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Mashed Potato Cakes loaded with spicy jalapeño peppers, onions, diced ham, and cheddar cheese transform leftover mashed potatoes into an amazing side dish. Fried until they’re golden brown and crispy, serve these Tex-Mex inspired potato cakes topped with fresh tomato salsa or sour cream.
Quick and easy to prepare, mashed potato cakes make a delicious snack or appetizer, too.
Mashed Potato Cakes
Growing up, my Mom never let leftovers go to waste. Most times she would put yesterday’s mashed potatoes in a pie plate, dot the top with butter, and heat it up in the oven until the top was golden and crusty.
Old Fashioned Potato Cakes, however, were always my favorite. Mom would take chilled leftover mashed potatoes, mix them up with flour and eggs, and then fry them in oil in a hot cast iron skillet. Hmm…hmm…good!
I took my Mom’s original basic recipe and added in cheddar cheese and ham. Then to kick it up a notch even further, I added spicy jalapeño pepper to my Tex-Mex inspired mashed potato cake recipe.
So simple and so easy, you’ll find yourself regularly making extra mashed potatoes just so you’ll have leftovers for potato cakes!
- Place chilled leftover mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in a lightly beaten egg and the flour and season with salt and black pepper.
- Gently fold in the jalapeño pepper, onion, cheese, and diced ham (or bacon).
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium high heat, then add the butter to the pan and let it melt. (You can also use canola oil.)
- Cooking in batches, drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the pan and then flatten them slightly until they are about a half inch thick.
- Cook for three minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Drain on paper towels and continue with the remaining potato mixture.
For loaded mashed potato cakes, replace the ham with bacon bits and replace the diced onion with sliced green onions. To serve, garnish with sour cream and more sliced green onions.
How long can you store mashed potatoes?
You should use leftover mashed potatoes within 3 to 5 days after storing them in the refrigerator. You’ll want to keep that little fact in mind if you plan to use your leftovers for today’s recipe.
Can you freeze potato cakes?
Potato cakes can be frozen after cooking. First, let them cool completely, then place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet uncovered in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours to flash freeze the potato cakes. Remove them from the pan, then store in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
How do you reheat potato cakes from frozen?
Let the potato cakes thaw for about 15 minutes, then reheat them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
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- Grilled French Fries with Spicy Ketchup — These delicious hand-cut French fries get nice and crispy on the outside and stay fluffy on the inside without using a deep fryer.
- Ham and Cheese Potato Bites — Stuffed with chopped ham and a surprising secret ingredient (crushed pineapple!), these little twice-baked potatoes make an impressive party appetizer.
- Rainbow Lime Potato Salad — A pretty and tasty side dish for Spring, this potato salad gets a little extra zing from fresh lime juice and zest!
- Asiago Potato Stacks — These individual potato stacks work well as appetizers or even as a side for a special meal.
To make this recipe, you may need…
I can’t tell you how often I plug up our electric griddle to make quick and easy recipes — it’s amazing. The surface is non-stick and that means EASY clean up! I love using my griddle to make pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, and potato cakes!
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Tex-Mex Mashed Potato Cakes
- 2 cups chilled leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 tablespoons diced jalapeño pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup diced ham or bacon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil
- Salsa for serving
- Mix together mashed potatoes with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, use a ¼-cup measure to scoop potato mixture into the hot pan. Flatten each cake out to about ½-inch thickness.
- Cook about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve immediately with salsa, if desired.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.