If you’ve ever dug into a pan of potato kugel fresh from the oven, then you know what I mean when I say it’s one of the finer things in life. It doesn’t matter if you grew up eating it every week for Shabbat or were only introduced to the dish later — potato kugel, with its crisp, brown crust and pillowy soft center, is one of those foods that’s universally adored. Thankfully, potatoes are kosher for Passover, which means potato kugel goes into heavy rotation for all eight days of the holiday.
But here’s a challenge: Potato kugel is truly at its peak when it’s fresh. Several hours out of the oven, it already begins to lose its appeal for me. I always find that it gets denser and heavier as it sits, and so while I’m not picky, reheated kugel is where I draw the line. It just isn’t the same.
So, inspired by French Pommes Dauphines — in which mashed potatoes get mixed with choux pastry, rolled into balls and fried — I’ve started frying it. The process is simple: I take cold, perfectly sliceable potato kugel, roll it into balls and flash fry them. The concept may se simple, but I promise the results are dramatic. After just a short tumble in the frying pan, the potato kugel puffs take on new life, turning crispy on the outside and cloud-like in the center. It’s an indulgent take on an already comforting dish, but once you make these yourself, you’ll quickly let go of any hesitations. The kugel puffs are salty and endlessly snackable. I sprinkle them with flaky salt and herbs before serving, and I love swiping them through a homemade aioli, too. The vibe is homemade French fries — except it’s actually potato kugel, made with leftovers you already have on hand.
- One 8×8 leftover pan of potato kugel, cold
- 1 cup neutral oil, for frying
- Flaky salt, for garnish
- Chopped herbs, such as parsley and dill, for garnish
- Aioli or other favorite dipping sauce (optional)
- Cut the cold potato kugel into slabs. Roll the slabs into quarters, and roll each quarter into a ball. The balls should be around 2 tablespoons each. Set aside while you heat the oil.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry 3-4 balls at a time, letting them crisp and brown, around 1 minute on each side. Flip using a spider and remove once browned, setting on a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining potato kugel balls.
- Garnish with the flaky salt and chopped herbs. Serve hot, with homemade aioli for dipping, or a green herb or tzatziki sauce.