Hack Your Hanukkah With Make-Ahead Latkes

Every Hanukkah, my husband and I dedicate one entire meal to latkes.  Latkes are the entree.  Latkes are the side dish.  Latkes with applesauce are the dessert (well.. maybe also some sufganiyot).  Following an afternoon schvitzing over the stove, it’s a simple, delicious meal served best with candlelight.  

When I was responsible for latkes, I used our “secret family recipe:” Manischewitz box mix.  There’s no shame in turning to the box, but truth be told, it only saves the time of shredding the potatoes.

In recent years, my husband Matt has taken on the title of official latke maker.  He is one of those naturally good cooks that can ballpark ingredients.  This recipe, adapted from Food Network, is the closest to what he makes.

Hack Your Hanukkah With Make-Ahead Latkes

Latke Recipe


1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
1 small onion (or 1/2 large)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Shred the potatoes using a hand grater.  Matt hand-shreds the potatoes because he says the food processor makes them too watery.  This works out well because my food processor broke last Passover, and I have yet to replace it. 
  2. Soak the shredded potatoes in ice-water.
  3. Squeeze the potato shreds with 3 layers of paper towels or cheesecloth to remove excess water. 
  4. Shred the onion and squeeze out excess water (same method as above)
  5. Combine drained potatoes with onion, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper.
  6. In a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side.
  7. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Like all fried foods, latkes are best eaten fresh. However, when we used to have big Hanukkah parties (pre-kids), I got in the habit of making latkes in advance and freezing them. I’ve continued to do this for our family latke-fest, particularly if we want to make it happen on a weeknight after work.  I learned this technique from Tori Avey; you can find her latke recipes and more tips on her website.  

How to Freeze and Heat Later

  1. Instead of depositing on paper towels to soak up the grease, I put the hot latkes on a wire cooling rack. They drip a little oil, but retain enough to crisp up nicely later.
  2. Once cooled, the latkes are frozen in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (after solidly frozen, I’ll move them to a freezer bag to free up space). 
  3. When it’s party time, they go straight from the freezer to a 400 degree oven for 15 or so minutes.
However you prepare and serve your latkes, have a very happy Hanukkah!


Susie is a mom of two, book-lover and frequent challah baker. In addition to working at The University of Iowa, Susie is a PTA volunteer and sorority advisor. She loves date nights in the Ped Mall, catching a show at the Englert, and most of all, cuddling her family on the couch.


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