Mashed Potato Cakes

When I was a kid, my mom devised this way of using leftover mashed potatoes the next day. I actually prefer these to plain old mashed potatoes[. She coats them in seasoned flour, then cooks them very slowly in lots of butter. You have to be patient with this recipe because if you try to turn the cakes too soon, you won't get the delicious buttery crust. Also, if you know you are going to recycle the leftovers into cakes, don't add any additional milk or butter to the mashed potatoes or your cakes will be too loose to form.]

Total Time:
25 min
5 min
20 min

4 servings

  • 2 cups chilled mashed potatoes (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Divide the mashed potatoes into 8 equal portions. Use your hands to form 1/2-inch thick patties.

Heat the oil with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Mix the flour with the salt and pepper in a pie plate. Coat the potato patties in the flour mixture. Add the potato cakes to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until they have formed a golden crust, 15 to 20 minutes. (Peek underneath using a spatula before turning.) Turn and cook the other side until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper and serve hot.

Note: Make mashed potatoes from the "innards" of the Garlic Roasted Potato Skins by mashing them with 1/2 cup hot milk and 4 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter. Don't forget to season them with salt and pepper! Chill the mashed potatoes overnight for the best results.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.1 52
From the photo, I thought these were going to be real potato pancakes, or patties as we usually call them. But no, no, no, this is definitely not the way to make them. My leftover mashed potatoes have a little butter and some half and half in them and the potatoes were cooked in a salt bath, so they are seasoned. Here is the real recipe for potato patties and I have been making them for at least fifty years: 2 cups chilled mashed potatoes, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, maybe some onion or garlic powder if you like it. Form into three inch by half an inch thick patties. A little more salt and pepper on top. Fry the cold patties in skillet with hot oil at medium high. If oil is not hot enough, potatoes will soak it up and be inedible. Brown one side about three to five minutes, turn with spatula (and fork, if necessary) and brown other side. Drain patties on paper towels and serve hot. You won't be sorry. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you want to add some "zing" to your cakes, add some crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar to the mix ad serve with a spoonful of sour cream. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The key, as Sara states in her introduction to this recipe, is that your mashed potatoes can't have extra butter or milk in them. They need to be a drier consistency. This recipe will not turn out as written if you are trying to make it with whipped potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, or extra creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. But if you start with the right ingredients as indicated, and follow the directions as written (i.e. Get the oil and butter very hot, almost to smoking, so a crust will form, and then reduce the heat and leave the pancakes alone for at least 15 minutes before trying to turn them), this recipe works very well, producing soft, delicate, golden brown potato pancakes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
As so many reviewers have stated, nasty mess. No doubt need eggs and possibly some breadcrumbs. Do not use this recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My kids loved these! Quick and simple. They didn't take 15 min a side to brown...maybe more like 5 min each side in my preheated cast iron skillet. Med-high heat item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe has to be missing an ingredient or two. The mashed potatoes do not hold together well at all when put into a skillet. The patties can't be packed tightly enough to hold shape and they just melt all over the place, making the task of flipping them after fifteen minutes a very frustrating experience. The oil and melted butter just get soaked straight into the patties while cooking and will leave you with a dry pan to fry in after you get them flipped. The time investment of this dish is not worth the result you get. item not reviewed by moderator and published
an absolute sloppy mess! got this recipe from my mom in law and it didnt even make it out of the skillet as it turned to a sloppy wet runny pile. had to throw it away, so angry to have wasted good food with this recipe. NEVER. AGAIN. As others said, look for this recipe elsewhere with the right ingredients added. item not reviewed by moderator and published
<3 item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a terribly written recipe. The idea itself is great, but cook times are vastly incorrect, and don't even read correctly. Prep time says 25 minutes, yet the recipe seems to indicate 15 to 20 PER SIDE. First off, no. Second off, it is much easier to make this by instinct, than to follow this poorly written recipe. Love this idea, but please, look elsewhere for this recipe if you want these to turn out correctly- this recipe will not get you good results. item not reviewed by moderator and published
As another reviewer said, these were a sloppy mess. Medium Low on a gas burner wasn't hot enough, so our patience did not pay off. I had a lot of leftover mashed potatoes so with the rest of what I had, I added an egg for every 2 cups of mashed potatoes and about 1/4 to 1/3 c. diced red onion - mixed that thoroughly - fried potato cakes on med high - took about 5 minutes. Delicious. Easy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
For those who insist on using creamy mashed potatoes, you *might* have some success if you mix dried potato flakes or potato starch into your potatoes to stiffen them up, and then freeze them for 15-20 minutes after flouring the patties. item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Top Thanksgiving Leftovers