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Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

So you have a bunch of leftover mashed potatoes? Great! Let’s make the BEST Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes! With simple ingredients these potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes is one the the best ways to transform those leftover into a new fabulous meal!

Platter full of golden brown and crispy leftover mashed potato cakes garnished with parsley and next to sour cream.

Potato Cakes From Leftover Mashed Potatoes

I love transforming leftovers into new meals! I have been making mashed potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes for years but have yet to get them published here on the blog so I am super excited to be sharing them finally!

Mashed Potato pancakes are a simple and quick way to turn leftovers into a new meal. I tend to make these for lunch a lot after a meal with mashed potatoes!

This recipe uses typical binders like flour, egg, and cheese to hold the mashed potato cakes together. I like to pop in some fresh parsley into mine, it truly elevates with a pop of freshness and then to finish them off coating them in breadcrumbs for a fabulous crunch!

They are great served with sour cream or if it happens to be thanksgiving leftovers they are amazing with some leftover cranberry sauce!

Three golden brown mashed potato cakes staked on a plate next to a fork.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Leftover Mashed Potatoes – Most any kind of leftover mashed potatoes should work here, with one exception, Instant Mashed Potatoes the boxed variety just won’t hold up. But whether you are using a traditional or flavored mashed potato as well as from Yukon Golds, Russets, or Reds they should all work. The biggest thing to note is how thick the mashed potatoes are to begin with, if your mashed potatoes are thin or more watery to begin with you might need to add more flour to keep everything together.
  • Egg – This is used as a binder to help keep the mashed potatoes cakes from falling apart.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese – I like the flavor of the cheddar cheese here but feel free to use any shredded cheese variety, I tested it with a shredded mozzarella as well and it turned out super good! My biggest advice with the cheese is buy a black and shred it yourself if possible, this will make it melt easier because it isn’t covered in anti caking powder like the pre-shredded cheese is.
  • All Purpose Flour – The flour is here to help form and keep the potato cake together. If in case you start mixing all the ingredients together and the mixture is just too wet and sticky still you will want to add more flour. Add 1 tablespoon more of flour in at a time and mix in. After a few extra tablespoons the mashed potato mixture should hold together better. Just be cautious about adding too much flour because that will affect the consistency and dry it out.
  • Fresh Parsley – Some other versions of mashed potato cakes may not use this but my husband and I agreed that it really adds a lot! That pop of freshness really shines through and helps even out the potato cakes. If you wanted to try a different fresh green instead I would suggest trying a finely sliced green onion!
  • Plain Breadcrumbs – I write this in the notes but I’ll touch on it here to you can really use whatever bread crumbs are your favorite. Panko will provide some extra crunch while an Italian breadcrumb will give the potato cakes extra flavor!
  • Olive Oil – I like pan frying these in olive oil for the flavor, since you are heating them on medium the pan doesn’t get too hot for Olive Oil since it has a lower smoke point, but you can use your favorite oil for frying I think avocado oil would work well here too.

For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.

Ingredients for leftover mashed potato cakes laid out on a tabletop.

Instructions for Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

Add your mashed potatoes, egg, cheddar cheese, flour, and parsley to a mixing bowl. Mix together to combine. Like stated above in the ingredients if you are having trouble with the mixture being too wet and sticky add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a better consistency, the mixture should be somewhat wet and will have a slight stickiness but you also don’t want it falling apart.

Collage of the ingredient for leftover mashed potato cakes in a bowl and then all mixed up.

Using a ¼ cup measuring cup scoop up the mashed potato mixture and form into a ball. Repeat until all the mashed potato mixture has been formed into a ball. You should be able to make about 8.

Balls of leftover mashed potato mixture laid on a white plate.

Add the breadcrumbs to a small bowl. One at a time lightly press a mashed potato ball into the bread crumbs to form a small cake and coat it in the breadcrumbs, flip to coat both sides. Repeat until all the mashed potato cakes have been formed. 

Collage of making leftover mashed potato cakes showing a ball in the bread crumbs and is gently pressed into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and wait until the oil is hot, it should be shimmering and if you were to add a drop of water it would sizzle. 

In batches of 2 or 3 add the mashed potatoes cakes to the oil, make sure they are not touching each other. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the bottom has turned golden brown. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. In between batches add another tablespoon of the oil if needed. Place done leftover mashed potato cakes on a paper towel lined plate to drain any extra oil before serving. Serve with sour cream or your favorite sauce.

Collage showing breaded uncooked mashed potatoes cakes on a plate and of golden brown cooked mashed potatoes on a skillet.

Tips, Tricks, and Questions

  • Feel free to sub out the cheese and breadcrumbs for different flavors and varieties such as mozzerella cheese or Italian breadcrumbs!
  • Note, I assume the mashed potatoes being used are seasoned properly with salt so I didn’t add any to this recipe. If for some reason you are using unseasoned mashed potatoes I would recommened adding a pinch of salt.
  • These do not work well as a make ahead dish, it will cause the breadcrumbs to get too wet and they won’t get crispy.
  • These mashed potato cakes cook really fast and are somewhat delicate so cooking works best on a lightweight pan like aluminum. It won’t work as well on a cast iron because the pan might get too hot.

Why do my mashed potato cakes fall apart?

If they are falling apart because they are too ‘squishy’ or ‘wet’ it might not have enough flour. Troubleshoot this by adding more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a better consistency, the mixture should be somewhat wet and will have a slight stickiness but you also don’t want it falling apart. If you end up adding too much flour though the cakes will dry out.

Why are my potato pancakes soggy?

Your skillet and oil probably wasn’t hot enough. Make sure you give the pan and oil time to truly be hot. The best way to test this is by putting a drop of water on your finger and from a safe distance dropping it in the pan. If the water sizzles right away you should be good, if not wait longer.

Also check the heat on your stovetop you will most likely want it on medium heat.

Overhead view of a large white platter filled with leftover mashed potato cake garnished with parsley and a small bowl of sour cream.

Need to make some mashed potatoes? Use one of my recipes:

If you liked these Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes then you might like these leftover recipes too:

Three golden brown mashed potato cakes staked on a plate next to a fork.

Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

The BEST thing to do with all of your leftover mashes poatoes... make Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes! With just a handful of simple ingredients this fun meal comes together in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add mashed potatoes, egg, cheddar cheese, flour, and parsley to a mixing bowl. Mix together to combine.
  2. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup scoop up the mashed potato mixture and form into a ball. Repeat until all the mashed potato mixture has been formed into a ball.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs to a small bowl. One at a time lightly press a mashed potato ball into the bread crumbs to form a small cake and coat it in the breadcrumbs, make sure you coat both sides. Repeat until all the mashed potato cakes have been formed.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and wait until the oil is hot, it should be shimmering and if you were to add a drop of water it would sizzle.
  5. In batches of 2 or 3 add the mashed potatoes cakes to the oil. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the bottom has turned golden brown. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. In between batches add another tablespoon of the oil if needed. Place done leftover mashed potato cakes on a papertowel lined plate to drain any extra oil before serving. Serve with sour cream or your favorite sauce.

Notes

Boxed 'Instant' mashed potatoes will NOT work for this recipe.

Feel free to sub out the cheese and breadcrumbs for different flavors and varieties such as mozzerella cheese or Italian breadcrumbs!

Note, I assume the mashed potatoes being used are seasoned properly with salt so I didn't add any to this recipe. If for some reason you are using unseasoned mashed potatoes I would recommened adding a pinch of salt.

If the potato cakes are falling apart because they are too wet it might not have enough flour. Troubleshoot this by adding more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a better consistency, the mixture should be somewhat wet and will have a slight stickiness but you also don't want it falling apart. If you end up adding too much flour though the cakes will dry out.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 mashed potato cakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 559mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 10g

Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

Did you make this recipe?

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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