German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer) Recipe

Potato röstis with apple puree
Riess Studio/Getty Images
Ratings (69)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 pancakes (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
180 Calories
6g Fat
22g Carbs
10g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Variations of potato pancakes are extremely popular in many parts of the world, including the United States. Now, you can make them at home with this simple recipe for German potato pancakes.

Classic potato pancakes served with homemade applesauce or sour cream are pure comfort food, but you can use your own culinary creativity to amp up the flavor. Add some scallions or a tablespoon of your favorite seasonal chopped fresh herbs for a pop of freshness. Basil, sage, tarragon, thyme, or rosemary would also work well with this recipe.

Another way to flavor potato pancakes is to add different spices to the batter instead of nutmeg. A teaspoon of garlic powder, turmeric powder, ground sumac, chili powder, or chili flakes is a great twist on this recipe.

Alternatively, if you are considering serving sour cream as a side to potato pancakes, add the herbs and/or spices above to the sour cream instead of the pancake batter. Dividing up the sour cream into two or three portions and flavoring each with a different herb or spice is a great way to have something for everyone. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound potatoes (about 2 medium or 3 small russets, or any variety of starchy potato)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt (start with a lower amount; you can add salt at the table)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Ground nutmeg to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable for frying)

Steps to Make It

Peel and grate potatoes. Place the grated potatoes in a clean dishcloth or cheesecloth and squeeze as much of the liquid as you can out into a bowl. Let the liquid stand a few minutes, then carefully drain, leaving potato starch at the bottom of the bowl. Add the potatoes back to the starch.

Grate the onion over the potatoes. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and egg. Mix thoroughly.

Heat oil in a frying pan. You can use a nonstick pan and just a few drops of oil if you wish, but for best results, use 1/8 to 1/4 inch of oil.

Drop about 1/2 cup of potato mixture into hot oil and flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot with applesauce and or sour cream.

Germans Love Potato Pancakes

Golden, crispy fried German potato pancakes are a real treat and something Germans miss when they move away. 

Eating freshly made potato pancakes with applesauce at local outdoor weekly markets, Christmas markets, or during Karneval or Fasching are wonderful ways Germans normally indulge in this favorite traditional snack.