Mashed Potato Pancakes recipe

Has anybody ever made the correct amount of mashed potatoes for a holiday party?

Leftover mashed potato pancakes stacked on a plate and topped with sour cream and chives.

I think the answer is always no, and since the nightmare of any holiday celebration is running out of mashed potatoes, most hosts make too much. It’s common for me to have an entire leftover container of just mashed potatoes that sits in my fridge, languishing, for a week after any celebration.

Enter these Mashed Potato Pancakes to save the day! Fold cheddar cheese and chives into mashed potatoes of pretty much any sort, form a patty, then lightly pan fry them to yield a cheesy, fluffy interior and a golden crispy exterior. So easy and so good!

Think of these savory treats as a new (and utterly delicious) way to enjoy leftover mashed potatoes!

Potato pancakes are nothing new. After all, latkes exist, but most potato pancakes start with fresh potatoes that are shredded and pan-fried.

These mashed potato pancakes have a few switch-ups from classic potato pancakes. For starters, they use mashed potatoes, so the finished pancakes have a more delicate texture.

These pancakes also allow for more add-ins because the pancakes are more forgiving and easier to form into patties.

Overhead view of Potato Pancakes made with leftover mashed potatoes stacked on a plate and topped with sour cream.
Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

Obviously, you will need mashed potatoes! If you don’t have any and want to make this recipe, I would check out this basic mashed potato recipe, then let the potatoes cool before proceeding with the pancakes.

In addition to the potatoes, I fold in sharp cheddar cheese and chives for flavor, then add flour and an egg to help bind the pancakes together so they don’t fall apart when frying.

This is a fairly easy and straight forward recipe, but a keep a few things in mind to make the process even easier.

  • You can use any mashed potatoes for this recipe, but mashed potatoes without the skins work best.
  • While you are shaping the pancakes into patties, it’s easiest to use your hands to shape them into small disks. If the potato mixture is sticking, wet your hands slightly then form the patties.
  • For frying them, you can use oil for a really crispy pancake or butter (clarified butter or ghee is best) for a rich and delicious buttery pancake. Be mindful that the butter might burn if you get it too hot.
Cheesy mashed potato pancakes with a bite on a fork held above the plate.
Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

You can really get creative here. Use what you have for inspiration and create different flavor combinations.

  • Substitute any cheese that you would like or have on hand. Gouda is a favorite of mine. Go for a spicy twist with pepper jack.
  • Mix in any herbs that you have on hand rosemary, thyme or even sage.
  • Scallions or sautéed onions.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of chopped leftover turkey for a heartier savory pancake and serve with leftover gravy!
  • Try minced cooked broccoli.
  • If you have bacon leftover from breakfast, chop it up and toss it in!

These are really nice served as a brunch option with a dollop of sour cream. Serve them with some soft-scrambled eggs, bacon, and a pastry for something sweet on the side.

Leftover mashed potato pancakes stacked on a plate and topped with sour cream and chives.
Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

These pancakes keep as well as leftover mashed potatoes! Keep them in the fridge for up to a week without any issue.

To reheat: Drizzle a bit of oil in a large skillet. Once it the oil shimmers at the pancakes. This will keep the outside crispy. If you microwave them, they will lose their crispiness but otherwise be fine.

  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, or butter, for frying
  • Sour cream, for serving
  1. Make the pancake mixture:

    In a medium bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, egg, all-purpose flour, chives, cheese, salt, and pepper.

    It’s okay if the mixture is slightly sticky, but it should hold its shape if you form it into a patty in your hand. If it is very sticky or runs at all, then add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired texture.

    Overhead view of mashed potatoes in a metal bowl to make cheesy leftover mashed potato pancakes.
    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans
    Cheese, egg, and chives added to a mashed potatoes to make cheesy leftover mashed potato pancakes.
    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans
    Patting filling into pancakes to make mashed potato pancakes with cheddar.
    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans
  2. Set up your cooking station:

    Place a few paper towels on a large plate. You will transfer the pancakes to the paper towel lined plate as you fry them.

  3. Fry the potato pancakes:

    In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil.

    Once the oil reaches 325°F or it sizzles when you sprinkle a little flour into it, start forming your pancakes. You will form and fry as you go.

    Lightly wet your hands, to prevent the potato mixture from sticking. Measure out about 1/4 cup of the pancake mixture and form it into a disk about 1/2-inch thick in your hands.

    Place the pancake in the skillet and repeat until you have 4-5 pancakes in the skillet. Fry the pancakes for 3-4 minutes per side until they are browned and crispy.

    Flip once and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes on the second side.

    Pan frying mashed potato pancakes with cheddar.
    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans
  4. Drain and serve:

    Transfer the potato pancakes from the pan to the paper towel-lined sheet. Repeat until all the potato pancakes have been formed and fried. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.

    Leftover mashed potato pancakes stacked on a plate and topped with sour cream and chives.
    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

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