Home » Recipes » German Recipes » German Potato Pancakes (Reibekuchen)

German Potato Pancakes (Reibekuchen)

Classic German Potato Pancakes Are So Easy To Make!

Searching for a great comfort food recipe? German potato pancakes are definitely one answer!

Sometimes called Reibekuchen and sometimes Kartoffelpuffer, these hearty fried potato pancakes are delicious when hot and make for a filling meal!

stack of golden brown german potato pancakes with cheese and chives on top
German potato pancakes are very easy to make!

Lisa ate potato pancakes growing up (and we still eat them now). For Lisa personally, there is a difference between the German terms mentioned above.

Reibekuchen are made with raw potatoes while Kartoffelpuffer are made with cooked potatoes or leftover potato dumplings – but this is debatable.

Lisa personally likes them more from cooked potatoes – but this version below is also tasty!

german potato pancakes on blue plate with grey napkin beside

The nice thing about potato pancakes is that they are very easy to make.

In this version, you only have to grate the potatoes and onion, add a few more ingredients, and then fry it up. That’s all – and in no time at all, you can be munching on warm fried potatoes.

potato held in hand being grated using metal grater into bowl
Look at that potato grating form – go, Lisa!

Germany has a long history with potato pancakes. They used to be considered a “peasant food” because potatoes were accessible to grow or buy, fairly cheap and filling to eat.

These days, you can also find potato pancakes at German Christmas markets all over the country in late November/December. We’ve been lucky enough to eat them fresh off the fryer in some markets and they really hit the spot in the cold weather!

crispy potato pancakes on plate with scoop of quark and chives
Served with a little quark for a great taste!

If you’re wondering what to serve with potato pancakes – you can enjoy them two ways: Sweet or savory.

To have then sweet, serve them with a side of apple sauce (it’s absolutely delicious). You can also serve them up with a quark (a soft cheese), sour cream, or a garlicky yogurt sauce for a more savory version of the pancake. It’s up to you!

Related Recipes

For those searching for more great potato recipes, have a look through these top dishes that feature potatoes in all ways, shapes, and forms!

stack of golden brown german potato pancakes with cheese and chives on top

German Potato Pancakes

These hearty, crispy fried potato pancakes are simple to make and delicious to eat! Served best hot, these pancakes are best eaten with a sweet apple sauce, a savory garlic sauce, or even a creamy quark!
4.68 from 121 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper, if you want savory pancakes
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  • Wash and peel one pound of potatoes and peel one small onion.
  • Grate the potatoes into a bowl using the grating side (the side everyone knows about and uses to grate cheese) of a four-sided grater. Grate the onion, too. If grating the onion doesn’t work, you can very finely chop it with a knife.
  • If there is excess water in the potatoes (it drips out when squeezed in the hand), drain some of the potato water.
  • Add one pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper if you want the pancakes savory, flour, and the egg.
  • Mix everything together until the batter is well mixed. This works best if you do it with your (clean) hands.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and add two tablespoons of batter per pancake. Make sure the pancake is not too thick or too large to ensure proper cooking. You probably won’t be able to fit more than 2-4 pancakes into your pan at the same time.
  • Cook until both sides are golden brown (3-4 minutes per side), then remove them from the pan. Put them on a paper towel or similar to allow the oil to absorb. You can then put the pancakes in the preheated oven to keep them warm.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Add more oil as needed.
  • Serve immediately with apple sauce for a sweet taste or sour cream, yoghurt, or quark for a savory taste.

Notes

  • Definitely eat these potato pancakes hot because they just taste best hot out of the pan.
  • These potato pancakes are versatile – they can be enjoyed sweet with apple sauce or savory with garlic sauce or quark.
  • If you know you are going to enjoy the potato pancakes savory, you can add more salt, pepper and other spices (such as garlic powder) into the batter.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course German Recipes
Cuisine German
Author Recipes From Europe
Don’t miss out!
Subscribe to Recipes from Europe!

Get updates on the latest posts and more from Recipes from Europe straight to your inbox. 

Invalid email address

80 thoughts on “German Potato Pancakes (Reibekuchen)”

    • You could just skip the egg, but try adding some of the starch from the drained potato water back into the mixture (it should settle after a few minutes, then you can drain the liquid and add the starch back to the potatoes) and maybe adjust the amount of flour slightly. You could also try using chickpea flour, which is a good binder.

      Reply
  1. 5 stars
    OMG, i just LOVE german potato pancakes!!! my mom used to make them using a cast iron skillet, many a times ending up with bloody fingers from grating so many potatoes for our large family. we generally topped ours only with butter. just last month, i told a family member that it would be a cold day in hell before these become a regular menu item but they are so good i may have to reconsider. very delicious recipe!!!

    Reply
    • I grate the potatoes and onions with my food processor- no bloody nuckles that was. This is also a wonderful “time saver”. Thanks for the tips shared.

      Reply
  2. My mom who was Polish/Russian descent would make these when I was a kid. I used to put grape jam on mine. They were delish

    Reply
    • My mom was also Polish Russian and my Dad German. They would hand grate 10# of potatoes every time they made them. Always had butter, applesauce, sour cream and grape jam on the table. Relatives would stop by when they made them just to have a few. If there were any left the next morning I would put a little sour cream on them roll it up and eat them cold for breakfast. I can almost taste them now.

      Reply
  3. My late wife came from Duisburg in the Rhineland and me an Englishman loved her Kartoffel pancakes ,raw potatoes grated with onion and an egg . Oh! what a delight.

    Reply
  4. Just like my mom made. It was one thing she made on Fridays during Lent when meat is not allowed. No paper towels in those days, opened
    brown paper grocery bags to absorb grease and keep in warm oven until there were enough to serve all of us. We liked them with catsup.

    Reply
    • My mother was Polish and also Catholic. Potato pancakes were a Friday tradition since we didn’t eat meat on Friday. She used this same exact recipe but she called them latkes. Um ummm good

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    This is the same recipe I learned from my German father. Brought back many memories of helping him grate and fry the potatoes. I am now sharing the tradition with my grandchildren. We have always served ours as a side dish for navy bean soup. The leftovers if any are served next day with applesauce for breakfast. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Growing up in the south off the province Limburg ,in the Netherlands , we always had German and French influence in the food ; and a mom half Italian ,food was an important thing during the day , I cook a lot , also reibekuchen, this recipe is just simple and great taste .
    I used olive oil for cooking , it don t change the taste and is a little healthier
    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Hi, Brian from Freeling, my mother was German, but Australia born.She used to call them “boofets”, and when I make them I usually add small amount of jalapinos, cook them in egg rings, they come out fantastic. I am 83, and showed some navy chefs how to make them.

    Reply
  8. Coming from German heritage, I love these pancakes which my mother would often make from grated raw taters. I make them in the blender(cut in cubes(peal and all) and blend all ingredients that way….just “pulse” the blender so as not to end up with too thin a batter. I like ’em fried thin and golden with crispy edges! Hope it’s not illegal, but like mine with maple syrup….bon appetio!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Ron! That sounds like a good quick way to make some potato pancakes. I’ve never personally tried potato pancakes with maple syrup, but we live in Canada currently so maple syrup is always fair game! /Lisa

      Reply
      • My Mom use to use leftover mashed potatoes to make her pancakes. When yo have 17 children you learn how to use everything and not throw away food. We are also of German descent. But I kinda like the shredded potato pancake better. It gets much crispier! I think if my Mom had a chance, she would agree with me.

      • Thanks for your comment, Marie! I can see why your mom made them with mashed potatoes, shredding potatoes for a large family would have taken quite a while. I like both versions, but probably like them a bit more when made with cooked potatoes. My all time favorite though is when my Oma would cut up and fry leftover potato dumplings for lunch on Mondays. /Lisa

    • I love potato pancakes always reminds me of my childhood. Is it imperative to add flour as I can’t remember my mother ever adding flour to the mixture. My mother stuck a ladle in the mixture to collect the potato water & left the starch on the bottom of the ladle back in the mixture. Any comments are appreciated.

      Reply
      • Hi Inge, you don’t need to use flour – the way you remember your mother doing it is another way! However, it’s possible that you’re not getting enough starch from the potatoes – in that case, you can add some more store-bought potato starch, cornstarch, or flour. I think over the years, using flour just became the “lazy” version for a lot of people. /Lisa

    • I still remember the day my parents bought their first blender. We lived in Racine Wi and the Oster Company was in our town. It was called an Osterizer of course. And we had potato pancakes for dinner that night lots of them.

      Reply
  9. 5 stars
    Getting the kiddos out of the bed in the morning is such a chore. They sleep in so late on the weekends that I end up doing all the housework that they were assigned. But, this weekend we are making these tasty-looking pancakes and they will be doing their chores this week.

    Reply
  10. Grandma made potatoe pancakes when I was a kid. They were so good. Never had a recipe always made them from memory. I never got the recipe from her. This is the exact recipe she made. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Growing up in Germany, my grandma made the Kartoffelpuffer version from cooked potatoes (yes it is important :-)). However, the way she served them was with a jam from Italian Prunes (Pflaumenmuss). I am to this day absolutely addicted, but haven’t had them in years. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Made these pretty much exactly as written (rare for me!) and they were absolutely perfect. Truly delightful comfort food. I used my 2 tbsp cookie scoop to drop them in the pan and it worked great! I paired them with a simple chunky homemade applesauce and lived my best life. I will definitely be making again!

    Reply
  13. It can be tricky to get them to stay crispy when making a very large batch. If they are on the thinner side, they usually hold up better. I would also try to avoid overlapping them too much in the oven so they don’t get too moist. Alternatively you could also try putting them in the air fryer for a minute or two before serving if you have one. I hope that helps! /Lisa

    Reply
  14. 5 stars
    I made these tonight. Potatoes, onion, chives, salt, pepper, flour and 1 egg. I grated the potatoes in my food processor and the onions on the Madeline.They were Delicious. You want them crispy. Serve with sour cream or Apple Sauce. We only had sour cream. I missed the Apple Sauce. We will have them again❣️

    Reply
  15. My grandma made potato pancakes when I was a child. My great grandma came from Germany and that is what I had. Thanks for the recipe. What is the difference between lakes and potatoe pancakes.

    Reply
    • I also have great memories of my grandma making potato pancakes. There’s no difference in the basic recipe – latkes are potato pancakes. There might be some slightly different versions (added spices etc.) as is the case for many recipes with long traditions. Potato pancakes are popular in Germany and many other parts of Europe in Jewish as well as non-Jewish families. In my family, we always called them Reibekuchen oder Kartoffelpuffer. /Lisa

      Reply
    • Yes, you can freeze them. I would recommend frying the potato pancakes, letting them cool on a plate lined with paper towels (to catch any excess oil) and then freezing them once they have cooled. Make sure the potato pancakes don’t overlap, otherwise they will freeze together. As for reheating, you can let them thaw a bit, then fry them in a pan on low/medium heat until they are fully heated. Alternatively, you could reheat them in the air fryer or the oven. I would not recommend the microwave as this would make the potato pancakes mushy.

      Reply
  16. German Potato pancakes are great. The only thing is after frying, I top mine with grape jell, sour cream and butter. Oh so good .

    Reply
  17. You don’t necessarily have to grate your potatoes. You can roast and mash or boil and mash them and use the same recipe. I find these are less oily. I add corn to mine as well. Tasty!!

    Reply
    • That’s true! If you make potato pancakes with cooked potatoes, then there’s no need to grate them (in fact, it would be a bit difficult to do). When making potato pancakes with raw potatoes though, we would recommend grating them because this way the fine potato strips cook better when frying the potato pancakes in the pan.

      Reply
  18. Made exactly as specified in recipe. Easy to follow. Delicious German Potato Pancakes! Served with a dollop of sour cream and finely sliced spring onions. I plan to make these again. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Your recipe calls for “potatoes”. There are many different varieties of potatoes to choose from. What variety works best? I’ve always used Russets for their high starch content. I also like Yukon Golds if they’re available. Ordinary “boiling” or “eastern” potatoes will work in a pinch, but they’re not nearly as good as Russets, IMO.

    Reply
    • You are right, Stu – there are many different types of potatoes. When we originally published this recipe, we were still living in Europe so couldn’t try it with North American potatoes firsthand. Now I would say Russet potatoes, Idaho potatoes, Yukon gold or classic white potatoes would work really well. Thanks for the reminder to update the recipe!/Lisa

      Reply
      • yes, you could. make sure they are thawed and squeeze out any excess water (i use a paper towel or a clean, dry dish towel)

  20. We heat cream of mushroom soup with allspice and a whole onion for about an hour.( simmer). Mix the soup with some water and spice according to taste. When done remove the onion and dispose of it. This was our Friday meatless supper when growing up.
    I forgot to tell you to add vinegar to taste when putting the mixture together.( Very important to the sauce).
    Serve over your potato pancakes.Linda

    Reply
    • Or the polish link, Ukrainian link, Hungarian link etc. How about dumpling: Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Are perogies Russian, Ukrainian , Hungarian or are they just dumplings. Is eating dumpling cultural appropriation. Then which culture are we appropriating from. Is fusion cooking appropriation, then from which culture. Is jerk chicken really Jamaican or does it come from Haiti. Really good food is just good food.

      Reply
  21. I think you if you’re going to make a blog about German pancakes you should at least acknowledge the Jewish significance of them….

    Reply
  22. If you let the potato water sit after you’ve drained off the excess, starch will settle to the bottom. Drain off the liquid and put the starch with the grated potatoes.

    Reply
  23. Taste is perfect, easy to make. I grated the potatoes last night so this morning they were not white, alittle dark. So grate potatoes and onions before you plan to cook them.
    Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating