How to Make Potato Pancakes

Crispy and golden brown, potato pancakes are the perfect base for your favorite toppings. Our Test Kitchen shows you how to get that perfect texture and bit of crunch.

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When I was growing up, potato pancakes were a staple in our household. My mom was (and still is!) the master when it comes to making perfectly golden potato pancakes with irresistibly crispy edges. More often than not, she’d serve these up with sausage as breakfast for dinner, but potato pancakes work just as well as a side dish. I think they work especially well with a good fish fry—and we can help you figure out your perfect fish dinner here.

Best of all, potato pancakes are simple to prepare and use ingredients you probably already have on hand.


You’ll need:

4 cups shredded, peeled potatoes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Oil for frying


Step 1: Prep the Potatoes

Shred your peeled potatoes using the disc attachment. As someone who grew up shredding potatoes by hand with a box grater, I can attest that this a huge time-saving hack. No food processor? Don’t worry—a box grater still works just fine. Once you’ve shredded four cups’ worth, rinse the potatoes in cold water and drain well, squeezing to remove excess water.

Test Kitchen tip: To get every bit of excess water out, we recommend putting your rinsed potato shreds in a tea towel and wringing out all the water you can. You might even want to consider using a second dry tea towel just to make sure you get all that starchy water out. Extra starch can make the pancakes a little gluey.


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Step 2: Mix Away

In a large bowl, mix the beaten egg, flour, grated onion, salt and pepper in with your potatoes, making sure every shred is coated. You can also incorporate your favorite herbs into the batter at this stage. Dill, cumin, cayenne and curry powder all are great here.

Test Kitchen tip: Be sure to grate your onion (just use the finest side of your box grater). The tiny bits will incorporate more nicely into the mix than even the finest dice.



Step 3: Fry Them Up

Heat ¼ inch of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Our Test Kitchen cooks prefer canola, vegetable or corn oil here because of their high smoke points (meaning they won’t start to smoke until they hit higher temperatures).

Working in batches, drop a dollop of potato mixture by ⅓ cupfuls into the oil. Use a spatula to flatten lightly into a pancake shape. Fry both sides until golden brown, using a second spatula to flip the pancakes so you don’t cross-contaminate your crispy pancakes with that first raw egg-covered spatula. Be sure not to crowd the pan. The pancakes will need a little room to get nice and crispy!


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When perfectly golden brown, drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Once drained, they’re ready to eat!


Step 4: Top it Off!

Potato pancakes are a fantastic canvas for all sorts of toppings. Sour cream and chives are a classic combination, but chives, jelly, butter and maple syrup all work nicely with the potato as well. My personal favorite, though, is applesauce. Bonus points if it’s homemade! We have you covered with our Test Kitchen-approved recipe here.

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