Yes, You Can Make Latkes Ahead of Time
So you’ve read our 6 Essential Tips for Hosting a Latke Party and now you’re a latke-making pro. You’re pretty pumped for the annual Hanukkah celebration, but before you break out the dreidels, grandma calls to announce the festivities have changed locations.
Instead of plating latkes straight from the fryer to your menorah-themed platter, now you have to drive them an hour to her house. Uh oh. That sounds less than delicious.
So how do you keep those latkes crisp and fresh until it’s time to dig in? You could freeze a tray of latkes, following this Guide to Making Latkes in Advance, but the last time you tried that, there were complaints that they became heavy.
Not to worry! Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of San Francisco’s Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen recently offered some tips on achieving crispy fried perfection.
First, Bloom and Beckerman say you want to fry the latkes as close to hitting the road as possible. If you’re making them in bulk, and want to spread out the work, you can definitely grate up your (preferably Russet) potatoes a day in advance, but they suggest adding a little lemon juice or other citrus to the latke batter. This will help keep the potatoes fresh when it comes down to frying time.
Keep in mind, potatoes will generally change color once exposed to the air. This will not change how they taste after frying.
When it’s time to fry, start by straining the potatoes before prepping the fryer. When frying, lay out paper bags and place golden latkes directly from the pan to the bags to absorb excess oil. Once all the latkes are golden brown, but not completely cooked through, let them cool on a rack. Finally, place them in one layer on cookie sheets, cover with foil, and hit the road.
When you get to your destination, turn the oven to 350ºF. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until crisp. Serve with a side of sour cream and applesauce for the perfect, festive treat.