These Mashed Potato Cakes are the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes! This recipe is packed with veggies, including bell peppers, carrots, and peas, but you can add whatever you want to them. They’re pan-fried in butter for a perfectly crispy outside and fluffy, soft inside.
It’s rare that I ever find myself with leftover mashed potatoes. I usually lick the bowl clean (literally). But when I do, like after Thanksgiving dinner when I’m just too stuffed to finish them off, I LOVE using them to make these mashed potato cakes.
They’re delicious topped with a simple dollop of sour cream and some chopped fresh herbs, chives, or green onions. I also love them served for breakfast with a fried or poached egg (with a runny yolk, of course!) on top.
And best of all? My kids devoured them. AND all the hidden veggies inside of them!
What’s in mashed potato cakes?
Mashed potato cakes (or patties, or pancakes, or croquettes, or whatever you want to call them) are a simple mixture of already-prepared mashed potatoes, an egg, some flour to bind them together, and spices.
This version has a bunch of veggies thrown in there as well, for added flavor and nutrition.
I added grated carrots, frozen peas, some red bell pepper, onion, parsley, and garlic powder to this version. If I had frozen corn at the time, I would have added that as well. The result was infused with subtle vegetal flavor and tons of nutrition from the healthy vegetables.
Can I add other ingredients to these?
ABSOLUTELY! The possibilities are endless. Here are some of my suggestions for variations on this mashed potato cakes recipe, in place of or in addition to the vegetables:
- Use leftover roasted vegetables from Thanksgiving dinner in place of the raw veggies.
- Cook up some bacon and/or sausage and add it to the mix.
- For a spicy version, add some pickled jalapeños.
- Add some cheese– shredded cheddar, parmesan, or mozzarella would be great.
- Add some fresh herbs to the mix- I love the idea of chopped up fresh dill, cilantro, mint, and/or basil.
- Cooked black beans would add some protein, making these a viable main course.
Just take a look in your fridge or pantry and see what you have! It’s easy to be creative with such a forgiving recipe.
How to pan-fry potato cakes
When you combine the mashed potato cake mixture, it will be quite sticky. This means you can’t really form these patties with your hands. Here are some tricks to making these patties perfectly every time.
- Use a large disher scoop to scoop the batter directly into the skillet. Disher scoops of all sizes are great for serving ice cream, scooping muffin batter into the muffin cups, or measuring out cookie dough. If you don’t have one, you can use a 1/4 cup measure.
- Use the back of a spatula to flatten the patty out. You may find that the patty sticks to the spatula. To prevent this from happening, grease the back of the spatula with some butter or oil (just stick it right in the butter in the skillet). Or, you can use another spatula to help slide the patty off of it.
- Cook each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side. This will ensure a golden-brown, crispy crust.
- Make sure to use enough butter! If the skillet is too dry, the patties will be less golden-brown and more dark brown to black (and drier). For the second batch, don’t be afraid to add more butter.
What to serve with mashed potato cakes
I love these mashed potato patties served simply with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped fresh herbs or green onions. But here are some other ideas:
- Serve them with other kinds of sauces, such as five minute avocado sauce, cilantro jalapeño pesto, or simple guacamole.
- Fry or poach an egg and serve it on top for breakfast or brunch.
- Dress them up with some chopped bacon, onions… or anything you would put on a baked potato.
- Melt some cheese on top and use it as a veggie burger on a bun or lettuce wrap.
- Serve them as a side with a classic main dish, like BBQ chicken or pulled pork.
- Make them mini and serve them as an appetizer.
- Serve them with classic turkey gravy, especially if you have leftovers from Thanksgiving.
Other cakes, patties, croquettes, fritters, and veggie burgers to try:
- Salmon Patties
- Spinach and White Bean Patties with Yogurt Sauce
- Shrimp and Zucchini Fritters
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers
- Quinoa, Mushroom, and Zucchini Veggie Burgers
- Paleo Tuna Croquettes with Lemon Dill Aioli
- Easy Crab Cakes
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Mashed Potato Cakes
- 2 cups mashed potatoes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup grated carrot (about 1 carrot)
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (about 1/2 bell pepper)
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons butter plus more if needed
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except for butter) and stir until well combined.
- Heat the two tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat until melted.
- Use a disher scoop (or 1/4 cup measure) to scoop out the potato mixture and add to the skillet. Use the back of a spatula to flatten the patty out so it's about 1/2" thick.
- Fry for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding more butter to the skillet if needed.
- Serve hot, topped with sour cream and chopped herbs or chives, if desired.
- If the potato mixture sticks to the spatula when you flatten it, grease the back of the spatula with some butter or oil, ur use another spatula to help you slide it off.
- These mashed potato cakes are best served immediately, when they are crispy, but they are also delicious reheated in the microwave if you have leftovers.
- Variations: use leftover roasted veggies, chopped bacon, cheese, jalapeños, or really anything you want in the potato mixture! It's very flexible.
- Time saving tip: This recipe cooks up quickly, but you have to cook it in batches since not all the patties fit in one skillet. To save time, do two batches at once in two separate skillets.