Kartoffelpuffer: German Potato Pancakes for Oktoberfest

Welcome to the world of delicious pan-fried grated potatoes, my friends.

These guys are golden and crispy on the outside, with a fluffy interior that melts in your mouth.

Vertical oblique overhead image of potato pancakes garnished with fresh chives and sour cream in the foreground, and applesauce and cinnamon in the background, arranged on two white plates to the right of small dishes of toppings, on a gray striped fabric background, printed with orange and white text in the top third and at the bottom of the frame.

If you haven’t heard of kartoffelpuffer, let me break it down for you. These German potato pancakes are a popular appetizer and street food that you commonly find on beer garden menus.

They are actually similar to latkes, but there’s no added baking soda or vegetable boiling involved.

Vertical overhead image of eight potato pancakes arranged on two white plates, half topped with sour cream and chives and the other half topped with applesauce, with two small dishes of these toppings to the left and right, on a striped gray, white, and black cloth with two square black plates and two forks, on a mottled gray surface.

Finely grated spuds create the classic texture of the kartoffelpuffer, and grated onion and egg are typically added to the mixture, along with some garlic.

Bacon and cheese are sometimes added as well, but I prefer the classic version that you’ll find here, which can be served up as a sweet or savory appetizer or a side dish paired with your choice of protein.

Vertical image of a German-style fried potato fritter topped with a dollop of sour cream and minced fresh chives, on a square black plate with a fork, with two small black bowls and two white serving plates containing more of the dish and the toppings in soft focus in the background, on a striped gray, white, and black cloth.

This is one of those magical German dishes that pairs perfectly with beer. No offense to pretzels and sausages, but I think this is the perfect recipe to pull out when you’re looking for something a little different.

Vertical overhead image of two black square plates and a white serving dish of potato pancakes topped with apple sauce and sour cream, with more of the toppings in small bowls to the right, on a black, white, and gray striped cloth with two forks.

Beloved all across Germany and beyond, not only is this a classic recipe that families cook at home, it’s one that is commonly found at German festivals and holiday markets as well.

Instead of making the trip across the ocean to celebrate Oktoberfest, you can enjoy it right at home with these pancakes alongside your favorite beer.

Vertical overhead image of one white plate of four potato pancakes topped with applesauce and cinnamon, and another plate of four kartoffelpuffer topped with sour cream and chives, on a gray surface with a striped black, white, and gray cloth, a short stack of black square dishes and several forks, and small bowls of additional garnishes.

I have a few tips to share for making this recipe. First, make sure that you finely grate the starchy vegetables and onion. It’s the fine grate rather than a more coarse shred that helps to make the interior super fluffy.

Second, make sure that you squeeze all the liquid from the potatoes. This does require a little effort, but by pressing all that liquid out before adding your fritters to the pan, you can ensure that you’ll get the best possible texture. You don’t want a soggy mess on your hands, after all.

Vertical oblique overhead image of potato pancakes arranged on two white plates, topped with sour cream and applesauce with small black bowls of the toppings to the left, on a black, gray, and white striped cloth.

Finally, when you are stirring together the mixture, you want to make sure it isn’t too wet. To get that tacky texture just right, you can simply add more flour in small doses before shaping and frying. This helps to keep the fritters from falling apart, resulting in a nice and crispy golden crust.

Vertical image of a forkful of golden brown potato pancake with sour cream and chives in the foreground, with more of the fritters arranged on plates in soft focus in the background, on a gray, black, and white striped cloth on a gray surface.

Make a batch of these, pour a few glasses of your favorite brew, and get the party started. Prost!

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Horizontal overhead image of German potato pancakes on a white serving dish and two small, square black plates, with two forks, and small dishes of sour cream and applesauce, on a black, gray, and white striped cloth.

Kartoffelpuffer German Potato Pancakes

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Oktoberfest is the time of year to raise a glass of beer and chow down on kartoffelpuffer, also known as German potato pancakes.


  • 2 1/2 lbs starchy potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold), peeled and very finely grated
  • 1 small yellow onion, very finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Sour cream and applesauce, for serving (optional)
  • Chives or cinnamon, for garnish (optional)


  1. Place grated potatoes in a colander or clean dish towel and press or wring out the liquid with your hands.
  2. Add to a medium bowl with the onion, eggs, garlic, flour, and salt. Stir until well-combined. If the mixture is too wet, add flour by the teaspoonful and stir until the mixture is tacky.
  3. Add about 3-4 tablespoons canola oil to a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ⅓- ½ cup scoops of the potato mixture to the pan. Flatten them into pancakes with the back of a spoon. You will need to work in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan.
  4. Fry about 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  5. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Oktoberfest
  • Method: Frying, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: kartoffelpuffer, German potato pancakes, fritters, potato

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Grate Potatoes and Onion, Mince Garlic, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Get out your vegetable peeler and your box grater, or attach the shredding disc to your food processor if it has a very fine grating option with small holes.

Peel and finely grate the potatoes. I ended up using three large Russet potatoes to make this recipe. Though red-skinned potatoes with a creamy texture are nice for something like potato salad, you want to be sure to use a starchy type for this recipe.

Peel and finely grate one small yellow onion.

Horizontal overhead image of small square and round glass bowls of salt, flour, minced garlic, and beaten egg, with three Russet potatoes and a yellow onion on a mottled dark and light blue surface.

Lightly beat two eggs in a small bowl.

Peel and mince two cloves of garlic, using a sharp knife or your garlic press.

Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Remove Liquid

Add the grated potatoes to a colander. Wring out as much liquid as possible with your hands. You can also use a clean dish towel to wring out the liquid.

Finely grated potato pulp in a stainless steel bowl, on a mottled dark and light blue surface.

The key is to wring out as much liquid as possible, since this will help to keep your fritters from falling apart in the pan when you fry them.

Step 3 – Make Mixture

Add the potatoes to a medium bowl with the onion, eggs, garlic, flour, and salt.

Overhead horizontal image of a stainless steel bowl of flour, salt, grated onion and potato, and beaten egg, on a mottled dark and light blue surface.

Stir until well-combined.

A mixture of grated potato and onion, egg, and flour in a stainless steel mixing bowl, on a dark and light blue sponge-painted surface.

If the mixture is too wet, add flour one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is tacky.

Step 4 – Fry

In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add 3-4 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the potato mixture in 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup scoops.

Flatten them into pancakes with the back of a spoon. Work in batches, making sure the pan doesn’t become overcrowded. I made about 4 at a time in my pan.

Fry on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy on both sides.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Serve immediately.

Super Satisfying Whether Sweet or Savory

For serving, you can either go sweet or savory, depending on your preference.

If you would prefer to serve them sweet, top them with applesauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

If savory is more your thing, top them with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped chives.

Horizontal overhead image of German potato pancakes on a white serving dish and two small, square black plates, with two forks, and small dishes of sour cream and applesauce, on a black, gray, and white striped cloth.

Need more Oktoberfest recipe inspiration? Here are some other dishes to make for your celebration:

What’s your favorite dish or beverage to pair with kartoffelpuffer? Tell us in the comments below. And once you try the recipe, be sure to come back and rate it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

8 thoughts on “Kartoffelpuffer: German Potato Pancakes for Oktoberfest”

  1. I have a question regarding these potato pancakes…do you know of a version just like this but also has oatmeal added to the potato mixture? My father is looking for a recipe that he used to order at a German restaurant 25+ years ago. He said that it had oats and shredded potatoes and was fried. If I were to try to add oats to this recipe, how much would you suggest I add? Should I remove some of the flour then?
    Thank you,

    • Yes, Brian, they definitely are in general. I am german native and have eaten lots of them all the year round. I was living in the north western part of Germany before I imigrated to Spain more than 25 years ago now. So they aren’t exclusively typical in the period of the famous Oktoberfest in the south of Germany. Depending on the area germans are living those Kartoffelpuffer are also called Reibekuchen although that doesn’t have anything to do with Kuchen (pie). I am used to each those Kartoffelpuffer with mashed apples. There are people who like mayonese or spiced fresh creamy cheese with it. This depends on the taste of those who like those delicious Kartoffelpuffer. My mouth is water right now. Yummy, yummy. ????

  2. Having German ancestors, this recipe has been in our family forever. I agree, they’re delicious!! Just to pass this along..I love ketchup on them!

    • I grew up with these as a child, light years ago. Mum was German, they are the best with good German lager, ending with a schnapps or 3. Glad it’s being shared.

  3. Disastrous, maybe was not able to get enough water out and therefore finished adding in too much flour. At any rate leaden and tough

    • We do recommend serving them immediately to enjoy them at their best quality. If you make them ahead of time and reheat them, the edges may not be as crispy as they would be when served soon after frying them. However, report back to us if you still try this method!


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