German Kartoffelpuffer Recipe

One of our favorite international foods, one we’ve had both in Germany and in German restaurants around the world, is a traditional German Kartoffelpuffer. Kartoffelpuffer is basically a potato pancake, and a very simple but delicious dish that’s great to pair with a protein as a dinner side, or eaten by itself as a light breakfast dish.

Potato pancakes are easy to make, and following just a few steps will have you feeling like your sitting in your favorite German restaurant in no time!

Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes)

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 6 people


  • 2 pounds potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 - 1 cup flour (use 1/2 cup flour with drier potatoes; up to 1 cup with more watery potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil


  • Grate potatoes and onion into a bowl. Add milk, then stir in flour, salt, and eggs. 
  • Mix well.
  • In a large, heavy skillet heat 1/2 inch frying oil until hot. 
  • Drop potato batter (1/4 cup per pancake) into skillet and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
  • Drain on a paper towel.
  • Serve with sides of Sour Cream and/or Apple Sauce

We include the sour cream and apple sauce really as options, because that’s what we’ve traditionally had served with potato pancakes both in the U.S. as well as in Germany. Consider it like a dipping sauce, and you can use any store-bought apple sauce or sour cream – nothing fancy.

If you’re going to use this as a side with a traditional German dinner dish, try it with a classic German schnitzel in the place of any other type of potato dish (normally cubed and boiled potatoes). Make sure to fry your kartoffelpuffer until they’re perfectly nice and brown, with some firm crisp on the outside.

How can you screw this dish up? Well, two ways. First, don’t drop the potato batter into the grease until it’s nice and hot! When you dip food into frying grease that isn’t properly heated, it soaks into the food instead of frying it, creating a soggy final product that is mushy and doesn’t hold together instead of one that is crispy. This is even truer when using potatoes for a recipe.

Secondly, control your heat. If you cook kartoffelpuffer on high, you run the chance of finishing with a dry hockey puck at the end. If you cook it too slowly, the oil will never get as hot as you want, causing you to mistakenly dropping the product into luke-warm oil. Keep it on medium, and don’t cook your kartoffelpuffer until you see bubbles forming in the oil – that means you’re ready to go!

Enjoy, and let us know how your German Potato Pancakes turn out!

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