Polish Potato Pancakes (Placki Ziemniaczane)

Latkes with sour cream and applesauce
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  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 potato pancakes (6 servings)
Ratings (147)

Polish potato pancakes, known as placki kartoflane or placki ziemniaczane in Polish, are delicious and delightful. This traditional recipe comes from Gwizdały village in the Mazovia region of Poland and it's surprisingly easy.

Traditionally, potato pancakes are eaten on Fridays as a meat substitute for Catholics. Many cuisines have their own take on them, including Jewish latkes, Czech potato dumplings, and Lithuanian zeppelins. They offer a rich source of protein and are great on their own or as a side dish, even outside of the Lenten season.

You can add to the flavor of your potato pancakes in a variety of ways. Simply add grated garlic, onion, carrot, parsnips, zucchini, or other vegetables to the batter before frying. They're also really good with chopped bacon. You'll find it best to serve these thin, crispy pancakes hot, either sprinkled with sugar or dolloped with sour cream and applesauce. 

Grated raw potatoes can become gray rather fast. You can prevent them from turning dark by soaking them in cold water with either lemon juice, vinegar, or vitamin C powder while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Just be sure to drain and pat them dry before making the batter.

What You'll Need

  • 6 medium potatoes (peeled and finely grated)
  • 1 medium onion (finely grated)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (approximately, for frying)
  • Optional: granulated sugar
  • Optional: sour cream
  • Optional: applesauce

How to Make It

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add enough flour to bind the mixture together while leaving it somewhat thin.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat until hot, but not smoking.
  3. Drop tablespoonfuls of potato mixture into the skillet and spread out to form a 3-inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick.
  1. Fry until brown on the bottom (don't turn until the pancake is brown or it will stick), about 3 to 5 minutes. If needed, reduce the heat to medium to prevent burning.
  2. Turn the pancake and fry the other side for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve with granulated sugar or sour cream and applesauce if desired.

Tips and Tricks

If you don't like the idea of grating potatoes by hand, there are a couple ways to get around it. One is to use your food processor with a grating disk. You can simply send potato chunks down the chute and, while the processor is running, add the onion, eggs, seasonings, and flour as well. Use only a portion of the flour and stir in more if needed.

Frozen hash browns will really save time when you want potato pancakes, though the flavor and texture will be different. Just thaw and drain the hash browns and mix them with the other ingredients, no grater or food processor needed!

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
233 Calories
4g Fat
42g Carbs
7g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)