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The best way to use up leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast or side dish! Easy, cheesy, fried mashed potato cakes ready in under 30 minutes.
One of our favorite side dishes is creamy mashed potatoes. Sometimes we make them with brown butter. Sometimes with spinach (just trust me on this one). And other times we switch up the flavor with sweet potatoes.
There was a day when we never had leftover mashed potatoes. The kids devoured them all in one sitting. But now that the kids are older and not necessarily around as much, I find myself with leftover mashed potatoes.
This old fashioned potato cakes recipe is our favorite way to use up mashed potatoes!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
Uses leftovers in your fridge.
Ready in under 30 minutes.
Great for breakfast, lunch or as a side dish.
What mashed are best for potato cakes?
Not all mashed potatoes are created equal. Some are “runnier” than others. Some have butter, milk and salt added. But the nice thing about our recipe is that it is adaptable to all types of mashed potatoes. Even store bought!
Simply adjust the amount of flour, adding more flour if your mashed potatoes are runnier, and less if the mashed potatoes are thicker. The flour is what holds the pancakes together.
Tips for Making Potato Cakes
Work with cold mashed potatoes. They are thicker and easier to handle than warm mashed potatoes.
Shred your own cheese. When you buy prepackaged cheese, it has a powdery non-caking agent on it. This can sometimes cause foods made with it to be extra greasy. For the creamiest melted cheese, buy a block of cheese and take a minute to shred it yourself.
Add flour slowly. Start with one cup, then add in flour by the ¼ cup after that. It’s ok if you can’t form patties with the mixture. Drop the mixture on a hot griddle and spread it with a spoon into a circle shape. That way the flour taste won’t be overpowering.
Place the fried potato cakes on a wire rack with paper towels or a pan underneath it to catch the grease. This will help keep the cakes crispy until you serve them. We use the same method on our fried chicken!
Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes
This is just a basic recipe for leftover mashed potato cakes. But what are some variations you could make? Here are a few favorites you can mix into our basic potato pancake batter:
Pizza: Diced pepperoni, minced garlic and mozzarella cheese.
Ham and cheese: Diced ham, shredded swiss (or cheddar) and diced onion.
Bacon Ranch: ½ packet of ranch seasoning, chopped bacon, cheddar cheese.
Veggie: Diced veggies of all kinds. Use up those bits of veggies in your fridge!
Mexican: Leftover taco meat, cheddar cheese, and chopped peppers.
Greek: Sun Dried tomatoes and feta cheese.
Toppings for Potato Cakes
What if you just want to add toppings? Try sour cream, diced onions, bacon, shredded cheese, queso, salsa and snips of fresh herbs.
Looking for Potato Cakes without Flour?
The flour is an important part of getting the right consistency to make nice thick pancakes that stick together. However, if you don’t want to use flour (or need them to be gluten free), add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch or tapioca starch and try frying them this way. They will definitely be thinner and won’t be as hearty, but they should work.
Easy Mashed Potato Cakes
4.66 from 158 votes
The best way to use up leftover mashed potatoes! Easy, cheesy, fried mashed potato cakes ready in under 30 minutes.
Place your mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese, and one cup of flour into a large bowl.
Stir until WELL combined.
Gradually add up to one more cup of flour until the potato mixture become s thick enough to hold their shape on the griddle.
Heat a large skillet with about 1/4" oil in the bottom over medium high heat.
Once the oil is hot, drop the batter by ¾ cup full (or smaller if you'd like) into the oil. Use a spoon to spread slightly into a round "pancake".
Cook until the pancake is golden brown on one side. Then flip and continue to cook until the patty is golden brown on the second side and cooked through.
Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. As you remove the potato cakes, place them on the wire rack so any extra oil drips down and they don't get soggy.
Top with sour cream and green onions.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 9 cakes, with 1 serving being 1 potato pancake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why did my potato cakes stick?
If your potato cakes stuck to the pan, it’s most likely because you didn’t have the oil hot enough before adding the potatoes to the frying pan. Heat the oil first, then add the cakes.
Are potato pancakes the same as latkes?
Latkes are a traditional Jewish food. Latkes are made more with shredded potato, making them less uniform than our potato pancakes made with mashed potatoes. Latkes are delicious, just make differently than these potato pancakes.
Are these potato pancakes the same as Arby’s potato cakes?
No. Arby’s potato cakes remind me more of hashbrowns than a mashed potato cake. They are different, but we think ours are better. And now that Arby’s has discontinued their potato cakes, you can make these at home!
Other Potato Recipes
About Julie Clark
I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.
These look and do taste so yummy!!!!!! I haven’t made potato pancakes in forever Thank you for your updated version! I am giving them 5 stars just because they are pure heaven and everyone gobbled them down and wanted more!!!!! Then sour cream and chives along with the bacon made them!!!!!!
Made these this morning and they were awesome, in-laws used to make but they never added flour, what a difference, they looked like pancake and the taste was yummy
These are great! Used up the potatoes and cabbage from St. Patty’s Day. After reading the ham and cheese option I added the last of the corned beef, some garlic, onion, chili flakes, parmesan and cheddar. I fried tablespoon fulls for a Saturday afternoon appetizer. Yum!
Oh! I forgot to say that I am experimenting with putting them in a roll like cookie dough to freeze, then cut and fry later! We shall see 😊
Can you keep leftover potato cakes in fridge or freezer and warm later? Haven’t made yet, just wondering?
Excellent way to use leftover mashed potatoes! Delicious!
A bit disappointing. Only used 1 cup flour but the flour taste overwhelms everything. I’ll scale the flour WAY back next time.
I added minced onion to mine and omg, sooo good! Thank you for the recipe! I never could get the flour and egg ratio right, so I TRULY appreciate it!
These came out perfect. Mom used to make them so I was looking for a recipe. I added sour cream to the mashed potatoes before cooking. My boyfriend loved them.
Recipe looks super easy and yummy. Will these work on a griddle?
Theses were so easy and delicious! what a great to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
Definitely won’t be making these again. They looked good when done, but didn’t taste great. Okay but not a keeper. I added bacon bits but that had not helped.