German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

Potato röstis with apple puree
Riess Studio/Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
180 Calories
6g Fat
22g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 226mg 75%
Sodium 606mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 10g
Calcium 52mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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 also would work well with this recipe.

Another way to flavor potato pancakes is to add different spices to the batter instead of nutmeg. Add garlic powder, turmeric powder, ground sumac, chili powder, or chili flakes to taste for 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 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 terrific way to have something for everyone.

If you want to make a meal out of this recipe, just double or triple the ingredients. 


Click Play to See This Traditional German Potato Pancakes Recipe Come Together


  • 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 vegetable oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash, peel, and grate the 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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


  • Cooked potato pancakes can be frozen and reheated in a 350 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes from frozen.

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.