These crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside lovelies make from leftovers make magnificent use of mashed potatoes. So satisfying, you may catch yourself holding back on that extra spoonful of mashed potatoes at dinner just to ensure there’s enough left over. (Unprecedented, right?!)

If you love the idea of these but want to add some protein to them, try these ground lamb and potato patties.–Angie Zoobkoff

Old frying pan with two leftover mashed potato cakes being turned by a spatula.

Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

4.75 / 4 votes
Leftover mashed potato cakes are the answer to Post-Thanksgiving food glut in the fridge. Leftover mashed potatoes are formed into pucks, floured, dipped in egg, and coated with panko breadcrumbs. They’re then pan-fried to crisp, golden perfection.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories119 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes, well-seasoned (do not use freshly made mashed potatoes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups mild vegetable oil, for frying


  • Form the mashed potatoes into puck-shaped cakes about 1 inch (25 mm) thick and 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They should be roughly 2 ounces (55 g) each.
  • In a small bowl, make an egg wash by lightly beating the eggs and milk together.
  • Create an assembly line with a bowl of the flour, a bowl of the egg wash, and a bowl of the panko breadcrumbs. Working with 1 mashed potato cake at a time, first coat it in the flour, then dip it in the egg wash, and then dredge it in the panko breadcrumbs.
  • In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of at least 1/2 inch (12 mm) and warm the oil until it registers 350°F (180°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Add the cakes to the skillet, working in batches if necessary so as not to crowd them, and cook until lightly browned and heated through, about 1 minute per side.
  • Use a slotted spatula to transfer the mashed potato cakes to paper towels to drain. Devour immediately.
Waters Cookbook

Adapted From

Jon Bonnell’s Waters

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Serving: 1 cakeCalories: 119 kcalCarbohydrates: 21 gProtein: 5 gFat: 2 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 47 mgSodium: 119 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Jon Bonnell. Photo © 2014 Jody Horton. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

It’s always a good thing to have a creative way to use leftovers, and this recipe for leftover mashed potato cakes makes leftover mashed spuds as good as or better than the potatoes on the first day.

The mashed potatoes should be seasoned, but don’t worry about how. Whatever seasonings were sufficient for your mashed potatoes will carry over to these potato cakes. Mine happened to be leftover from a Peruvian dish and were seasoned with aji pepper paste. That worked just fine, and I’m sure if you have chives or other herbs, or just salt and pepper, that will be just fine as well.

I started with my potatoes cold from the refrigerator and shaped them into 2-ounce patties. With the oil at 350°F, it only took about a minute per side to fry them, and they got warm all the way through. Since I have to eat gluten-free, I used rice flour instead of all-purpose and homemade bread crumbs from gluten-free bread instead of panko. There were no issues at all with these substitutions.

It took over 15 minutes to get the oil up to 350°F, that’s the one place where I think the recipe is misleading. But if your potato cakes are 1-inch thick or less, you could get by with 1/2 inch of oil. The amount of oil will depend upon the size of the skillet, but in a 9-inch, straight-sided skillet, it will take a bit over 4 cups of oil to get one inch. That said, for 1-inch-thick cakes, you could use half that.

These leftover mashed potato cakes are more like croquettes (or Pommes Dauphines), which is to say, deep-fried, balls of mashed potatoes. The flavor is great and they’re easy to make.

The results may depend on your mashed potatoes, though. Mine were well-seasoned and buttered and tasted great the day before. So it’s not a surprise that the potato cakes would turn out so well. My biggest recommendation is that you like the mashed potatoes by themselves before trying to make this recipe.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made these this morning with leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving and they were so good! Honestly, just as good as potato croquettes I’ve eaten in restaurants.

    I salted the finished cakes as they came out of the pan, and I am glad I did – they needed that seasoning, since there wasn’t any in the dredging process.

    I put mine on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to drain and kept them in a 200-degree oven until serving, which helped them stay crunchy and hot. So good! I had them with bacon for brunch, but they’d be a great base on which to ladle something hearty and saucy, like a stew or beans.

  2. angie ~ is there any way to find out about the utensil in the top photo? it’s gorgeous! thanks, jude

    1. You’re right, Jude, it is gorgeous. I’ve never seen one like it but if any of our readers have an idea, we’d love to hear from you.