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What do you do with leftover mashed potatoes? Fry them up into delicious and easy Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes!
I adore mashed potatoes, so when I make them I always make a ton extra. These days I usually make them in my Instant Pot, but today as I was looking for lunch, I remembered that my husband had brought some mashed potatoes home last night from his favorite chicken place. With very little prep I had a delicious lunch of Mashed Potato Cakes and leftover Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots!
Now, to understand what these are, first you have to understand what they aren’t. They’re not potato pancakes, which are absolutely delicious, but are usually made with shredded potatoes and a pourable batter. And they’re not even a little bit like hash browns or latkes. They don’t get solid inside, either. The goal is to have delicious crispy outsides, and soft, hot, mashed-potato-y insides.
Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes tips
The key to this recipe is to make sure that the mashed potatoes are room temperature. We won’t be cooking them for very long, so if the mashed potatoes start out too cold, the middle of the cakes might be cold. My potatoes came right from the fridge, so I put them in the microwave for a minute on the lowest setting—just long enough to get the chill off, but not make them too warm (you don’t want to cook the egg when you mix the ingredients together).
The recipe calls for a small shallot, diced. If you don’t have a shallot you can substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of yellow onion diced very small and 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic. But shallots are something that you should try to keep stocked. Trust me, you’ll start using them on everything. I don’t think I’d even heard of them until I read about them in Kitchen Confidential when I was about thirty. Anthony Bourdain said that they were one of the keys to making home-cooked food taste more like restaurant food, and he was absolutely right!
The pan in the pictures is the larger one from this set, and I love it! It has a really heavy, thick bottom, and heats very evenly. The set is not very expensive, which fits my kitchen style—if I bought super-expensive non-stick pans I’d be afraid to use and abuse them like I do! [I don’t have that pan anymore, and it’s no longer available on Amazon! Now I have this one, and love it just as much.]
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes, room temperature
- 1 small shallot, diced very small
- 6 tbsp flour
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt (optional--see note)
- large pinch pepper
- vegetable oil, for frying
- sour cream, for serving
- In a medium bowl stir together potatoes, shallot, flour, egg, salt, and pepper, until completely mixed with no trace of egg or flour; the mixture will be sticky
- Heat a medium non-stick pan on medium heat
- Add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan, probably about a tablespoon depending on the size of your pan
- While the oil is heating, line a plate with a paper towel or two
- When the oil is hot, using two spoons, spoon golf ball-sized mounds of the potato mixture into the pan, and flatten each one a bit with the back of your spoon (you're going to flatten them even more later, so don't crowd them)
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bottom is a deep golden brown
- Turn the patties over and then flatten them more, to about 3/8 of an inch
- Cook the second side for about 3-4 minutes, until deep golden brown
- Remove the patties to the prepared plate
- Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture
- Serve immediately, with a dollop of sour cream
A reader pointed out that since her leftover mashed potatoes started out pretty salty, the added kosher salt in the recipe made the finished product way too salty, so use your judgment: if your potatoes are already salty, you may want to reduce or omit the additional 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt; you can always sprinkle more on after cooking. Or, fry up one, taste it, and add salt to the remaining dough if needed.
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