Can I make latkes in advance?  

Classic Potato Latkes

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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Can I make latkes (potato pancakes) for our Chanukah party in advance and freeze or refrigerate them?

There is nothing quite like a latke right out of the frying pan. Having said that, unless you want to spend your entire party at the stove (with your shirt likely covered with little oil splatters), you'll want to make at least some of the latkes in advance.

The closer you make them to serving time, the better they will be. The best do-ahead scenario is this: shred the potatoes one day ahead and store them submerged in water in the refrigerator. Drain them really well and make the "batter" (combine the potato with flour, onion, etc) up to two hours before frying. Don't worry if it discolors–the flavor and texture are not affected and the potatoes turn a lovely golden brown when you cook them, anyway. Fry the latkes an hour or two ahead, place them on baking sheets in a single layer, then re-heat them in the oven.

Frozen latkes, or those made a day ahead and refrigerated, will be heavier but still tasty. To freeze latkes, be sure they are completely cool; place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, the latkes may be transferred to a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. Similarly, latkes should be refrigerated in a single layer. Latkes should always be re-heated and crisped in the oven in a single layer as well.

Recipe: Classic Potato Latkes

See our collection of Hanukkah recipesif you need more recipe ideas for the holiday.

Marge Perry
Dec, 2011

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