Home Appetizers Potato Cakes (Easy Recipe)

Potato Cakes (Easy Recipe)

Potato cakes are the tastiest way to repurpose leftover mashed potatoes! They’re incredibly addictive, super versatile, and insanely easy to make.

Crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside with a sweet-savory flavor profile, they’re the ultimate comfort food!

Potato Cakes With Sour Cream and Chives Garnish
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Whether you serve these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they’ll be gone in minutes.

So if you want to transform last night’s dinner into an epic dish, try my recipe for crispy golden potato cakes.

You won’t regret it!

Why You’ll Love Mashed Potato Cakes 

Besides being crazy delicious, here are more reasons to try this recipe:

  • The ingredients are affordable pantry staples. 
  • They’re a cinch to make – just 30 minutes from kitchen to table.
  • They’re easy to customize, so you can throw in whatever other leftovers you have in the fridge!
Potato Cakes Ingredients: mashed potatoes, all purpose flour, onion, egg, salt and pepper, and oil


  • Mashed Potatoes – this recipe is the perfect way to use leftover mashed potatoes! Be sure they’re nice and cold, so they’re easier to handle.
  • All-Purpose Flour – it provides the cakes with structure.
  • Onion – for added flavor.
  • Egg – for binding the ingredients together.
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste. Add more or less to suit your preference.
  • Vegetable Oil – for pan-frying the cakes. Use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point for best results.

How to Make Potato Cakes 

1. Make the batter.

Mix the mashed potatoes, flour, minced onion, egg, salt, and pepper. They should form a thick and creamy batter when done.

If your batter is too runny, add more flour. If it’s too thick, add a splash of milk. It will depend on the mashed potatoes and how they were made in the first place.

For example, if you blend your potatoes with butter and milk, they may need extra flour to help bind all that added moisture.

2. Pan-fry the cakes.

First, preheat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. This part is crucial, so don’t skip it!

If the oil isn’t hot enough, your cakes will become soggy.

Next, drop a 4-inch mound of batter onto the preheated oil and skillet. Flatten it with a spatula and cook both sides for about 5 minutes each or until golden brown.

Place the cooked potato cake on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

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Repeat until all your batter is used up.

3. Serve and enjoy!

I like to serve my potato cakes with sour cream and chives. Feel free to add your choice of toppings. 

Pile of Potato Cakes Served on a White Plate With Sour Cream and Chives Garnish

What Mashed Potatoes are Best for Potato Cakes?

Yukon Gold potatoes are the best for potato cakes because they’re the best for mashed potatoes.

They’re rich and creamy, making perfectly dense mash.

Russet potatoes are another great option as they’re not overly moist and have a high starch content. That makes them more stable and fluffy.

That said, not all mashed potatoes are equal.

Some are thick and dense with just a hint of salt, while others are thin and runny with lots of butter and cream.

Some are even cheesy or loaded with skins and bacon bits.

So as mentioned, it really depends.

For this recipe, you’ll want the mashed potatoes to be thick but still moist.

Of course, if all you have is runny mash, that’s okay. You can remedy it by adding more flour to the recipe to give the potatoes more structure.

Or, if your mashed potatoes are way too dense, thin them out with a splash of milk and a dab of butter.

Tips for Making Potato Cakes

  • Use cold, refrigerated mashed potatoes. They’re thicker and denser, thus easier to handle than hot or warm mash.
  • Instead of a knife, use a cheese grater to mince the onion. This will release more of their sweet juices and give the potato cakes a stronger punch of flavor.
  • If your mashed potatoes have already been pre-seasoned, you likely won’t need much salt. Add the seasonings last and taste the batter – adjust accordingly.
  • Use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable, canola, and coconut oil are all great for frying. 
  • Instead of a skillet, you can also cook these cakes using an electric griddle or waffle iron. I love the waffle iron method because it gives you lovely crispy pockets.
  • Drain excess oil by laying the potato cakes on a plate lined with paper towels. This will keep the cakes nice and crispy while waiting for the others to cook.
Potato Cakes with a bite taken our and sour cream on top


Make these potato cakes your own by making a few additions! If you’re looking for suggestions, I’ve got tons:

  • Shredded Cheese: We all know potatoes and cheese are a match made in heaven! You can pick any cheese you like, from Parmesan and mozzarella to cheddar.
  • Pizza Toppings: I’m talking pepperoni, bacon, garlic, and more! Whatever topping you like on your pizza, just be sure to chop the ingredients into small, uniform sizes for an easy bite. 
  • Vegetables: carrots, corn, peas, or whatever you have lying in the fridge. Again, dice them up into small bits for easy consumption.
  • Ground Meat: Beef, pork, turkey – again, check your fridge for leftovers and throw them into the batter.
Crispy Potato Cakes With Sour Cream on Top

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these potato cakes the same as the Jewish latkes?

Potato cakes are not the same as Jewish latkes because the latter uses shredded potatoes. In contrast, potato cakes use mashed potatoes for a creamier finish. The two have a similar flavor, but the latkes are much crispier.

Is This a Copycat Recipe of Arby’s Potato Cakes?

I believe Arby’s now-discontinued potato cakes are more like hash browns than cakes.

So, again, while the flavor profiles are similar, the textures are different. 

How Do You Keep the Potato Cakes From Sticking to the Pan?

Be sure to add enough oil to the skillet and give it time to preheat before adding the batter.

It should be shiny and glossy.

Test it by splashing a couple drops of water (not a spoonful!) in the pan. If it sizzles, it’s ready.

What Toppings Can I Add to Mashed Potato Cakes?

Whatever your heart desires! 

I like to finish these cakes with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.

The coolness of the sour cream gives a fun contrast to the hot cakes. And the chives add a pop of color and a peppery taste that really amps up the potato cakes’ flavor.

You also can’t go wrong with bacon bits, shredded cheese, and salsa.

How Should I Store Potato Cakes?

To Store

Before storing, it’s important to let the potato cakes cool completely first. If you store them right away, they’ll turn soggy the following day.

Place the cooled potato cakes in an airtight container lined with dry paper towels. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

To Freeze

Potato cakes are best consumed right after cooking. But if you absolutely need to keep them around much longer, it’s still possible with the freezer.

Just bear in mind that their quality will decline over time.

Again, be sure to allow the pancakes to cool completely before freezing.

Arrange the pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze them for 1 hour or until they’re rock solid.

Transfer the potato cakes into freezer-safe bags and label the bags accordingly. 

Frozen potato cakes will keep well for up to 3 months.  

To Reheat

Pop the potato cakes in the oven and reheat them for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have an air fryer, reheat them in there for 5 to 10 minutes, also at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can also use the toaster oven.

There’s no need to defrost the potato cakes beforehand for any of these methods. Instead, you can reheat them straight from the freezer.

More Potato Recipes You’ll Love

Amish Potato Salad
4-Ingredient Potato Soup
Air Fryer Potato Wedges
Sweet Potato Frittata
Sweet Potato Fries

Potato Cakes (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





Potato cakes are the tastiest way to repurpose leftover mashed potatoes! They’re incredibly addictive, super versatile, and insanely easy to make.


  • 2 cups mashed potatoes, cold

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, more if needed


  • In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, flour, onion, and egg until they form a thick and creamy batter. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop a 4-inch mound of the batter onto the preheated oil. Flatten the mound with a flat spatula and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the cake onto a serving plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Potato Cakes (Easy Recipe)

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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