Potato cakes

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall / 02 March 2016

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares his recipe for using up leftover mashed potato by turning it into these delicious fluffy potato cakes.

Cooking time

30 minutes




  • 300–500g mashed potato or well-crushed roast potatoes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1–2 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1–2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Rapeseed or sunflower oil, for frying
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


These crisp and fluffy beauties are terrific for a cooked breakfast or brunch, either served plain (but well seasoned) or with a traditional selection of fried, poached or scrambled eggs, bacon, black pudding, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes etc. Alternatively, you can use them as a vehicle for even more leftovers, stirring veg, herbs, cheese and/or extra seasonings into the basic mixture.

In a bowl, mix together the potato, egg, flour and milk – the amount of flour and milk you should add will depend on the amount of mash. It needs to be a fairly thick dough, so you may not need any milk at all, especially if the mash is quite soft to start with.

Season the mixture well with salt and pepper and stir in any extra ingredients that you would like to add (see tips and swaps, below).

Using lightly floured hands, form the mixture into potato cakes, about 2cm thick and 7cm in diameter.

You’ll need to cook the potato cakes in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Heat a thin film of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 3 or 4 cakes and fry for 3–5 minutes each side, until crisp and golden brown.

Drain the potato cakes on kitchen paper and keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the rest.

Delicious with bacon and indeed any – or all – of your favourite breakfast components.

Tips and swaps

Add any of the following to the potato mix for extra flavour:

  • Herbs, such as chopped parsley, chives, soft thyme, lovage or chervil.
  • Sliced spring onions, finely diced shallots, or sautéed chopped onions and/or leeks.
  • A little finely chopped garlic.
  • Good pinch of English mustard powder.
  • Handful of grated cheese.
  • Some crumbled leftover cooked bacon, or even sausage, haggis or black pudding. Or try a few bits of shredded ham.

Extract taken from River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury, £20) Photography © Simon Wheeler.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.