I Made Benny Blanco's Famous "Please Marry Me Martha Stewart" Latkes

Most people know Benny Blanco as the music producer and songwriter behind pop hits like "Teenage Dream" and "Diamonds." But over the years, Blanco has also established himself as quite the foodie. On TikTok, he's shared recipes for chicken cutlets, re-created SZA's banana pudding, and shared how to make girlfriend Selena Gomez's favorite fried pickles. At one point Blanco even hosted a cooking show on YouTube called "Eat Out America." And so, it was only a matter of time before he came out with a cookbook.

"Open Wide: A Cookbook for Friends," which Blanco co-wrote with cookbook author Jess Damuck, features cheeky recipes and dinner party menu items like "lose your mind lobster rolls," "I wish I was an Italian grandma," and perhaps most famously, "'please marry me Martha Stewart' latkes." These latkes were actually the star ingredient in Blanco's collab with Gotham Burger, which has also become a hit on TikTok.

The recipe was actually inspired by Blanco's "secret crush" on Stewart, who his co-author has worked with for over ten years. Unfortunately, Stewart herself has yet to try the latkes, despite a near brush when Damuck invited her over to Blanco's house. "I was so nervous I went out and bought a tin of caviar the size of my head and the nicest champagne I could find, and she never showed up," Blanco recalls in his cookbook. "Jess said she's just playing hard to get."

Regardless, Blanco still speaks highly of his recipe, claiming, "If you make these latkes, there is a 100 percent guarantee of a sexual experience."

How to Make Benny Blanco's Latkes

The recipe begins by peeling and grating russet potatoes and white onions. The next step is to let the potato and onion mixture soak in ice water, which helps remove excess starch and the discoloration that otherwise occurs when grated potatoes sit out. Afterwards, strain the soaked ingredients through a cheesecloth to remove all the liquid, before transferring them to a dry mixing bowl.

Blanco's recipe calls for a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, as well as eggs and potato starch to bind everything together. Each latke is portioned using an ice cream scoop and then fried in a mixture of beef tallow and canola oil for two minutes per side — a process that will "make you smell like the inside of a tater tot," Blanco writes in his cookbook.

Latkes are often served with applesauce or sour cream, but Blanco takes it up a notch by topping each one with crème fraîche, caviar, and chives, a combination Blanco swears would win Stewart's hand in marriage. I can't confirm whether the recipe can inspire a marriage proposal, however I did FaceTime my best friend to show her the finished latkes, and she dropped everything to come over and try them.

If you like your latkes extra crispy you will not be disappointed by this recipe. The latkes are layered with more flavor than you'd think, and not just because of the fancy toppings (you'd be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to fry it in beef tallow).

Substituting Ingredients

In his recipe, Blanco recommends topping the latkes off with Osetra or Kaluga caviar, specifically by the brands Regalis or Petrossian. You can find these or similar alternatives at a specialty food store, but if this is out of your price range, imitation caviar is available in the canned fish section of some grocery stores. The caviar does add a briny quality that nicely contrasts the greasiness of the latkes, so it's definitely worth adding.

If you choose to forgo the topping, however, the plain latkes still have a good amount of flavor, and not just because of the salt and pepper seasoning, but also because of the beef tallow. The ingredient introduces a distinct richness to the latkes, but if you're vegan or simply cannot find beef tallow, you can always use an herb-infused olive oil to add another layer of flavor.

Crème fraîche should be a bit easier to find than beef tallow or caviar, though you can substitute this ingredient too if need be. Sour cream tends to be cheaper and has a fairly similar flavor, but keep in mind it's not as thick and tastes a little more tangy.

The one ingredient that's probably best to avoid substituting is the potato starch: most latke recipes call for flour, but the potato starch in Blanco's is what helps the latkes get extra crispy instead of becoming gummy or soft.

It's hard not to like Benny Blanco's recipe, especially if you're already a fan of crispy latkes or want to serve caviar on something other than crackers. I definitely plan on making them again because they are really that tasty. If you want to test out these latkes before you snag a copy of "Open Wide: A Cookbook for Friends," Blanco's full recipe is ahead.


Kalea Martín writes primarily about food and cooking for PS, but as a former figure skater and hockey player, she covers fitness, too. Prior to becoming a lifestyle writer, Kalea covered hotels, restaurants, and travel for Luxos Magazine in Milan and worked in marketing at HarperCollins Publishers.


POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
From the book OPEN WIDE by benny blanco. Copyright © 2024 by benny blanco. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Benny Blanco's "Please Marry Me Martha Stewart" Latkes

INGREDIENTS

    • 6 russet potatoes, peeled
    • 2 yellow onions, peeled
    • 2 tablespoons potato starch
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • Beef tallow, for frying
    • Canola oil, for frying
    • Flaky sea salt
    • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
    • 50 grams of your favorite caviar
    • Minced chives

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Fill a very large bowl with ice cold water.

    2. If you have a food processor, use the shredder attachment and cut the potatoes and onions into pieces small enough to fit through the mouth. Otherwise, keep them whole and grate by hand using a box grater. As you grate, add the shredded potatoes and onions to a large bowl of ice water.

    3. Squeeze out all the water with your hands.

    4. Transfer to a dry bowl. Add the potato starch, kosher salt, pepper, and eggs to the bowl with the potatoes and use your hands to mix it all up.

    5. Heat about a half inch of tallow and oil in a large skillet with high sides (I like to use a wok) over medium-high heat until it’s really hot. Use a little piece of the potato mixture to see if it’s ready—it should sizzle violently.

    6. Use an ice cream scoop to portion latkes and add them to the hot oil, using a fish spatula to squish them down a little. Cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

    7. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with a little flaky salt.

    8. Top with the crème fraîche, a huge scoop of caviar, and some chives to serve.