Latkes vs Hash Browns

When it comes to delicious and satisfying potato dishes, Latkes and Hash Browns are often pitted against each other. Both have their own unique qualities and characteristics, making them loved by many around the world. In this article, we will dive into the fascinating worlds of Latkes and Hash Browns, exploring their origins, preparation methods, and what sets them apart from each other.

Latkes, originating from Jewish cuisine, are traditionally made during the Hanukkah holiday. Prepared with grated potatoes, onions, eggs, and flour, they are fried to golden-brown perfection. On the other hand, Hash Browns have roots in American cuisine and consist of shredded or diced potatoes, sometimes mixed with additional ingredients, also fried to achieve that satisfying crispiness.

While both dishes have similarities, their differences in cultural significance, ingredients, and preparation methods make them distinct and beloved for their specific flavors and textures. This article will compare and contrast Latkes and Hash Browns, provide insights on the best ways to serve and enjoy them, and explore the nutritional benefits they offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the origins and cultural significance of Latkes and Hash Browns
  • Learn about differences and similarities in ingredients and preparation methods
  • Discover various toppings, serving suggestions, and nutrition information for these potato dishes

Origins and Cultural Significance

Latkes’ Hanukkah Connection

Latkes, a traditional Jewish dish, originate from Eastern Europe. They are mainly associated with Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. During this celebration, you’ll find latkes served alongside the menorah. The importance of latkes in Jewish cuisine lies in the fact that they are cooked in oil – a symbol of the miracle of the oil that is central to the Hanukkah story. This connection to oil and the menorah makes latkes an essential part of the Hanukkah tradition for many Jewish familes.

Hash Browns and Diner Culture

Hash browns, on the other hand, have their roots in Switzerland. They were introduced to North America in the early 20th century. As diners and breakfast restaurants gained popularity, so did hash browns. They eventually became a staple item on most diner menus across the United States and Canada, and are now strongly associated with American diner culture.

Although latkes and hash browns share some similarities in their ingredients and preparation, their cultural significance and origins are quite different. So, as you continue to enjoy these delicious potato dishes, remember the history and traditions behind each of them.

Ingredients and Preparation

Ingredients for Latkes

To make delicious and crispy Latkes (potato pancakes), you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Grated potatoes: 2 cups (preferably russet potatoes)
  • Grated onion: 1/2 cup
  • All-purpose flour: 1/4 cup
  • Matzo meal: 2 tablespoons
  • Eggs: 2, lightly beaten
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper: a pinch
  • Vegetable oil: 1/2 cup (for frying)

Additionally, you can serve Latkes with applesauce or sour cream.

Ingredients for Hash Browns

To make perfect Hash Browns with a golden brown exterior, gather the following ingredients:

  • Shredded potatoes: 4 cups (preferably russet potatoes)
  • Onion: 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 1 clove, minced (optional)
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper: a pinch
  • Vegetable oil or bacon grease: 1/4 cup (for frying)
  • Butter or cheese: optional, to taste

Hash Browns can be served with ketchup, salsa, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Preparation Techniques


  1. Start by peeling and grating the potatoes, then place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration.
  2. Strain the grated potatoes, and squeeze out any excess moisture using a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the grated potatoes with the remaining ingredients (apart from the oil). Mix the batter until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once it’s hot, scoop spoonfuls of the batter and carefully place them into the skillet. Use a spatula to flatten the pancakes.
  5. Fry each latke until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Be sure not to overcrowd the skillet and adjust cooking time based on the thickness of your Latkes.
  6. Once cooked, transfer the Latkes to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Hash Browns

  1. If using frozen shredded potatoes, thaw them and squeeze out any excess water using a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth. For fresh potatoes, peel, grate, and follow the same process to remove excess moisture.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil or bacon grease in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Combine the shredded potatoes with the chopped onion, garlic (optional), salt, and pepper. Mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Add the potato mixture to the hot skillet, pressing it down with a spatula to form a thin layer.
  5. Cook the Hash Browns until the bottom turns a crispy golden brown. Flip, and cook the other side until it reaches the same color.
  6. Optional: Serve with melted butter or cheese on top.

Now that you know the ingredients and preparation techniques for both Latkes and Hash Browns, you can choose to make one or both of these delicious fried potato dishes in your own kitchen. Enjoy!

Differences and Similarities

When it comes to potato dishes, latkes and hash browns often come to mind. While both are delicious, there are some key differences and similarities between the two.

The main ingredient for both latkes and hash browns is potatoes. In latkes, grated potatoes are typically used, while shredded potatoes are used for hash browns. Both dishes require your potatoes to be drained well; removing excess moisture is crucial for a crispy texture. For both, russet potatoes are a popular choice due to their high starch content.

Latkes are a traditional Jewish dish, often enjoyed during Hanukkah. The potato mixture in latkes, which can also include other root vegetables like zucchini, is held together by eggs and matzo meal or all-purpose flour. The inclusion of egg adds to the dish’s richness, while matzo meal provides a unique flavor. Additionally, grated onion is often incorporated in latkes to enhance the taste. They’re fried until golden brown and usually served with applesauce or sour cream as a side dish or appetizer.

Conversely, hash browns originate from North America and have versatile culinary uses. They can be a simple breakfast dish or a delicious side. Unlike latkes, hash browns consist mainly of potatoes – without eggs, flour, or onion in the recipe. For seasoning, it is common to add salt and pepper, while some variations may include garlic or other spices. Hash browns are often served with ketchup, salsa, or cheese and can be cooked in different ways, such as pan-frying, baking, or deep-frying.

Both latkes and hash browns require a generous amount of oil to fry, with vegetable oil being a common choice. However, some prefer butter or even bacon grease for added flavor. Once cooked, it’s essential to place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and to maintain a crispy texture.

Nutritionally, latkes and hash browns are similar. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. However, due to the frying process, both dishes can be high in calories and fat. If you’re looking for a healthier option, try baking or using less oil when cooking.

When it comes to choosing between latkes and hash browns, the main factor is often personal preference or cultural heritage. The slightly denser, egg-based latkes offer a unique, savory flavor, while the less complex texture of hash browns allows more adaptation to one’s taste. Regardless of your choice, both potato dishes are undeniably crispy and delicious.

Toppings and Serving Suggestions

When it comes to latkes and hash browns, the variety of toppings and serving suggestions can elevate these dishes to new levels of deliciousness. In this section, we’ll explore some popular options that can enhance your enjoyment of these tasty treats.

Latkes: Traditionally, latkes are served with sour cream and applesauce. The tanginess of the sour cream complements the crispy potato, while the sweetness of the applesauce adds a delightful contrast. However, you can also try experimenting with different toppings, such as:

  • Salsa: A mildly spicy salsa can provide a nice kick and complement the flavors of the latkes.
  • Cheese: Melted cheese on top of a latke can add richness and indulgence to a simple dish.

Hash Browns: The versatility of hash browns allows for a plethora of topping options. Some popular choices include:

  • Ketchup: The classic choice, ketchup adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess to your hash browns.
  • Cheese: Adding cheese to your hash browns creates a delicious, gooey treat that is hard to resist.
  • Salsa: Similar to latkes, salsa adds a burst of flavor and an enjoyable kick to your hash browns.

Both latkes and hash browns can be served as a side dish or as part of a larger meal. The choice of toppings can either enhance their role as a side or transform them into a more substantial dish. Furthermore, you can mix and match toppings to create your own unique combinations that suit your personal preferences. So go ahead, get creative and enjoy these mouth-watering potato dishes with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

When comparing Latkes and Hash Browns, it’s essential to consider their nutritional value and health benefits. Both dishes are primarily made from potatoes, which provide a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Latkes are typically made by mixing grated potatoes with eggs, flour, and seasonings, then frying them in oil. A serving of Latkes (100g) contains approximately:

  • 260 Calories
  • 12g Fat
  • 32g Carbohydrates
  • 4g Fiber
  • 7g Protein

Due to the added eggs and flour, Latkes offer more protein and fiber than Hash Browns. However, the frying process can increase the fat content, which should be considered if you’re monitoring your fat intake.

Hash Browns are typically made by shredding potatoes and frying them in oil with seasonings. A serving of Hash Browns (100g) contains approximately:

  • 326 Calories
  • 23g Fat
  • 28g Carbohydrates
  • 2g Fiber
  • 3g Protein

While they have slightly fewer carbohydrates than Latkes, Hash Browns have a higher fat content due to the frying process. They also contain less fiber and protein in comparison.

Both Latkes and Hash Browns can provide essential nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that aids in immune function, while potassium helps to maintain fluid levels and supports proper muscle function. In general, consuming potatoes as part of a well-balanced diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

To get the most nutrition and health benefits from either dish, consider using healthier cooking methods such as baking or employing an air fryer. Additionally, incorporating a variety of vegetables and seasonings can further enhance the nutritional profile and make your Latkes or Hash Browns even more enjoyable and beneficial to your health.

Popular Variations

When it comes to latkes and hash browns, there are numerous popular variations that you can try for a unique and delicious twist on these classic dishes.

In the world of latkes, zucchini is often used as an alternative or addition to the traditional potato base. Zucchini latkes provide a lighter, more delicate flavor and texture, making them an excellent option for those who prefer a less starchy taste.

While classic latkes are fried, you can also opt for baked latkes. Baking your latkes not only offers a healthier alternative, but it also provides a crisp exterior and tender interior without sacrificing flavor. To prepare baked latkes, simply form your patties and bake them in the oven at 425°F for about 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking process.

Moving to hash browns, rosti is a Swiss variation that closely resembles this beloved breakfast staple. Rosti differs from traditional hash browns due to its thicker, more substantial texture, which is achieved by using grated, parboiled potatoes. It’s commonly served as a side dish or main course and can be paired with various ingredients like cheese, bacon, and onions.

Another delicious hash brown spin-off is the potato fritter. These fritters use a mixture of grated potatoes, vegetables, and spices, which are then formed into patties and fried until crispy and golden brown. They’re perfect for breakfast or brunch and can be served with savory or sweet toppings like applesauce, sour cream, or even yogurt.

In summary, while classic latkes and hash browns have their place, don’t hesitate to explore these popular variations as well:

  • Zucchini latkes for a lighter, unique twist
  • Baked latkes for a healthier alternative
  • Rosti for a more substantial and versatile dish
  • Potato fritters for a customizable and creative approach

By incorporating these variations into your culinary repertoire, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with new and exciting takes on these classic potato dishes.

Storing and Freezing

When it comes to storing and freezing Latkes and Hash Browns, there are some key differences to keep in mind.

To store Latkes, allow them to cool completely and then place them in an airtight container with layers of parchment paper between each piece. This will help to prevent sticking and maintain their crispy texture. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To freeze Latkes, follow the same steps but place the airtight container in the freezer instead. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

Hash Browns can be stored in a slightly different manner. After cooking, let them cool completely, and then place them in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Store the Hash Browns in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To freeze Hash Browns:

  1. Let them cool completely.
  2. Place the individual pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Freeze them for an hour or so until they are firm.
  4. Transfer the frozen Hash Browns to a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container.
  5. Store them in the freezer for up to six months.

When you are ready to reheat your Latkes or Hash Browns, remember to thaw them first. You can do this by placing them in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost setting on your microwave. Once thawed, reheat them in a 350°F oven or on a skillet until they are hot and crispy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between latkes and hash browns?

Latkes are potato pancakes that originated from Eastern European Jewish cuisine. They typically consist of grated potatoes, onions, eggs, and matzo meal. Hash browns, on the other hand, are an American breakfast dish made from shredded or grated potatoes, usually fried until golden brown and crispy.

How do the ingredients in latkes compare to those in hash browns?

While both latkes and hash browns are primarily made from potatoes, latkes generally contain additional ingredients like onions, eggs, and matzo meal or flour, giving them a richer flavor. Hash browns typically consist of only potatoes, salt, and sometimes onions.

Are there any significant differences in preparation methods for latkes and hash browns?

Latkes are made by combining all the ingredients in a bowl, forming small patties, and then frying them in oil until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Hash browns are prepared by grating or shredding potatoes, squeezing out the excess liquid, and then frying them in oil or butter until they become crisp and golden brown.

How do latkes and hash browns differ in taste and texture?

Latkes have a more complex taste due to their additional ingredients, like onions and matzo meal, and their texture is softer on the inside and crispy on the outside. Hash browns are more focused on the potato flavor and have a uniformly crispy texture throughout.

In what cultural contexts are latkes and hash browns typically served?

Latkes are often associated with Jewish holidays, particularly Hanukkah, when they are typically served with applesauce and sour cream. Hash browns are a popular American breakfast dish, often served alongside eggs, bacon, and other breakfast staples.

Are there any common variations of latkes or hash browns?

There are various adaptations of both latkes and hash browns. For example, latkes can be made with different types of vegetables, such as zucchini, sweet potatoes, or carrots. Similarly, hash browns can include additional ingredients like cheese, onions, or peppers for added flavor.

Latkes vs Hash Browns

Here's a recipe for latkes:
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 277 kcal


  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Peel and grate the potatoes and onion using a box grater or food processor. Place the grated mixture in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, salt, and black pepper. Add the grated potato and onion mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, use a spoon to drop the potato mixture into the skillet, flattening each latke with the back of the spoon.
  • Fry the latkes for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve the latkes warm with sour cream, applesauce, or your favorite topping.


Calories: 277kcal
Keyword latkes vs hash browns
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us
Latest posts by Cassie Marshall (see all)