German Potato Pancakes

German Potato Pancakes, also known as Kartoffelpuffer, are a cherished dish in German cuisine, loved for their simplicity and delicious flavor. This recipe holds sentimental value as it was my Granddaddy’s favorite. With basic and affordable ingredients, these pancakes are not only easy to make but also incredibly satisfying. Get ready to indulge in a delightful culinary experience with this traditional recipe!


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil (for frying)


  1. Begin by grating the onions and potatoes using a box grater or a food processor.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg thoroughly. Add the grated onions, potatoes, flour, pepper, and salt to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients together until well-combined.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour the potato mixture into the hot oil, flattening it gently to form a pie shape.
  5. Fry the pancake for about 3 minutes on each side or until they turn a beautiful golden brown color.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
  7. Once cooked, serve the hot German potato pancakes with your favorite accompaniment, such as sour cream or apple sauce.


  • Be sure to squeeze out excess moisture from the grated potatoes to ensure crispiness.
  • Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.
  • Keep the heat at medium to prevent the pancakes from burning while ensuring they cook through.
  • Serve the pancakes immediately for the best flavor and texture.

These German Potato Pancakes are a delightful treat that brings warmth and comfort to any mealtime. With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, you can recreate this beloved dish in your own kitchen. Whether enjoyed as a snack, side dish, or even a main course, these crispy pancakes are sure to become a family favorite. Embrace the rich flavors and culinary heritage with each bite of these homemade delights. Enjoy the satisfying experience of savoring authentic German cuisine right at home!

1. Can I use different types of potatoes for this recipe?

  • Yes, you can use various types of potatoes, but some work better than others. Russet potatoes are commonly used for their high starch content, which helps bind the pancake mixture together. However, you can also use Yukon Gold or red potatoes for a different texture and flavor. Experiment with different varieties to find the one you prefer.
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2. How do I achieve crispy potato pancakes?

  • Crispy potato pancakes rely on two key factors: removing excess moisture from the grated potatoes and frying them in hot oil. After grating the potatoes, place them in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This step ensures that the pancakes crisp up nicely during frying. Additionally, make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the pancake mixture to the pan. Frying the pancakes in hot oil helps create a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender.

3. Can I make the potato pancake mixture ahead of time?

  • While it’s best to cook the potato pancakes fresh, you can prepare the mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few hours before frying. However, keep in mind that the grated potatoes may release more moisture during storage, which could affect the texture of the pancakes. To minimize this, cover the mixture tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, give the mixture a quick stir before frying the pancakes.

4. How can I prevent the potato pancakes from sticking to the pan?

  • To prevent the potato pancakes from sticking to the frying pan, make sure the pan is adequately heated and coated with enough oil before adding the pancake mixture. Use a non-stick frying pan if available, or ensure that your pan is well-seasoned if using cast iron. Avoid overcrowding the pan, as this can cause the pancakes to steam instead of fry, leading to sticking. Allow enough space between each pancake for easy flipping and even cooking. If necessary, add more oil to the pan between batches to prevent sticking and ensure crispy results.
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5. Are German potato pancakes gluten-free?

  • The traditional recipe for German potato pancakes typically includes flour as a binding agent. However, if you prefer a gluten-free option, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend or almond flour. Keep in mind that the texture and flavor may vary slightly, but it’s a suitable alternative for those with gluten sensitivities or dietary restrictions.

6. Can I freeze leftover potato pancakes?

  • Yes, you can freeze leftover potato pancakes for future enjoyment. Allow the pancakes to cool completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Place parchment paper between each pancake to prevent them from sticking together. When ready to eat, simply reheat the frozen pancakes in a toaster oven or conventional oven until heated through and crispy. Avoid microwaving frozen pancakes, as they may become soggy.

7. What are some creative toppings for German potato pancakes?

  • While sour cream and applesauce are classic accompaniments for German potato pancakes, there are plenty of other delicious toppings you can try. Consider topping your pancakes with smoked salmon and cream cheese for a savory twist, or try them with caramelized onions and crème fraîche for a gourmet touch. Experiment with different combinations of toppings such as chives, bacon bits, grated cheese, or even a drizzle of maple syrup for a sweet and savory contrast. Let your creativity shine and customize your potato pancakes to suit your taste preferences.

8. Can I make vegan potato pancakes?

  • Yes, you can make vegan potato pancakes by omitting the egg from the recipe. Instead of using egg as a binder, you can try using a flax egg or a commercial egg replacer according to the package instructions. Additionally, ensure that the flour you use is vegan-friendly, and use a plant-based oil for frying, such as vegetable oil or coconut oil. The texture of vegan potato pancakes may vary slightly from the traditional version, but they can still be delicious and satisfying. Adjust the seasoning and consistency of the batter as needed to achieve the desired results.

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