Potthucke is a traditional recipe from the Sauerland region of Westphalia, a part of northwestern Germany where I live.
This savory cake was originally considered poor man’s fare – it’s a simple potato-based dish made with just a few basic, inexpensive ingredients.
Potthucke has become a popular dish in local specialty restaurants and at festivals, as well as one that appears often on dinner tables at home, with different variations, presentations, and family traditions contributing unique twists.
I remember when my town held a Potthucke festival back in 1997! Everyone was invited to stop by and have a slice of this local specialty.
The name of this celebrated recipe is inspired by its baking method. The German “Potthucke” translates to “sitting in a pot” in English, and earlier methods commonly used for preparing Potthucke involved slowly baking the batter in a pot for several hours over low heat in a wood-burning oven.
You won’t need to wait as long to enjoy a slice now with an electric or gas stove, though you’ll still need to dedicate about an hour to baking.
The filling is a savory combination of mashed and shredded russet potatoes combined with chopped crispy bacon, lightly sauteed onions, eggs, and cream.
After it’s baked to form a solid loaf, Potthucke can be cut into slices and served as is. You can also lightly pan sear the slices in butter for a crispier crust.
You don’t have to wait for a special occasion or for the festival to come to town to give his easy German recipe a try – make it now to serve as part of a hearty dinner.Print
Made with mashed and shredded potatoes, bacon, onions, cream, and eggs, German Potthucke is a savory baked loaf you can serve as a starchy side.
- 3–4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and placed in cold water (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 medium white onions, diced small (about 1 pound)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped (about 4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1/2 tablespoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan, and grease the paper.
- Add half of the potatoes to the pot and boil until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool slightly before mashing them with a potato masher or a potato ricer in a large mixing bowl.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Cook the onions in the same skillet with the rendered bacon fat until soft and translucent, for 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside in the pan to cool slightly.
- Coarsely grate the remaining potatoes. Place the grated potatoes in a towel and squeeze tightly to remove any excess water.
- Immediately add the grated potatoes, onions, bacon, cream, eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg to the large bowl with the mashed potatoes. Using a sturdy spoon, stir until the ingredients are mixed well and a thick batter forms.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until fluffy and golden brown on top. The center should be solid and the cake will not jiggle when you gently shake the pan.
- Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Let cool for about 30 minutes to finish setting before removing from the pan and cutting into thick slices for frying or serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Category: Potatoes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: potato, bacon, potthucke, german, onion
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Fill a medium pot with water and liberally season it with salt for boiling the potatoes. It just needs to be big enough to cover the potatoes with about 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop as you continue your prep.
Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan. The excess paper hanging over the edge will help you lift the baked loaf from the pan, and this will also help with easy cleanup.
Peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler and place them in a bowl full of very cold water – this will keep them from browning.
Chop 4 slices of bacon into small pieces.
Crack 4 eggs into a small bowl. Lightly beat them with a whisk.
Step 2 – Boil and Mash Half of the Potatoes
Carefully place half of the potatoes in the boiling water. If you have 3 potatoes, this would be 1 1/2 potatoes. You can also slice the potatoes into large pieces to speed the cooking process.
Boil them until they are very soft and tender when pierced with a fork or knife. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain in a colander and allow them to cool slightly in a large mixing bowl. You’ll use this bowl to mix all of the ingredients together to make the batter.
Mash with a potato masher or use a potato ricer to create a smooth mixture without any large lumps.
Step 3 – Cook the Bacon
While the potatoes are boiling, continue preparing the other ingredients that require cooking.
Place the chopped bacon in a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon, moving the pieces around as needed to prevent burning, until they are evenly cooked and crispy. This will take about 5 minutes.
Keep your eye on the pan – small pieces of bacon cook faster than whole slices.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the fat.
Leave the heat on medium and keep the pan on the stove – you’ll be using the rendered bacon fat to cook the onions in the next step.
Step 4 – Cook the Onions
Immediately add the chopped onions to the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. They should be slightly softened and translucent with some pieces just beginning to take on a little brown color.
Set aside in the pan to cool slightly.
Step 5 – Grate the Remaining Potatoes
Grated potatoes will release quite a bit of water. To remove the excess, place them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out the liquid into the sink or bowl they were soaking in.
Step 6 – Combine Ingredients
Working quickly so the shredded potatoes won’t oxidize and turn brown, place the shredded potatoes, bacon, onions, cream, eggs, and all of the seasonings that you measured out in the bowl with the mashed potatoes.
Use a sturdy spoon to mix everything together until a thick, uniform batter forms.
Step 7 – Bake
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and transfer the pan to the oven.
Bake until the cake is fluffy and golden brown on top – it should be dry and solid, and it shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pain. This will take about 50 to 60 minutes.
If the center isn’t cooked, continue baking in 5-minute increments and check again.
Step 8 – Cool and Serve
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Because the structure of the loaf is still going to be delicate directly out of the oven, it needs to set for about 30 minutes before you remove it from the pan.
Use the paper liner hanging over opposite sides of the pan to lift the loaf and place it on a clean cutting board.
Cut into thick slices with a chef’s knife, serve, and enjoy!
If you want to pan sear the slices, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large clean skillet until melted and slightly aromatic. Place two slices in the skillet and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Carefully flip and sear the other side for another 2 minutes.
Remove from the pan and serve immediately to enjoy the crispy crust!
Suggestions for Serving Potthucke
If you’re wondering how to incorporate Potthucke into your next dining plan, here are some quick ideas!
Similar to the way you might serve mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, or bread dumplings, you can choose to treat this recipe as a starchy side.
With its mild, savory flavor, it can be paired with so many homemade German foods.
For a hearty breakfast, serve over-easy eggs atop pan-seared slices – you’ll love dipping forkfuls of Potthucke into the runny yolks.
You can also serve this as an appetizer, cut into bite-size cubes and topped with applesauce or sour cream, with a little piece of crispy bacon and a few thyme leaves for garnish.
And for the perfect drink pairing, have a cold Kölsch with it, too!
How will you enjoy this rustic homemade potato dish? Don’t forget to leave us a message in the comment section below.
The savory and smoky qualities of the bacon add just the right amount of flavor and texture to this baked potato loaf – and it’s easy to incorporate this meaty ingredient in so many recipes. If you think everything is better with bacon, try these next:
- Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
- Flatbread with Salad and Warm Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing
- Juicy Bacon Cheddar Burgers
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 26, 2015. Last updated on November 20, 2022. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone
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 Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.