Did you guys know I’m a Pollock? Well you should; I’ve told you on several occasions. I love my heritage, especially because it has so much delicious food. Hello, pierogies anyone? But the pinnacle of Polish dishes has to be potato pancakes. You can’t beat that stuff. And I’ll tell you something, if you don’t like potato pancakes, it’s because you’ve never had good ones. You need to have them homemade with love, done the Polish way. And I’m going to show you how it’s done.
I grew up eating homemade potato pancakes that were lovingly prepared by my grandparents. They worked as a team to whip them up, and this was no everyday affair. The making of potato pancakes was a momentous occasion. Once in a blue moon, the mood would strike, and my grandparents would tag-team. Typically, my grandfather would grate and my grandmother would fry. I’m going to be straight-up; my grandparents partnered up for the pancake-making process for a reason: these babies take a lot of love to make. They’re not hard or complicated by any means; it’s just a pain in the butt to grate the potatoes. But I can assure you, that elbow grease you put in will be well worth the mouth-watering feast it results in.
A seemingly simple recipe, you won’t believe how good these Classic Potato Pancakes really are. Could something with so few ingredients really be this amazing? Yes, yes it can. It’s all about doing it in the traditional way that’s been passed down from my grandmother’s generation to my mother’s to mine.
Thin and crispy, these pancakes are so awesome you’ll down a dozen in one sitting (no exaggeration). They have these crazy crispy-crunchy edges, but tender potato-packed interiors. Their golden brown color is delicious on your eyes, and their scent is intoxicating. Every sense is tantalized, and your taste buds get the real special treatment. That stripped-down, beautifully bare flavor is exactly how a potato pancake should taste. No funny business, no gimmicks or gunk; just pure potato bliss. Sometimes, simple is where it’s at.
These Classic Potato Pancakes are one of my favorite foods ever, and they’re very special to me. I can inhale mounds of them without batting an eyelash. I beg you to give this recipe a try and realize why these simply delicious tater cakes are a Polish tradition.
Polish or not, you will fall in love with these pancakes.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- You can pick how big or small you want the pancakes. Make traditional sized ones or go mini!
- These pancakes are traditionally topped with butter and/or applesauce. The applesauce thing might sound weird if you’ve never tried it, but promise me you’ll try it at least once. I swear, you’ll become a convert.
- You can do this as a one-man job, but it’ll go much quicker if you have at least two people. One can grate while the other fries.
- I know it sounds like a lot of potatoes, but you really need them all. Two dozen small pancakes can be inhaled by a family of four in the blink of an eye.
- You have to use the finest setting on your grater or the pancakes will be too thick.
Classic Potato Pancakes
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Makes about 2 dozen small pancakes
- 12 medium russet potatoes, peeled
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- salt & pepper, to taste
- vegetable oil, for frying
- optional: butter and applesauce, for topping
- In a large bowl, use a cheese grater on the finest setting to grate the potatoes and onions. The potatoes may discolor; this is normal.
- Stir in the flour, egg, salt, and pepper until evenly combined. Pour olive oil into a deep skillet until it’s 1/2-inch full. Bring to medium-high heat, making sure the oil is good and hot before continuing.
- Drop1/4-1/2 cup of batter into the oil, making sure it is flat and thin. If the oil doesn’t sizzle, it’s not hot enough. You can make the pancakes bigger or smaller based on your preference. Fill the pan with 3-4 pancakes and fry until the bottom is a deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and fry the other side until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease and fry the remaining pancakes. Note: Depending on if you have help in the kitchen or how good at multitasking you are, you can get two pans going at once to cook the pancakes faster.
- Serve pancakes hot out of the pan and top with butter and/or applesauce. If you wish to keep finished pancakes warm while you finish cooking the others, transfer finished potatoes to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and store in a warm oven at 200 degrees F.