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We present an analysis of the steady state optical response of two‐dimensional optical superlattices with Kerr nonlinearity. We consider the effects of the modification of the refractive index modulation strengths in the superlattices and the angular deviation of incoming radiation from Bragg conditions. We find that under Bragg incidence the system displays optical bistability only when the modulation ratio exceeds a certain threshold. We also predict that optical bistability can disappear under non‐Bragg incidence. Physical considerations are presented and discussed on how to optimize the chances for observing optical bistability in such a superlattice. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.