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German Potato Pancakes

German potato pancakes, or Latkes, are a classic dish served in various forms for centuries. Not only do they make an incredibly tasty comfort food meal, but they’re easy to prepare and quite versatile. If you haven’t enjoyed trying them yet, now is your chance to learn how delicious potato pancakes can be.

close up of four pancakes on a plate with syrup
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

My grandmother was from Germany, and came to the U.S. with her family when she was a toddler. We have enjoyed many of her ethnic foods but these potato pancakes which are also called kartoffelpuffer were my favorite.

Years ago, my grandmother’s handwritten recipe book went missing. No one in the family knows what happened to it.

This recipe was in it. I have tried over the years to duplicate it but it always was off a little bit. Until now.

I can’t begin to tell you how delighted we all were when I finally figured it out. I also figured out how to make her apple pancakes.

I can’t explain how gratified I feel about it.

This recipe utilizes basic ingredients already likely to be found in your pantry or refrigerator, even novice cooks will be equipped to create a scrumptious meal sure to please everyone at the table.

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What is the difference between these German pancakes and latkes?

The main difference between my grandmother’s German potato pancakes and latkes is the potatoes aren’t shredded or grated the same way, and there isn’t any added onion. I love them both ways, but these German pancakes have a special place in my heart.

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Potatoes – large Russets, although you can use Yukon gold or red potatoes.
  • Flour – all-purpose flour is best.
  • Egg – large egg.
  • Salt – either sea salt or Kosher salt.
  • Black pepper – (optional.)
  • Olive oil – or vegetable oil.
Helpful
Tips
  • I believe that the best potatoes to use are Russets.
  • My grandmother used to finely grate the potatoes, so I follow that tradition and the recipe is written this way. But, instead of using a grater, I use a food processor.
  • There are many ways to consume these pancakes. You can add maple syrup as I do, dollop on sour cream, applesauce, stewed tomatoes, creamed corn, cheddar cheese, to name a few.
  • You can use mashed potatoes, but I’m not sure of the quantities of the other ingredients though I think it’s fairly the same as if you used grated potatoes.
  • If you have any leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. We usually store them in a gallon bag.
  • The beauty of potato pancakes is you can make a big batch, place them in an airtight container, and place them in the freezer. You can freeze them for up to three months. Thaw them, place them on a baking sheet, and then heat them in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
horizontal photo of a white plate of pancakes with some cut triangles on a fork
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make German potato pancakes

Pre-step

Get a food processor or hand grater, mixing bowl, two spatulas – one rubber and one metal and cast iron skillet.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – potatoes, egg, flour, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Potatoes, egg, flour, and salt on a table
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step two

Wash and peel two potatoes.

Step three

Cut the potatoes so they fit in the food processor and process on high for 2 minutes until the potatoes are close to being pulverized. (A)

Although I didn’t measure the potatoes but I’d say that it was 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

You could also use a box grater if you prefer or don’t have a food processor.

Step four

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add flour, salt, black pepper, and an egg. Mix with a rubber spatula. You want the texture to be slightly liquid. (B)

Left - a food processor container with shredded potatoes in it. Right - the pancake ingredients mixed together
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Red versus green

You’ve probably grated or processed potatoes before, so you will have noticed that the potato oxidizes, which means it turns a little reddish in color.

The funny thing is, when you cook the potato pancakes, they turn greenish. I have no idea why!

Step five

Heat a sauté pan on medium. Once it heats up, add olive oil and once that shimmers, take a ladle like the one you use for gravy and ladle the potato mixture into the pan.

I only cook four pancakes at a time.

Step six

Cook for 3 minutes on each side until the pancakes are golden brown. They shouldn’t be too greasy, but you can place them on paper towels to remove any oil.

Step seven

As you remove them from the pan to a plate, add a little butter between the pancakes.

Continue until all the batter is gone.

This recipe makes 16 potato pancakes. If you want to make a bigger batch, the recipe card has a serving section that you can adjust.

Here they all are stacked on a plate.

a large white plate with stacks of pancakes on it with butter, syrup, and another plate behind
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Now just for fun, I’m going to stack eight of these beauties on a plate together.

A white plate with a stack of pancakes and more behind along with syrup
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

I pour on maple syrup.

Let me cut into the pancakes.

a fork with cut pancake triangles resting in syrup with a plate of pancakes in back
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

I can’t talk anymore, I have to eat now.

But before I do, I hope you enjoyed this German potato pancake recipe.

Other breakfast recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A fork with cut pancakes on it with a plate filled with them and maple syrup in the background - square

German Potato Pancakes

These potato pancakes are so delicious and easy to make!  They are comfort food for me.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Breakfast
Keyword: latke, potato pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Servings: 16 Pancakes
Calories: 120kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or more as needed

Instructions

What to Do

  • Wash and peel potatoes. Add them to a food processor and process for at least 2 minutes.
    2 large Russet potatoes
  • Scrape potatoes in a mixing bowl and add egg, flour and salt.  Use a rubber spatula and stir until combined.
    1 large egg, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
  • Heat sauté pan on medium heat. Add oil and heat it up.
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Use the ladle and scoop a dollop of batter in the pan.  I do four at a time.
  • Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until they are browned.
  • Keep adding batter until all the batter is used up.
  • Plate four pancakes. Butter each one, or if you want diary free, omit it.
  • Pour maple syrup on pancakes.
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Calories and nutritional do not include the maple syrup you will put on the pancakes!

Helpful tips

  • I believe that the best potatoes to use are Russets.
  • My grandmother used to finely grate the potatoes, so I follow that tradition and the recipe is written this way. But, instead of using a grater, I use a food processor.
  • There are many ways to consume these pancakes. You can add maple syrup as I do, dollop on sour cream, applesauce, stewed tomatoes, creamed corn, cheddar cheese, to name a few.
  • You can use mashed potatoes, but I’m not sure of the quantities of the other ingredients though I think it’s fairly the same as if you used grated potatoes.
  • If you have any leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. We usually store them in a gallon bag.
  • The beauty of potato pancakes is you can make a big batch, place them in an airtight container, and place them in the freezer. You can freeze them for up to three months. Thaw them, place them on a baking sheet, and then heat them in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 4Pancakes | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 119mg | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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14 Comments

  1. I love family meals that are about recipes of loved ones. My Dad had compiled all of the family recipes for years, so were lucky we don’t have to recreate them. One of our recipes is for potato pancakes too… ours didn’t have any starch in it, but it makes me want to give this a try to see how it affects the texture! They look so good!

    1. Thank you Michele! That’s fun with no starch, I’ll have to check your site to see the difference! Thank you for the comment!

    1. Deanna, I can imagine sour cream would be delish! I can’t remember if my family ate it like that. I’m feeling yes.

  2. Recreating those “treasured” recipes can be a challenge. I have tried several times with a few from my mom, and failed miserably. When you do have “success” it is such a great feeling. I love potato pancakes, and it certainly looks like your Nana knew what she was doing.

  3. Your potato pancakes look just like my mom’s. I cannot wait to try this recipe. I have been trying to duplicate my mom’s recipe with no real success. She never did have a recipe and always just created them by what they looked like.

    1. I’m happy to hear that, Leigh. I kept trying because I loved her pancakes. I hope it is close to what you remember. My grandmother had all her recipes written in a red lined book but it got “lost” after some relatives visited her. Let me know how it goes.

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