These potato pancakes can be served savory or sweet, but no matter how you serve them, they’re always delicious! They’re crispy and a great item to be center stage as a main dish or as a side dish.
Potatoes are a staple… and for good reason. They can be cooked in hundreds of different ways!
And as such, they are often found on the table at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This potato pancake recipe is no different! It can be enjoyed whenever you feel like it– morning, noon, or night. They can be served with sour cream, grape jelly, and apple sauce for breakfast, mustard or fried eggs for brunch, or corned beef and cabbage for dinner!
Use them as a side dish for chicken, beef, or pork, or simply top them with cheese for a great anytime treat!
If you grew up eating potato pancakes these may remind you of your grandma’s potato latkes recipe–though there are some differences between latkes and potato pancakes, even though the resulting flavor is very similar.
So what’s the difference? Let’s discuss…
Both latkes and potato pancakes use eggs as one of their main ingredients. But latkes, most closely associated with Hanukkah, often include baking powder, matzo meal, and even milk. Additionally, latkes use a shredded potato.
On the other hand potato pancakes, whose origins are a bit unclear but can be traced back as a popular street food in Germany during the 1870s, do not use matzo, milk, or baking powder. And depending on the recipe, the potatoes may be shredded, or mashed. Using already mashed potatoes creates a creamier pancake, like my mashed potato pancake.
This recipe, however, uses shredded potatoes for a shredded potato pancake -combined with the seasonings, it makes a delicious, crunchy, and golden brown pancake.
Whether making latkes or potato pancakes, you’ll want them to come out crisp, no one likes a soggy potato.
Luckily, I have a few tips that will ensure a crispy finish.
Keep in mind:
- Use russet potatoes. This variation has a high starch content, which helps the individual shreds hold together nicely, and a higher starch content means crispier potatoes.
- Rinse and dry your potatoes. A little starch is good, a lot can actually work against you. Russet potato work best here. When you’re done shredding them ( I use a food processor) pile them into a clean dish towel and wring them out to remove any excess liquid.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. If you do, you will essentially steam your potato pancakes.
- Make sure your oil is at 375. Any less and you won’t get that nice crisp, golden brown potato. Higher heat is needed to create the “crust”.
- Add additional flour if there is a puddle of liquid as you cook each batch, potatoes can render more liquid as they rest and a little more flour will help them bind and fry up crispier.
With that, let’s get down to it!
To begin, in a food processor with the grating attachment added, grate the potatoes and then add in the onion. Or use a box-style grater or similar to shred potatoes. I prefer the food processor with the grater attachment.
For easier handling, you can cut the potatoes into smaller pieces before you put them in the food processor.
Place the potatoes into a cloth thin dish towel (like a potato sack towel) and wring out the liquid until fairly dry. This will release extra liquid and ensure they’ll be extra crispy after being fried.
Next, in a medium bowl mix the grated potato and onion until fully combined.
Add 3 eggs. For vegan potato latkes or potato pancakes use an egg replacement. Then add in your flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and any additional seasons desired.
Mix all ingredients together well with a fork or spatula.
Cook the potato pancakes/latkes in oil with a cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or deep fryer.
Heat your skillet with oil about 1″ deep to 375°.
Scoop 3 tablespoons of mixture and pat down into a disk shape, transfer to your preheated skillet, and fry until crisp and golden on one side. Flip over carefully to cook fully. It takes about 3 minutes per side.
A note: I like to add a splatter screen to avoid oil getting on everything, but also to help regulate the oil temperature. You can also use a lid. Cover unused burners with aluminum foil, for easy cleanup. When your potato pancakes are finished cooking, they should have an internal temperature of 165°.
Drain each batch on paper towels and sprinkle with additional salt if desired.
Serve potato pancakes/latkes with
- sour cream and diced green onions
- grape jelly
- or your favorite dipping sauce like ranch or ketchup.
That’s it! They are so delicious, and they require very few ingredients–they’re a great go-to in a pinch!
And if you’re hungry for more potato recipes, I have a lot to offer on my blog. The potato is so versatile and I almost always have some in my house, so I’ve created lots of ways to enjoy the spud. You can find more great ideas HERE!
I don’t have a food processor, what can I use instead?
A hand grater works as well-though it’s a bit more laborious, you could also buy pre-shredded potatoes in a pinch!
What kind of oil is best for frying?
You can usually use whatever you have on hand, but ideally, you want to use an oil that is best used with high heat, like canola, vegetable, or even avocado oil.
What kind of towels should I use to ring out the potatoes?
A lint-free type is best. I suggest using something like a simple potato sack towel like these.
How many potatoes will I need?
Great question, 5-6 medium potatoes 2 1/2-3 lbs yield 12-15 potato pancakes, and 5 lbs of potatoes yield 25+ potato pancakes.
Handy items to use when making potato pancakes?
I make sure I have a spatula and tongs so I can easily flip and move them when cooking and to transfer them to a tray to hold until they’ll all finished cooking (you can keep them warm in a 200* oven until you’re ready to serve.
How to keep the mess to a minimum when frying foods?
Covering the burners you’re not using with foil, will help with easy cleanup.
What do these go best served with?
Serve with sour cream, grape jelly, apple sauce, mustard, fried eggs, corned beef, and cabbage, top with cheese, and so many great options!
I pack up leftovers in individual containers and add in some condiments like ketchup, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
Enjoy leftovers with a fried egg for breakfast!
How well do these reheat?
They reheat well, I even microwave them and they still maintain a great flavor and crispness, just don’t overheat them, if they steam they’ll get soggy. You can reheat them in a skillet or oven as well.
- 5-6 medium potatoes, washed, no need to peel unless you want to
- ½ white onion
- ½-1 cup all-purpose flour ( add additional flour as needed if potatoes are wet after the mixture is mixed)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½-1 teaspoon salt
- ¼-½ teaspoon black pepper
- Additional seasonings if desired paprika, hot sauce,
- Enough oil canola, vegetable, or avocado oil for 1/4 “ thick in a frying pan (add oil as needed)
- In a food processor with the grating attachment added, grate the potatoes and then add in the onion. If you want the potato pieces smaller you can cut the potatoes before you put them in the food processor.
- Place the potatoes into a cloth thin dish towel, like a potato sack towel, and wring out the liquid until fairly dry.
- In a medium bowl mix the grated potato and onion.
- Add 3 eggs, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and any additional seasons desired.
- Mix all ingredients together well with a fork or spatula.
- In the skillet with heated oil 350-375° scoop 3 tablespoons of mixture and pat down into a disk shape, fry until crisp on one side then flip over carefully to cook fully. You can add a lid or spatter screen. The internal temperature of cooked potatoes at 165°.
- Adding a lid allows the temperature of the oil to keep at a nice temperature, regulate it with the temperature control and it will help reduce splatters or use a splatter screen.
- Fry in batches for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Until all the mixture is cooked.
- Draining each batch on paper towels.
- Add any additional salt if desired.
- Serve with sour cream and diced green onions, applesauce, mustard, grape jelly, or your favorite dipping sauce like ranch or ketchup.
Add additional flour if needed so it's sticky by not wet, it'll help with a crispier potato and won't spatter as much either.