Recipe By Chef John
Published Feb 21st
Instant Potato Pancakes
Prep 10m Cook 20m Additional - Ready In 30m
Servings 4 servings Calories 135.2

These crispy, crusty, delicious potato pancakes are nothing more than cold instant mashed potatoes shaped into patties and browned in butter. A sprinkle of chives adds color and flavor.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup dry potato flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup sour cream for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, divided

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Whisk together water, egg and salt in a large bowl until salt has dissolved. Stir in dry potato flakes until incorporated. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped chives; season with black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  2. 2 Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan to combine.
  3. 3 Divide potato mixture into four equal portions and shape into pancakes. Place the pancakes in the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook until a well-browned crust has formed onto the bottom of the pancakes, about 10 minutes. Flip each pancake and flatten slightly. Cook until other sides are browned, 7 to 8 more minutes.
  4. 4 Transfer to plate; top each pancake with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon chives.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 135.2
  • Carbohydrate 8.3 g
  • Cholesterol 54.9 mg
  • Fat 10.5 g
  • Fiber 0.7 g
  • Protein 2.7 g
  • Saturated Fat 4.6 g
  • Sodium 345.5 mg
  • Sugar 0.4 g


  1. After reading the reviews I made a few simple changes. Per suggestions I used the entire small package of Idohoan instant (= one cup) with the cold water. I prefer this brand to others. Some instants are gluey so the brand of potatoes used will result in a different texture. I added dried chives to - Read more ...
  2. This is so much like the Potato Pancakes that my elderly Dad loves so much. He likes his with sour cream and applesauce. Makes his eyes light up every time I make this for him. Thanks so much for sharing. I also used A 1 to 1 ratio of potato flakes to water.
  3. Simple recipe for potato cakes. You have to let the water absorb into the potatoes first. Divide the mixture up, roll into small balls, then shape the pancakes with your hands.
  4. I used 1 cup of left over mashed potatoes in place of the water and flakes and the recipe worked great
  5. thanks my children them love.I add crushed garlic and sliced bacon. best recipe!
  6. I just made these for breakfast with asparagus. Was delicious. I just added more potato flakes to already mixed portion. Not a big deal. Different brands make thicker potatoes. I used the little babies off my scallions for the chives - same difference. Will make this a whole lot more. It was very easy and - Read more ...
  7. These are fine for what they are.... Instant Potatoes. I would suggest making 8 small pancakes instead of 4 medium sized one. The crispy edges are what make them good - small ones would leave you with more crispiness.
  8. Delicious. I was trying to duplicate the recipe we had at a German Restaurant. This is pretty close. The ratio of water to potatoes is off though. Add more potatoes until it's a thick consistency. I added shredded cheddar cheese on top at the end and melted it in addition to adding sour cream. Yum! - Read more ...
  9. I wish someone else had tried these to see what changes had to be made. The ratio of water to flakes is too great. These were runny. The pan doesn't need to be so hot my butter/oil mix burned. I would omit the salt and add some grated cheese to help bind it and for - Read more ...