Decadent Cooking

Chef Bob’s Classic Potato Pancakes

Classic Potato Pancakes

 Potato pancakes are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated onion or garlic and seasoning. Potato pancakes may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream or cottage cheese) to the sweet (such as apple sauce or sugar), or they may be served ungarnished with  porkchops, Seared chicken breast, Steak, Omelets, Baked, broiled or fried fish, ham.

Servings: Yields 18 to 20 pancakes


  • 3-1/2 pounds russet  potatoes, peeled, cut in quarters lengthwise, and reserved in cold water
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt; more to taste
  • About 3/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon fat melted
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 2 large eggs
  • All-purpose flour to make batter
  • Juice of ½ lemon or 1 teaspoon reconstituted lemon juice (to prevent oxidation or turning gray, and the acid brightens up the flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sour cream and applesauce, for serving (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Set a colander in the sink.  Grind the potatoes in an electric or hand cranked grinder fitted with a medium course disc.  (You can use a finer disk for smoother texture, but I prefer the medium grind)  Transfer them to a colander and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt.  Toss and let drain for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

3. Grind the onion using the same disc.  Add 1 tablespoon of the oil or bacon fat and the onion, egg, flour, baking powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the mixing bowl.    In batches, squeeze the liquid from the ground potatoes with your hands.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Mix well after each addition adding flour as needed to pancake batter consistency.

4. Have ready a large plate lined with paper towels.  In a 10-inch cast iron or other heavy bottom skillet, heat 1/8 inch of the remaining oil or bacon fat over medium heat until the surface of the oil shimmers very slightly. With a one third cup measure, carefully ladle 3 or four mounds of the potato mixture into the oil and spread them slightly with the back of a spoon until they are about 3-1/2 inches in diameter.  (The oil should be bubbling gently around the edges of the pancakes.)  Cook until the pancakes are a deep golden color, 2 to 3 minutes.  Lift the pancakes with a slotted metal spatula and carefully turn them over.  Continue to cook until the second side is a deep golden color, about 2 minutes more.  Using the spatula transfer the pancakes to the paper-towel-lined plate; blot well with more paper towels.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Use the spatula to transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet; keep them warm in the oven while you finish the rest.  Continue to add oil or bacon fat between batches as needed to maintain the 1/8-inch level of the oil.  Serve with the sour cream and applesauce on the side, if desired.

5. Make Ahead: If you’re preparing several batches for a crowd, fry the pancakes, let them cool, and freeze them on baking sheets.  Once they’re frozen, transfer them to freezer bags. You can reheat the pancakes on rimmed baking sheets in a 350 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

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