Potato Pancakes


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These potato pancakes are the best way to reinvent leftover mashed potatoes. Just mix the mashed potatoes with an egg, some cheese, and minced garlic, onion, and herbs. Then pan fry them into the most deliciously crispy patties.

Potato pancakes on a plate next to chives and sour cream.

The Best Mashed Potato Pancake Recipe Ever

Sure, you can eat Thanksgiving leftovers as is. But if there’s a chance to transform them into brand new meals – I’m all for it. Enter these potato pancakes! They turn leftover mashed potatoes into the most savory, crispy patties dotted with garlicky onion bits, cheesy goodness, and fresh herbs. Let’s just say, they really up the ante of what mashed potatoes can do.

But you also don’t have to wait for leftovers! If you’re craving these pancakes on a regular day, just quickly mash up some russet potatoes the night before. Then fry them up the next day for an easy side dish or breakfast idea everyone will love – especially the kiddos!

Ingredients for potato pancakes on a table.

What’s In These Potato Pancakes?

This recipe comes together fairly easily with a few pantry ingredients. And if you’re looking for substitutions, keep on reading…

  • Mashed Potatoes: One thing to note here is to use cold mashed potatoes. This will make it easier to form the patties as it’s more solid than freshly made warm mashed potatoes.
  • Egg: All you need is one egg to help bind the pancake mixture together.
  • Cheese: After some testing, I found that cheese is a great binding ingredient for these gluten-free potato pancakes. I love freshly grated parmesan, but you can opt for Swiss, Pecorino Romano, or Gruyere.
  • Almond Flour: Almond flour is my go-to choice since I’m gluten-free. But if you’re not, AP flour works!
  • Garlic & Onion: This duo is always welcome in any savory meal. The onion bits are SO delicious and add a little crunch with every bite.
  • Fresh Herbs: Although I’m using fresh chives in the pancake mixture, any of your favorite fresh herbs will work!

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make Potato Pancakes

You might be using mashed potatoes, but this recipe is very similar to making pancakes. The only difference is the extra step of forming the patties with your hands. Other than that, it’s as easy as stirring up the batter and pan frying til golden perfection.

Make the pancake batter. Stir together the mashed potatoes, egg, garlic, onion, and chives. Then season with salt and pepper. Keep in mind the mixture won’t be completely smooth like regular pancake batter. Instead, it should be a bit more chunky and thick.

Potato pancake patties on a plate.

Form the patties. Scoop a 1/4 cup of the mixture, form it into a small patty with your hands, and place on a plate. Repeat this until the entire potato mixture is used up.

Fry them up! Drizzle some oil in a pan over medium heat, then add four potato patties to the skillet. Cook on each side for 3 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Just be careful when flipping as they’re more fragile when warm and can fall apart if you do it too slow!

Serve it up! Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chopped chives for the finishing touch.

A Few Tips…

  • If you want to omit the cheese, you can add another egg as a binder.
  • The consistency of your pancakes will depend on what type of mashed potatoes you’re using. Leftover mashed potatoes that already have butter and milk mixed in will make for a softer pancake mixture. While plain mashed potatoes will be a bit more firm. The latter may require a second egg.
  • Don’t crowd the pan when frying! You want to give enough room for the oil to evenly spread and crisp up the patties. It’s also easier to flip if there’s extra room in the pan.
  • Avoid making the patties bigger than 1/4 cup. Trust me! I tested bigger patties and they don’t cook as well as the smaller ones. Plus, they’re much harder to flip.
A plate of potato pancakes with a fork.

Ways To Serve

When I need a quick bite to eat, these potato pancakes are perfectly filling on their own. But there’s always room to make this an even heartier meal. Here’s a few ways to serve them up…

  • Serve them up Thanksgiving style. If you’re making this recipe the day after Thanksgiving, serve them up with leftover roasted veggies and a spoonful of cranberry sauce. It’ll make for a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
  • Make a full breakfast plate. If you’re craving a classic breakfast spread, pair these pancakes with a set of fried eggs and crispy baked bacon.
  • Turn this into a light lunch. Treat these pancakes as a main with a fresh side salad such as a massaged kale salad, tomato avocado salad, or wild rice and arugula salad.

Leftover Storage Tips

While these are best served fresh, leftovers can be stored or frozen! If you plan to freeze these, just keep the below points in mind to make sure you don’t come across any issues when freezing or re-heating.

  • To store: Leftovers will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • For freezing: Treat these as a meal prep ingredient and freeze them for later! Just make sure to let them completely cool and place them on a baking sheet first to freeze until solid (about 1 to 2 hours). Then, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container.
  • To reheat: First, let them defrost in the fridge overnight or on the counter top for 10 minutes. Then, you have the option of microwaving, baking, or popping them into an air fryer. If you choose the oven method, bake these at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through.

More Potato Recipes You’ll Love

There’s so much you can do with a few simple spuds. If you’ve got a few extras lying around, whip up these recipes favorites!

There’s nothing like turning creamy mashed potatoes into crispy potato pancakes! If you make these pancakes, I’d love to hear what you think of them in a comment below!

A plate of mashed potato pancakes.

Potato Pancakes

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


These potato pancakes are cheesy, herby, and the best way to reinvent your average mashed potatoes into crispy patties!


  • 2 cups cold mashed potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Optional: sour cream and extra herbs for garnish


  • In a large bowl, add the mashed potatoes, egg, parmesan cheese, almond flour, garlic, onion, chives, salt, and pepper. Stir together until well combined.
    Stirring potato pancake mixture in a bowl.
  • Scoop a ¼ of the mixture and form into a pancake with your hands. Then place on a plate. Repeat this process until all the potato mixture is used up.
    A plate of potato pancake patties.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Drop several potato pancake into the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining potato mixture and more oil, if needed.
    A pan cooking potato pancakes.
  • Serve immediately. If you'd like, add a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprinkle of chives.
    A white plate filled with potato pancakes.

Lisa’s Tips

  • I recommend using a seasoned cast-iron pan or non-stick pan for this recipe. It’ll make it easier to flip the potato pancakes! This is the pan I’m using in the photos.


Calories: 93kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Potato Pancakes, potato patties
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Made these again with leftover mashed potatoes.  This time I did in the air fryer.  5 min per side.  Delicious!  Thanks! 5 stars

  2. The best potato pancakes I ever made, and eaten! And I come from a long line of potato pancake makers!
    They were so yummy, melt in in your mouth yummy! I did leave out the cheese.
    I was wondering my sister does not use milk products, do you have any suggestions.
    I was thinking coconut oil and almond milk.
    What do you think k?5 stars

    1. Yay, happy you loved the recipe Lisa! And yes, those are fine substitutions to make this recipe dairy-free. Enjoy!

  3. Delicious – even my finicky husband liked them! I used regular flour as I didn’t have almond flour, but still tasted great and easy to make use of Thanksgiving left over mashed potatoes. Thanks!5 stars

  4. Very tasty! I had as a main course and will freeze the leftovers.  Love the suggestion of serving Thanksgiving style.