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Vegan German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)

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These delicious vegan German potato pancakes or Kartoffelpuffer are crispy from the outside and tender on the inside and only require 3 staple ingredients and 30 minutes of your time. They are perfect for a quick and filling breakfast, lunch or dinner meal that everyone will love!

A Plate with German Potato Pancakes and a Small Bowl of Mustard.

Thank you Maille for sponsoring this post. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Where do potato pancakes come from?

Just like normal pancakes, potato pancakes, fritters or hash browns exist in many cultures. Although mostly associated with “latkes”, that is Yiddish for “pancakes”, they are popular among Central and Eastern European countries, Ireland and Sweden. That’s why they have so many names:

• Kartoffelpuffer, Reibekuchen, Swiss Rösti or Rosti in Germany,

• placki in Poland,

• draniki in Russia and Belarus,

• deruny in Ukraine,

• raggmunk or rarakor in Sweden,

• boxties in Ireland.

Potatoes are frugal, always available, and easy to store through the winter, that made them a staple ingredient in every kitchen.

Grating them and mixing with onion and flour creates a simple foundation of a delicious recipe that has so many variations. Serving options are endless, from from savory toppings to apple sauce.

Adding Mustard to a Stack of Potato Pancakes.

Are latkes and potato pancakes the same?

What is special for German potato pancakes is that they are rounded and grated somewhat finer, while latkes have shredded potato pieces sticking out on the edges. Other than that you probably wouldn’t notice the difference, except maybe that latkes are a tiny bit thicker.

German Kartoffelpuffer on a Pan.

How to make potato pancakes vegan?

Traditional German potato pancakes are made with eggs but I veganized this recipe by replacing it with flour for binding.

Make sure to get the excess liquid out of potatoes to ensure that the vegan hash browns are crispy and not soggy! (See instructions below).

Vegan Potato Pancakes Closeup.

Why This Recipe Works

These vegan potato pancakes are worth adding to your weekly recipe rotation! I’m sure that the recipe won’t disappoint you.

They are:

  • delicious
  • quick
  • easy
  • vegan
  • dairy-free
  • egg-less
  • easy to make gluten-free
  • filling
  • comforting
  • can be served as breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dish, appetizer or even dessert

Ingredients

This vegan Kartoffelpuffer recipe calls for just three staple ingredients: potatoes, onion and flour. I served it with Maille Dijon Originale Mustard and chives for added flavor. See other serving options below.

Ingredients for Vegan Potato Pancakes.

What potatoes are the best?

Starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Gold are the best for potato fritters ensuring that they don’t fall apart. If you don’t have these types, you can use any other kind of potatoes and add a bit of extra flour or potato starch.

How to Make Vegan Potato Pancakes

It’s just as easy as it looks – it won’t take you longer that 30 minutes! And you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

1. Peel and Grate The Potatoes

Peel the potatoes and remove all the eyes with the tip of the vegetable peeler. Use a box grater or a shredder attachment of your processor to grate the potatoes.

Peeling and Grating Potatoes.

2. Squeeze The Shredded Potatoes

Transfer into a bowl or colander that is prepared with a clean dish towel laid into it. Take the edges of the towel and twist the top until it squeezes the potatoes and drains the excess liquid. Make sure to squeeze as hard as you can!

Squeezing the liquid from grated potatoes.

3. Finely Grate The Onion

Use the other side of your box grater to finely grate the onion. Alternatively, chop it or use a tablespoon of onion powder.

Grating onion for potato pancakes.

4. Make The Pancakes Mixture

Transfer the squeezed potatoes to a medium bowl and add onion, flour, salt and pepper.

Making potato pancake mixture.

5. Form The Fritters

Prepare a large plate dusted with flour. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form a patty. It’s a good idea to moisten your hands with water before doing that. Put it on a plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture (This recipe makes about 10 potato pancakes). Dust them with a bit of flour. and press with your fingers until it’s flat.

Forming potato fritters.

6. Fry The Potato Pancakes on a Pan

Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan or skillet to medium heat. Use a spatula to transfer the pancakes to the pan and press them down to make them flat. Don’t overcrowd the pan. I recommend cooking them in batches so they don’t stick together. Use the spatula to form the edges. Cook them for up to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. To keep them hot before serving, put them in the warm oven (70 °C/160 °F), while you fry the next batch.

Frying Kartoffelpuffer on the pan.

7. Serve

Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately with Maille Dijon Originale Mustard, ketchup, vegan sour cream, apple sauce or your favorite dip. Enjoy!

You can check the step-by-step video below or in this how to make potato pancakes story.

What to serve with potato pancakes?

German potato pancakes are typically served as a dessert, a side dish or an appetizer. Serve them with mustard, ketchup, vegan mayo or your favorite dip. Other options are baba ghanoush, avocado sauce, mojo verde, marinara or even tahini sauce. Traditional way to serve them is with apple sauce. It adsorbs the oil and balances the taste of the potato fritters.

You can serve them alongside a bowl of soup (borscht, vegan zuppa Toscana or vegan minestrone are all great options) or with a salad (vegan Waldorf salad, vegan coleslaw or a simple garden salad are great with potato pancakes).

Vegan Potato Pancakes Served with Mustard.

Top Tips

  • These vegan potato fritters are great as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal, side dish, appetizer or even dessert.
  • They only require 3 staple ingredients and 30 minutes to make.
  • To make these vegan potato pancakes, you’ll need to get the excess liquid out of your potatoes (see instructions above).
  • Starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Gold are the best for potato fritters ensuring that they don’t fall apart. If you don’t have these types, you can use any other kind of potatoes and add a bit of extra flour or potato starch.
  • If your pancakes aren’t sticking together while you form them, you can put the mixture to the fridge to firm up.
  • Vegan hash browns are best served fresh but they will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them on a pan to keep them crispy.
  • If you wish to freeze them, let them cool completely, put them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid (about 1 hour), then transfer them to a ziplock freezer bag or container. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, fry them (frozen) on the pan until heated through and crisp again. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and cook them on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they look crisp.
  • Serve the with mustard, ketchup, vegan mayo, apple sauce or your favorite dip. They are great alongside a bowl of soup or with a salad.

German Potato Pancakes with Mustard.

Recipe Variations

  • Use whole grain flour instead of all-purpose flour. Alternatively, use a 1:1 ratio to make the potato pancakes more nutrient-dense.
  • To make them gluten-free, use rice or chickpea flour.
  • Add grated veggies like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower to make the potato pancakes extra nutritious. Replace a third or a half of the potatoes with the veggies of your choice or make these delicious vegan zucchini corn fritters.
  • You can skip the onion or use onion powder instead. Add garlic for more flavor.
  • For frying use neutral oils like canola oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil or vegetable oil.
  • Chopped parsley or dill can be substituted for chives.
 

 

Dipping a Vegan Potato Pancake in Dijon Mustard.

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5 from 1 vote

Vegan German Potato Pancakes or Kartoffelpuffer

These delicious vegan German potato pancakes or Kartoffelpuffer are crispy from the outside and tender on the inside and only require 3 staple ingredients and 30 minutes of your time. They are perfect for a quick and filling breakfast, lunch or dinner meal that everyone will love!
Course Dessert, Breakfast, lunch, Main course/starter/side dish
Cuisine American, German
Keyword German potato pancakes, Kartoffelpuffer, potato fritters, vegan hash browns, vegan potato pancakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 266kcal
$2

Ingredients

  • 5 medium size Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes about 600 g or 1.3 lb
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • ¼ cup or 40 g all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • oil to fry see notes
  • Chopped chives to serve
  • Maille Dijon Originale Mustard to serve

Instructions

Peel and grate the potatoes

  • Peel the potatoes and remove all the eyes with the tip of the vegetable peeler. Use a box grater or a shredder attachment of your processor to grate the potatoes.

Squeeze the shredded potatoes

  • Transfer into a bowl or colander that is prepared with a clean dish towel laid into it. Take the edges of the towel and twist the top until it squeezes the potatoes and drains the excess liquid. Make sure to squeeze as hard as you can!

Finely grate the onion

  • Use the other side of your box grater to finely grate the onion. Alternatively, chop it or use a tablespoon of onion powder.

Make the pancakes mixture

  • Transfer the squeezed potatoes to a medium bowl and add onion, flour, salt and pepper.

Form the fritters

  • Prepare a large plate dusted with flour. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form a patty. It’s a good idea to moisten your hands with water before doing that. Put it on a plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture (This recipe makes about 10 potato pancakes). Dust them with a bit of flour. and press with your fingers until it’s flat.

Fry the potato pancakes on a pan

  • Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan or skillet to medium heat. Use a spatula to transfer the pancakes to the pan and press them down to make them flat. Don’t overcrowd the pan. I recommend cooking them in batches so they don’t stick together. Use the spatula to form the edges. Cook them for up to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. To keep them hot before serving, put them in the warm oven (70 °C/160 °F), while you fry the next batch.

Serve

  • Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately with Maille Dijon Originale Mustard, ketchup, vegan sour cream, apple sauce or your favorite dip. Enjoy!

Notes

Top Tips

  • These vegan potato fritters are great as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal, side dish, appetizer or even dessert.
  • They only require 3 staple ingredients and 30 minutes to make.
  • To make these vegan potato pancakes, you’ll need to get the excess liquid out of your potatoes (see instructions above).
  • Starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Gold are the best for potato fritters ensuring that they don’t fall apart. If you don’t have these types, you can use any other kind of potatoes and add a bit of extra flour or potato starch.
  • If your pancakes aren't sticking together while you form them, you can put the mixture to the fridge to firm up.
  • Vegan hash browns are best served fresh but they will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them on a pan to keep them crispy.
  • If you wish to freeze them, let them cool completely, put them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid (about 1 hour), then transfer them to a ziplock freezer bag or container. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, fry them (frozen) on the pan until heated through and crisp again. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and cook them on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they look crisp.
  • Serve the with mustard, ketchup, vegan mayo, apple sauce or your favorite dip. They are great alongside a bowl of soup or with a salad.

Recipe Variations

  • Use whole grain flour instead of all-purpose flour. Alternatively, use a 1:1 ratio to make the potato pancakes more nutrient-dense.
  • To make them gluten-free, use rice or chickpea flour.
  • Add grated veggies like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower to make the potato pancakes extra nutritious. Replace a third or a half of the potatoes with the veggies of your choice or make these delicious vegan zucchini corn fritters.
  • You can skip the onion or use onion powder instead. Add garlic for more flavor.
  • For frying use neutral oils like canola oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil or vegetable oil.
  • Chopped parsley or dill can be substituted for chives.

Equipment

frying pan
rubber spatula
spatula
box grater
mixing bowls
culinary scissors

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 1164mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg
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German Potato Pancakes Pinterest Image.

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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