Golden German Potato Pancakes: Crispy, Savory Delights Perfect for Any Occasion!
Reibekuchen, also known as Kartoffelpuffer or potato pancakes, are a beloved German dish that are enjoyed around the world. These crispy, golden-brown pancakes are made from grated potatoes, onion, egg, flour, and spices, and are often served with a dollop of sour cream, applesauce, or other toppings.
Reibekuchen are a popular street food in Germany, especially during the winter months when they are often sold at Christmas markets and other outdoor events. They are also a traditional dish served on the first day of Advent, and are often enjoyed as a festive treat during the holiday season.
To make Reibekuchen, grated potatoes and onion are mixed with egg, flour, salt, and pepper to form a batter. The batter is then fried in hot oil until it is crispy and golden brown. The resulting potato pancakes are savory and satisfying, with a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.
In addition to being delicious, Reibekuchen are also relatively easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment, you can whip up a batch of these tasty pancakes in no time. They are also highly customizable, with many different variations and toppings to suit your tastes.
Some popular variations of Reibekuchen include adding grated carrots or zucchini to the batter, or incorporating different herbs and spices for added flavor. Toppings can range from classic sour cream and applesauce to more unconventional options like smoked salmon, or caviar.
How to Make Potato Pancakes
When it comes to making the perfect potato pancakes, a few key tips and tricks can make all the difference. From selecting the right potatoes to achieving the perfect crispiness, these pointers will help you master the art of potato pancake-making in no time.
- Choose the right potatoes: Russet potatoes are ideal for potato pancakes due to their high starch content, which helps to bind the ingredients together and achieve a crispy texture. If you can’t find russets, you can also use other starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or Idaho potatoes.
- Remove excess moisture: After grating the potatoes and onion, be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Excess moisture can lead to soggy, limp pancakes. Use a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth to wring out the grated mixture before combining it with the other ingredients.
- Use cold potatoes: Refrigerating the grated potatoes for about 30 minutes before mixing them with the other ingredients can help maintain a crispy texture. Cold potatoes release less moisture during cooking, preventing sogginess.
- Add a starch binder: All-purpose flour is a common binder in potato pancakes, but you can also use potato starch or matzo meal for a gluten-free option. These binders help hold the pancakes together and contribute to their crispy exterior.
- Season well: Don’t be afraid to season your potato pancake batter with salt, pepper, and any additional spices or herbs that you like. Good seasoning will enhance the overall flavor of the pancakes.
- Use the right oil: For frying potato pancakes, choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or even schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). These oils can withstand high heat without breaking down, ensuring even and crispy frying.
- Keep the pancakes warm: If you’re making a large batch of potato pancakes, keep them warm in a low oven (around 200°F or 93°C) on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. This will help maintain their crispiness while you finish frying the rest.
What to Do when your Potato Pancakes are Soggy?
If you find that your traditional German potato pancakes are getting soggy rather than crispy, it’s likely because your skillet and oil are not hot enough. The pancakes should sizzle when they hit the pan. Also, do not overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many pancakes at once. Work in batches. If you put too many pancakes in the skillet at the same time, it brings down the temperature of the oil and the pancakes tend to steam rather than fry.
Finally, remove as much moisture as possible from the potatoes before frying. The extra step of straining off the liquid creates crispy potato pancakes every time!
What To Serve With Traditional German Potato Pancakes?
You can eat these just as they are, but it’s nice to offer at least one (ideally more!) thing along with them. I usually opt for traditional accompaniments, like:
- Sour cream
- Smoked Salmon
Preparations and Storage Tips
- Prep ahead! To prepare the potato pancake mixture in advance, grate the potatoes ahead of time and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Don’t worry if the potatoes discolor a bit — you’ll have crispy, golden brown potatoes at the end!
- You can cook the potato pancakes in advance, drain them on paper towels, let them cool completely, and then wrap tightly and store in a single layer in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Be aware that leftover, reheated potato pancakes can be a bit heavier than fresh-from-the-skillet pancakes, so cooking at the last minute is always my preference. That said, it’s not necessarily convenient, and that’s when reheating comes in handy!
- Cooked potato pancakes will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. To freeze, cool the pancakes completely, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, transfer the pancakes to a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag or other airtight container.
Whether you are looking for a festive holiday treat or a simple and satisfying comfort food, Reibekuchen are a must-try dish. With their crispy texture, savory flavor, and endless possibilities for customization, these beloved German pancakes are sure to become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire.
Traditional German Potato Pancakes - Rheinische Reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer
- 1 Box Grater
- 1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes all purpose potatoes
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1 dash Nutmeg
- 1 large Egg
- 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 small Yellow Onion finely chopped, optional
- Frying Oil
- Sour Cream or Apple Sauce optional for serving
- Wash and peel the Potatoes. If you prepare the potatoes ahead of time, put them in a bowl of water to avoid oxidation.1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Coarse grate the potatoes with your box grater. Transfer your grated potatoes on a kitchen or paper towel and get as much liquid out as possible.
- Add the egg and flour to the grated potatoes. Season the potato mixture with salt & pepper and nut meg. You can add finely chopped onions (optional). Mix together¼ tsp. Salt, Pepper, 1 dash Nutmeg, 1 large Egg, 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- Heat up your oven to 350 degree. Heat up the frying oil in a non stick pan. Transfer ¼ cup of the grated potato mixture to the hot skillet. You can use a serving ring for a more even look.
- Fry each pancake for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain excessive oil on a paper towel and move the golden brown pancakes to a baking rack to finish cooking in the oven. You'll need to work in batches so that you don't over-crowd the pan.
- Serve the hot potato pancakes with sour cream or apple sauce like in my home town.