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The outside of these mashed potato cakes are light and crispy. Inside they're warm and soft and slightly gooey from the melted cheddar cheese. They're truly little pillows of delight!
Is there a better way to use leftover mashed potatoes? Nope. We don't think so either!
Potato cakes from mashed potatoes are lightly fried and served warm. Actually, they'll remind you of a little of a pierogi. You can sprinkle on some green onion and dunk them into sour cream — you'll be in mashed potato cake heaven!
They're the perfect side to accompany any Sunday roast or the day after a special occasion meal when you have some leftover mashers. This is a fantastic way to not let any of those potatoes go to waste.
Here's what you'll need to turn your leftover mashed potatoes into delicious mashed potato cakes:
- Mashed potatoes: You can use leftover mashers or make them fresh, but make sure they're cold before incorporating them into the recipe. They're thick and good for shaping when cold instead of warm.
- Cheddar cheese: Grating the cheddar cheese from a block of cheese will produce the best results, however, if you're short on time or only have pre-shredded cheese in your fridge, you can also use that. The reason for this is because cheese that comes already shredded has other ingredients in it that prevents it from melting properly and can interfere with the taste of the potato cakes.
- Eggs: Use 2 eggs to help bind all the ingredients together to make your dough.
- Flour: You'll need a ½ cup of flour plus more for breading the potato cakes. The amount you need will depend on how runny or loose your mashed potatoes are to begin with.
- Oil: Use a neutral flavored oil like corn oil, canola oil, avocado oil, or grape seed oil. This is what you'll use to fry the mashed potato cakes.
- Garnishes: Sliced green onion adds some freshness and sour cream for dunking is the perfect tangy sidekick!
How to make mashed potato cakes
We love any combination that's both easy and cheesy! These mashed potato cakes fall into this category. Here's how to make potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes:
- Combine your ingredients: Mix your mashed potatoes, grated cheddar cheese, eggs, and flour. It should form a sticky dough.
- Form your potato cakes: Turn the dough into 8 mashed potato patties and coat them with flour.
- Cook: In your cast iron skillet or non-stick pan heat some oil and drop 3-4 cakes in. Turn once they're golden brown and lightly fry the other side.
- Garnish & serve: enjoy the mashed potato cakes with sliced green onions and sour cream.
Tips for perfectly crisp mashed potato cakes
Sometimes things don't go quite as planned when you're in the kitchen – but that's ok! Follow these tips to get perfectly crisp mashed potato cakes:
- Dough consistency: The amount of flour you'll need to keep the cakes holding their shape in the pan will depend on how much milk and butter you used in your mashed potatoes. If you have dough that's on the loose side, you'll need more flour to help it bind together and not fall apart while cooking.
- Be mindful of the amount of oil you use: The amount of oil you will need is dependent on the type of pan you'll be using. A cast iron pan will need more oil than a non-stick frying pan. This will impact how they brown and crisp up.
- Get the oil hot: Getting the oil in the pan hot enough will help make sure the mashed potato cakes don't taste too greasy.
- Give them space: Avoid overcrowding the pan when you put the potato cakes in. This will help them get nice and crispy. If they're too close together they will steam instead of fry.
Variations to try
The beauty of these mashed potato cakes is that you can easily make them exactly how you or your family like them. If you have other leftover ingredients from a big meal, you can incorporate them into your mashed potato cake side dish. Here are some variations to try:
- Cheese: You can incorporate other cheeses if you prefer, like mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, or feta.
- Meat: Try adding some chopped ham or crumbled bacon, pepperoni, tuna, or even some finely chopped leftover turkey is good!
- Veggies: Adding sliced peppers, spinach, or sweet potato is also a welcome flavor change-up and adds lots of nutrients, too.
- Combinations: If you add mozzarella and pepperoni you will get a pizza-style potato cake. Try using feta, peppers, and spinach to get a Greek-style mashed potato patty. If you use chopped ham or turkey and dunk them in leftover gravy this will taste like Thanksgiving dinner. Yum!
More recipes using leftovers
If you're making this recipe because you have leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, we have lots of other recipes for you to try. Here are a few of our turkey dinner leftovers recipes:
What to serve with mashed potato cakes
Let's pretend you already had the big meal and are using these mashed potato cakes as a side dish in a new meal, here are some ideas of what to serve alongside them:
- Pea Soup
- Grilled Mustard Chicken
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Steak Salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette
- Bourbon Steak
- Lemon Pepper Fish
- Autumn Quinoa Salad
And for dessert:
I don't have leftover mashed potatoes, will this work with a fresh batch?
Absolutely! If you're keen to make mashed potato cakes but don't have any leftovers in your fridge, you can make the mashed potatoes first and then follow the rest of this recipe to turn them into cakes. Just make sure your mashers are cold before incorporating them into this recipe.
Are mashed potato cakes the same as latkes?
Latkes are a traditionally Jewish potato pancake, made from shredded potatoes and don't usually incorporate cheese. So although you'll be making a potato cake, it won't have the same texture or flavor as a latke.
Why do mashed potato cakes fall apart?
This can happen when there's not enough starch to keep the cakes together. Try adding some more flour to the mixture if your dough looks too loose or runny.
Can you freeze mashed potato cakes?
Yes! Once they've cooled, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and freeze the potato cakes for a couple of hours. They should be completely frozen patties before you store them in an airtight container or reusable, freezer-friendly bag. They will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.
- 2 ½ cups cold mashed potatoes
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup flour (plus more for breading)
- Neutral flavored oil (see notes)
- Sour cream and sliced green onions (to top)
- In a large bowl, mix together the cold mashed potatoes, grated cheese, and eggs. Mix in the flour, adding more if needed, until the mashed potatoes form a soft and slightly sticky dough.2 ½ cups cold mashed potatoes, 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, 2 large eggs, ½ cup flour
- Form the dough into eight balls then press the balls down to form patties. Put a little flour into a bowl and then coat each of the mashed potato cakes in flour so they are no longer sticky.
- Heat a splash of oil in a medium-sized cast iron or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add half of the leftover mashed potato cakes. Let the cakes fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy. Carefully flip the cakes over and fry until the other side is golden, too. Repeat with the remaining cakes.Neutral flavored oil
- Serve the leftover mashed potato cakes with some sour cream and green onions on top.Sour cream and sliced green onions
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.