Maakouda Batata: Moroccan Potato Cakes

Moroccan potato pancakes maakouda batata

The Spruce / Cure Art 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 15 servings

Maakouda batata are Moroccan potato cakes or fritters. They're a popular street food in Morocco, where they might be eaten plain or used as a sandwich filler in wedges of Moroccan khobz. They can also be served as an appetizer or as a side.

This version is well-seasoned with sauteed onions, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Turmeric is optional. Use it if you'd like to add appetizing color to the potato cakes. 


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Although maakouda is traditionally prepared with mashed potatoes, some prefer the texture and appearance of grated potatoes as described in this recipe. This method requires time for chilling the cooked potatoes, so if you're in a hurry, you may prefer to make the more traditional mashed potato variation of maakouda, or a different famous Moroccan dish.


  • 2 pounds potatoes (relatively the same size, peeled)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Olive oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

Ahead of Time

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the potatoes in a pot. Cover with salted water and boil just until a sharp knife can be inserted halfway through.

  3. Drain the potatoes and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, and allow to cool a bit. Chill the potatoes, covered, in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Make the Potato Cakes

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Add the onions and saute gently over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until translucent.

  3. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

  4. Grate the chilled potatoes into a mixing bowl. Gently fold in the onions and garlic, spices, and cilantro. Stir in enough of the eggs to bind the potatoes, but not so much that there is excess egg in the bottom of the bowl.

  5. Shape the potato mixture into cakes about 3 inches in diameter. Wet hands will make the mixture easier to handle.

  6. Heat enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom of a skillet or griddle. Add the potato cakes and cook slowly over medium heat, about about 8 minutes per side, or until deep golden-brown and crisp.

  7. Serve the maakouda warm.

Recipe Variation

Alternatively, press all of the potato mixture into hot oil in a large skillet, and cook as a single large maakouda. To turn, gently loosen the maakouda all around with a spatula. Place a large plate over the frying pan, and turn both the plate and frying pan upside down. Add a little more oil to the frying pan and carefully slide the potato cake back into the pan to cook the bottom half.