Waste Not, Want Not Potato Cakes

By Kayb
November 20, 2010
Waste Not, Want Not Potato Cakes

Author Notes:

My parents were children of the Depression. Couple that with the fact we were relatively poor (not poverty-stricken, but certainly not middle-class), and lived in the rural South, and you produced a family that didn't waste anything. This was my favored way of recycling leftover potatos, and I used to eye the dish when Mama would make stewed potatos (quartered, boiled, then the water thickened with a cornstarch-and-milk slurry to make a heavier sauce, with some parsley added) to be sure there were enough left to do this with the next night. It also worked on mashed potatos, and I have even used it with roasted potatos (you just have to mash up a few pieces, but the crispy-chewy outside lends a neat texture note). It's still one of the ultimate comfort foods for me, and I never boil or mash potatos that I don't cook some extra for this.


Serves: 4


  • 2 cups leftover stewed, boiled, mashed or roasted potatos
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk, approximately
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
In This Recipe


  1. In a bowl, mash up a few of the potatos, if using boiled or roasted. Add flour, green onions, baking powder, salt and pepper, and beaten egg.
  2. Stir to distribute flour, and begin adding milk, a bit at a time, until a good thick batter consistency is reached.
  3. Scoop in about 1/2 cup portions into hot oil. Fry about 3-4 minutes, until golden, flip, and brown that side. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm in oven on a rack until ready to serve.
  4. If you want to fancy up the presentation, sprinkle with some freshly grated parmigiano and some chopped chives, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Green Onion/Scallion|Milk/Cream|Potato|Fry|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Vegetarian|Snack|Side|Appetizer

Reviews (3) Questions (0)

3 Reviews

testkitchenette November 21, 2010
I love your story! My grandparents made a point of telling all their grandkids what they did without during the Depression and many of our favorite recipes are from that period. Thanks for contributing a great recipe!
vvvanessa November 21, 2010
mashed potato cakes are high on my list of comfort foods, too! thanks for reminding me i need to make these. i'll definitely try your version.
hardlikearmour November 21, 2010
I am making the yukon gold fennel puree from bon appetit (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Yukon-Gold-and-Fennel-Puree-with-Rosemary-Butter-350476) for TG dinner. If there is any left over I'm going to use this recipe. I think it'll be ridiculous!