Pesach for the First Time

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    I learnt today that I need to prepare Pesach for 10 people (6 adults and 4 children)! I have never made Pesach before. I need to start from scratch.

    Where do I start? I need tons of help and advice! What to I need to buy? Pots, pans, stuff… Food? How much of everything? Recipes {non-Gebrokts)… Ideas… Advice to make this less daunting!

    Please help me!!!


    The Queen

    Would you like my menu?

    I have to warn you that the selection is pretty limited,

    however everything is delicious.


    You are hosting people for the entire chag, a meal or 2?

    How much help can you expect from the adults you are hosting before yom tov and on yom tov itself?


    Buy two or three large pots and one huge one for soup. Forget about small ones or buying a set. Buy two or three large frying pans and one small one for milchigs/eggs. A covered frying pan (dunno the real name for it) is really useful for chicken and potatoes (which we serve by the seder).

    Buy crepe pans or a crepe maker for the lukshen. Keep it simple with plastic, but you might need a few dishes for serving. I have a service for four.

    As far as recipes, keep it simple! Burgers, chicken, roast, potatoes and veggies. Stock up on lady finger for the kids, although my kids don’t eat them! Good luck!


    Off the top of my head: make a list of things you will need for the seder, verify any minhagim related to cooking and keep in mind which fruits/vegetables require checking.


    Dust is not chometz, and neither is clutter. Concentrate on cleaning your kitchen: fridge, cabinets, stove. I usually lock up most of my cabinets and just clean out one or two for dry groceries and paper goods. Hatzlacha rabbah!

    from Long Island

    Okay, deep breath. First buy a basic pesach cookbook. It will tell you what you will need for the seder and HOW to prepare/clean.

    Next, how much matzah will you need. Seder is easy, 3 per adult male, plus 2 extra each to make a kezayit. Lechem mishnah for each male, each meal.

    Wine, 1 bottle per adult per seder. 1 bottle for each additional meal. Grape juice for the kids, a couple of large bottles.

    Don’t make your self crazy. Buy really nice plastic plates, cutlery, cups hot water cups & cosots, (don’t forget a large one for Eliyahu) bowls for serving & Salad & large plastic serving spoons.

    Crock pot, it will save your life. Tableclothes one per meal, (plastic to cover?)

    Large Pots only. 1 large fry pan for fleishik, 1 regular for dairy.

    I could not live without a food processor for all the salads, I make as well for slicing, dicing and prep work.

    Walk around your kitchen, look in your drawers. Make a list of what you always use ie: spatula, potato peeler, etc.

    Make your menus – keep it simple – make what you know how to make and make fast, ie: potato kugel, roast chicken, brisket, cole slaw, etc.

    Potato starch can replace flour, matzah meal in most recipes.

    Dessert can be easy. You won’t have the time and implements to bake. Buy sorbet.

    Also, if you are on facebook, there is a group – non-gebructs only – which has fast terrific recipies & advice.

    I have the Lubavecher cookbook – my first cookbook for Pesach because they also do not eat gebruts.

    I went through my favorite recipies from during the year. Wrote them on fresh index cards and keep them in my Pesach cookbook.

    You will need a hot water urn, a new blech/plata for this year.

    Go thru your pantry – do you use coffee, tea, sugar, sweet & low? List what you normally need/want for Shabbos

    It is scary, but break it down. Make lists and more lists. Start cleaning & prepping NOW.

    I clean my garage first, so I can start buying groceries now. Clean your freezer NOW (or at least a couple of shelves -start from the top) so you can put in your meat order.

    Good Luck and enjoy your yom tov. Once you are done – there is an enormous sense of accomplishment !!

    HAVE your husband help. He can clean, vacuum & schlep. Do not try to do it yourself.


    If you are getting a hotplate you can use it for frying (chicken cutlets, burgers, potato latkes, veggies with minimal oil) and even crepes if you’re not fussy about “jagged” ends you’ll need to trim (don’t worry, everyone will clamor for all the pieces while you make them…). Make sure to cover the hotplate well with foil and parchment paper to minimize cleanup when frying — but I wouldn’t leave parchment paper on for prolonged periods over Yom Tov/Shabbos as it may be a fire hazard, just as I mentioned above while you’re in the kitchen.

    And don’t forget to buy that parchment paper… Also, good ziplock/freezer bags are spacesavers versus containers whenever feasible.

    Start with Chrein (beets and horseradish) and apple compote if you make those yourself. Lemons are also a staple unlike year round if you want to squeeze your own lemon juice – very many Pesach recipes call for it so make sure you stock up and have a citrus juicer if that’s your route. If you do, start by juicing lemons first so you have the juice ready when recipes call for it. You’ll also need to buy some empty bottles (containers will do, but bottles are more convenient for easy pouring.)

    It’s also a good idea to have a few vegetable peelers so kids/husband can help out – which makes for quicker everything, especially if you have the chumra to peel whatever’s possible.

    White potatoes taste better than Idaho if you use potatoes for Karpas.



    another great cookbook is the heimish pesach chef. It has a lot of basic recipes that are not gebroks and use basic ingredients – good for those who don’t use a lot of processed things.

    Also I would recommend at least a small hand mixer for making basic pesach cakes/cookies. My kids LOVE meringues (or nite-nite cookies). You can also find tons of recipes online and in Mishpacha and Ami.

    The Queen

    One idea a friend gave me a couple years ago that works well, is to make cupcakes with the cake batters. The kids love it, and it makes less crumbs than cutting slices of cake.

    It pays to invest in a cheap standing mixer, for the cakes, the hand mixers consume a ton of time.

    Sayit, Mammele is worth listening to. She is obviously a great bal habusta. (except for the hot plate for frying. get a big frying pan that comes with a glass cover, it will help keep your kitchen nice and clean.)


    One thing I don’t see mentioned is that people have different chumrahs for Pesach (for example, peeled tomatoes, no Gebrokts, or specific meat providers). You may want to ask your adult guests if they have any that you need to know, as not to discomfort them or yourself.

    Good luck. Personally, simple roasts are easy and delicious, and don’t forget that you can cook on Yom Tov, so make sure your oven has a setting that it doesn’t go off after 12 hours. Otherwise you can use a new toaster oven that fits a 9 by 13.

    Also, Ittisa swears (figuratively) by a wok, which can be used to make all sorts of Kosher for Pesach foods easily 🙂

    HAVE your husband help. He can clean, vacuum & schlep. Do not try to do it yourself.

    And cook, and grate, and peel, and shop…….. 🙂


    I agree with ‘from Long Island,’ the first step is a deep breath. Then LISTS!

    What you buy/invest in will depend on a few factors:

    Is this going to be a one-time thing or is this just the first year you will be making and you hope/plan to continue making for many years? If the first then you probably want to buy only a minimum of stuff & just manage with bare basics for this week, if your starting your “Pesach collection” then it makes sense to invest in certain things.

    What’s your budget like? can you afford to do nice disposables or are you better off buying a cheaper set of dishes & cutlery? Can you get cleaning help? can you buy takeout the week b4 Pesach?

    What minhagim/chumros do you have for Pesach (other than gebroks)? Can you buy processed ingredients or will you be making everything from scratch? do you need to peel all of your fruits/veggies? are there any items you don’t use? (also can you use things that fell on the floor? We don’t so I have alot of duplicates for things I can’t be without- knives, peelers, etc.) If you aren’t sure, make sure you clarify this ASAP.

    How much help will you have over Pesach?

    How fancy do you like your food?

    Will you be kashering your oven/stove/sinks/counters or do you need to buy replacements or cover them?

    Now for a basic list:


    various cleaning supplies (depending on your surfaces)

    covering material for counters/fridge/cabinets/stove- there are lots of choices, depending where you live, if you need guidance on this, let us know.

    Real items-generally get better quality if you will be using for many years:

    knives (the sizes you usually use)

    cutting board (even if you usually cut on your counter- covered counters are different)

    Pots-you can do it with 1-2 large ones plus a decent fry pan for meat (and a pot and fry pan for dairy if you want, you can also get pareve-I use it for hard-cooked eggs & boiled potatoes so that they can be used for meat meals & dairy without worrying). More pots mean more things can cook at once. I love my deep, covered, non-stick fry pan for pesach- I use it to cook the food for the Seder and it’s amazing.

    peelers- whichever kind you like- remember there are alot of potatoes to peel so get good ones

    cooking utensils (any you use)-spatula, ladle, spoon, slotted spoon, tongs,

    urn- if you want hot water on Shabbos/YT

    crockpot- if you use one (also great for Chol Hamoed suppers)

    mixer- this depends on what you will be making- If you’re doing alot of cakes, get a stand mixer

    food processor- I use my Pesach one more than my Chametz one. grating marror, making charoset, salads,etc

    juicer- if you don’t buy fruit juices this can be very important

    can opener- if you used processed products

    cork screw- even if you don’t buy cork wines (someone might bring you one & that can be really awkward)

    measuring cups/spoons- if you will be baking or generally follow recipes exactly

    Baking sheets/pans- depending what you are planning to make (disposables are generally fine)

    kitchen shears- if you use them

    Dishes- You can do all disposable:

    serving- depends what you will be serving & if you serve family style and plate each persons food: platters, large bowls, small bowls (even if you usually don’t use you will need for the seder for additional salt water, marror, charoset, etc), something for salt

    eating- you will need extras of EVERYTHING!!

    kosos- we got small crystal glasses that are the shuir- glass is better for the wine then silver.

    pitchers- unless your drinks come in bottles

    other non-foods:


    parchment paper

    dish soap

    sponges (shabbos ones too if you use them)

    paper towels

    dish towels

    kitchen hand towels (if you don’t use your chametz ones)


    ziploc bags

    dish drainers or mats (or you can let stuff dry on towels)

    candles or oil for nairos



    bentchers (or you can use hagados all week)


    matza cover (or use a napkin)


    kos shel eliyahu

    For food-it really depends on your menu- once you have an idea of what you want to make sit down and make a list of EVERY ingredient (including spices, salt, sugar. oil, etc). Then go through a regular week in your mind and add all the things you use (milk, ketchup, chips, whatever). Add the seder items (I like to go through each step of the seder & list everything we need for that step) If you buy processed stuff- that’s your basic list. If not, break down the components into what you will need to make them.

    Hope this was helpful! You CAN do this!!


    Sorry GAW, but leaving a toaster oven on for extended periods seems risky. Even if you use a timer for say 2 hour periods, I’d be wary. If you don’t have an oven Yom Tov, you can cook instead. Not the same but better to be safe.


    Sorry GAW, but leaving a toaster oven on for extended periods seems risky. Even if you use a timer for say 2 hour periods, I’d be wary. If you don’t have an oven Yom Tov, you can cook instead. Not the same but better to be safe.

    Have done it often, but agree that it is better to be safe. Some counter top ovens are made for continual use, others aren’t (and are made with automatic shut-off features). And check your smoke detectors!!


    You already got so much great advice, I don’t have much to add besides:

    Someone suggested something about parchment paper and a hot plate. I think it must have been some sort of typo or other error. I’m a big fan of parchment paper and shelf paper all over the place on Pesach. And a hot plate can be a good idea. But DO NOT put those 2 items – Paper & Hot Plate anywhere near each other, for any reason, b’shogeg or b’meizid, EVER.

    Also, clearly the best potatoes for karpas, if you can get them, are Yukon Gold. But if you want that nostalgic ‘in der heim’ flavor and you’re not going gourmet, any humble brown-skinned spud will do.

    And finally, You may want to keep in mind that the first Seder falls on Friday night this year. It’s always best to have all simanei ha’seder prepared before you light candles. This year it’s even more important! Peeling and grating and chopping and even preparing the mei melach create all sorts of Hilchos Shabbos issues. And you won’t be able to cook your karpas potatoes, if that’s what your family eats for karpas. And even if you prefer a radish, you’ll end up with a raw egg and an unbroiled z’roa on your ke’ara.


    Golfer: that someone that mentioned parchment paper on a hotplate FOR FRYING WHILE YOU’RE IN THE KITCHEN AND NOT FOR PROLONGED USE was me, and I humbly disagree, but you can choose to be cautious. I’m talking about an American made non-stick hotplate, could be others are different. It’s similar to lining a George Foreman or sandwich maker which many do. I should add though that if the paper starts browning or drying it out, swap it for a fresh piece.



    Buy the absolute BEST knives you can afford, and a quality can opener and vegetable peeler. Don’t be tempted gto buy cheap as Pesach is only one week. You will be doing far more hand preparation in that week than in many months of the year.

    I’m one of the few who loves Pesach and its cooking. We usually have anywhere from 24 to 36 staying for the entire holiday. B”H I have a separate Pesach Kitchen, but I have built up a collection of quality tools over the years.

    Make a menu and stick to it. You are not running a restaurant (though our home seems like a hotel) and don’t need to have many choices for each meal and snack.


    Thanks everyone for all the great advice!



    Also if you normally leave lights on a timer, reset appropriately and a shehechiyanu for the second day (if applicable).


    Sorry for not updating sooner, was quite busy!

    Pesach worked out B”H, but now what do I do with all these puts and pans and stuff?! I really don’t plan on making Pesach again next year and I don’t have a very large apartment to store things in…



    I was already Zoche this year to make Pesach for the 3328th time.

    Little Froggie

    Hi SiDi, was going to ask you how it went. Glad it worked out.

    What I did is I bought a storage closet years ago and put my stuff inside. It all fit in, somehow. We move it in to our kitchen for the week of Pesach, and use it instead of our regular drawers for the duration of Pesach. I put wheels on the bottom of it to make it move mobile, and it’s a breeze. After packing everything into it Motzai Pesach, it gets wheeled into an unused corner of a bedroom, where it’s forgotten until the next year.

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