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My Mother's Cooking - Potato Pancakes

Updated on October 20, 2012

Potato Pancakes and Latkas

Potato Pancakes with Applesauce
Potato Pancakes with Applesauce
Pancakes with Sour Cream
Pancakes with Sour Cream
My Mother's Cooking
My Mother's Cooking
Latkas Frying
Latkas Frying
Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup


Cast your vote for My Mother's Potato Pancakes


Potato Pancakes and Latkes


When my mother made homemade potato pancakes it was almost always intended for our Friday night supper. Back in those days, the Catholic Church still required its members to abstain from meat on Fridays. Our family all liked potato pancakes and we probably would have eaten them more often if they weren’t so much work to make them.


As soon as I was old enough, it was my job to peel and grate the potatoes. Then my mother would finish making the batter and start frying them in oil. As soon as she got a few pancakes ahead, the rest of the family would sit down at the table and start eating. My mother would continue cooking them until we all got enough and finally, she would sit down and eat the last batch herself.


In the early years, we never had store bought syrup with our potato pancakes. My mother simply made simple syrup from sugar and water and added a little vanilla for flavor. We usually just had that and butter on our pancakes although occasionally my mother would open a jar of her homemade applesauce too. In later years, we could afford to buy syrup, but most of us still preferred her simple homemade syrup.




Preparation Time:

60 Minutes

Cooking Time:

60 Minutes



6 Large Russet Potatoes peeled and grated

1 Egg

½ Teaspoon Salt

2 to 3 Cups of Flour to make a batter which just pours and spreads easily

½ Cup of Oil or more


Preparation and Cooking Instructions:

  1. If possible, grate the potatoes using a box grater. A food processor will not give the pancakes the same texture.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the grated potatoes with the egg and salt and start adding flour one cup at a time while continuing to mix it with a large wooden spoon.
  3. Keep adding flour one cup at a time until you get a thick batter that can still be poured.
  4. Heat 1/3 of the oil in a large skillet and deposit four small ladles full of batter equally around the pan. When the first side is golden brown, flip them over and brown the other side.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve them at once or keep them warm in a 200 F oven.
  6. Continue cooking the pancakes in batches, adding more oil as needed, until all of the batter is used up.
  7. I like to eat potato pancakes with pork sausages or bacon and some good strong coffee.
  8. You can use any syrup that you like, but I still make the one that my mother made.


My mother’s Simple Syrup


Most recipes for simple syrup call for equal parts of sugar and water but I like to add more sugar so that the syrup will be thicker.

1 Cup of Water

1 ½ Cups of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract


Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar to a boil and gently simmer, while stirring, until all of the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. This syrup should be served warm as it has a tendency to crystallize if chilled. However, it will liquefy again if re-heated.


Potato Latkas:


Latkas are the Jewish name for savory fried potato patties that are commonly made in most northern and central European countries. In contrast to potato pancakes, they are usually made with shredded rather than grated potatoes and they contain grated onions and less flour. Instead of being eaten with syrup, they are generally eaten with sour cream or a little applesauce. Unfortunately, my mother never made them but numerous recipes are available if you are interested.


For additional ways to prepare potatoes, see the other sections of Chapter 6, which are listed below:

Chapter 6 – Potato Dishes

1. Baked, Roasted and Stuffed Potatoes

2. Boiled Potatoes and Potato Salad

3. Fried Potatoes and Hash

4. French Fries and Croquettes

5. Potato Casseroles

6. Potato Dumplings

7. Potato Pancakes

8. Norwegian Staples - Krube and Lefse


How to make latkes

North Central Wisconsin where I learned how to cook from my mother

Wausau, WI:
Wausau, WI, USA

get directions

Milwaukee, WI:
Milwaukee, WI, USA

get directions


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    • Brett Osteen profile image

      Brett Osteen 

      6 years ago

      Mm potato pancakes.

    • rjsadowski profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      No, she wasn't Irish, but both my mother and father were raised on potato farms in North Central Wisconsin. In my mother's case at least, sometimes, potatoes were just about all they had to eat with ten children to feed.

    • FordeAhern profile image


      6 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

      Was your Mom Irish because the Irish love potatoes. During the famine times in Ireland they lived on potatoes. Great hub, thank you. voted and useful

    • bipolar mind profile image

      bipolar mind 

      6 years ago from uk

      Thanks for sharing this. My Grandfather was Polish and after the war became a Chef. I remember we had a lovely day where he taught me how to make latkas and chicken liver pate, so this hub brought back some happy memories for me.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for this great potato pancake recipe, will have to give it a try .

      Happy Easter my friend !

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am so glad to get this recipe. I make potato cakes but only to use up the mashed potatoes left over. I buy frozen hash brown potatoes that would do just fine in this recipe..Thank you so much..

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Sound delicious, I will try them. Thanks for sharing

    • Brupie profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for this recipe. When I worked in a German restaurant we sold potato pancakes (the owner was of German-Polish descent). They were very popular. I also love to make hash browns from essentially the same ingredient -- fried loose grated potatoes in hot shallow oil.


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