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Crispy Fried Mashed Potato Cakes

Mashed Potato Cakes feature

Crispy, crunchy and delicious, these mashed potato cakes are a quick and easy side dish that will make you hope for left-over mashed potatoes!

I can’t lie, I have a deep and abiding love of mashed potatoes. I mean, I love all potatoes in pretty much all forms, but mashed potatoes hold a special place in my food-loving little heart. Crowned in gravy, mounded volcano-like and cradling a well of golden melted butter, fancied up with a piping bag, it’s all just wonderful. This enthusiasm occasionally leads me to go a little overboard when making mashed potatoes, and I often find myself with leftovers. What can you do?

Well, you can fry them. It’s UH-MAZ-ING. No lie. If you take mashed potatoes and put them in a (rather very) well-buttered cast-iron frying pan, they will get brown and bubbly on the bottom. Then you flip them, and they get brown and bubbly on that side too! My mom has been doing this since I was a little kid. Every person in my house loved the left-over fried mashed potatoes even more than we did the first night! “Left-overs” was never a sad term in our house.

These Crispy Fried Mashed Potato Cakes are an ode to my Mom. They remind me of childhood and those big pans of fried mashed potatoes with all of those beautiful brown bits. These were for the nights after big holiday meals, when it was just us again, the bustle of Thanksgiving or Christmas behind us, just a good meal and the quiet left.

These potato cakes dress the whole operation up a bit with some grated onion, and fried as little cakes you get more of the brown and crunchy part, which is everyone’s favorite. The best part, they take ten minutes or less to prep, and about ten minutes to cook. They’re super easy and super quick, and I bet you have the additional ingredients in the house already!

Mashed Potato Cakes Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Mashed Potatoes – Any kind. Homemade or instant, either will work. It’s okay if they have cheese or sour cream or cream cheese or bits of bacon or whatever in them. If it tasted good as mashed potatoes, it will taste great as potato cakes. The only thing I’ll recommend here is to let them sit on the counter a bit or heat them up to close to room temperature. Cold potatoes out of the refrigerator are stiff and difficult to mix. You don’t want them hot or the egg will cook. Just not refrigerator-cold.
  • Egg and flour – These ingredients are used as binders for the potato cakes, to give them a little more structure. Beat the egg a bit first, it will make it easier to incorporate into the potatoes.
  • Onion – The onion will be grated on a box grater. This is important! The potato cakes cook very quickly, and this means that even the finest dice will stay raw. You’ll have pieces of crunchy onion inside your cakes, and that is not delicious. Grating the onion will leave a nice smooth texture and work that onion flavor throughout the cakes. Because there’s so little water in this recipe and it comes together in only a few minutes, dried onion won’t have a chance to re-hydrate in the batter. You really want fresh onion here.
Grated Onion
  • Salt and pepper – just to taste. If your mashed potatoes were seasoned well, you likely won’t need much at all. Try frying a little test cake to check for seasoning before adding any additional salt or pepper.
  • Vegetable oil – For frying the cakes. You’ll want about 1/8″ in the bottom of your pan. I use sunflower or canola, but any kind will work just fine.
Mashed Potato Cakes final 2

How to Make Crispy Fried Mashed Potato Cakes

  • Make the batter – Measure two cups of left-over mashed potatoes and place in a medium to large bowl. Then add flour and beaten egg and mix well. Grate onion and add, including any juice, along with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Fry the cakes – Heat 1/8″ of oil in a nonstick skillet. Because pan sizes differ, how much oil you will need isn’t specified. I used a 12″ pan and needed about 1/4 cup of oil. When the oil is hot, drop your potato cake batter into the oil, about 2 tablespoons per cake. Flatten the top of the batter with a spatula to about 1/4″ thick. Fry in batches of 3-4 cakes per batch in order to avoid crowding the pan. Brown the cakes on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack.
Mashed Potato Cake in oil
  • Garnish and enjoy! – There are so many garnishes and toppings for these potato cakes!
    • Sour cream
    • Grated parmesan cheese
    • Gravy
    • Applesauce
    • Caramelized onion
    • Chives or scallion

And for all of you potato lovers like me, check out my Roasted Corn Mashed Potatoes and my Cast-Iron Skillet Pommes Anna with Garlic!

Crispy Fried Mashed Potato Cakes

Course: Potatoes, Side DishesCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time


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Crispy, crunchy and delicious, these mashed potato cakes are a quick and easy side dish that will make you hope for left-over mashed potatoes!


  • 2 cups left-over mashed potatoes at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 tbsp grated onion

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  • Combine potatoes, egg and flour in a medium to large bowl and mix well.
  • Add grated onion, salt and pepper, and combine completely.
  • Heat 1/8″ vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet until you see a shimmer and a drop of the batter sizzles when placed in the pan.
  • Drop batter, 2 tbsp per cake, into the pan and flatten the top slightly with a spatula to 1/4″ thick. Fry in batches, no more than 3-4 cakes per batch.
  • Fry 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown with crispy edges. Drain on a paper towel or wire rack.
  • Top or garnish and enjoy. See above for my recommendations!


  • This recipe can be doubled very easily.
  • Potato Cakes will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator, or several months in the freezer. Re-heat in the oven at 300F until warmed through.

I love to see what you’re cooking. Tag me at #jessiescozykitchen or @jessiescozykitchen on Facebook and Instagram!


  1. I cannot wait to try these tonight!!

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