Potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes

My cousins and I have been texting about the potato cakes our moms (who were sisters) used to make from leftover mashed potatoes. Sadly, the aunties are all gone, and nobody has a recipe. A couple of cousins said they’d made them but they tended to fall apart. I looked in my mom’s recipe box, no dice. I told them what I remembered, which was to add an egg and a fair amount of flour (no memory of how much, but my mom said ‘quite a bit’, which wasn’t much help. But the potatoes were always russets,


Have you tried the version you describe, with egg and flour added?

We have a lot of potato cakes (patties/pattice) in our family repertoire, but none use egg. My mom uses breadcrumbs to bind, just enough so as not to affect the flavor too much. Sometimes cornflour, preferred over regular flour for a more neutral flavor.

I made some this week, without any binder at all, but they were trickier to flip.

Suggest experimenting — it’s going to be plenty tasty along the way!


This is a food that is near and dear to my heart. My depression era mother and aunts used to make these as well from leftover mashed potatoes, and I have been trying to reproduce them as well since becoming of an age where I love that nostalgia, comfort food.

Without a recipe, let me tell you my technique that I have come to use over the years. Please excuse the lack of specific amounts of ingredients…

Take your leftover potatoes, and mix in at least 1 egg, and a few tablespoons of flour. You want a firm potato with egg and flour in the matrix. Keep this mix cold! I then form patties , and dip them in another egg that has been scrambled in a small bowl. From there, in another bowl, dip the patties in some panko bread crumbs to coat them completely,…like any other fried cutlet dish… From there, fry them in butter, ghee…or the oil of your choice until they are “golden brown and delicious” , then flip and repeat on the other side. Be sure to use enough oil to evenly fry them…Not enough oil yields uneven cooking. Serve and enjoy.

I came upon this technique after years of trying to reproduce them…and only when I thought about applying the technique I use for fish or pork cutlets… that is the egg wash and panko coating…and tired it. The egg wash and panko keeps the patties from falling apart in the frying pan, and makes for a nice crust.

I hope this helps.


I’d use something like this recipe. That said, we usually buy potato cakes from the supermarket.


Another vote for both flour and egg. For every 2.5 c. of mashed potatoes, I use 2 T. flour and 1 egg. Seasoned with salt, pepper and a tiny pinch of sugar. Minced chives or scallions for add-ins.

I will have to try @wabi’s method of dipping in egg and panko-crusting.


My mom is a minimalist. Potato cakes in our household were simple: add s&p and diced onions to the potatoes. Put a generous amount of butter in the pan and when it’s sufficiently hot, put the cakes (maybe 1/2 inch thick?) in. Let them cook until a good crust has formed and then turn them. It may be necessary to add more butter to prevent sticking and ensure a good crust on the second side.

The first few times I tried them myself they always fell apart and\or stuck to the pan. According to mom I lacked patience, so now I know to leave them in the pan for a good 5-7 minutes on each side and to only flip once.

I also find they’re better if you add the s&p and onions before you put the potatoes in the fridge.

As I said, very minimalist. But the family always enjoyed the cakes the next day more than the mashed. My sisters and I continue this simple tradition and now my nieces are preparing them for their families as well.


My mother’s recipe, similar to others: LO mashed potatoes (always russets), 1 egg beaten or less, enough flour to bind it all well and a sprinkling of chopped chives, rarely green onion. If the mashed potatoes had been made with cream or milk, you might need more flour. Plop a large spoonful onto the surface of a buttered griddle or electric skillet and fry until golden brown and surface is crispy, turn carefully and repeat on the other side. Season to taste with additional seasonings (other than what the potatoes were made with). We use white pepper in seasoning our mashed potatoes to begin with, and we serve our mashed potato pancakes with a lemon wedge. It seems we had them with pan fried smelt for Sunday morning breakfasts. They’re also great with salmon steaks or trout for dinner with a simple sorrel sauce.


In my experience, the main reason for potato cakes falling apart is that too much butter and cream was used to begin with. Of course that’s what makes them taste good the first time around. So then you have to overcompensate with flour. Ideally the mashed potatoes should be quite stiff. I have heard of lightly dredging them in cornstarch before frying. Might try that next time.


My suggestion is to turn the left over mashed potatoes into gnocchi.

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You’re probably correct. Dad hated “soupy” mashed potatoes. If they were too stiff, we could add butter or gravy once they were served.

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They were called mashed potato fritters at our house, probably 3/4 - 1" thick, fried in butter. Served, as I remember, rarely, for Sunday dinner (mid-day meal) when the family was alone, not joined by relatives or the Preacher’s family. I loved ‘em; got tired of plain ol’ mashed potatoes.

When I’ve tried to recreate them, I just add egg. Thought about flour, corn starch, gram besan but settled on just egg without ever trying those.

As I cook for one, having enough left overs can be a problem if I don’t plan for leftovers. I’ve had problems with too much egg.

The moisture in the potatoes can be a problem; day-old or 2 day-old LOs may help. Haven’t tried it yet but maybe just LO boiled potatoes, allowed to dry out some, no cream or butter, etc. added.

I do think I remember the interior was a pale yellow, though, not just off white.


I make very stiff mashed potatoes, always from russets. I do not like runny pureed mashed that can’t hold any gravy. Have never made potato cakes but I do use leftover mashed potatoes to make fishcakes and I do use an egg and coat them in cornmeal when I fry them.