Breakfast Vegetarians

Easy Potato Pancakes

Delightfully crispy and flavorful, these authentic German potato pancakes, Kartoffelpuffer, are fun to make and even more delicious to eat!  They can be sweet or savory depending on the toppings you choose or what you serve them with.

A quintessential German treat beloved across every region of Germany, Kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes) are not only a favorite dish to serve at home but are also a popular street food found at local Volksfests and holiday events like Fasching, Karneval and Christmas markets.

In particular these German potato pancakes bring back memories of going to my Oma and Opa’s house.  Throughout my childhood and through young adulthood my Oma would regularly make these when we went over to their house.  My brother and I would play cards at kitchen table with my Opa while my Oma stood over the stove with the crackling sounds and smells of frying Kartoffelpuffer filling the air.  Before long, plates of hot Kartoffelpuffer were set out on the table and we helped ourselves to a sprinkle of powdered sugar and generous heaps of applesauce.  My Oma knew to make big batches of these Kartoffelpuffer because my brother and I could rarely get enough of them.

What Are Kartoffelpuffer?

Depending on the region of Germany, Kartoffelpuffer are also known as Reibekuchen, Reibeplätzchen, Reiberdatschi and Grumbeerpannekuche.

You may also be familiar with Swiss Rösti.  But those are something different.  The key difference lies in the size of the grated potatoes:  Rösti are shredded whereas Kartoffelpuffer are finely grated.  Also, with Rösti the potatoes are sometimes grated raw but more often are parboiled whole in their skins for a few minutes so that the center is still hard, then peeled and grated once they’ve cooled down.  Because the potatoes are grated/shredded on the largest setting (in German, “grob geraspelt”) to get large, long strands, parboiling them first prevents the outside of the Rösti from burning before the potatoes are thoroughly cooked through.  Grated onions are usually added and sometimes bacon and cheese, depending on the region.  Rösti are also fried longer until they are light brown and crunchy.

Kartoffelpuffer on the other hand are made from potatoes that are grated raw and grated finely (allowing them to cook quickly and evenly).  The shredded potatoes are wrung out in a clean dish towel and then mixed with egg, finely grated onion and flour and then fried to light golden.  The end result is a crispy exterior and soft interior.

Kartoffelpuffer can be served sweet or savory.  Most commonly they’re served with apple sauce or other fruit compote, and/or dusted with powdered sugar, but are also served savory-style with a yogurt-herb sauce or with meat as part of a meal.

In a word, they’re simply DELICIOUS!


  • 2 1/2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and very finely grated (RAW, not cooked)
  • 1 small yellow onion, very finely grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or more if needed)

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