Bramboráky are the Czech version of potato latkes. This traditional family recipe is easy to make. Load your Czech Potato Pancakes with garlic, marjoram, and caraway seeds and start salivating.
I have sweet memories of my grandma frying up a big pile of these pancakes—called bramboráky in Czech—for dinner for me and my cousins, when we stayed with her during summer school breaks.
They always filled her kitchen with the amazing, savory smell of fried potatoes, garlic, and caraway seeds.
Make them dollar-size as an appetizer, or regular pancake size for a delicious lunch or weeknight dinner.
Key Ingredients in Czech Potato Pancakes
- POTATOES are, unsurprisingly, the main event in this recipe. Look for starchy potatoes that are easy to grate and crisp up nicely. Yukon golds or Russets, for example, are perfect for these pancakes.
- EGGS work to bind the batter together. Give them a quick whisk to loosen before adding them to the grated potatoes.
- GARLIC is the key to deeply flavorful, savory Czech pancakes.
- MARJORAM is an herb similar to oregano. It’s often found dried here in North America, as it grows best in the hot climates of the Middle East.
- CARAWAY SEEDS come from a plant that’s actually closely related to carrots. It’s a common spice in Eastern European recipes. When cooking with caraway, you may recognize the scent and flavor of rye bread.
How to Make Czech Potato Pancakes
Many cuisines have various forms of the humble potato pancake. From Jewish latkes to Polish placki ziemniaczane, to German Kartoffelpuffer.
Some use mashed potatoes, others boil and smash potatoes in a hot pan for crispness. Ultimately, everyone loves a savory, crispy potato treat.
The first step is to grate the potatoes on the largest side of a box grater, and then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This step will make your bramboráky crisp and not soggy. (Use a clean kitchen towel or potato ricer).
Next, you’ll make the pancake batter by adding all-purpose flour, two beaten eggs, fresh garlic, a pinch of salt, and two traditional Czech spices: marjoram and caraway seeds.
Take a moment here to enjoy the heavenly scent of caraway, garlic, and marjoram.
How To Fry Savory Potato Pancakes
When you’re ready to cook up a stack of savory pancakes, heat a large skillet and add vegetable oil.
About the oil quantity: You’ll need plenty to achieve a perfect bramboráky crispness—about 3/4-inch of oil.
My trick to test if the oil is hot enough and ready, is to stick a toothpick or a chopstick in the middle of the skillet, and see if tiny bubbles appear around it.
If they do, I can start frying.
I like to measure out the pancake batter in ¼ cup increments to fry. This way, everyone gets the same amount, so there’s no fighting for the biggest pancake.
Simply drop the measured pancake batter into the hot skillet, flatten a bit, and cook until crispy and golden-brown. This takes about 3 minutes per side. (Don’t crowd the skillet—space the latkes apart).
In my grandmother’s kitchen, bramboráky were more of a lunch or dinner food. But if there were ever leftovers, we always saved them for breakfast the next morning.
They were not crispy on the surface anymore, but still perfectly chewy, and so good with chicory coffee and steamed milk.
Speaking of coffee—drink yours from one of these Czech, handmade ceramic cups that I imported from the Czech Republic.
More Traditional Czech Potato Recipes
My grandma was a master of traditional Czech recipes, especially creamy potato soups. I’ve adapted her homey recipes to bring the comforts of the old world to your kitchen.
- Czech Potato Soup (Bramboračka) features dried porcini mushrooms and root vegetables, for an umami-rich potato soup.
- Sauerkraut Potato Soup is loaded with tangy sauerkraut to balance the richness of potato.
And be sure to see all of my traditional Bohemian recipes here.
More Easy Dairy-Free Main Course Recipes
If you’re avoiding dairy, there are plenty of quick, easy, and healthy dinner recipes like these potato pancakes. Try:
- Sweet and Sour One-Pot Green Lentils
- Chickpea Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
- Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs
- Vegan Heirloom Bean Chili
And I don’t just stop at dinner–for tasty dairy-free breakfasts and snacks, see the full collection.
Have you had Czech Potato Pancakes before? Did you try this bramboráky recipe?
Tell me in the comments.Print
Czech version of potato latkes. It’s an old family recipe that’s very easy to make. They’re loaded with garlic, marjoram and caraway seeds.
- 1 pound (500 g) starchy potatoes such as Yukon Gold or Russet (about 4–5 medium potatoes)
- 1/2 cup (80 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons (15 g) peeled, minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (1.5 g) dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) caraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1½ cups (355 ml) vegetable oil (canola or sunflower)
- Sour cream or crème fraîche to serve for topping (optional)
- Peel and grate the potatoes coarsely into a large bowl.
- Transfer the potatoes to a clean kitchen towel, wrap tightly, and squeeze as much liquid out of them as possible. (Do this over the kitchen sink or a small bowl).
- Place the potatoes in a bowl, add the flour, eggs, garlic, salt, marjoram, caraway seeds and black pepper, and mix until combined. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large 10-inch/25 cm skillet. This takes about 2 minutes; the oil should be 350°F/175°C on a deep-frying thermometer. (TIP if you don’t own a thermometer: Stick a toothpick or a chopstick into the oil—if tiny bubbles appear around it, the oil is ready).
- Using ¼ cup (60 ml) as a measure, scoop up the batter and drop it into the skillet.
- Flatten into ¼-inch-high patties with the back of a spoon or spatula, and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Don’t crowd the skillet—I typically fry 3 pancakes at a time.
- Using spatula or tongs, carefully flip the pancakes, and fry for another 2 minutes.
- Carefully remove and drain on paper towels.
- Continue frying the pancakes in batches, until you use up all the batter.
- Serve immediately. They’re great on their own, but even better with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche on top.