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What usually happens is that I fry up fresh latkes during a party and I end up in the kitchen for the majority of the party.

Is there a way for me to precook the latkes and then still have them taste fresh and crispy when the guests arrive?

Here are some options that I'm thinking of but don't know if it will work well:

  1. Fry them up as usual and keep them on a rack in a warm oven before the guests arrive
  2. Do a quick fry and keep them in the oven...when the guests arrive refry them (hopefully this will take less time).
  3. Get other to take turn to fry up the latkes. :)
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2 Answers 2

Number 3 will give you the best results. There simply is nothing as great in this world as a latke crisp from the frying pan, having spent but a couple seconds on a paper towel receiving the blessing of a few flakes of good sea salt.

I've never tried number 2. If you do, please report back.

Number 1 will not give you crisp latkes. They will still have the delicious taste of homemade latkes, but they will be soft, not crunchy.

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One possible 4th alternative, which I've never tried, so have no idea if it'll work or not.

Fry up the latkes 'til they're almost done, then put on a wire rack, on top of a sheet pan. Go ahead and let them cool. When the guests arive, pop them into a hot oven (450F or above), to crisp them back up. You might need to turn them over, to expose both sides to the heating element. (and, if that's the case, you might not need it on the wire rack, but it'll help keep them from getting soggy).

If you went with number 2, and went for a second fry, I'd probably use techniques from double frying french fries ... use a slightly lower temp for the first fry, so they cook through, and then a hotter second fry, to crisp them up. I don't even know if you'd need to keep them warm in the oven; it might be better to let them cool so they set up a little bit to make it easier to get them into the second fry in one piece.

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