Aunt Lillian’s Polish Potato Pancakes

With just a few ingredients, you can make these authentic Polish Potato Pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)! Top with sour cream, applesauce or powdered sugar for an easy side dish, appetizer or snack.

plate of potato cakes with sour cream to dip

Save This Recipe!

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox. Plus, you get more tasty recipes every week!

Save Recipe


These Polish Potato Pancakes,  placki ziemnaiaczane in Polish, are a family recipe that I remember fondly from my childhood.

My Aunt Lillian was an amazing cook and one of the reasons I loved visiting her house so much!

As a kid, visiting their house was a treat. It was always a great time because visits were full of food and full of laughter which is was a transition from my house which was usually very quiet and boring and if I haven’t said it before my mother was a terrible cook. So a visit to my uncles was like visiting food and fun heaven.

close up view of a potato cake

These fried potato pancakes are simple – all you need is potatoes, onion, a pinch of flour and baking powder, and salt and pepper- Sooo good! For being so simple, they’re full of flavour and you can serve them as a savoury side (with sour cream) or as a sweet snack (with applesauce or powdered sugar).    

The key to crispy Polish potato pancakes that don’t fall apart is to remove the excess moisture from the potatoes prior to adding the other ingredients. If your potato pancakes fall apart, it’s likely because there was too much moisture so that’s a step you don’t want to skip!

Every time I make these potato pancakes I’m transported back to fun-filled days at Aunt Lillian’s house and I hope you will create your own memories with this classic recipe as well!

potato cake ingredients in bowls and cups

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Potatoes – You’ll want to peel the potatoes before grating them.
  • Eggs – the glue that holds it all together.
  • Onion – A medium onion adds flavor to the potato pancakes
  • Flour – Helps thicken the mixture and holds it all together.
  • Salt & pepper – For flavour.
  • Baking powder – These are thin potato pancakes so just a pinch of baking powder is used.
  • Vegetable oil – You can also use canola or similar oil for frying. 

How to Make Polish Potato Pancakes

Grate potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Add some water just to cover the potatoes so that they don’t brown while you are grating the rest. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the liquid from the potatoes and onion separate and rise to the top. Remove the liquid and then pat the potatoes and onions dry to remove any excess water.  This helps them crisp up in the pan.

Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Add the flour to thicken the mixture up and bind the eggs and potatoes together.  The mixture will still be thin.

frying potato cakes in a frying pan

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Oil in the pan should be about 1/4″ deep. I like to test for when the oil is hot enough by putting a small pinch of flour in the pan.  If it sizzles the oil is ready to go.

Drop heaping tablespoons full of the potato mixture into the heated oil and using a spoon coax it to form a small 3″ circle. Fry until the bottom is brown before flipping otherwise the bottom will stick and it won’t flip well. Once the bottom is browned gently flip the potato patty and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown. 

fried potato cakes on a paper towel

Remove from the pan when done and place on paper towels to drain. Lightly salt them when they come out but don’t overdo it. Continue the process until all of the potato mixture is used.

Top them with sour cream, apple sauce or powdered sugar.

When to Serve Fried Potato pancakes

There are several ways to serve fried potato pancakes. You can enjoy them as a meal (popular during Lent) or as a side dish. Fried potato pancakes are also known by those who are Jewish as Latkes. Latkes are generally consumed on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil lasting eight days in the story of the event Hanukkah commemorates, the rededication of the Holy Temple.

These are the traditional times of the year when you most often see potato pancake recipes served which are tied to religious holidays. Honestly, though it is an absolute shame to only indulge in these a few times a year. They can absolutely be enjoyed all year round as a simple appetizer, side dish or snack.

overhead view of potato cakes on a plate with sour cream dip

How do you Store & Freeze potato pancakes?

While fried potato pancakes are at their absolute best fresh from the pan, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the microwave but I find baking them or tossing them in the air fryer for a few minutes is best to crips them up again.


You can also freeze these Polish potato pancakes for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven for the best, crispiest results. 

What are the best potatoes for potato pancakes?

Russet and Yukon potatoes are typically the best for making fried potato pancakes. It’s better to use a larger baking potato than small or baby potatoes, as they often soften quickly. You want a potato that will stay soft and firm throughout the cooking process. But, don’t give it too much thought – any regular-sized potato you find at the grocery store should work fine!

close up view of a fried potato cake

Recipes That Would Go well With Potato Pancakes

A plate of authentic potato pancakes topped with sour cream

Aunt Lillian’s Polish Potato Pancakes

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
With just a few ingredients, you can make these authentic Polish Potato Pancakes which are prefect for dipping in applesauce or sour cream!
4.67 from 15 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Jewish, Polish
Servings 22 pancakes
Calories 142 kcal

Equipment

  • Stove
  • Large pan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Grater
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Paper towels

Ingredients
  

  • 6 medium potatoes peeled; grated
  • 1 medium onion peeled; grated
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Grate potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Add some water just to cover the potatoes so that they don't brown while you are grating the rest. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the liquid from the potatoes and onion separate and rise to the top. Remove the liquid and then pat the potatoes and onions dry to remove any excess water.  This helps them crisp up in the pan.
  • Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder. Add the flour to thicken the mixture up and bind the eggs and potatoes together.  The mixture will still be thin.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Oil in the pan should be about 1/4" deep. I like to test by putting a small pinch of flour in the pan when I think it is hot enough.  If it sizzles the oil is ready to go.
  • Drop heaping tablespoons full of the potato mixture into the heated oil and using a spoon coax it to form a small 3" circle. Fry until the bottom is brown before flipping otherwise the bottom will stick and it won't flip well. Once the bottom is brown gently flip the potato patty and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown. 
  • Remove from the pan when done and place on paper towels to drain. Continue until all the batter is used. Serve hot with sour cream, apple sauce or powdered sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pancakeCalories: 142kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 271mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1g

Notes

Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Reheating in the oven or air fryer is best to crisp them up again but you can also microwave them as well.
 
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe

If you Liked This Recipe You May Also Enjoy…

Pin It For Later!

promo graphic for polish potato cakes

Similar Posts

7 Comments

  1. Oh wow! These look so delicious and inviting.. can’t wait to try these it… adding ingredients to my shopping list

  2. 5 stars
    I just love potato pankcakes but I had never made them at home until I found your recipe. These were a hit in my house and we will definitely be making them again!

  3. 5 stars
    Love potato in any form. This sounds so delicious. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating