Potato Cakes

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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 mashed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, or spinach mashed potatoes with cheese (just trust me on this one). And other times we switch up the flavors and make mashed sweet potatoes.

homemade potato cakes with fork on a plate

There was a day when we never had leftover mashed potatoes because the kids devoured them in one sitting. Now that the kids are older and not home as much, I find myself wondering what to make with leftover mashed potatoes, especially after holidays and Sunday dinner.

This old fashioned potato cakes recipe is our favorite way to use up mashed potatoes! Mashed potato patties have endless variations and are the ultimate comfort food.

Why You’ll Love These Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes:

  • Uses leftovers in your fridge.
  • Completely customizable. Add your favorite cheeses, seasonings or veggies!
  • Ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Family Friendly.
  • Great for breakfast, lunch or as a side dish.


ingredients for mashed potato cakes on a table
  • Mashed potatoes. 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!
  • Flour. Adjust the amount of flour, adding more flour if your mashed potatoes are runnier, and less if the mashed potatoes are thicker.
  • Eggs. Eggs and flour combined help hold the potato pancakes together.
  • Cheddar Cheese. Because cheese makes everything better, right? Parmesan cheese is a great addition, too.

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. That way the flour taste won’t be overpowering. The texture should look something like this.
mashed potato cake batter in a bowl
  • Drop the potato pancake batter into a skillet with hot oil. Spread it slightly with a spoon to flatten the pancakes as needed.
  • 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. I use the same method on my fried chicken.
fried potato cakes on a wire rack


Make loaded potato cakes! 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.

What if you just want to add toppings? Try sour cream, diced onions, bacon, shredded cheese, queso, salsa and snips of fresh herbs.

golden brown fried potato pancakes

Looking for Mashed 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’ll still fry up nicely.

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!

You may also love using leftover mashed potatoes in our potato rolls. And try our sweet potato casserole!

a stack of 3 potato cakes made with leftover mashed potatoes
a stack of 3 potato cakes made with leftover mashed potatoes

Potato Cakes (With Leftover Mashed Potatoes)

4.70 from 213 votes
The best way to use up leftover mashed potatoes! Easy, cheesy, fried mashed potato cakes ready in under 30 minutes.
Servings 9
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

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Optional Add Ins:

  • ranch seasoning
  • garlic
  • chopped bacon
  • ham
  • onions
  • diced vegetables

Optional Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • green onions (chopped)


  • Place your mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese, and ½ cup of flour into a large bowl. Stir until WELL combined. 3 cups mashed potatoes, 3 large eggs, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, ½ to 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Gradually add up to one more cup of flour until the potato mixture becomes 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. vegetable oil
  • 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. Serve immediately.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Try reheating in an air fryer oven for best results.
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.**


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 216IU | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 229
Keyword baked potatoes, breakfast, brunch
About JulieJulie Clark

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.

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6 months ago

5 stars
Loved these, we added Mexican spice in lean ground beef, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, red & green peppers, then topped with sour cream and fresh chopped green onions. Delish!!

1 year ago

2 stars
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.

1 year ago

5 stars
Theses were so easy and delicious! what a great to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

1 year ago

Recipe looks super easy and yummy. Will these work on a griddle?

1 year ago

5 stars
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.

Julie Kay Stanley
2 years ago

5 stars
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!

2 years ago

2 stars
A bit disappointing. Only used 1 cup flour but the flour taste overwhelms everything. I’ll scale the flour WAY back next time.

2 years ago

5 stars
Excellent way to use leftover mashed potatoes! Delicious!

2 years ago

Can you keep leftover potato cakes in fridge or freezer and warm later? Haven’t made yet, just wondering?

3 years ago

5 stars
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 😊

Last edited 3 years ago by Monica
3 years ago

5 stars
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!

Denise M Lusby
3 years ago

5 stars
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

Denise M Lusby
3 years ago

5 stars

3 years ago

5 stars
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!!!!!!