Potato Pancakes

published Sep 17, 2023
Potato Pancakes Recipe

These super-crispy potato pancakes only need five ingredients.

Serves2 to 3

Makesabout 10 pancakes

Prep25 minutes

Cook30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Overhead view of potato pancakes on a white platter topped with herbs and a small blue bowl with sour cream on the side. One potato pancake next to the bowl has a dollop of sour cream on top.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

I love all forms of potatoes — from French fries, to tater tots, to creamy, comforting mashed potatoes. These potato pancakes are super crispy and slightly chewy pancakes. Even better, they’re so simple to whip together and only require five ingredients.

Potato pancakes can be made in many different ways, but I like to make mine without any flour. By using the potatoes’ natural starch, the pancakes come out extra-crispy when fried. Also, the edges remind me of crispy tater tots, while the insides are similar to savory mashed potatoes. You can make a bunch ahead and freeze them, then air-fry whenever you want.

The Two Ways to Make Potato Pancakes 

There are two popular ways to make potato pancakes. One is using mashed potatoes, and the other one is using freshly grated potatoes. 

  • How to make potato pancakes with mashed potatoes. Making potato pancakes with mashed potatoes is an excellent way to use up leftovers. With this method, you’ll need to add more starch, such as all-purpose flour or potato starch, and eggs. When fried with plenty of oil, the outside gets delightfully crispy. Because the potatoes are already cooked, all you need to do is to crisp them on the outside.
  • How to make potato pancakes with grated potatoes. The other way is to freshly grate the potatoes, which creates crispy, hash brown-like edges. It is slightly more labor-intensive, but it results in a gloriously crisp outside and a wonderfully chewy interior.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

What’s the Difference Between Potato Pancakes and Latkes?

Potato pancakes and latkes are often similar in texture and looks, but latkes have additional ingredients — such as milk, matzo meal, and baking powder — that potato pancakes don’t include. And, when grating the potatoes, latkes use bigger holes to create thicker shreds of potatoes, while potato pancakes use the smallest holes to create very fine shreds. 

The Best Potatoes for Potato Pancakes

Russet potatoes are the most ideal for potato pancakes because they have a lot of natural starch. They also fry up very well, which helps create crisp, golden-brown edges. 

What to Serve with Potato Pancakes 

You can serve potato pancakes with sour cream or applesauce. If you want to mix it up, you also serve them with Asian dipping sauces, like black vinegar, soy sauce, or even chili crisp!

Potato Pancakes Recipe

These super-crispy potato pancakes only need five ingredients.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes about 10 pancakes

Serves 2 to 3

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium scallion

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 pounds

    medium russet potatoes (3 to 4)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/3 cup

    neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, plus more as needed


  1. Thinly slice 1 medium scallion. Halve and peel 1 medium yellow onion. Peel 2 pounds medium russet potatoes.

  2. Grate the onion on the small holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Grate the potatoes on the same holes into the bowl. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and toss to combine.

  3. Line a strainer with a kitchen towel or double layer of cheesecloth. Transfer the onion and potato mixture into the strainer. Gather the sides or the towel or cheesecloth up to form a bundle, then squeeze the excess moisture out of the bundle with your hands through the strainer into the now-empty bowl.

  4. Set the bundle aside. Let the liquid sit until the starch separates and sinks to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully pour off the liquid, making sure to keep the starch on the bottom.

  5. Return the potato mixture to the bowl. Add the scallion and 1 large egg and toss with your hands until combined.

  6. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 200ºF. Fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

  7. Heat 1/3 cup neutral oil in a large nonstick frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Drop either 2 (1/4-cup) portions of the batter evenly into the pan. Press a flat spatula onto each portion to flatten into a round about 3 1/2-inches wide and 1/2-inch-thick. Cook until golden-brown on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip with the spatula and cook until browned on the second side and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Reduce the heat to medium-low if the pancakes are browning too quickly.

  8. Transfer to the wire rack and place the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking the remaining batter. If the pan is dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more neutral oil as needed.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven for 10 to 12 minutes.