Mashed Potato Pancakes (and Latke Twist)

Leftover mashed potatoes make these mashed potato pancakes a snap. They’re crispy on the outside and creamy, cheesy delicious on the inside.

If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, you can buy some at a restaurant or grocery store (shhh). 

stack of mashed potato pancakes on plate

I made these mashed potato cakes (latkes) as one of my Hanukkah recipes last year and now it’s my new favorite way to use leftover mashed potatoes. A great twist on latkes. It’s a pleasure not to have to grate and squeeze the potatoes dry for traditional latkes.

If you like crispy pancakes with creamy insides, you’ll love these. Holiday feast or not. This easy recipe makes a great side dish or light main and is a perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes (maybe Thanksgiving leftovers?).

If you’re in the mood for more traditional potato latkes, try our Potato Latkes (Oven or Fried) recipe.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

mashed potatoes, eggs, green onions, cheese, flour, oil, seasonings
Ingredients: Mashed Potatoes, butter, eggs, green onions, oil, cheese, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, flour.

The basic idea is to mix together mashed potatoes with a few simple ingredients you like. I add cheese, green onions, an egg and parsley or fresh chives.

Mashed potatoes: If you don’t have leftovers, you can make your own basic mashed potatoes. For a different taste with extra nutrition, use mashed sweet potatoes.

Cheese: Vary the cheese. I used a combination of gruyere and cheddar. Add some parmesan cheese if you like as well. A reader even suggested a Mexican four cheese blend. Or, you can leave out the cheese if you wish.

Add-ins:

  • Crispy bacon (but not for Hanukkah!).
  • Herbs such as thyme, basil or tarragon.
  • Caramelized onions – you can either incorporate them into the pancakes or use them as a topping. 

Great toppings:

  • Latkes are traditionally served with sour cream and, in our family, with applesauce.
  • I’ve just discovered caramelized onions as a new topping – sensational!
  • Other good toppings are cranberry sauce, chutney or chopped fresh chives.

Step by step instructions

mashed potato pancake ingredients in bowl
Add all ingredients for mashed potato pancakes (latkes) to a large bowl.
mashed potato mixture combined in bowl
Combine mashed potatoes, cheese, green onions, parsley, egg and seasonings in a bowl
balls of pancakes on cutting board
Form potato mixture into 2 inch/5 cm balls
pancake balls dredged in flour and flattened
Roll balls lightly in flour then flatten a bit to make pancakes
Mashed Potato Pancakes frying in skillet
Fry batches of pancakes in a large nonstick skillet or cast iron skillet in butter and olive oil until golden brown
Mashed Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with your favorite topping,
4 mashed potato pancakes (latkes) stacked on plate

Tips

  • Don’t skip dredging the pancakes/latkes lightly in flour before frying. It helps create the crust. It also helps reduce the stickiness of the pancakes, making them easier to handle.
  • If your mashed potatoes are on the wet side, increase the flour a bit. Not by too much though – you want those latke insides nice and creamy. If your potatoes are on the dryer side, you can add another egg or a bit of milk.

Shortcuts

  • Use leftover or store-bought mashed potatoes.

What to serve with this recipe

Potato pancakes make a great side dish for any protein. Here are are a few favorites to pair them with.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between potato pancakes and latkes?

Typically, latkes include baking powder in addition to potatoes and eggs. Potato pancakes don’t.

Why are my mashed potato pancakes falling apart?

Likely they are too moist. Blot the mashed potatoes with a paper towel. If still too wet, add a little bit of flour. Also, be sure to dredge them in flour before frying and heat the skillet with oil and butter before frying.

Make Ahead 

  • Fresh out of the pan is the best way to serve potato pancakes (latkes) to get that crispy exterior. They are just as tasty, however, if you make them ahead and reheat them in the oven, although the crust will not be crisp.
  • To store: Cool and store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 2 days. Reheat them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350F/176.7C for 8-10 minutes.
  • To freeze: Potato cakes may be frozen between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container or bag. Or flash freeze on a sheet plan for 1/2 hour, then pile into a ziplock or airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months. 
stacked mashed potato pancakes cut open

What else to do with leftover mashed potatoes

Our vegetarian shepherds pie uses a root vegetable mash as the topping, but could just as easily be replaced with leftover mashed potatoes. A great way to use them!

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

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4.83 from 63 votes

Mashed Potato Pancakes (and Latke Twist)

Leftover mashed potatoes make these Mashed Potato Pancakes (Latkes) a snap. They’re crispy on the outside and creamy, cheesy delicious on the inside.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Total Time28 minutes
Course: brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Jewish
Servings: 12 pancakes/latkes

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoon butter
  • 4 teaspoon vegetable oil (or neutral olive oil)
  • flour for dredging (about 1/4 cup)

Potato Pancake/Latke Mixture

  • 3 cup cooled mashed potatoes (fresh, leftover or store bought)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I use a cheddar cheese-gruyere combination)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion (or more) 1-2 green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup (31 grams) all purpose flour use less if mashed potatoes are dry and more if too wet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • MAKE POTATO MIXTURE AND PANCAKES: Combine all potato pancake/latke ingredients in a medium bowl or large bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Using your hands, form mixture into about 12 balls about 2-2 1/2 inches (6 cm) in diameter for medium latkes. Place dredging flour on a plate. Roll each ball in flour, move it to a cutting board and press down to form a pancake 1/2 inch (1.27cm) thick. Repeat with all 12 balls.
  • FRY POTATO PANCAKES/LATKES: Heat large nonstick skillet or cast iron if you have to medium-high heat, then lower it to Medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons butter and 2 teaspoons oil to the hot skillet. When sizzling, add half the latkes. Don't overcrowd pan. Fry for about 3-4 minutes, flip over and fry another 3-4 minutes. Drain on plate lined with paper towels. Heat the remaining butter and oil. Repeat with remaining potato pancakes/latkes.
  • SERVE: Serve immediately plain or with caramelized onions, a dollop of sour cream or apple sauce. 

Video

Recipe Notes

  1. Variations
    • Cheese: Vary the cheese. I used a combination of gruyere and cheddar. Add some parmesan cheese if you like as well. Or, you can leave out the cheese if you wish.
    • Potatoes: for a different taste with extra nutrition, use mashed sweet potatoes.
    • Add-ins
      • You can add crispy bacon if you like (but not for Hanukkah!).
      • Herbs like thyme, basil or tarragon.
      • Caramelized onions can be used as an add-in instead of a topping. 
    • Great toppings
      • Latkes are traditionally served with sour cream and, in our family, with applesauce.
      • I’ve just discovered caramelized onions as a new topping – sensational!
      • Other good toppings are cranberry sauce, chutney or chopped fresh chives
  2. Make ahead:
    • Fresh out of the pan is the best way to serve potato pancakes (latkes) to get that crispy exterior. They are just as tasty, however, if you make them ahead and reheat them in the oven, although the crust will not be crisp.
    • To store: Cool and store in fridge in sealed container for up to 2 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in oven at 350F/176.7C for 8-10 minutes.
    • To freeze: Potato cakes may be frozen between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container or bag. Or flash freeze on a sheet plan for 1/2 hour, then pile into a ziplock or airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

I created this recipe with inspiration from: Spend with Pennies, The Busy Baker and Kitchme.

4.83 from 63 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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35 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Dredging the pancakes in corn starch or a mix of starch & flour will yield a crispier crust than 100% flour.