Appalachian Potato Cakes with Cheese





  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional add-ins: chopped green onions, diced cooked bacon, diced ham, cooked and crumbled sausage, or any other ingredients of your choice
  • Oil for frying
  • Sour cream, green onions, syrup, and butter for serving


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the leftover mashed potatoes, egg, and flour. Mix well until the mixture is smooth and holds together. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour; if it’s too dry, add another egg.
  2. Fold in the shredded cheese and any optional add-ins you desire, such as chopped green onions, cooked bacon, or diced ham. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. You’ll need enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet generously.
  4. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture and shape it into a patty with your hands. Place the patty into the hot oil carefully. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet.
  5. Fry the potato cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crispy. Use a spatula to flip them halfway through cooking.
  6. Once the potato cakes are cooked through and crispy on both sides, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  7. Serve the potato cakes warm with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped green onions on top. Alternatively, you can serve them with syrup and butter for a sweet twist. Enjoy your delicious and versatile Appalachian Potato Cakes with Cheese!

Here are some helpful tips to make your Appalachian Potato Cakes with Cheese even more delightful:

  1. Use Cold Mashed Potatoes: If your leftover mashed potatoes are warm or room temperature, consider chilling them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before making the potato cakes. Cold mashed potatoes hold their shape better and are easier to work with.
  2. Experiment with Cheese: While cheddar cheese is a classic choice, don’t hesitate to experiment with other types of cheese like Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or even blue cheese for a unique flavor profile.
  3. Add Texture: Enhance the texture of your potato cakes by mixing in crispy bacon bits, diced ham, or sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms. These add-ins not only provide extra flavor but also a satisfying crunch.
  4. Season Generously: Don’t skimp on the seasoning. Potatoes can handle a good amount of salt and pepper, so be sure to season your potato mixture well to enhance its flavor.
  5. Shape Uniformly: To ensure even cooking, try to shape your potato cakes into uniform patties. This will help them cook at the same rate and achieve a consistent golden brown color.
  6. Control Oil Temperature: Maintain a consistent oil temperature while frying the potato cakes. If the oil is too hot, the cakes may brown too quickly on the outside while remaining undercooked inside. If it’s too cold, the cakes may absorb too much oil and become greasy. Aim for a medium heat setting on your stove.
  7. Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the cooked potato cakes on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. This step helps keep the potato cakes crispy and prevents them from becoming soggy.
  8. Serve with Dipping Sauces: Elevate your potato cakes by serving them with a variety of dipping sauces such as garlic aioli, spicy ketchup, or ranch dressing. These sauces complement the flavors of the potato cakes and add an extra layer of deliciousness.
  9. Get Creative with Toppings: Besides sour cream and green onions, consider topping your potato cakes with salsa, guacamole, crumbled bacon, or a drizzle of hot sauce for a flavor-packed experience.
  10. Make Ahead: You can prepare the potato mixture in advance and refrigerate it until ready to fry. This is a great time-saving tip for busy days or when entertaining guests. Just shape and fry the potato cakes when you’re ready to serve.

Here are some secrets to make them turn out just right:

  1. Use Russet Potatoes: Russet potatoes are high in starch content, which helps bind the ingredients together and create a fluffy interior while achieving a crispy exterior when fried.
  2. Don’t Overmix: When combining the mashed potatoes, egg, flour, and cheese, mix just until everything is evenly incorporated. Overmixing can result in a dense texture rather than a light and fluffy one.
  3. Preheat the Oil: Make sure the oil is properly preheated before adding the potato cakes. This ensures that they start cooking immediately and form a crispy crust on the outside while remaining soft on the inside.
  4. Shape Carefully: Take your time shaping the potato cakes into uniform patties. Press them firmly together to prevent them from falling apart during frying. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more flour to help bind it together.
  5. Use a Non-Stick Skillet or Cast Iron Pan: Non-stick skillets or well-seasoned cast iron pans work best for frying potato cakes as they require less oil and help prevent sticking. Plus, they distribute heat evenly for consistent cooking.
  6. Fry in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the skillet, as this can cause the temperature of the oil to drop and result in soggy potato cakes. Fry the cakes in batches, giving them enough space to cook evenly.
  7. Flip Once: Resist the urge to flip the potato cakes multiple times while frying. Let them cook undisturbed for a few minutes on each side until they develop a golden brown crust. Flipping them too often can cause them to break apart.
  8. Season Immediately: Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the potato cakes immediately after removing them from the oil. This helps the seasoning adhere to the hot surface and enhances the flavor of the cakes.
  9. Drain Excess Oil: Place the cooked potato cakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to allow any excess oil to drain off. This prevents them from becoming greasy and helps maintain their crispy texture.
  10. Serve Hot: Potato cakes are best enjoyed hot and fresh from the skillet. Serve them immediately with your favorite toppings and dipping sauces for maximum flavor and enjoyment.

Here are some popular questions and their answers related to Appalachian Potato Cakes with Cheese:

  1. What are Appalachian Potato Cakes?
    • Appalachian Potato Cakes are a traditional dish originating from the Appalachian region of the United States. They are made by combining leftover mashed potatoes with flour, egg, cheese, and sometimes additional ingredients, then frying them until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Can I use instant mashed potatoes for Appalachian Potato Cakes?
    • While you can use instant mashed potatoes, traditional leftover mashed potatoes typically yield better results in terms of flavor and texture. However, if you’re in a pinch, instant mashed potatoes can still be used to make potato cakes.
  3. What type of cheese is best for Appalachian Potato Cakes?
    • Cheddar cheese is a popular choice for Appalachian Potato Cakes due to its rich flavor and melting properties. However, you can also use other types of cheese such as mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack for a different flavor profile.
  4. Can I make Appalachian Potato Cakes ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the potato mixture for Appalachian Potato Cakes ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to fry. This is a convenient option for meal prep or entertaining guests. Simply shape and fry the potato cakes when you’re ready to serve.
  5. How do I prevent my potato cakes from falling apart during frying?
    • To prevent potato cakes from falling apart, make sure the mixture is well-combined and holds together before shaping them into patties. Additionally, adding a bit more flour or an extra egg can help bind the ingredients together.
  6. What are some suggested toppings for Appalachian Potato Cakes?
    • Traditional toppings for Appalachian Potato Cakes include sour cream, chopped green onions, and crispy bacon bits. However, you can get creative with toppings such as salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, or even a fried egg for a delicious twist.
  7. Can I freeze leftover potato cakes?
    • Yes, you can freeze leftover potato cakes for future use. Allow them to cool completely, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag, and they can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, simply fry them from frozen until heated through and crispy.