German Potato Pancakes from Mashed Potatoes

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It happens every Thanksgiving or other holiday meal. What on earth do you do with the leftovers?! Well, here is my favorite thing to do with leftover mashed potatoes. Kartoffelpuffer!

Kartoffelpuffer |German Potato Pancakes from

Every Thanksgiving, my Oma Engels would stand in the kitchen and make these for our evening supper. We always had our Thanksgiving dinner mid-day, and in the evening would have a simpler meal of turkey sandwiches, all of the sides and these wonderful Kartoffelpuffer.

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While traditional Kartoffelpuffer are made with grated potatoes, much like a hash brown, this is the kind I grew up with, and is the perfect thing to make with your leftover mashed potatoes.


This recipes is extremely flexible. I had about 4 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes here. We’re going to add a couple simple ingredients, and the quantities will be based upon how much mashed potatoes you have leftover.

In a bowl, whisk together the following – For every 1 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes you have:

1 egg, 1 Tb flour, 1/8 tsp baking powder and salt & pepper to taste.

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Again, whisk those until thoroughly combined, and set them aside for a moment.

Finely mince a tablespoon or so of onion, again, for every cup and a half of potatoes you have.

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Stir these all together with the potatoes until combined.

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In a large skillet, melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

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Scoop the potatoes into the skillet. I find a muffin scoop is perfect for this. Don’t crowd them.

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Let them cook for just a minute, and then flip them over…

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Press them down a little with the back of your spatula, until they are about 3/4 inch thick. Let them cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown, and then flip them over one last time to brown the original side all the way.

Kartoffelpuffer |German Potato Pancakes from

Lay them on a plate that is lined with paper towel, to absorb the excess oils. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Add butter to the skillet as needed.

Here’s another variation…add some grated cheese to the potato mixture. You could also add some crumbled, cooked bacon. Yum! Because these variations are perfectly acceptable – if you make “smashed” potatoes in your house rather than “mashed” potatoes – this recipe is perfect for those as well!

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Mmmm… these make me think of my Oma.

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I miss her dearly.


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Yield: 8

Kartoffelpuffer – German Potato Pancakes

Kartoffelpuffer – German Potato Pancakes

German Potato Pancakes are an excellent way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. You'll want to make a double batch of mashed potatoes just so you can make these!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • To be made with leftover mashed or smashed potatoes.
  • For every 1 ½ cup of potatoes (approximate)
  • Whisk together the following:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tb minced onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Whisk the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt & pepper until smooth. Stir into the potatoes, along with the minced onion until combined.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Scoop the mixture into the skillet in mounds, about 1/3 cup or so each, do not crowd them.
  3. Let them cook for just a minute, and gently flip them over. Using the back of your spatula, gently press them to ¾ inch thick. Let them cook about 3 or 4 minutes on that side, until it is golden brown on the bottom, then turn them over and finish browning the original side.
  4. Place cooked patties on a plate lined with paper towel to blot off the excess oils. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture. Add butter to the skillet as needed.
  5. Enjoy!


*Variations – try mixing in some grated cheese, or crumbled, cooked bacon. Get creative!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Nutritional Disclaimer: Nutritional data is provided as a courtesy and estimated by a service called Nutritionix. That is a web-based nutritional calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. If the nutritional information is vital to you please verify it using your favorite trusted source.

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18 thoughts on “German Potato Pancakes from Mashed Potatoes”

  1. My mom made these for the family 65 yrs. ago. I still make them today just like your recipe.. I remember as a kid I would sprinkle a little sugar on them when they were warm, they were delicious, sweet and savory. I put some sugar on the ones I made tonight and the memories came rushing back, just like it was yesterday.

  2. Exactly what we were looking for, German tradition with American leftovers. Thank you. These were perfect, though I don’t know what a muffin scoop is. We used an ice cream scoop.

  3. This is the closest recipe I’ve found, to what my mom would make. We never put onion or cheese in ours – and we always at them with jam! I’m going to use this as a starting point and see if I can recreate my childhood memories :D

    • Wow. You are the first person I’ve come across in almost 40 years to say they’ve eaten potato pancakes this way. Same here! I’ve been searching for a recipe for years to recreate what I had as a child. I remember potato pancakes as a sweet dish as well. I plan to use this as a starting point also. I do like this recipe as presented as a savory dish also. Looking forward to trying it this way.

  4. You have leftover mashed potatoes that will not be eaten as leftover mashed potatoes??? :) These look amazing. My stepmom made some that are similar. She added corn. Needless to say the only syrup I used was butter. Though corn fritters are good with maple syrup too.

  5. Just like your grandmother my granny used to cook leftover meals that are heavenly delicious, how I miss her so much all of her recipes are compiled in a book she is my first teacher in cooking.
    My recent post Summertime Turkey Salad

  6. I pick the cheese and bacon version please!! Yum yum If there were ever leftover mashed potatoes I know what we would be making.

  7. I love your family photos! And love this dish. Years ago I had a ton of mashed potatoes left over from a Thanksgiving dinner, and this is essentially what we did with them for breakfast with eggs the next morning. To die for! Thanks for the wonderful reminder of them. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Your German potatoes sound delicious. I make them but never put onion in them…don't know why I never thought of that. I'll be making these with leftovers for sure.


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