German potato pancakes

I posted the recipe for my ‘Rösti‘ yesterday but another recipe based on potatoes which is a great German specialty are the ‘Kartoffelpuffer’ or ‘Reiberdatschi’. They are made from raw grated potatoes. Not only very popular to make at home, the Germans serve it even as streetfood during fairgrounds, carneval and Christmas markets. My father used to make them regularly when we were little and recently my godmother made them for me when I was at her house during my holidays. The kartoffelpuffer can be served sweet or savory. Most often they are served with an applesauce or other fruit compote and / or sprinkled with powdered sugar, but they are also served with a yogurt and herb sauce or with meat as part of ‘a meal.

Swiss Rösti are something different. The key difference lies in the size of the grated potatoes: Rösti are shredded whereas Kartoffelpuffer are finely grated. Also, with Rösti the potatoes are sometimes grated raw but more often are parboiled whole in their skins for a few minutes so that the center is still hard, then peeled and grated once they’ve cooled down. Because the potatoes are grated/shredded on the largest setting (in German, “grob geraspelt”) to get large, long strands, parboiling them first prevents the outside of the Rösti from burning before the potatoes are thoroughly cooked through. Grated onions are usually added and sometimes bacon and cheese, depending on the region. Rösti are also fried longer until they are light brown and crunchy.

For Kartoffelpuffer or Reiberdatschi there are several ways to do it, but I prefer this one. It takes 1 ingredient plus salt. That’s all. You can add eggs for example but as shown by the photos that is absolutely not necessary!


  • Potatoes raw and peeled
  • Salt
  • Oil

Fine grate raw and peeled potatoes by hand or even faster by machine.

You will see the potato juice appear. Leave it, it will help to bind the potatoes, and mix it well with the potatoes and season with salt.

Form patties and put them in a frying pan with oil.

We like to work with two pans at the same time.

Turn them over.

Place them on kitchen towel.

Place them into a warm oven to keep them at perfect temperature.

Don’t take too long before eating them. They are best straight out of the frying pan.

Here we enjoy them with a delicious apple sauce!

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