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Mashed Potato cakes

Mashed potato cakes are an easy way to use up leftover mashed potatoes or to add a new twist to your potato side dishes. So simple to do, you’ll be snacking on their golden crispy edges and tender middles before they hit the table. 

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a stack of crispy potato cakes with sour cream on top on a small white plate on a blue dish

There are a few recipes in this world that are highly reliant on good seasoning.

Mashed potato cakes and salmon patties are two that I’m convinced can be wonderful or a total disaster based on what you put in them, so take the time to properly salt your potatoes for best results.

Tips for flavoring and seasoning

  • Make sure your potatoes are well seasoned from the get-go. I make my mashed potatoes with salt, butter and sour cream so I started with a base that had great flavor in the first place. If you don’t typically add sour cream to your mashed potatoes, toss in two tablespoons per cup of potatoes you’re using to make your potato cakes.
  • Don’t hesitate to add more salt if needed to punch up the flavor. Always taste your potatoes before you fry them to know for sure what they need.
  • I like green onion tops here for color, but if you would prefer, a good old grated yellow onion works just fine. Remember that grating them makes the flavor stronger, so a tablespoon of grated onion would be plenty per cup of mashed potatoes.
  • Use a neutral oil like refined coconut oil or avocado oil to fry yours and use a good pan (I like cast iron) for even heating and that perfect golden crust.
  • Add in some grated cheddar cheese if you’d like, and top them with sour cream and even bacon for that “loaded” potato flavor. You can also check out an already loaded version as a base. 

How do you keep mashed potato cakes from falling apart?

  • Increase the binder. Eggs serve as the binder in this recipe. If your pancakes are falling apart, add one extra egg at a time, testing the batter between each addition, until the pancakes hold together.
  • Adjust the flour. Adding more flour to the recipe will give the eggs more to bind to and thus help give the cakes some structure. Any additional flour should be added gradually. You want just enough to hold the cakes together (too much and you’ll end up with overly dense cakes). 
  • Start with thick mashed potatoes. If you are working with mashed potatoes that are nice and thick, you are less likely to encounter issues with the cakes falling apart. So aim for a thick consistency when initially preparing the mashed potatoes
a bowl of mashed potatoes with an egg and green onions
a bowl of seasoned mashed potatoes for making into potato cakes
three potato cakes in a skillet to fry
a skillet of fried mashed potato cakes

Why are my potato cakes gummy?

Gummy cakes (an all too common occurrence) are most often a result of overworking the potato mixture.

Over mixing, mashing, beating, and/or stirring the potatoes will cause them to release too much starch and become thick and gummy. Instead, just mash until the desired texture is achieved and mix gently until everything is combined. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid high-starch potatoes. A classic brown russet potato usually works best. Avoid yellow fingerlings because they have a super high starch content and even though they are tasty, they make for the gummiest mashed potatoes. 

Can mashed potato cakes be frozen?

I think so, yes. Fry them then lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze, then transfer to a zip lock bag for freezing. To reheat, bake them from frozen on a cookie sheet or in a toaster oven. They may not crisp up like they were originally, but they will still taste great.

a plate of mashed potato cakes with sour cream

What to serve with mashed potato cakes

I love southern classics like macaroni and cheese (we’re gluttons for carbs in the south), or alongside a rack of crispy baby back ribs.  As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to pair a starch like potatoes with something green (beans, salad, brussels sprouts, etc) and a main protein.

a plate of fried potato cakes with sour cream on top

Mashed Potato Cakes

Use leftover mashed potatoes in this traditional country classic. Crispy potato cakes can be fried and rewarmed in the oven for your next meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 9
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 2 1/2 cups well-seasoned chilled mashed potatoes (see notes)
  • 6 tablespoons green onion tops finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil for frying


  • Mix the potatoes, onions, flour, egg, salt, pepper and milk in a medium bowl.
  • The mixture should be thick enough to cling to a spoon but sag just a bit when you hold a spoonful up in the air.
  • If it’s too thin, add some more flour. Too stiff, add some more milk.
  • Heat the oil over medium until it just starts to shimmer–about 3 to 5 minutes or so.
  • Place heaping tablespoons of potatoes in the skillet and spread them with the back of your spoon.
  • Cook until golden on each side–about 5 minutes per side.
  • Serve warm or cool to room temperature and refrigerate for later.


Add two tablespoons sour cream to each cup of mashed potatoes for a “loaded” taste and a richer flavor. 
Taste the potatoes for proper seasoning–this will vary depending on how well seasoned your potatoes were to start with. 


Calories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 8gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 156mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 75IUVitamin C: 14.3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.8mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
a plate of fried potato cakes with sour cream on top

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  1. This recipe is delicious, mom usually made salmon patties, sausage, or fried fat back to go with it. Have you ever tried this with left over grits? pretty much the same, but ooh so buttery with great texture. An all time fave.💞

  2. 5 stars
    I added diced shallot and a touch of granulated garlic. Served fried egg on top. Plan on having the rest with chicken breast and mushroom gravy. Yum Yum!

  3. 5 stars
    made these for dinner last night. They were perfect and yummy. Never again will I shy aware from having ‘too much’ mashed potatoes.

  4. Try adding some chopped and cooked sprouts to to mix. The charred fried sprouts flavor works really well. Dip in honey mustard. Wowweee.

  5. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday with the Thanksgiving leftovers and there were so awesome!

    I did add a handful of shredded Colby jack cheese to the mix as my family likes cheesy potatoes.

    Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making them again!

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.