NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every Jewish family has its favorite latke recipe, one that’s often passed from generation to generation.

Latke, or potato pancakes, are a classic Chanukah favorite.

Families may differ, but the recipe is really the same wherever you go, in that all latke recipes have similar ingredients.

“It’s the potatoes, and the onions and… that’s it,” Jack Lebewohl, of the 2nd Ave Deli, told CBS2’s Nancy Espinosa.

It’s all about how you combine them.

Web Extra: NYC’s Best Restaurants For Latkes: Katz’s Deli, Ben’s Best, More

Seri Kertzner said the first step is to make sure the oil is hot. Then, drain the potatoes and add the egg and flour with a little bit of salt.

Next, use your hands to make a small pancake.

Then, fry it in a pan for the perfect sizzle.

Lebewohl said he’s been serving latkes for decades, and the process reminds him of a cup of oil that burned for eight days in ancient times.

“So traditionally, we now eat foods that utilize oil and its preparation,” he said. “Jewish people are very smart. We’d rather have potato latkes than a salad!”

Unlike Kertzner, Lebewohl puts his potatoes through a machine.

“It was a mother’s love, which made it much better. Today, we use a blender,” he said.

His advice for getting them extra crispy?

“Leave it on a little bit longer,” he said.

When reheating, put them on a rack — that means no microwave.

Another extra Kertzner likes to add to her latkes is beer. Just a little bit for flavor, of course.

Don’t forget about the toppings. Some people prefer sour cream or chives, but some like apple sauce.

2nd Ave Deli’s Latke Recipe (Makes 20):

2 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled and quartered
2 large onions (use 1 1/2 cups grated; don’t tamp down)
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup corn oil
1 cup flour
2 l/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups matzo meal

1/2 cup corn oil for frying


non-dairy or regular sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, fine-grate potatoes (don’t liquefy; leave some texture), and strain to eliminate excess liquid. Don’t overdo it; just let the water drain out. Fine-grate onions, and mix in a large bowl with potatoes. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, you can grind the potatoes and onions in a meat grinder.
  2. Add eggs, baking powder, 3/4 cup corn oil (most of it cooks out), flour, salt, and pepper; mix well. Fold in matzo meal, making sure that everything is thoroughly blended.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup corn oil in a deep skillet. Spoon batter (use a large kitchen spoon) into the pan to create pancakes about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Fry on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until underside is a deep golden brown, turn, and fry for another minute or two. Drain on paper towel. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.

Little Miss Party’s Latke Recipe (Serves 6)

4 large russet potatoes
1 small white onion, finely grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup beer
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
corn oil for frying

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Peel and grate potatoes into a large bowl of ice water
Using a strainer or a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes, reserving liquid, to a bowl lined with a clean dish towel. Gently squeeze dry.
Set reserved liquid aside for ten minutes, allowing the starch to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Carefully pour liquid from the bowl, reserving milky residue (potato starch) and discard the water.
Transfer potatoes to the bowl with the potato starch
Add in balance of ingredients and mix together
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside
In a heavy non-stick skillet, heat 1/4 in of oil
Spoon a handful of potato mixture per pancake into skillet. make a few at a time
Fry on both sides until golden brown, 4-6 minutes
Transfer to lined baking sheet to drain
Keep warm in oven while preparing others

Kertzner’s tips:
1. As soon as the skin comes off of the potatoes and you start peeling, it is important to put right in cold water to prevent potatoes from turning brown.
2. Whenever cooking with beer or wine, use one that you enjoy drinking.
3. Serving suggestions: Applesauce, sour cream, smoked salmon, scallions, and mustard and ketchup are always fun.