Potato Pancakes

Potato Pancakes | Magnolia DaysA pot roast is simmering in the slow cooker. Hunger builds with each pass into the kitchen. The aroma fills the air and stirs up images of the meal to come. Prep for the sides begin. Green beans are in a colander draining from a quick rinse. Potatoes are on the counter. Beside them are a trusty peeler and wax paper to catch the peels. A knife and cutting board are readied along with a pot of water. Mashed potatoes are soon to be made. A few extra taters in the pot means one thing: there will be leftovers to make potato pancakes.

Making potato pancakes is fairly simple. However, it is not simple to have an exact recipe. The reason is the variations of moisture and ingredients in mashed potatoes. The creamier they are from being made with butter and cream calls for more egg and flour to be added to the pancake mix. The butter and cream melts during cooking and can cause the pancakes to fall apart or be too soft. I test them by cooking one or two and adjust as needed.

Potato Pancakes | Magnolia DaysThese pancakes are a great side dish. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Cooking them in a cast iron skillet seems to work best however any frying pan should do fine. Some mains dishes they go nicely with is ham steaks with madeira cream sauce or meatloaf.

What is your favorite leftovers re-make? Or do you usually only re-heat and serve them the same way? I do both and it all depends on the original dish. This one has been a favorite since I was a kid and something that makes a meal during the week a little more special.

Potato Pancakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed*
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  1. Stir together mashed potatoes, eggs, and flour in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
  3. Drop potato mixture into skillet at least 1 inch apart, measuring about 2 heaping tablespoons for each pancake. Gently press with a spatula to flatten.
  4. Cook until you can see the edges of the bottom are crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Very carefully flip pancakes to the other side (they come apart easily).
  5. Cook until the second side is also browned and crisp. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel lined plate or serving platter.
  6. Repeat with remaining potato mixture adding more oil to the pan between batches as needed.
*You may need to add more flour to the mixture if your mashed potatoes were made with a lot of butter and/or cream. You can test the mixture by frying one first and if it is too soft (won't hold together after frying) then add more flour (1 to 2 tablespoons).

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  1. says

    It’s interesting, every time I try to use up leftover mash potatoes in this fashion the cakes always fall apart! Maybe I don’t use enough eggs. I’m going to have to try your method next time. Or perhaps it’s my jewish heritage that’s getting in the way saying ” you must shred, shred the potatoes to make them into pancakes”!

    • says

      My mashed potatoes are loaded with butter and cream so I have to use more eggs and flour to hold the pancakes together. It does take some experimenting. I think my dad had it figured out but he’s no longer here for me to ask his secret.

  2. says

    Those are so pretty, Renee. Certainly worth planning ahead and boiling a few extra potatoes! Like, Paula, I’ve also used them in bread and really liked it. We love potato pancakes plain but sometimes I do as my grandmother did and add salmon to make fish cakes. She used canned sockeye – it was a typical Friday meal at her house – but I use fresh.

  3. Lora @cakeduchess says

    I made Dorie G’s recipe and have made it a few times since…really loved it. It’s a meal with a nice tossed salad. Yours look fantastic, Renee!

  4. says

    Great recipe! No more left over mashed potatoes!

    First time to your blog Renee. We have just recently launched a online cooking show at my church. I see many recipes that we may try. I am glad I discovered your website.

  5. says

    I haven’t thought about potato pancakes in such a long time. They’re such a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Thanks for reminding me of a great side for any meat dinner!

    • says

      It’s funny how such a simple thing can be forgotten to make when there are extra mashed potatoes. Now that the holidays are coming and there are more big family dinner with mashed potatoes it will be a great next day thing to make.


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