato Pancake with Homemade Chunky Applesauce



Junior's Home Cooking

Published by The Taunton Press

This image courtesy of Mark Ferri

The potato pancakes known as latkes are traditionally served during Hanukkah, but at Junior’s you can order them any day of the year, any time of day. They appear as an Old Word Favorite on the menu and come spread out on their own entrée plate, three large pancakes to a serving, with homemade applesauce and sour cream alongside. Be sure to make the applesauce the day before, so it’s good and cold.


Make the batter as directed for the regularsized cakes above. For each minicake, scoop out 1 tablespoon of batter. Fry as directed for regular-sized pancakes, cooking each side only for about 2 minutes, until golden and crispy. These mini-cakes make a beautiful display for the brunch table. Arrange them on your prettiest oval platter, overlapping the cakes in vertical rows, with small bowls of applesauce and sour cream on opposite ends. Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch mini-cakes.

The Junior’s Way

Russet potatoes, such as Idahos, make the best potato pancakes. They are low in moisture and high in starch, which helps to hold the batter together during frying. “Grate the onion and potatoes together, not separately, in your food processor,” advises the chef. “This keeps the potatoes from discoloring.”

The secret to getting latkes thin and crispy is to fry them in a skillet, not on a griddle. While the pancakes are cooking, keep pressing and spreading out the shredded potatoes with the bottom of a ladle or a pancake spatula, but gently, so as not to tear them.

Cooking Methodpan-frying


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre, main course, side dish

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrisp, savory


  • 1 recipe Homemade Chunky Applesauce 
  • 2½ pounds Idaho potatoes
  • 1 cup grated white onion (about 1 extra-large)
  • 2 extra-large-eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground White pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Sour cream


  1. The day before you plan to make the pancakes, prepare the applesauce and refrigerate.

  2. Grate the potatoes and onions together in a food processor using a medium grating disk (you will have about 6 cups), then transfer to a colander, lightly press out any excess liquid, and let the mixture drain in the sink or over a bowl for about 30 minutes. Spread the grated mixture out on a clean dish towel and roll up, jelly-roll style, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°F to keep the pancakes warm while cooking the rest.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well beaten and frothy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and sugar and whisk until smooth. Stir in the potato-onion mixture just until distributed; do not overmix or your pancakes may be tough.

  5. Warm about ¼ inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. For each 4-inch cake, scoop out about ¼ cup of batter, drop it into the skillet, and spread the batter out with the bottom of the ladle or with a pancake spatula or fork. Space the pancakes 1 inch apart in the skillet. Fry the cakes just until light golden brown (no darker!) on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes, then turn the cakes over and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep pressing them out with the spatula as they cook. The pancakes should be light golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft but cooked and done on the inside. Transfer the fried pancakes to a wire rack set on a baking sheet in the warm oven while cooking the rest of the cakes. Add a little more oil to the skillet as needed. Serve with cold applesauce and sour cream.

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