Planning for Perfection: Making Potato Latkes Ahead of Time for Flawless Results

Potato latkes, also known as potato pancakes, are a delicious and popular dish enjoyed by many, especially during festive occasions such as Hanukkah. These crispy, golden-brown treats are traditionally made with grated potatoes, onions, eggs, and flour, and pan-fried to perfection. While they’re often best enjoyed fresh off the stove, you may wonder if it’s possible to make potato latkes ahead of time without sacrificing their flavor and texture. In this article, we will explore the answer to the question, “Can I make potato latkes ahead of time?” and provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you plan and prepare your latkes ahead of time.

Preserving flavor and texture

One of the main concerns about making potato latkes ahead of time is preserving their flavor and texture. The good news is that with proper preparation and storage techniques, you can actually make latkes in advance without compromising their deliciousness.

Prepare the batter ahead of time

When it comes to making potato latkes, one of the most time-consuming tasks is preparing the batter. Grating the potatoes and onions, squeezing out excess moisture, and mixing the ingredients can be quite labor-intensive, especially if you’re making a large batch. But the good news is that you can save valuable time by preparing the latke batter ahead of time, without sacrificing taste or texture. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of preparing the batter ahead of time and provide a step-by-step guide to help you streamline your latke-making process.

  • Grate and squeeze: Start by peeling and grating the potatoes using a box grater or a food processor with a grating attachment. Place grated potatoes in a large bowl. Next, grate the onions and add them to the bowl with the potatoes. In order for your latkes to have the ideal texture, it’s important to remove excess moisture from the grated potatoes and onions. You can do this by placing the mixture in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeezing hard to extract as much liquid as possible. Removing excess moisture is essential for crispy latkes.
  • Combine the ingredients: Once you’ve squeezed out the excess moisture, transfer the grated potatoes and onions to a mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs, flour (or a suitable gluten-free alternative), salt, pepper, and any additional spices or herbs you prefer. Gently mix all ingredients together until well combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in denser latkes.
  • Refrigerate: Once the batter is thoroughly mixed, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Place the batter in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, but preferably up to 24 hours. Chilling the dough allows the flavors to meld and helps the mixture bind better during frying.
  • Time-saving tip: If you’re pressed for time but still want to enjoy freshly made latkes, make the batter the night before and refrigerate overnight. That way, the next day, you can just take the batter out of the fridge, give it a quick stir, and cook the latkes.
  • Adjust the consistency: Before frying the latkes, it’s important to check the consistency of the batter. As the mixture sits in the refrigerator, some of the liquid may separate. If the batter seems too watery, you can drain off the excess liquid and adjust the consistency by adding a little more flour. Conversely, if the dough seems too dry, you can add a small amount of beaten egg or a splash of water to achieve the desired consistency.

Cooking and cooling

Once you have your prepared dough, it’s time to start cooking. Cooking potato latkes requires the right technique to achieve that coveted crispy exterior and tender interior. In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps of cooking and cooling your latkes to ensure they come out perfect every time.

  • Heat and oil: Start by heating a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan and heat until it shimmers. Traditional choices for frying potato latkes include vegetable oil or canola oil because of their high smoke point. However, you can experiment with other oils such as peanut or grapeseed oil for a different flavor profile.
  • Form and fry: Once the oil is hot, it’s time to shape your latkes and carefully place them in the pan. Take a spoonful of the prepared batter and carefully flatten it into a round pancake shape, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. You can use a spatula to smooth the edges and ensure even thickness. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may be able to make several latkes at once, but be careful not to overcrowd the skillet as this may result in uneven cooking.
  • Fry until golden brown: Cook the latkes undisturbed for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they turn a nice golden brown. Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your latkes and the heat of your stove, so it’s important to keep a close eye on them. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning or undercooking. Flipping the latkes too often can prevent them from forming a crispy crust, so it’s best to only flip them once.
  • Drain and cool: Once the latkes are cooked to perfection, transfer them to a wire rack or baking sheet lined with paper towels. This step will allow any excess oil to drain, resulting in a lighter and less greasy final product. Avoid stacking the latkes on top of each other, as this can cause them to become soggy. Allow the latkes to cool at room temperature for a few minutes to further crisp the exterior.
  • Time-saving tip: If you’re making a large batch of latkes, you can keep the cooked ones warm while you finish frying the rest. To do this, place the cooked latkes on a baking sheet in a preheated oven set at its lowest temperature. This will keep them warm without sacrificing crispness.

By following these cooking and cooling steps, you’ll get perfectly cooked potato latkes with a crispy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior. The careful frying process ensures that each latke is cooked evenly and retains its shape and texture.

Proper storage

If you have leftover potato latkes or need to make them ahead, it’s important to store them properly to keep them fresh and crispy. Improper storage can result in soggy latkes or loss of their desirable texture. To ensure that your potato latkes stay delicious, follow these guidelines for proper storage:

  • Cool: Allow cooked latkes to cool completely at room temperature before storing. This will help them retain their crispness and prevent excess moisture from building up.
  • Layering: When storing latkes, it’s important to keep them separate so they don’t stick together. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper between each latke to create layers. This will help maintain their individual shapes and prevent them from becoming a lumpy mass.
  • Airtight container: Place the layered latkes in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Press out any excess air before sealing. This step is critical to prevent moisture from getting in and making the latkes soggy.
  • Refrigerate: Store the container of latkes in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Proper refrigeration helps inhibit bacterial growth and keeps the latkes safe to eat for a longer period of time.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy stored latkes, it’s best to reheat them in an oven or toaster. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and spread the latkes on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crisp. Avoid microwaving the latkes, as this may result in a loss of crispness.
  • Freezing: If you need to store potato latkes for an extended period of time, you can freeze them. Wrap each latke individually in plastic wrap or place parchment paper between latkes in a freezer-safe container or bag. Frozen latkes can be reheated directly from the freezer, either in the oven or on the stovetop, with a longer cooking time than refrigerated latkes.

Toppings and sauces that elevate potato latkes

Potato latkes are versatile and can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings and sauces. Here are some common options that pair well with potato latkes:

  1. Applesauce: A classic and traditional accompaniment to potato latkes, applesauce provides a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory flavors of latkes. The combination of crispy latkes and smooth, slightly tart applesauce creates a delightful harmony of flavors.
  2. Sour cream: Another popular choice, sour cream adds a rich and creamy element to potato latkes. Its cool, tangy flavor complements the crispy texture of the latkes, creating a delicious contrast. You can also enhance the sour cream by adding chopped chives, dill, or a squeeze of lemon juice for added freshness.
  3. Greek yogurt: For a healthier alternative to sour cream, Greek yogurt can be used as a topping for potato latkes. It provides a creamy and tangy element while offering a higher protein content. Opt for plain Greek yogurt or mix in some herbs and spices to customize the flavor to your liking.
  4. Creme fraiche: Similar to sour cream, creme fraiche is a rich and silky cultured cream that pairs beautifully with potato latkes. It has a slightly nutty and tangy flavor that adds a touch of elegance to the dish. Drizzle a dollop of creme fraiche over the latkes for a luxurious touch.
  5. Smoked salmon: To take your potato latkes to the next level, top them with thin slices of smoked salmon. The smoky, salty flavor of the salmon complements the crispiness of the latkes, while a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh dill add a burst of freshness.
  6. Horseradish sauce: For those who like a little kick, horseradish sauce is an excellent choice. Its sharp and pungent flavor cuts through the richness of the latkes, adding a spicy and tangy element. You can make your own horseradish sauce by combining grated horseradish, sour cream, mayonnaise, and a dash of lemon juice.
  7. Guacamole: If you’re looking for a unique twist, try topping your potato latkes with guacamole. The creamy avocado combines with the tang of lime juice and the heat of jalapenos for a delicious fusion of flavors. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro for added freshness.
  8. Chutney: Fruit chutneys, such as mango or cranberry, offer a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory latkes. The fruity flavors and aromatic spices in the chutney create a unique and delicious combination with the crispy potato pancakes.

Remember, these are just a few suggestions and you can get creative and experiment with different toppings and sauces based on your preferences. Whether you prefer a sweet, tangy, creamy, or spicy accompaniment, there are plenty of options to enhance the enjoyment of your potato latkes.


In conclusion, it is indeed possible to make potato latkes ahead of time while maintaining their delicious flavor and crispy texture. By preparing the batter ahead of time, cooking the latkes until golden brown, and using proper storage techniques, you can enjoy these delicious treats without the stress of last-minute preparation. Whether you refrigerate or freeze them, the end result will be a plate of delicious potato latkes ready to serve and enjoy. So go ahead, plan ahead and delight your family and guests with homemade potato latkes that are as convenient as they are delicious!


Can I make potato latkes ahead of time?

Yes, you can make potato latkes ahead of time! In fact, making them ahead of time can be a convenient strategy that allows you to enjoy this delicious dish without the last-minute rush. To make potato latkes ahead of time, follow these steps:

First, cook the latkes as usual and let them cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, layer the latkes between sheets of parchment or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together. Place them in an airtight container or resealable bag, removing any excess air before sealing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to serve the latkes, reheat them in an oven or toaster to restore their crunch. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the latkes on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until heated through and to the desired texture. Avoid microwaving the latkes, as this can result in a loss of crispness. By making potato latkes ahead of time, you can save valuable time and still enjoy a hot, perfectly crisp treat when you’re ready to serve.

How far in advance can you prep latkes?

about 3 hours ahead

When you’re making latkes, you can grate the potatoes up to about 3 hours ahead. They will turn pinkish brown, but they are about to be fried into golden perfection, so it doesn’t matter. As the potatoes sit, the will leech a lot of liquid; drain and discard the liquid before mixing with flour, egg, etc.

Can potato latkes be made in advance?

Yes, You Can Make Latkes Ahead of Time.

How do you keep potato latkes warm and crispy?

The trick to latkes that stay crispy? Let them dry on a rack, instead of a pile of soggy paper towels. They cool quickly, so if you’re serving them the same day you can place them on a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven at 200 degrees while you fry the next batch.

How do you keep potato pancakes from getting soggy?

Squeeze out the water from the grated potatoes completely

Soggy potatoes will make your latkes soggy. The quickest and most effective way to get the water out is to use a cheesecloth. Place the shredded potatoes into a cheesecloth, then fold the cloth and squeeze it into a bundle to extract the water.

Can you make potato pancakes ahead of time and reheat?

Latkes are a do-aheader’s dream. After they’re cooked, latkes keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or wrap them well and keep them in the freezer for up to two weeks. Reheat them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 350° oven until they’re crisp again.