German Potato Pancakes: History & Recipe

German Potato Pancakes are a dish of fried potato patties or pancakes perfected by Dutch people around 1877 and made popular among Germans in about 1870. You can now find them all over Central Europe, commonly consumed as a sweet dessert.

This dish is very simple to make: potatoes, eggs, flour and water are mixed together into a thick batter before being cooked on both sides. It can be served with apple sauce or as a side dish for any entree.

German Potato Pancakes

If you don’t have a waffle iron at home, you can easily make potato pancakes by using an oven or pan.

What are German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)?

German Potato Pancakes are a delicious side dish for international dishes such as schnitzel, sauerkraut & bratwurst. These crispy rounds of potato batter are pan-fried until golden on both sides.

The consistency is similar to that of thick pancakes with a delightfully crispy texture. Simultaneously they become fluffy in the middle and crisp at the edges!

History of German Potato Pancakes

The origin of these German Potato Pancakes is unknown. They were traditionally made in all regions of Germany and popularized from the 17th century onwards.

The earliest mention of Kartoffelpuffer in print is a passage from 1877 by Jenny von Eichborn. Around 1870, potato pancakes became known as Kartoffelpuffer, which along with its other name — “pancakes” or “American pancakes”—is now a synonym for this dish.

How to Make German Potato Pancakes

German Potato Pancakes can be made in many different ways. The following is one of the more popular methods:

Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and grated 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten salt to taste water as needed Vegetable oil for frying Pepper to taste garlic powder to taste brown or white sugar.

Method:

Mix together flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add grated potato (or leftover mashed potatoes) until mixed. Add boiling water gradually to make a thick batter. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop the batter into the hot oil with a tablespoon – ensuring that the pancakes do not touch each other. Flip and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil from cooking. Serve with apple sauce or as a side dish for any entree’ such as bratwurst.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, add chopped onions instead of grated potatoes and garlic powder.

You can also make them with cooked, riced potatoes for a gluten-free version.

If you don’t like the taste of flour in your pancakes, add cornflour instead (cornstarch).

Try mixing in finely chopped parsley, chives or ketchup to the pancake batter.

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Can You Make German Potato Pancakes from Mashed Potatoes?

Yes! Here is hot to make German potato pancakes from mashed potatoes:

Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and grated 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten salt to taste water as needed vegetable oil for frying Pepper to taste Garlic powder to taste Brown or white sugar

Method:

Mix together flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add grated potato (or leftover mashed potatoes) until mixed. Add boiling water gradually to make a thick batter. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop the batter into the hot oil with a tablespoon – ensuring that the pancakes do not touch each other.

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German Potato Pancakes Recipe

Servings: 1 batch

Ingredients

2-3 cups finely grated raw potatoes

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flour

1-2 tablespoon grated onions

Directions

Mix all ingredients and drop by tablespoon full onto a well-greased griddle or skillet.

Bake for about 3 minutes on both sides until golden brown.

Make them thin.

Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are potato pancakes called in German?

Kartoffelpuffer. This is a direct translation of “pancakes.”

How Long Does it Take to Make German Potato Pancakes?

Approximately 5 minutes!

What Goes with German Potato Pancakes?

These crispy rounds of potato batter are perfect for making a German-style breakfast. Eat them with bacon, bratwurst or sausage and sauerkraut!

How Many Calories Are in German Potato Pancakes?

Each serving contains about 400 calories.

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Updated: August 12, 2021 — 10:06 am

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The German Tourists

We are The German Tourists. We love everything about German food, beer and travel. So, why not provide you all the information that we've learned and explored in Germany along the way.