Why Do My Mashed Potato Cakes Fall Apart? (Solved)

My husband loves mashed potatoes.  So of course we have them quite frequently. And even now with the kids gone I still have leftovers. I haven’t quite mastered cooking for just two:)  A great way to use up those leftovers is to make potato cakes.  When it comes to mashed potato cakes, you need to have the correct ratio when it comes to ingredients  or you will be asking yourself “Why do my mashed potato cakes fall apart?”

mashed potato cakes fall apart
The mixture is too wet

Why Do My Mashed Potato Cakes Fall Apart

Your batter may be too wet. This is where the correct ratio of ingredients comes in.  Too much egg and not enough flour the wetter the batter will be.  Also important is to make sure that your potatoes are cold.  The warmer they are the harder it will be to get them to stick together. I avoid shaping them with my hands because the heat of my hands warms the potato mixture. Also, you need to make sure that your pan is hot enough before adding the batter so that you get that sear on them, making them easier to turn, therefore helping to keep them from falling apart as well. 


Eggs are the binder or glue that helps to keep your potato cakes together but too many eggs are like using too much glue.  If you use too much glue the surface is too wet and nothing is going to stick.  This is where the flour comes in.  It helps to keep the mixture from being too wet.


The addition of flour helps to keep the mixture the right consistency and not too wet. .  But too much flour will make your mixture too thick and make your potato cakes dense and taste floury.  You want your potato cake mixture to be the consistency of cookie dough.  

A good ratio is 1 1/2 – 2 cups cold mashed potatoes, 1 large egg, and about 2 tablespoons of flour to start.  Always start with less flour.  You can always add more as needed.  Much easier than removing flour.

Pan Temperature

Using medium to medium-high heat, heat your pan for several minutes before adding your mashed potato cakes.  Even though I use a nonstick pan, I add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan and make sure this is good and hot before you add your mashed potato mixture. If your pan is not hot enough you are going to get a soggy mess. And potato cakes that are going to fall apart when you turn them.

 When your pan is hot enough just drop your mashed potato mixture from a large spoon and gently press them down on top. Cook until browned, this usually takes about 3-4 minutes, and then turn and brown the other side. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. 

Latkes Vs Potato Cakes

Latkes are made with raw potatoes, eggs, baking powder, matzo meal, and sometimes milk.  On the other hand, potato cakes are made with either raw or cooked mashed potatoes and eggs, and flour. Then there are hashbrowns which are just browned potatoes that are either, shredded, grated, or in small cubes.

Latkes are usually made during Hanukka and are typically served with applesauce. Potato cakes or more specifically mashed potatoes cakes are made whenever you have leftover mashed potatoes.  In fact, many times I have made extra mashed potatoes just so I can make mashed potato cakes the next day.

Mashed potato cakes typically have egg and flour in them but why not get adventurous?  Add some sauteed onion, cheese, and crumbled cooked bacon to the mix. 

Looking for more to do with mashed potatoes. Check this out!

Final Thoughts

If your mashed potato cakes are falling apart then it is more likely that your batter is too wet.  A good ratio of ingredients is 1 1/2 to 2 cups cold mashed potatoes, 1 egg, and 2-3 tablespoons of flour.  Add the flour a little at a time until you get a cookie dough consistency. 

Make sure that your mashed potatoes are cold.  This will help keep them together.  Many will form their cakes with their hands but this will warm the potato mixture.  I just drop them into the hot pan from the spoon and lightly press down on top.

Make sure your pan is hot enough before adding your potato cakes otherwise, you will end up with a soggy mess.

I hope you found this article helpful in your mashed potato cake adventures. 

Please leave me a comment below.  I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences

And As Always

Have A Wonderful Day!

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