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    How to Make Pioneer Potato Cakes

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    How to Make Pioneer Potato Cakes

    Potatoes were a staple food for peasants from the countries of Eastern Europe, such as Austria, Germany, and Poland. Because potatoes were inexpensive and easy to store, they were used for many different meals, including potato pancakes. In times of scarcity, potato pancakes were calorie-dense and full of vitamins

    Over time, these pancakes also developed into the famous potato latkes that are eaten in celebration of Hannukah. 

    Potato pancakes have been around for a while, but they're not as popular as they were in the pioneer days. This is a shame because they’re still an inexpensive meal, and they make a delicious, nutritious, and inviting comfort food. The recipe is simple and straightforward, and you can adjust it to meet your needs. 

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    • 6 medium potatoes
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • ½  cup milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup flour
    • Shortening or canola oil 
    • Cornstarch (optional)
    Potato Cake Ingredients

    Directions to Make Potato Pancakes:

    1. Wash your potatoes. You can peel them if you like, but I left the skin on for extra nutrients. Cut out any starchy spots or eyes. 
    1. Prepare your cast iron skillet if you are using one. I like to preheat my cast iron with a bit of oil just to ensure it is well-seasoned. 
    Preheated Skillet With Oil
    1. Leave your skillet on very low heat and your shortening or oil. I used 1 cup of Crisco in my skillet. You can use more or less in order to get about ¼ inch of oil in the bottom of your pan. 
    Grating the Potatoes
    1. Grate the potatoes. I used a mandoline to grate mine, but I always use the safety holder to protect my fingers. The finer you grate the potatoes, the more uniform and pancake-like your latkes will be. 
    Bowl of Grated Potatoes
    1. Mix together your potatoes, salt, milk, eggs, and flour. Stir until they are well-blended. If the mixture is too soupy, you can add a little bit more flour or cornstarch. 
    Mixing the Ingredients
    1. Turn up the heat on your skillet so that your shortening melts. I turned my burner up to 7 – medium-high heat. You may need to keep your heat a little bit lower, especially if you aren’t using cast iron. 
    Heating the Ingredients
    1. Carefully spoon your pancake mix into the melted oil, so you don’t splash yourself. You can make them whatever size you like – I prefer to make them like a medium-sized pancake. 
    Potato Cakes Cooking in Pan
    1. Allow the pancake to brown on one side, and then flip it. Cook until both sides are a golden brown.
    Completed Potato Cakes
    1. Top your pancake with syrup, powdered sugar, or nothing at all. 
    Potato Cake Breakfast

    Tips for Better Pancakes 

    Keep your oil at a consistent temperature. When you spoon your pancake mix into the oil, it should sizzle but not pop. 

    Smaller and thinner cakes will cook faster and more evenly. 

    You can make your cakes more flavorful by grating onions, peppers, or even carrots or cheese and mixing them into the potato mixture. 

    Freeze potato pancakes individually. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes until they’re hot. 

    Potato Cakes

    Pioneer Potato Cakes

    Delicious cakes that were popular in the pioneer days.
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Course Breakfast
    Cuisine American
    Servings 8
    Calories 200 kcal


    • 6 Potatoes
    • 1/2 Cup Milk
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 Cup Flour
    • 2 tbsp Canola oil
    • 2 tsp Salt


    • Wash your potatoes.
    • Put oil in cast iron skillet and set to low heat.
      Preheated Cast Iron Skillet With Oil
    • Melt the Crisco in the skillet over low heat.
    • Grate the potatoes.
      Grating the Potatoes
    • Mix the potatoes, salt, milk, eggs, and flour in a bowl.
      Mixing the Ingredients
    • Increase skillet to medium-high heat.
    • Carefully spoon your pancake mix into the melted oil.
      Potato Cakes in Cooking Pan
    • Allow the pancake to brown on one side, and then flip it.
    • Remove from skillet and allow to cool.
      Completed Potato Cakes


    Serving: 8gCalories: 200kcal
    Keyword breakfast, pancakes, potato cakes, potatoes
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    Mashed Potato Variety 

    If you don’t have potatoes, you can make potato pancakes using leftover mashed potatoes or instant mashed potatoes. Adjust the recipe like this.


    • 4 cups mashed potatoes (leftover or instant) 
    • ½ cup flour 
    • 1 egg 

    Mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl. You can shape the cakes by hand or spoon batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. 

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