Amp up hash browns with easy Potato Pancakes, the goes-with-everything breakfast or dinner side that is perfectly golden brown, crispy, and exactly what you want to be eating today.
Why You’ll Love This Crispy Potato Recipe
- Versatile. Potato pancakes are versatile and make a tasty side with hearty soups and stews and meaty mains, or alongside a hot breakfast (yes, potato pancakes are breakfast worthy). Like my Zucchini Fritters, you can enjoy them all day long!
- Easy. Simple shredded potatoes are mixed with flour and seasonings, bound together with an egg, shaped into patties, and then pan-fried to perfection. This is a no-frills recipe with simple steps and ingredients. The result, however, is anything but basic.
- Fun! As with any crispy potato dish (looking at you, Air Fryer Potato Chips), eating it is simply delightful! Biting through that crisp exterior into the creamy interior is an addicting experience. Like my homemade Tater Tots, these potato pancakes also provide a fun, individual potato serving.
How to Make Easy Potato Pancakes
- Potatoes. Russet potatoes are the best potatoes for potato pancakes because they are extra starchy and bind and crisp up well. Yukon gold potatoes are denser. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.
- Eggs. The essential ingredient for potato pancakes to bind everything together.
- White Whole Wheat Flour. One of my subtle, healthy swaps is white whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, as whole wheat has more fiber and protein content than all-purpose flour.
- Seasoning. Fairly bland on their own, potatoes must be seasoned. Onion powder, freshly ground black pepper, and plenty of salt give them a perfect savory flavor. No lingering garlic breath with my potato pancakes!
- Canola Oil. A neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point is the ticket for pan frying.
The Best Oil for Cooking Potato Pancakes
While I usually love cooking with olive oil, to pan-fry the potato pancakes, we need to use an oil that has a neutral flavor and high smoke point (olive oil is neither of these!).
- Canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil would all work.
- I prefer canola oil as it is the most heart-healthy and is always in my cabinet.
- Plain Greek Yogurt. I could really be a saleswoman for Greek yogurt. It is a no-brainer healthy swap for sour cream; no fat, plus a punch of protein.
- Squeeze Out Moisture. Remove as much water from the potatoes as possible.
- Whisk the Eggs. We want them lightly beaten.
- Add Dry Ingredients. The batter will look lumpy.
- Add the Potatoes. Make sure your mixture does not look watery.
- Cook. Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the batter to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Flip and Cook. Cook for another 2 minutes. ENJOY!
- To Store. After cooling, leftover potato pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in the oven at 400 degrees F for five to 10 minutes.
- To Freeze. Potato pancakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. First flash freeze by laying pancakes flat on a baking sheet and placing in the freezer for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a freezer-safe ziptop bag. Reheat in oven directly from frozen for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Meal Prep Tip
Potato pancakes can be prepped the day before cooking. Prepare the mixture without cooking it, and store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Fry just before serving.
Try transforming leftovers into a Breakfast Burger by swapping the English muffin “bun” for potato pancakes.
What to Serve with Potato Pancakes
- Breakfast Favorites. Try this recipe with Crustless Quiche, Eggs in Purgatory, or Savory Crepes.
- Salmon. For a twist on lox and cream cheese. Try Poached Salmon, Broiled Salmon, or Baked Salmon.
- BBQ. Crispy potatoes (like Air Fryer French Fries) and BBQ are besties. Try potato pancakes as a side dish for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork or Crockpot BBQ Chicken.
- Applesauce. The sweetness of the applesauce lightens up the crispy potato pancake (or Potato Fritters) and makes them perfectly balanced. Homemade is worth it! For an easy recipe, whip up some Crockpot Applesauce or Instant Pot Applesauce to use as a dipping sauce.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mandolin. This multi-blade veggie chopper and grater really does it all. A food processor is another option for how to grate potatoes for potato pancakes.
- Oil Dispenser. It’s nice storing cooking oils in these containers to keep them fresh and make for easy pouring when cooking.
- Nesting Mixing Bowls. I use these bowls for all my baking and cooking. They all fit together for easy storage and wash well in the dishwasher.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Get That Moisture Out. Using a kitchen towel or paper towel, wring out as much moisture as possible. If you don’t drain the moisture, they won’t crisp as easily and that may be why your potato pancakes are gummy.
- Feel the Heat. Sufficiently heating oil in the pan prior to placing the patty in the pan is the key to a properly crispy pancake. The oil is hot enough when you drop a small amount of the potato mixture onto the surface and it sizzles.
- Hold it Together. Thoroughly squeezing the moisture out of the shredded potatoes prior to cooking is how you keep potato pancakes from falling apart. Using the proper ratio of egg to potato is also important. If your mixture seems too watery before cooking, add a bit more flour to thicken it up.
- 4 cups peeled and grated russet potatoes about 4 medium or 3 large
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus a few pinches
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil plus additional as needed
- Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for serving
- Applesauce for serving, see Crockpot Applesauce and Instant Pot Applesauce
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Place an oven-safe wire rack on top of a large baking sheet and set aside.
- Place the grated potatoes on a large kitchen towel. Wring the towel over the sink to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- In a large bowl, use a fork to whisk the eggs until lightly beaten.
- Add the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, onion powder, and pepper. Stir to combine until no dry bits of the flour remain. The mixture will look lumpy.
- Add the potatoes. Stir gently until the potatoes are completely and evenly coated. The mixture should be very thick; if it seems runny, add more flour 1 teaspoon at a time until it does not look watery.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium high. The surface of the skillet should be completely covered with a thin layer (add more if needed).
- When the oil is hot enough so that when you drop a small amount of the potato mixture on the surface it sizzles, with a dry measuring cup, scoop the potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into the skillet, then use the back of the measuring cup to flatten each scoop slightly. Repeat with as many pancakes as will fit in your skillet with at least 1 inch of space between them. Cook on the first side until deeply golden, about 3 minutes.
- Flip and cook on the other side until golden and the pancake is cooked through, about 2 minutes more. If at any point the oil begins to smoke, turn down the heat. As soon as the pancakes finish, carefully transfer them to the wire rack, sprinkle with a little salt, and place in the oven to keep warm.
- Give the batter a stir and repeat with the remaining pancakes. Serve hot with Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and applesauce.
- TO STORE: After cooling, leftover potato pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat potato pancakes in the oven at 400 degrees F for five to 10 minutes.
- TO FREEZE: Potato pancakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. First flash freeze by laying flat on baking sheet and placing in freezer for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a freezer-safe ziptop bag. Reheat in oven directly from frozen for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The proper name of a potato pancake depends on the region serving them. Dozens of cultures have their own version of a potato pancake, each with its own name. Placki ziemniaczane is a Polish potato pancake. Boxty is the Irish version. Draniki is the national dish of Belarus and Slovakia (so they clearly agree potato pancakes are amazing!). Kartoffelpuffer is a potato pancake from Germany.
Potato pancakes are more complex than hash browns. Hash browns are pan-fried shredded potatoes, whereas potato pancakes are mixed with a binder, seasoned typically with onion or garlic, and formed into patties before cooking. For a hash brown recipe, check out Sweet Potato Hash Browns.
There is a difference between potato pancakes and latkes. Latkes include matzo meal and baking powder, which potato pancakes do not.
“Latke” is a Yiddish name, and they are traditionally served during Hanukkah.
Potato pancakes made with leftover mashed potatoes are a great way to use up Crockpot Mashed Potatoes or Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I have not tested this recipe adapted with mashed potatoes instead of the shredded, but it should work. You’ll get a patty that is crispy on the outside with creamy mashed potatoes on the inside.
I haven’t tried making these potato pancakes with pre-frozen hash browns, and I’m not sure how it would turn out. If you want a recipe that uses frozen hash browns, my Hash Brown Casserole is the way to go.
Potato pancakes are an Eastern European dish, originating as peasant food as potatoes were cheap, plentiful, and easy to store. Many cultures have their own version of a potato pancake, with the common denominator being shredded potatoes mixed with a binder and onion, formed into patties, and then pan fried.
The traditional topping for potato pancakes is applesauce and sour cream (my recipe makes a healthy swap of nonfat Greek yogurt!), but toppings for these crispy babies can be up to your imagination and taste buds.
– Salsa and the Best Guacamole
– Cooked, crumbled Air Fryer Bacon bits or Baked Bacon and shredded cheddar cheese
– Pickled Onions
– Chives and plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
– Air Fryer Onion Rings
– Mashed avocado and a fried egg
– Smoked Salmon Dip
More Crispy Potatoes to Love
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries