bowl of potato pancakes with salad and sauce

Easy Recipe: Potato Pancakes with Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Hey there, eco-conscious foodies! If you’re still digesting your Thanksgiving holiday feast, and your fridge is likely bursting with leftovers, especially mashed potatoes. If you’ve run out of ideas on how to use your leftovers on Thanksgiving, don’t throw them away! Thanksgiving is a time for feasting and family, but it can also be a time where food is wasted. I’m here to show you the most delicious way to transform those surplus spuds into a savory treat that’ll have you craving Thanksgiving leftovers all year round –  Crispy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes!

These crispy potato pancakes are not just a great way to use up your leftover mashed potatoes, but they’re also a fantastic side dish for any meal. Potato pancakes are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They’re also a great way to use up surplus spuds and reduce your environmental impact. They’re golden brown, filled with potato goodness, and packed with flavor. Plus, they’re super easy to make with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. So, let’s dive into this easy and eco-friendly potato pancake recipe. According to the University of Minnesota,  Americans throw away an estimated 300 million pounds of food on Thanksgiving Day from the dinner alone. One way to reduce food waste is to use your leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes!

The Star of the Show: Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Let’s face it – mashed potatoes are often the unsung heroes of the Thanksgiving feast. But this year, they’re going to take the center stage in a whole new way! To get started, grab your leftover mashed potatoes from the fridge. The amount you have will determine the quantity of potato pancakes you can make, so don’t worry about exact measurements here. It’s a creative way to use what you have on hand.

What You’ll Need:

  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Flour (all-purpose or almond flour for a gluten-free option)
  • Large egg (or a flax egg for a vegan alternative)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Fresh herbs (like chives or parsley)

Getting Started with Making Potato Pancakes

1. Prepare Your Leftover Potatoes: Take your mashed potatoes out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. This will make them easier to work with.

2. Chop and Dice: Finely chop the green onions and fresh herbs. These will add a burst of fresh flavor to your potato pancakes.

3. Binding Agent: To hold everything together, add one large egg or a flax egg if you’re going for a vegan option.

4. Texture Helper: Next, stir in about 1/2 cup of flour (all-purpose or arrowroot flour for a gluten-free version). The flour not only helps bind the mixture but also gives the pancakes a bit of a crispy exterior. You’ll want to add enough so that the mixture becomes firm.


5. Season to Taste: Season the mixture with salt and pepper according to your preference. You can be a bit generous with the salt since potatoes can handle it well. You can also add other ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, or cheese. 

6. Mix It Up: Using a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients until they’re fully incorporated. The result should be a hearty potato mixture that sticks together.


Time to Get Cooking!

7. Heat Up the Pan: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. You’ll want to use an oil with a high smoke point since you might get to higher temperatures. Canola oil, avocado oil, or butter should work fine here. 

8. Scoop and Shape: Use an ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop to portion out your potato mixture and drop it into the hot skillet. You can shape them into neat rounds with the back of a spoon or your hands.


9. Fry Until Crispy: Cook the potato pancakes until they’re beautifully golden brown on both sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes per side. Remember to adjust the heat if they’re browning too quickly or too slowly.

10. Drain and Cool: As each batch finishes cooking, transfer the crispy pancakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to drain any excess oil. You can also put them on a wire rack to help if you’re looking to reduce your cooking waste. This also helps them keep their crunch. Don’t forget to add a little salt as soon as they come out of the pan!

homemade crispy potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes

Crispy Potato Pancakes Serving Suggestions

Now that your crispy leftover mashed potato pancakes are ready, it’s time to enjoy them. Here are a few delightful serving ideas:

  • Dollop of Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream on top is always a winner. It adds a tangy and creamy contrast to the crispy pancakes.
  • Applesauce: For a sweet and savory combination, try serving these with applesauce. It’s an unexpected but delicious pairing.
  • Fresh Chives: Sprinkle some fresh chives on top for an extra burst of flavor and a pop of color.
  • Fresh Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley is another fantastic herb to enhance the taste and presentation.

Freezing for Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes For Later

If you have more leftover mashed potatoes than you can handle, these potato pancakes are freezer-friendly.

Here’s how you can do it:

1. After frying the pancakes and allowing them to cool, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer. This prevents them from sticking together.

2. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe airtight container, separating each layer with wax paper to prevent sticking.

3. When you’re ready to enjoy them, reheat the frozen potato pancakes in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until they’re heated through and crispy again. No need to thaw them beforehand.

Share Your Version!

Now that you’ve whipped up a batch of these delicious potato pancakes, I’d love to hear about your experience! Share your thoughts, variations, and any tips you have in the comment section below. Did you add different types of cheese or experiment with fresh herbs? How did it turn out?

Final Thoughts

Leftover mashed potatoes are truly the gift that keeps on giving, and turning them into these crispy potato pancakes is an excellent way to make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers. Not only are they delicious and easy to make, but they’re also an eco-friendly choice that helps reduce food waste in your kitchen.

So, whether you’re looking for a great way to enjoy your leftover mashed potatoes or just craving a scrumptious side dish, these crispy mashed potato pancakes have got you covered. They’re the best thing to happen to your Thanksgiving surplus, and you’ll want to make them all year round. Plus, they’ll make you feel like a culinary superstar without the need for any fancy ingredients or equipment.

Here are some additional tips for reducing food waste in your kitchen this holiday:

  • Check out our post for Practical Sustainable Holiday Tips
  • Plan your meals ahead of time so that you don’t overcook food or buy more than you need.
  • Store leftovers properly in airtight containers.
  • Freeze leftovers that you won’t be able to eat within a few days.
  • Compost food scraps that can’t be eaten.
  • Donate food to a local food bank or soup kitchen.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce food waste and create a more sustainable kitchen! 

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