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German Potato Pancakes: History & Recipe

German Potato Pancakes: History & Recipe

German Potato Pancakes are a dish of fried potato patties or pancakes perfected by Dutch people around 1877 and made popular among Germans in about 1870. You can now find them all over Central Europe, commonly consumed as a sweet dessert.

This traditional German dish is very simple to make: potatoes, eggs, flour, and water are mixed together into a thick batter before being cooked on both sides. It can be served with apple sauce or as a side dish for any entree.

If you don’t have a waffle iron at home, you can easily make potato pancakes by using an oven or pan.

German Potato Pancakes

What are German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)?

German Potato Pancakes are a delicious side dish for international dishes such as schnitzel, sauerkraut & bratwurst. These crispy rounds of potato batter are pan-fried until golden on both sides.

The consistency is similar to that of thick pancakes with a delightfully crispy texture. Simultaneously they become fluffy in the middle and crisp at the edges!

History of German Potato Pancakes

The origin of these German Potato Pancakes is unknown. They were traditionally made in all regions of Germany and popularized from the 17th century onwards.

The earliest mention of Kartoffelpuffer in print is a passage from 1877 by Jenny von Eichborn. Around 1870, potato pancakes became known as Kartoffelpuffer, which along with its other name — “pancakes” or “American pancakes”—is now a synonym for this dish.

How to Make German Potato Pancakes

German Potato Pancakes can be made in many different ways. The following is one of the more popular methods:

Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and grated 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten salt to taste water as needed Vegetable oil for frying Pepper to taste garlic powder to taste brown or white sugar.

Method:

Mix together flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add grated potato (or leftover mashed potatoes) until mixed. Add boiling water gradually to make a thick batter. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop the batter into the hot oil with a tablespoon – ensuring that the pancakes do not touch each other. Flip and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil from cooking. Serve with apple sauce or as a side dish for any entree’ such as bratwurst.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, add chopped onions instead of grated potatoes and garlic powder. You can also make them with cooked, riced potatoes for a gluten-free version.

If you don’t like the taste of flour in your pancakes, add cornflour (cornstarch) or potato starch. Try mixing in finely chopped parsley, chives, or ketchup to the pancake batter.

See Related: Types of Wine in Germany

Can You Make German Potato Pancakes from Mashed Potatoes?

Yes! Here is how to make German potato pancakes from mashed potatoes:

Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and grated 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten salt to taste water as needed vegetable oil for frying Pepper to taste Garlic powder to taste Brown or white sugar

Method:

Mix together flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add grated/shredded potatoes (or leftover mashed potatoes) until mixed.

Add boiling water gradually to the potato mixture to make a thick batter. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop the batter into the hot oil with a tablespoon – ensuring that the pancakes do not touch each other.

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German Potato Pancakes Recipe

Servings: 1 batch

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups finely grated raw potatoes
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 tablespoon grated onions

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients and drop by tablespoon full onto a well-greased griddle or skillet.
  2. Bake for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat on both sides until golden brown.
  3. Make them thin.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

How To Serve It?

Kartoffelpuffers are best paired with sweet spices or sweet condiments, such as a little handmade bread made from minced cloves or fresh fruit. Other choices are:

  • Sour cream
  • Applesauce
  • Apple butter
  • Maple Syrup

Conclusion

The authentic German potato pancakes recipe is very simple and easy to make. It has common ingredients. The freshly made potato pancakes are a simple but great way to enjoy breakfast with any other dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are potato pancakes called in German?

Kartoffelpuffer. This is a direct translation of “pancakes.”

How Long Does it Take to Make German Potato Pancakes?

Approximately 5 minutes!

What Goes with German Potato Pancakes?

These crispy rounds of potato batter are perfect for making a German-style breakfast. Eat them with bacon, bratwurst or sausage, and sauerkraut!

How Many Calories Are in German Potato Pancakes?

Each serving contains about 400 calories.

How to make the Potato Pancake fluffier?

You can add some baking powder to the potato mixture.

What other ingredients can you add to the potato pancakes?

You can add finely chopped onions, garlic powder to the potato mixture. You can also make them with cooked and riced potatoes for a gluten-free version.

Where did Kartoffelpuffer originate from?

The potato pancake is a very common dish in Germany, where it’s known as Kartoffelpuffers. The earliest reference to these can be found from the 13th century, but there are several claims that the dish existed much earlier even since the 1500s.

Kartoffelpuffer was also served with monasteries during Lent as a substitute for pancakes.

Can Kartoffelpuffer be frozen?

Yes, they can! Once they have been cooked, allow them to cool completely before freezing in a sealed container or bag. They will last in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you are ready to eat them, simply reheat them in the oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes.

How Do You Reheat Kartoffelpuffer?

There are several ways to reheat Kartoffelpuffers:

Toaster Oven: To reheat them, cook at 375°F (190°C) for 5-10 minutes until they’re crisp and hot again.

Oven: This is probably the best way to reheat Puffer. Preheat oven at 375°F (190°C). Arrange puffed pancakes on a baking sheet and cook for 5-10 minutes until they are hot again.

Microwave: Place one or two Kartoffelpuffers on a plate, cover with a paper towel, and microwave on high for 30-90 seconds.

Stovetop: Heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the Puffer and cook until hot. You can also wrap these little Bundt cakes in aluminum foil, burrito-style, and leave them in the hot coals of a campfire to heat that way.

What is a good substitute for flour if I am gluten intolerant?

If you are gluten intolerant, you can try using rice flour as a substitute for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Arrowroot or tapioca starch, and potato starch could also be used.

What is the traditional side dish to serve with Kartoffelpuffer?

In Germany, Kartoffelpuffers are often served with applesauce, sour cream, or a sweet and sour sauce. You could also serve them with bacon, sausage, or ham. For a vegetarian option, try pairing them with sautéed mushrooms or onions.

What are German potato dumplings are they made the same as Kartoffelpuffer?

German potato dumplings are made by combining grated or mashed potatoes with flour, egg, and spices. The dumpling dough is rolled into a long cylinder, boiled in salted water for 10-15 minutes until cooked through, then served as a side dish to meat or gravy.

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