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 grated using 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!

german 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!

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

German Potato Pancakes

Yield: 8 Pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper (if you want savory pancakes)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel one pound of potatoes and peel one small onion.
  2. 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.
  3. If there is excess water in the potatoes (it drips out when squeezed in the hand), drain some of the potato water.
  4. Add one pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper if you want the pancakes savory, flour, and the egg.
  5. Mix everything together until the batter is well mixed. This works best if you do it with your (clean) hands.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Add more oil as needed.
  9. 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 Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

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. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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