Kartoffelpuffer: How to Make German Potato Pancake

Kartoffelpuffer is a pancake of rubbed or ground potato, matza meal or flour, and a binding ingredient such as egg or applesauce, often flavored with rubbed garlic or onion and seasoning.

These can be filled with a range of condiments, ranging from savory ones such as sour cream and cottage cheese to sweet ones such as apple sauce and sugar, or they can be served simply. Sometimes, the dish is made from mashed potatoes to make croquettes in the shape of a pancake. Sweet potatoes can make many variations.

In Germany, potato pancakes are eaten either salty, as a side dish, or sweet with apple sauce, or blueberries, sugar, and cinnamon; they are a trendy menu item in colder seasons, particularly in Christmas markets, during outdoor fairs, and at festivals.


  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: German

Kartoffelpuffer is a quintessential and beloved German snack, named by different names in the different regions of Germany. The whole preparation and cooking time is 25 minutes. This recipe is suitable for at least eight servings. 

German Kartoffelpuffer

You can top the potato pancake with gravy or sweets. Photo credits to: @ladytomiss.

German Potato Pancake Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds of starchy potatoes, peeled and very finely grated
  • 1 small yellow onion, very finely grated
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (or more if needed)
  • teaspoon of sea salt
  • Frying oil 

German Potato Pancake Instructions

Step 1: Extract the liquid in the rubbed potatoes thoroughly by placing them in a colander and rubbing them with your hands. Put them in a clean dish towel and wring out the water.

Step 2: Place the drained, grated potatoes with the grated onion, eggs, flour, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and use your hands to make a tacky mixture. If necessary, add a little more flour. Do not allow the mixture to sit long before you use it; use it right away.

Step 3: Heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan, and put 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the mixture (depending on size preferences) in the hot pan and flatten with the back of a spoon into pancakes. Fry for 5 minutes on both sides before the Kartoffelpuffer appears golden. Place them on paper towels for a short time.

Step 4: Serve with applesauce, fruit compote, or powdered sugar immediately while it is hot. Use herbed yogurt, quark or Creme Fraiche, or meat and gravy as part of a meal for a savory version.

German Potato Pancake Additional Information

  • Per serving has 120 calories, 21g of carbohydrates, 5g of protein, 4g of fat and 46mg of cholesterol. 
  • Potato cakes are also famous in most European countries, including the United Kingdom. There is a dish known as tattie fish in the North-East of England, particularly County Durham, as the pancake resembles an in-depth fried piece of fish.
  • This recipe serves at least 8 people.
  • Cook/prep time is around 25 minutes.

About German Potato Pancake Recipe

While potato pancakes are synonymous with Hanukkah by many Americans, they have broader roots. They emerged as peasant food in Germany, Austria, Russia, and Poland in eastern European countries.

Potatoes were cheap, abundant, and easy to store, making them a staple and requiring inventive recipes for potatoes.

Today, it was the European Jews who gave their now-famous Yiddish name – latkes – to potato pancakes and repurposed them as vacation fare.


Potato cakes (Kartoffelpuffer) have variations and modifications added to their original recipe. However, they remain a staple dish in Europe, especially in Germany. For more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @crackling.mustard / Instagram, @ cafe.confetti.dubai / Instagram