Who doesn’t love pancakes? Their sweet, syrupy goodness is one of the best ways to start out your day. Sometimes, though, I’m in the mood for another type of “pancake”: a savory one! Enter my super easy shredded potato pancakes.
A meal all their own, these pancakes use a few simple ingredients and are quick to whip up any day of the week. They cook in just a few minutes and can be served with any of your favorite breakfast foods, or all by themselves!
- 4 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes, Shredded
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Milk as needed to thin out batter
It’s not strictly necessary to peel the potatoes before shredding, but if you have the time I would recommend it. It will give them a better texture and appearance, but it’s up to you. Shred the potatoes using the small to medium sized holes on a box grater. They need to be pretty fine, but I find that if they’re complete mush then they fall apart too easily.
In a large bowl, beat the two eggs together until homogenous. Then add in your shredded potatoes and mix well. Next add your salt and baking powder, then add the flour gradually while mixing to make sure that it is evenly incorporated.
Once your batter is done, you may need to add a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out. It won't be runny like pancake batter, but should spread a bit once spooned into a frying pan.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a neutral cooking oil such as canola or peanut oil. You’ll need enough to cover the bottom of the pan with about ¼ inch of oil, we’re not deep frying these! Once the oil is hot enough that it sizzles when you add a bit of batter, spoon or ladle about ½ cup of potato pancake mixture into the pan and spread it into a somewhat flat circle. Too thin and they’ll burn, too thick and they won't cook through, so be careful!
Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook several at once. Be careful not to crowd the pan or the temperature will drop and all your pancakes will run together! Once the side in the oil is golden brown and crispy, carefully flip the pancake. The second side won’t take quite as long, so just keep an eye on them. Once they’ve finished cooking, transfer to a wire baking rack or a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil and cool.
What do you serve potato pancakes with?
I love potato pancakes because they’re so versatile. They go with all kinds of breakfast dishes and even make a great side to most dinners as well!
If you’re serving them for breakfast, I find that they really complement a meat like sausage or bacon. Keep in mind that they are pretty greasy (in a very yummy way, of course), so the meal can get pretty “heavy” feeling. To offset this, having some yogurt or fruit along with your meal can help round it out nicely.
Potatoes and eggs are best friends, and while this recipe does already have eggs in it, I find that these go great even more eggs! Scrambled and sunny side up are my go-tos, but the choice is yours.
What meat goes well with potato pancakes?
I think they go pretty well with just about any kind of meat, but since they’re a classic breakfast favorite I often serve them alongside sausage links or some nice crispy bacon. As I mentioned above, they are a pretty hearty food. Sometimes a greasy meat like sausage or bacon can be a bit too much, so sometimes I’ll opt for ham (or Canadian bacon) instead.
For a slightly lighter option, you could try turkey bacon or plant-based sausage patties to change things up. I like turkey bacon because it gives me the same crispiness as regular bacon but feels much lighter and is much less oily. Plant-based meats are really taking off lately, and you’d be surprised how similar they taste! If you’re looking to sneak a little healthy food in to your family’s breakfast, they can be a great asset.
What is the difference between potato pancakes and latkes?
Potato pancakes and latkes are very, very similar. Latke recipes vary a lot by family, so some of them might look very similar to this one! Something found in a lot of latke recipes is matzo meal as a binder instead of flour. Potato pancakes are popular in a lot of cultures, and everyone puts their own special spin on their recipe. Latkes also typically use larger potato shreds, more of a hash brown consistency.
How do you keep potato pancakes from falling apart?
A common complaint from home cooks is that they hate making potato pancakes because they end up with a useless pile of mushy potato batter or a bunch of burnt bits instead of a nice, crispy pancake. I have a few tips to keep them from falling apart so you can enjoy these delicious breakfast bites!
First, using egg as a binder will help you immensely. This recipe already calls for egg, but if yours doesn’t then you should consider adding at least one. Egg solidifies as it cooks, helping to act like a glue for your pancake.
You will need to shred the potatoes somewhat finely for this recipe. The potato shreds are the bulk of the structure of this recipe, and thin shreds can fall apart very, very easily. The egg helps hold them together, so you’ll need to make sure it is well incorporated. Use the smallest holes on a grater, and don’t attempt to use a potato ricer to shred them! A potato ricer will completely eliminate all shape and form from the potato and leave you with mush.
Finally, make sure you’re cooking with the right heat and pan. A nonstick pan is my go-to for most recipes, and nobody wants to be scraping a stuck pancake off and splashing hot oil everywhere! Speaking of hot oil, if your cooking oil isn’t hot enough your pancake will get mushy long before it gets crispy. Crispy edges are key to maintaining the pancake’s shape, otherwise you might have something closer to mashed potatoes instead.
Where did potato pancakes originate?
I’m sure this question has sparked a lot of debate over the years. In short, plenty of cultures claim to “own” the potato pancake. A lot of these recipes are very similar, and most of them are simple and use few ingredients. Not only are they easy to make, they’re also delicious.
The latke is one of the more famous potato pancake variants. A popular Jewish recipe, latkes are pretty similar to my potato pancake! The main difference is the potato shreds in latkes are bigger and they keep their texture, whereas in potato pancakes they blend in with the batter much more.
Many European cultures have their own special potato pancake recipe of some sort. Potatoes have always been plentiful, cheap, and easy to grow, making them a popular starch of choice for working classes. Simple potato-based recipes using only a handful of other ingredients that come together quickly have always been favorites for the same reasons they are today.