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Close up front shot of potato pancakes on a blue and white plate with sour cream and applesauce
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4.93 from 14 votes

Great Grandmother's Potato Pancakes Recipe

My Polish Great Grandmother's Potato Pancakes recipe is a family favorite comfort food!
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine European
Keyword Polish potato pancakes, potato pancakes recipe, Potato Sides
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 people (about 14 pancakes total)
Calories 175kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes (about 3 lbs.), peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt, to taste (I use 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per my grandmother's recipe, but some folks find that too salty, so adjust according to your taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Butter and vegetable oil, for frying
  • Optional, for serving: warm applesauce, maple syrup, or sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Place 2 nonstick baking sheets in oven.
  • Using box grater or food processor fitted with grating disc, coarsely grate onion. Transfer the grated onion to a colander and set the colander in a sink to drain.
  • Next, use the grater or food processor to coarsely grate the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the colander with the onion, and leave in the sink to drain for a few minutes.
  • In large bowl, whisk together egg, flour, salt, pepper and baking powder.
  • Using a dish towel, gently squeeze excess liquid from the potatoes and onion. Add potato mixture to the bowl with the egg.
  • Use your hands to gently combine the ingredients.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scoop about ¼ cup of the potato mixture at a time, and place in the skillet. Use a spatula to gently flatten the potato mixture into a pancake. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
  • Fry the potato pancakes until golden brown on each side (about 3-4 minutes per side). Then use a spatula to remove the pancakes from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Once drained, place the pancakes on the warm baking sheets in the oven to keep them warm while you finish frying the rest of the pancakes in batches.
  • Use paper towels to carefully wipe out the skillet in between each batch of pancakes, adding 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet with each new batch. Continue frying 3-4 pancakes at a time until you have used all of the potato mixture.
  • Serve the pancakes warm with applesauce, maple syrup or sour cream.

Notes

  • You want the potatoes and onions coarsely grated, so I like to use the largest holes on a box grater (just like my grandmother used to do). You can also use a food processor to make the job quicker and easier, but my grandmother insisted that the hand-grating yielded a better texture.
  • Russet potatoes work best in this recipe because they have a high starch content, which helps to bind the pancakes together. I do not recommend substituting with red or yellow potatoes.
  • Remove the moisture from the potatoes and onions by draining for a few minutes in a colander after grating. Then, just before combining with the rest of the ingredients, squeeze out any excess moisture with a dish towel. The dryer the potato mixture, the crispier the pancakes!
  • Make sure that your pan is hot enough so that the pancakes sizzle when they are dropped into the skillet. I like to use a combination of butter (for flavor) with an oil that has a high smoke point (such as vegetable oil).
  • Made with just a few simple ingredients and lightly pan-fried in a small amount of oil and butter, this potato pancakes recipe can be a nutritious addition to just about any diet. Nutrition facts will vary depending on the ingredients that you use, but each 2-pancake serving includes about 175 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of protein and 39 grams of carbohydrates. This does not include the oil or butter that is absorbed in each pancake as it cooks, which can be hard to estimate. This particular potato pancakes recipe is not vegan, gluten-free, Keto-friendly or low-carb.
  • Prep ahead! To prepare the pancake mixture in advance, grate the potatoes and onion ahead of time and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Don't worry if they discolor a bit -- they will look normal once they're cooked!
  • You can cook the potato pancakes in advance, drain them on paper towels, and then wrap tightly and store in a single layer in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Be aware that leftover, reheated potato pancakes can be a bit heavier than fresh-from-the-skillet pancakes, so cooking at the last minute is always my preference. That said, it's not necessarily convenient, and that's when reheating comes in handy!
  • Cooked potato pancakes will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. To freeze, cool the pancakes completely, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, the pancakes may be transferred to a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag.
  • To reheat potato pancakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray (for easy cleanup). Bake the pancakes in the oven just until heated through (about 7-10 minutes for refrigerated pancakes or 15-20 minutes for frozen pancakes).

Nutrition

Serving: 2pancakes | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.7g | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 0.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 26.6mg | Sodium: 1024.7mg | Potassium: 854.4mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 2g