The Basics: Potato Pancakes

Ever since I ate breakfast prepared by Michael Symon, I can't stop thinking about his potato pancakes. They were the best I've had: crispy and thin with a golden brown crust and subtle onion flavor. Over the weekend I finally broke down and made them.

Potato pancakes are incredibly versatile; they can be served with eggs at breakfast or beside a steak at dinner. Topped with smoked salmon or a dollop of sour cream, they also make a luxurious appetizer.

Once you've mastered the technique, get creative by stirring in grated zucchini or using sweet potatoes. You've already read Symon's tips for making the perfect potato pancakes, and now you can check out his recipe after the break.

Potato Pancakes

Potato Pancakes


  1. 4 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  2. 1 large egg, beaten
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 medium yellow onion
  8. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  2. Peel the potatoes and keep them submerged in cold water.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, baking powder, flour, salt, and pepper.
  4. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the onion and add it to egg mixture. Grate the potatoes onto a clean kitchen towel and wring as much water out of them as you can. Add the potatoes to the egg mixture. Toss so that the mixture is evenly combined.
  5. Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat and melt half of the butter in it. Using half of the potato mixture, shape 4 pancakes, each about 4 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. Saute the pancakes in butter until each side is golden brown and the interior is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels and keep them warm in the oven while you shape and cook 4 more pancakes using the remaining butter and potato mixture.

Serves 8.

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