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Potato Cakes Recipe (from mashed potatoes)

Potato cakes are a great way to reuse leftover mashed potatoes! Don't be fooled by the name, this is a savory recipe.


Single Burner



This is a picture of the plated potato cakes.

My mom used to make these when we were growing up. She could always make much out of so little! Several recipes use a lot of flour in the potatoes, but they end up kinda doughy in my opinion. But it does make frying them easier, so you can add more flour if you want to lower the difficulty.

This mashed potato cakes recipe is a side dish that tastes like home.

Sometimes called potato pancakes (although in my mind those are different), be aware that this is a savory recipe, so should not be treated like a conventional pancake. Ketchup and sriracha mayo are much better toppings than maple syrup here!

Be careful flipping because the cakes will be fairly delicate until both sides have browned. I labeled the recipe as medium difficulty because there is some technique needed.


I am avoiding gluten, can I make this with any flour? It is possible to use any flour that you would otherwise use for baking, the flour is only needed here for stability.

I would like to add some flavor, but I don't want to do garlic and green onion. Is it possible to use something else? Absolutely! You can add 1/2 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp of any kind of spice mix you like, and you can also add 3 or 4 tablespoons of filling (that isn't very wet). Sometimes I mix in some other leftover is I have a small amount. For example, I've mixed in leftover taco filling and taco seasoning before and served it with salsa and sour cream. I have also mixed in dill and garlic, and even ranch seasoning. Go wild! Just be sure it can still hold a ball shape!

This is a picture of the potato pancake ingredients.

Gather your ingredients.

This is a picture of the mashed potatoes with toppings added.

Add any chosen fillings, such as garlic powder and green onions (or see the above note under "substitutions"). Check the consistency of your potatoes. If they stick together well enough to form a ball then move on to the next step. If they are too loose add flour, 1 Tbs at a time, to stabilize the potatoes enough to form balls. It is fine if they are sticky, as long as the shape holds.

This is a picture of the potatoes mixed with the toppings.

Mix everything together.

This is a picture of a plate of corn starch.

Put 2 Tbs of corn starch into a plate. Pour the high smoke point oil into a skillet until the bottom is coated and heat over medium high heat. While the oil is heating divide the potatoes into 8 equal sections.

This is a picture of the mashed potatoes being rolled into a ball.

The oil is hot when it is shiny and glides around the pan. When the oil is hot take one of the 8 sections and roll it into a ball. Here you can see the mashed potatoes hold well in the ball shape.

This is a picture of the potatoe ball being rolled around in the corn starch.

Roll the ball around in the cornstarch until the surface is coated.

This is a picture of the potato ball being formed into a patty.

Pat it between your hands into a patty shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Do this over the plate of cornstarch because loose cornstarch will fall off. Gently lay it into the hot oil.

This is a picture of the potato patties sitting in the pan.

Repeat until the pan is full without crowding. I usually do 4 at a time.

This is a picture of the potato cakes in the pan after the first flip.

Let them cook 3-4 minutes before flipping, then let them cook another 3-4 minutes. If they don't come free from the pan easily they either need to sit another minute, the oil wasn't hot enough, or there wasn't enough oil in the pan. Let them sit another minute before trying to flip again.

This is a picture of the potato cakes in the pan after a few flips.

Keep flipping the cakes every few minutes until both sides are browned and crispy and then remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the next batch. Be aware that you may need to add more oil.

This is a picture of the potatoe cakes plated with sriracha mayo.


How can I serve this?

This is a side dish, although sometimes I make them for a snack. They can be served alongside any main course in which potatoes make sense, such as meatloaf, stew, or fried foods. I love to serve them with some kind of sauce or topping. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sriracha

  • Sriracha mayo

  • french fried onions

  • sour cream

  • salsa

  • chili oil

  • ketchup

  • ranch

  • etc.


These potato cakes will last in the fridge 3-4 days.

Can I freeze it? Yes, try to freeze them on a sheet before stacking them together in a container. They will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Can I reheat it? Yes! But they are definitely better reheated in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer. Heat an oven to 350F/175C and reheat the potato cakes on a sheet for 5-8 minutes from the fridge or 10-12 minutes from the freezer.

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