German potato pancakes, also known as, kartoffelpuffer, are easy to make and so delicious. Made with shredded potatoes and grated onions, they have a really nice texture and onion flavor. This simple recipe is authentic but with many helpful tips.
Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)
Potatoes make some of the best savory breakfasts that are popular in the United States, Europe and the West in general. Such as these potato waffles with an amazingly crisp crust.
The German potato pancakes, known as kartoffelpuffer, are popular all around Germany. And are made with shredded potatoes, which gives it a delightful texture. We also add grated onions for a really nice flavor. Dont skip that! It is an aroma, worth waking up to on a weekend morning.
Mashed potatoes may be more convenient to use, but the pancakes are softer and the texture is not as interesting. The shredding may involve some work but you can use a food processor to speed it up. And you don't have to pre-cook potatoes.
I also tested a French potato pancake recipe adding cheese, herbs and such, but the German pancakes still reigned supreme. They were much lighter without the cream cheese. The texture was more defined as cream cheese makes the pancakes soggy. This goes to show that having more ingredients is not necessarily important for great taste.
And potato pancakes dont have to be greasy. I show you later in the post how you can use less oil and still have great results. Also, I include some variations to change it up.
Make this delightful German recipe and enjoy the shredded potato pancake texture.
Table of Contents
Ingredients You Will Need
Here are some notes about ingredients for this German potato pancakes recipe.
Potatoes: I use yellow potatoes as they have a good amount of starch. You can try other types of potatoes as well. Red potatoes may not release sufficient starch needed for binding.
Onions: These add an amazing flavor. I chose yellow onions, but other types of onions will work.
Cheese: This is optional but you can add it as small chunks for the nice cheese pull. Grated cheese will give it a softer texture but not the pull. I would try gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, gruyere or Swiss cheese. Under ‘variations' below check the feta cheese option.
Eggs: We need some of this to help with binding and softer pancakes. You can try only egg whites too.
Flour: I use corn starch, rice flour, all-purpose flour or potato starch. But prefer corn starch or rice flour. And you can try fine semolina flour as well.
Cooking Oil: I often use avocado oil. Ghee or butter can be used for festive times.
How to Make Potato Pancakes
Brief overview below. *Full recipe at the end of blog post.
- Prep Potatoes: Grate potatoes and squeeze out excess juices.
- Other Ingredients: Add grated onion, eggs, flour, salt, pepper and combine.
- Cook: Heat oil in a skillet. Spread ⅓ cup of mixture evenly on the skillet. Repeat one or two more times, spacing apart pancakes, and fry both sides until golden brown.
- Serve: Enjoy with sour cream/yogurt, ketchup, apple sauce or avocado dip.
Add the other ingredients before the potatoes begin to discolor. Scoop out excess juices collected.
If the mixture is too dry, wait a few minutes for some juices to release. And if it is too loose, add just enough egg and flour to make a mixture that holds together.
Use the mixture immediately to prepare pancakes.
Keep the pancakes warm on a baking sheet placed in an oven that has been preheated at 250°F.
Do not use more oil than needed, as the pancakes will absorb it all and become greasy. Start with minimum oil to coat the skillet lightly.
How To Serve The Pancakes
You can try these German potato pancakes with various condiments. Serve them fresh, when they are still crispy on the exterior.
- Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche: Use either of these to make a dip with chives or dill weed. Add a dash of mustard if you like.
- Ketchup: Use it just as it is or make it spicy with a pinch of curry powder or cayenne pepper; similar to the curry wurst sauce.
- Avocado Dip: Make a delicious avocado dip with some herbs (basil or cilantro), lime juice, garlic and a hint of jalapeños.
- Apple Sauce: This is traditionally served with potato pancakes. Add a touch of maple syrup or cinnamon.
- Honey: For a sweet touch.
- Salt and Pepper: Some people enjoy these just with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and Himalayan salt.
- Festive: Serve with cranberry sauce or mango chutney.
- Meal: Make it a lunch or dinner with a vegetarian or meat gravy dish.
These are some suggestions to try for the potato pancakes recipe, but I have not tested some of them.
Gluten Free: Use only rice flour or corn starch and skip all purpose flour.
Vegan: Try replacing eggs with flax eggs or chia eggs. Increase the amount of flour as necessary for binding. Do not use cheese.
Dairy Free: Skip the cheese.
Egg Free: Replace eggs with flax eggs or chia eggs. Increase flour to help with binding.
Flavor: Add chopped sausage, herbs (such as parsley, green onions, basil, thyme), garlic powder or spices (paprika, turmeric, sumac or chili flakes).
Greek Style: Add ½ cup feta cheese as chunks plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme to the mixture. Lower the amount of salt to ⅔ teaspoon.
Easier: Try this recipe with readymade frozen shredded potatoes (dry mixes and frozen versions). Be sure to use sufficient amount of binding ingredients such as egg and flour.
Healthier Potato Waffles: Use minimum amount of oil for cooking the pancakes. Make smaller pancakes. And try making in an air fryer.
- Peel the potatoes one day ahead and immerse in cold salted water and refrigerate. Drain the potatoes well and pat them dry before shredding.
- If using leftover pancake mixture the next day, be sure to remove excess juices collected in the dish.
Cool the potato pancakes completely and pack in airtight containers. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat in oven, skillet or air fryer, and they taste pretty good. Microwave may make them too soft.
Yes, these German potato pancakes freeze beautifully and tastes very good after reheating. If you refrigerate the pancakes, reheat on skillet or in oven.
The pancakes may fall apart if there is not enough binding material. So add some flour and egg, just as needed, to make a tacky mixture. Also, reserve the starchy liquid collected from the grated potatoes and use that only as needed to bring the mixture together.
To keep the pancakes warm, arrange them on a baking sheet and place in an oven that has been preheated at 250 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to serve.
Cover the peeled or grated potatoes in cold water and refrigerate. This helps prevent exposure to oxygen and any discoloration. Drain the potatoes and pat dry very well before using.
Made with real organic potatoes, these pancakes provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, folate and antioxidants. And they are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
They are a rich source of carbohydrates, so moderation is necessary, specifically for those on low carb diets. Enjoy them in a smaller portion size by making mini pancakes.
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German Potato Pancakes Recipe
- 2½ lbs potatoes yellow, peeled
- 1 small onion grated
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup corn starch rice flour or all purpose flour, see note
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Avocado oil for frying, about ⅓ to ½ cup
- Potatoes: Using the medium holes on a box grater or a food processor, shred the potatoes finely and squeeze out excess juices with your hands or place in a cheesecloth and wring it out.
- Other Ingredients: In a large bowl, take the grated potatoes, grated onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Using a fork, combine until mixed well and tacky.
- Tip: Scoop out any excess juices collected. If mixture is too dry, wait a few minutes for some juices to release.
- Cook: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet at medium-high. Place ⅓ cup of mixture on the skillet and using the back of a spoon, spread it evenly, about ⅛ inch thick. Make one or two more pancakes, spacing them apart and adding oil as needed.
- Pancakes: Fry on both sides until evenly golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes each side, and flipping as needed. Repeat to make a total of 12 to 14 kartoffelpuffer.
- Serve: Briefly transfer the pancakes to a plate lined with paper towels and serve them hot with sour cream/Greek yogurt with herbs, spicy ketchup, apple sauce or avocado dip.
- Tip: You can keep the pancakes warm on a baking sheet placed in an oven that has been preheated at 250°F.
- Consistency: If the mixture is dry or loose, add just enough egg and flour to make a mixture that holds together.
- Starchy Juices: Drain excess juices collected or scoop it out from time to time.
- Cooking Fat: Some fat will remain after each batch of pancakes. Start with a minimum of 1½ to 2 tablespoons, making sure the skillet is covered with a thin layer of oil each time. Do not use more oil than needed, as the pancakes will absorb it all and become greasy.
- Cheese: You can add 1 cup of cheese chunks to pancake mixture. Adjust the amount of salt starting with ⅔ teaspoon.
- Make Ahead: Peel the potatoes a day ahead and immerse in cold salted water and refrigerate. Drain potatoes well and pat them dry before shredding. Make sure to remove excess juices collected in leftover pancake mixture.
- Storage: Cool the pancakes completely and pack in airtight containers. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat in oven, skillet or air fryer. Microwave may make them too soft.
- For more information on ingredients, variations, recipe FAQs and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
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