Potato Pancakes

Laura’s German grandmother, Elsie made these all the time and it is where I first tasted one. In German they are called kartoffelpuffer.

She would coax an army of us to do the grating, which is the most tedious part. But it was always a social exercise, we’d grate, talk, and laugh. Ouch, damn knuckle cheese, crud! I watched and learned how she made them, mine have never been as good but time with her was priceless. Of course she never measured anything. She would say ungefähr blos meaning “approximately this much.”

One thing she did was to grate the raw potatoes and the onions quite finely. The result was much more like potato mush than a hash brown. Another thing was to squeeze out the water by wringing in a clean kitchen towel.

They are best eaten right away, never a issue in Elsie’s kitchen, never any leftovers! I like them with applesauce and Laura prefers just butter. The most common accompaniments, are applesauce, sour cream, and of course slathered with butter. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We always ate them exclusively for dinner on Friday nights.


Author: Jim Kirkley

A classic savory German side dish. Can be served for breakfast or with an evening meal.

Serve with warm apple sauce and sour cream.

Serves: 4

Potato Pancakes


4 Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled
1 small, onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon, baking powder
1 teaspoon, salt
1 pinch, fresh ground black pepper
peanut oil – for frying
sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 100 degrees.
  2. Finely grate potatoes. Place potatoes on a clean kitchen towel and draw up the sides and wring any extra water out of the potatoes.
  3. Grate onion, place in a colander and press with the back of a wooden spoon to remove excess moisture.
  4. Combine potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Beat eggs into mixture. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet. Drop about 2 tablespoonsful of batter into the oil and flatten with the back of a wooden spoon. The flatter the pancake the crisper it will be.
  6. Brown well on both sides. Drain on paper towel. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 100 degree oven.


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