Mashed Potato Pancakes - Recipe for Holiday Leftovers (2024)

Do you have lots of leftover mashed potatoes? Try this easy recipe for Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes with Cheese! Made with 4 simple ingredients and ready in just 15 minutes, they make the best quick meal or appetizer.

Mashed Potato Pancakes - Recipe for Holiday Leftovers (1)

Classic German potato cakes are one of my all-time favorite recipes. I don’t make that kind of potato pancakes very often though, because shredding, pressing and draining the potatoes can be quite time-consuming.

I had this sudden idea that I could try making potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes, and I have to say – they turned out better than the real deal!

They come together in 5 minutes, and they cook in about 10. So basically that’s food on the table in 15 minutes, which is pretty amazing in my books – especially if you’re making these the day after Thanksgiving!

Ingredients you’ll need

Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!

Mashed Potato Pancakes - Recipe for Holiday Leftovers (2)

Ingredient notes

Make without leftover mash

I know I’m a big advocate for fresh family cooking. But with little kids at home? I get it,100% from scratch cooking is not always an option.

If you’re looking for a quick finger food so your toddler can eat by themselves while you nurse the baby, these work just as well with instant mashed potatoes.


I love cheddar in these, but pretty much any shredded cheese will work. I have made them plenty of times with Gouda or Mozzarella, and they were always a hit.

Add more flavor

You can add chopped chives, finely diced ham, cooked and crumbled bacon, chopped green onions… to the pancake batter, if you like. So many ways to switch up the flavor here, and they come out delicious any way you make them.

How to make potato cakes

Combine all ingredients: Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir them together until smooth.

The amount of flour you need heavily depends on the consistency of your mashed potatoes, so start with the amount given in the recipe, then increase from there if the batter is very runny.

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Shape cakes: I like using a cookie scoop to shape the potato mix into cakes. If your mashed potatoes were very firm, you may need to shape them into discs by hand.

Otherwise just drop them into a sizzling hot skillet with oil and lightly flatten with the back of a rubber spatula.

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Cook cakes: These turn out best when pan-fried.

Just heat some oil in a large nonstick skillet, then cook them on both sides until browned and crispy on the outside and heated through all the way on the inside.

These are best served right away while hot and fluffy!

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Mashed Potato Pancakes FAQs

How long are leftover mashed potatoes good for?

There are differing opinions on this, but I’m a stickler when it comes to food safety, so I never store leftover mashed potatoes for more than 2-3 days in the fridge.

Can you freeze potato cakes?

While these do taste best fresh, they can be frozen for convenience/to save leftovers.

Freezer instructions

To freeze: Let the potato cakes cool completely, then flash-freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer until solid (1-2 hours) before transferring them to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months).

To reheat: Take as many potato pancakes as you need from the bag or container and defrost them on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Reheat in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave until steaming hot all the way through.

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Serving ideas

We love these with sour cream, applesauce or cranberry sauce (great to use up those leftovers, too!).

If you want to make these for a St Patrick’s Day spread (kind of a cheat’s Irish Potato Pancake, or Boxty), they go great with Irish Stew! I also have a traditional Irish Boxty recipe, if you’re looking for that in particular.

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I’m sure these leftover mashed potato cakes would work just as well as a side dish or a fun appetizer – at least my toddler thinks these are the best finger food ever!

More recipes for holiday leftovers

  • 30 Minute Stovetop Turkey Tetrazzini
  • Easy Turkey Pot Pie
  • Homemade Shepherd’s Pie
  • Crock Pot Cranberry Pork Chops

PSIf you try this recipe, please leavea review in the comment section and add a star rating in the recipe card – I appreciate your feedback! Follow along onPinterest,FacebookorInstagram.

Printable recipe

Printable Recipe Card

Mashed Potato Pancakes - Recipe for Holiday Leftovers (12)

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Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

Use your leftover mashed potatoes in this Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes recipe! They go from fridge to table in 15 minutes and make for a super-speedy meal!

Recipe by Nora from Savory Nothings

made it? tap the stars to add your rating!

4.82 from 76 votes

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Recipe details

Prep 5 minutes mins

Cook 10 minutes mins

Total 15 minutes mins

Servings 4 servings

Difficulty Easy


  • 2 cups cold mashed potatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons flour or more depending on how creamy your potatoes are
  • Oil or nonstick cooking spray, for frying


  • Make potato cake batter: Stir the mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese and flour together in a large bowl. Start with 6 tablespoons of flour and add more if needed. You should end up with a slightly sticky, soft dough that can be shaped into disks.

  • Shape cakes: With a cookie scoop, scoop out balls from the potato dough and flatten them into thick discs between damp hands. Making your hands slightly wet will prevent the dough from sticking to them.

  • Cook cakes: Heat the oil or nonstick cooking spray in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place the potato cakes in the hot frying pan and cook them until golden brown on either side, about 3-5 minutes each. Serve hot.

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Don’t let the cakes stand for too long once their cooked, as they will lose their fluffiness. They are best eaten immediately.

Ingredient notes

  • Pretty much any shredded cheese works, Mozzarella or Gouda are delicious, too.
  • Feel free to add your favorite mix-ins: Cooked and crumbled bacon, finely diced ham, chopped chives, chopped green onion…

Freezer instructions

To freeze: Let the potato cakes cool completely, then flash-freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer until solid (1-2 hours) before transferring them to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months).

To reheat: Take as many potato pancakes as you need from the bag or container and defrost them on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Reheat in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave until steaming hot all the way through.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 119mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 261IUCalcium: 115mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition is an estimate.

More recipe information

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: European

Mashed potato recipes

I definitely have some mashed potato recipes you can try – a regular and an instant pot variety. Both make great leftovers for mashed potato cakes 😉

  • Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
  • How to Make Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potato Pancakes - Recipe for Holiday Leftovers (2024)


Why do my potato pancakes fall apart? ›

If the potato pancakes are falling apart while you're shaping them before you start cooking, they are either either too wet or they need more flour to hold them together. You can also mix the flour a little more the mix to develop gluten and then let it rest before cooking.

What's the best potato to use for potato pancakes? ›

Russet potatoes are the best potatoes for potato pancakes because they are extra starchy and bind and crisp up well. Yukon gold potatoes are denser. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.

How long can you keep leftover mashed potatoes? ›

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Mashed Potatoes. Mashed potatoes should easily last three to five days in the fridge if stored correctly and within two hours of cooking. This means ensuring there isn't any moisture buildup under the lid that could encourage the growth of bacteria.

What is the name of potato pancakes? ›

What Are Latkes? A latke is a type of potato pancake or fritter found in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. The dish, which is traditionally served during Hanukkah, can be made with grated, shredded, or mashed potatoes. This top-rated recipe is made with shredded russet potatoes, all-purpose flour, an egg, an onion, and salt.

What ingredient keeps pancakes from falling apart? ›

Gluten, which is found in flour, keeps pancakes from falling apart. Gluten, a type of protein, forms a “spiderweb” within baked goods, giving them structure. As the starches gelatinize, and turn from a batter to bread, the gluten strands hold them in place.

Why do Jews eat potato pancakes? ›

During the Jewish holiday, eating crispy, fried, slightly oniony potato pancakes represents perseverance, and a little bit of magic. But miraculously it lasted eight days. Centuries after the fact, Jews were told to celebrate by eating foods cooked in oil.

What is the difference between potato latkes and potato pancakes? ›

Potato pancakes have a creamy, almost mashed-potato-like center, with a thin, golden, crisp exterior. Latkes, on the other hand, should have a deeply browned crust, with wispy, lacy edges. Latkes also aren't hash browns.

How do you reheat potato pancakes so they are crispy? ›

– Always serve latkes hot and fresh if possible.

When ready to reheat, place in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes (7 if using a convection oven) until heated through just prior to serving. A convection oven setting will produce a more crispy result.

How do you keep potato pancakes from turning brown? ›

Get the Tips. As you are peeling potatoes, immediately submerge them, either whole or in chunks, in acidulated (a few drops of lemon or vinegar) water to prevent oxidation or they will quickly start to turn brown/gray.

Can you eat 7 day old mashed potatoes? ›

Shelf life of potatoes

Cooler temperatures, such as those afforded by a pantry or root cellar, allow them to keep longer than at room temperature. Once cooked, potatoes last up to 4 days in the refrigerator and 1 year in the freezer, though the quality of cooked mashed potatoes suffers with freezing (4, 5).

Can I eat mashed potatoes after 7 days? ›

Cooked potatoes and other cooked vegetables can be safely kept in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days.

Is it okay to eat week old mashed potatoes? ›

Yes, mashed potatoes can go bad if kept in the fridge for too long. While they are generally safe for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container, factors like temperature, hygiene, and the presence of other ingredients can impact their shelf life.

What culture eats potato pancakes? ›

It is the national dish of Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia. In Germany, potato pancakes are eaten either salty (as a side dish) or sweet with apple sauce, or blueberries, sugar and cinnamon; they are a very common menu item during outdoor markets and festivals in colder seasons.

What are the old pancakes called? ›

People began using the word “pancake” during the 15th century, and the word became standard in 19th century America. Previously, people referred to them as Indian cakes, hoe cakes, johnnycakes, journey cakes, buckwheat cakes, griddle cakes, and flapjacks. Early American pancakes were made with buckwheat or cornmeal.

Why are potato pancakes served with applesauce? ›

The sweet tang of applesauce adds a contrasty punch to the potatoes and green onions, which make up latkes, while also cutting the grease from frying them. On the other hand, sour cream, while also adding its own version of tartness, can weigh the fried potato cakes down with dairy.

How do you make potatoes not fall apart? ›

Drainage: If you don't drain the potatoes thoroughly after boiling, they can become mushy and fall apart. Make sure to drain them well and shake the pot to remove any excess water. Type of potato: Different types of potatoes have different levels of starch and can behave differently when boiled.

How do you keep potatoes from falling apart? ›

To further prevent potatoes from falling apart, try using waxy potato varieties like red potatoes or Yukon Gold. These types tend to hold their shape better when boiled. Additionally, avoiding overcooking and handling them gently when straining will help maintain their integrity.

How do you cook potatoes so they don't fall apart? ›

Most often, then, the solution to evenly cooked potatoes is cooking them twice: First, boil, steam, or steam-roast (a fancy term for cooking them with water in the oven) until they're mostly tender but not fall-apart finished. Second, brown the outsides and finish cooking the interiors on the stovetop or in the oven.

Why are my potatoes falling apart? ›

If potatoes are produced during a very dry growing season, they will tend to have a higher than normal solid content and less moisture. When these are cooked, they absorb more water than usual and, as a result, fall apart at the end of cooking.

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