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!

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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 74 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)


What's the difference between 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 make leftover mashed potatoes good again? ›

Cover with aluminum foil to keep the potatoes from drying out. Reheat at 350˚F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes reach 165˚F.

Why are my mashed potato pancakes falling apart? ›

Flour absorbs some of the excess moisture from the milk and butter that is likely in your leftover mashed potatoes, a main culprit in pancakes that fall apart. It also provides protein and starch that helps the egg hold everything together.

Can I eat week old 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 best oil for potato pancakes? ›

Vegetable oil or canola oil is usually best, because of its high smoking point. Latkes were traditionally made with schmaltz, or chicken fat, so if you have access to it, you should certainly add it in, because it does contribute to the flavor.

Is applesauce or sour cream better for latkes? ›

Tart and fruity applesauce—unsweetened is best—cuts through the grease and lightens them right up, leaving you feeling perfectly satisfied, but not stuffed. Sure, sour cream is tart too, but since it's dairy, it can weigh down the latkes—adding unwanted heft to an already filling meal.

Why don't mashed potatoes reheat well? ›

It can be tricky to reheat mashed potatoes on the stovetop because you can sometimes overstir (which leads to gluey potatoes), or understir (which leads to scorched pots). To avoid all this, try a double boiler approach: Place the potatoes in a bowl (stainless steel works best).

How do you reheat mashed potatoes so they taste good? ›

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a dash of cream or milk, and some more butter to the dish before baking. To further avoid dryness, don't skimp on butter and other dairy products. Reheat the potatoes until they're warm throughout—the potatoes should reach 165 degrees before serving.

Why do leftover mashed potatoes get watery? ›

It's essential to drain and dry your potatoes well after you've cooked them in water. If you don't, all that excess moisture will have nowhere to go once you start mashing. Did I cook my potatoes too long?: Overcooked potatoes can be waterlogged.

Why are my potato pancakes GREY? ›

After peeled or grated potatoes are exposed to air they will begin to turn gray or brown. This appearance can be off-putting, but the good news is that the quality of the potato isn't compromised. This is a harmless natural reaction and it is perfectly fine to cook and eat potatoes even if they have turned gray.

Why are my potato pancakes gummy? ›

Get That Moisture Out.

Using a kitchen towel or paper towel, wring out as much moisture as possible. If you don't drain the moisture, they won't crisp as easily and that may be why your potato pancakes are gummy.

Why are my potato pancakes mushy? ›

Potato pancakes may turn out mushy if there is too much moisture in the potatoes or if the batter is too wet.

Can you eat 8 day old mashed potatoes? ›

Don't leave leftovers or food you have prepared in the fridge for more than 3 days (less if it took long to cool down). Mashed potatoes kept in the fridge should be thrown away if not used after 72 hours.

Can you eat microwave mashed potatoes after expiration date? ›

We do not recommend using our product past the Best By Date as the potatoes will start to break down affecting taste, texture and the overall quality of the product. In some rare cases the potatoes can also spoil.

Can I eat microwave mash one day out of date? ›

Yes, instant mashed potatoes can go bad after the expiration date. It is best to discard any potatoes that have been opened and stored past the expiration date as they may have spoiled and could cause food poisoning.

Why do they make potato pancakes on Hanukkah? ›

These potato pancakes (called latkes) are meant to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah, when the oil of the menorah in the ransacked Second Temple of Jerusalem was able to stay aflame for eight days even though there was only enough oil for one day. The symbolism comes in the form of the oil in which latkes are fried.

Is there a difference between hash browns and latkes? ›

Hash browns are shredded potatoes, fried (or air-fried), til golden brown. They typically remain loose, or in shreds. Latkes, a.k.a potato pancakes, are grated or ground potatoes that are mixed with egged, flour, or other binding agents. They are one piece, like a pancake.

What is another name for potato pancakes? ›

Potato pancakes are associated with almost every European cuisine and are referred to as a variety of names including latkes (Jewish culture), kartoffelpuffer (Germany), bramborak (Slovakia and Czech Republic), draniki (Austria), tattifish (England) and rosti (Switzerland) (“Potato Pancake Background”, n.d).

What is the difference between hash browns and latkes? ›

Hash browns are shredded potatoes and onions that are scattered in a pan and pan fried. They can also be formed into a patty and deep fried. When comparing hash browns to latkes and potato pancakes, hash browns require the fewest ingredients. Latke recipes include a binder like egg.

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