Egg Free potato pancakes like Oma made but adapted to be egg, dairy, and gluten free. They are crispy and prefect for an Oktoberfest party or as a snack or part of a meal when served with a soup or salad. These German potato pancakes are safe for top 8 allergies, gluten free and vegan diets.
Why We Like This Recipe
Everyone has that ONE recipe that they are always asked to make. These egg and gluten free potato pancakes are THAT recipe for Rob, my better half. He is constantly asked to make these easy vegan potato pancakes. It is so wanted that we know anytime people stop by Rob had better get to grating the potatoes. No one is there to see us, they are really there to have potato pancakes.
This is an allergy friendly adaptation of the recipe Rob learnt from his mum. Having a partner who grew up in a household with traditional German foods has been the most amazing benefit. It meant we could easily adapt our favourite recipes with ease.
- Starchy potatoes (russets)
- Gluten Free Flour
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
These really have to be starchy potatoes. In North America Russet or Idaho potatoes work the best to get the right crispy texture. Yukon Gold may also work if they are in need of using up.
It is really important to grate the potatoes finely for this recipe. It helps them cook and not keep too much oil in the pancakes.
One trick we do is to supplement the moisture In this recipe is to keep the liquid that comes out of the potatoes as you grate them. This will help them bind.
It is the reserved water from a can of chickpeas or white beans. We prefer to use the water from the canned chickpeas and have great success with it.
You can also use the water from cooking chickpeas but not the soaking water if you use dry beans. The key to using the chickpea cooking water is to reduce it by a third to half what it was. Using the cooking water method takes a lot more work and patience but does work.
This is what also binds the gluten free potato pancakes together. It replaces eggs in the traditional recipe and works really well while not drying out or adding texture or flavour to the potato pancakes.
Gluten free flour
Any blended gluten free flour can be used either with or without xanthan gum. We usually use Robin Hood brand or Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 gluten free which is classified as an all purpose gluten free flour made from mainly rice flour. A one to one gluten free flour can be used as well, such as King Arthur measure for measure, if it is safe for you.
We often call this our secret ingredient in our house. We put it in a lot of food. Nutmeg is not classified as a nut but instead as a seed. If you have nut and/or seed allergies it is best to consult your doctor and dietician before using this spice.
We use a seed of nutmeg that we freshly grate into the mix. Dried nutmeg will work but won’t be as fresh a flavour.
Instructions/Directions and Tips
1- Combine all the ingredients in a medium to large bowl. Really get in there and mix them well, so all the potatoes are coated and starting to stick together. If the mix is really liquidy add a touch more flour. Be careful though as too much flour will cause the egg free potato pancakes to fall apart. (and they should be sticky.)
2- Heat ½ inch deep neutral oil like canola in a deep skillet on medium heat
3- Put ½ c scoop of mix in the oil and press it down with a spatula to flatten carefully not to burn yourself with the oil or splash anyone else. This can take a bit of practice. If it is too tough then form the patty about ¾ of an inch thick in the palm of the hand and slide on to a flat flipping spatula and gently guide it into the oil already formed.
4- Cook in the oil until the submersed side is turning golden brown at the edges. It takes about 2-3 minutes a side.
5- Flip the potato pancake carefully in the oil to cook the other side.
6- Cook that side for 2-3 mins until it is golden brown as well.
7- Remove the German potato pancake from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Add just a bit of the flour and mix, no more than half of it. Add more sparingly as needed. Too much flour will make the easy vegan pancakes really dry and cause them to fall apart. Too little and they will be too liquid and not the right texture. The mix should be sticky without any liquid left in the bowl but without flour clumps.
If potatoes are not safe for you other vegetables can be used. Carrots, turnip, parsnip, pumpkin, zucchini/courgette, or sweet potato all will work in place of a starchy potato. Changing out the potatoes for another root vegetable may affect the cooking time and will change the taste to be influenced by whichever you have used. They will end up more like an Indian vegetable pakora.
Thick Grated - To get a more Swiss style Rosti potato pancake the potatoes are grated in a medium thickness rather than a fine one.
Onions - Adding finely white onions is another adaptation that can be made. This tends not to be a huge hit with the kids but us adults love it. When we do this we make a bunch up for the kids without the onions and then add ½ an onion very finely chopped and continue making the egg free potato pancakes. It stops the kids from stealing ours and means less clean up.
Green Onions/ Scallions - Adding a finely chopped green onion will give these potato pancakes more of a latke potato pancake feeling.
Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes can be used, for a change. They may need to be cooked a bit longer to crisp up. If using sweet potatoes or yams the applesauce or a soy-free vegan mayo would work better than sour cream as a dip.
You will need a vegetable peeler, a large bowl, a medium to large frying pan with a flat bottom, and a grater. The vegetable grater needs to have a fine setting on one side to it as that is the side you will want for grating these potatoes.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
When you store them make sure they have fully cooled before putting the German potato pancakes in a well sealing container.
For storing in the fridge keep a paper towel in the container or zipper sealed plastic bag with the egg free potato pancakes. This will help stop the easy vegan potato pancakes from falling apart and getting mushy in the fridge. They will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
You can freeze egg free potato pancakes in a well sealing container or in a sealing plastic bag. In between each potato pancake place a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper so the pancakes do not stick together
Gluten Free Potato pancakes taste best when reheated. We do not recommend eating them cold.
The preferred method of reheating for our easy vegan potato pancake recipe. Choose a pan that is big enough to hold some of the pancakes with room around them. Heat that pan over medium heat and add the pancakes when the pan is hot. The pancakes should have enough oil in them so extra shouldn’t be needed for frying up. They are thin so they only need ffying on each side until re-crisped and reheated through the middle. Each side should take 2-4 minutes to crisp up.
The German potato pancakes can be reheated in the microwave though it is not recommended as they will not crisp up.
The older potatoes work the best for potato pancakes. You don't want to use ones that have sprouted eyes but a really starchy potato like a russet or Idaho Potato that is still good to use but needs eating up is perfect for this German potato pancakes recipe.
What To Serve With
There are different sides to serve with egg free potato pancakes. They act like dips that the pancakes are dipped into. It is quite controversial in our home as to which is the “right” one to use.
The two most common, in our experience, are a dairy-free sour cream with fresh cracked pepper, which is hard to find soy and nut free. It is a savoury way of serving the potato pancakes. If you can find a safe dairy free sour cream please let us know as coconut cream just doesn’t cut it and we would love a replacement for this. The Follow Your Heart and Earth’s Own are not available in our area but we would love to hear what your favourite one is.
The sweeter way is to have unsweetened applesauce with your pancakes. We make up apple sauce in big batches in the fall and freeze it in one to two person servings. Safe store bought applesauce works as well, unsweetened is the best kind.
Sour Cherry jam or maple syrup are also ways Rob has served the easy vegan potato pancakes that went over really well.
Typically, in our home German potato pancakes are eaten with just their dip but a side salad would round these out to a great meal. The easy vegan potato pancakes would be fabulous as an accompaniment to our Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup. They can be made smaller and bite sized for finger food at an Oktoberfest party.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- Vegetable Peeler
- Large Bowl
- Medium to large frying pan with a flat bottom
- Fine grater
- 6 Starchy potatoes like russets finely grated keep the liquid that comes out of them.
- 3 Tbsps Aquafaba water from the can of chickpeas
- ½ -¾ C Gluten Free Flour start with ½ C but have more available
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg fresh
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper fresh ground
- 1- Combine all the ingredients in a medium to large bowl. Really get in there and mix them well, so all the potatoes are coated and starting to stick together. If the mix is really liquidy add a touch more flour. Be careful though as too much flour will cause the pancakes to fall apart. (and they should be sticky.)
- 2- Heat ½ inch deep neutral oil like canola in a deep skillet on medium heat
- 3- Put ½ c scoop of mix in the oil and press it down with a spatula to flatten carefully not to burn yourself with the oil or splash anyone else. This can take a bit of practice. If it is too tough then form the patty about ¾ of an inch thick in the palm of the hand and slide on to a flat flipping spatula and gently guide it into the oil already formed.
- 4- Cook in the oil until the submersed side is turning golden brown at the edges. It takes about 2-3 minutes a side.
- 5- Flip the potato pancake carefully in the oil to cook the other side.
- 6- Cook that side for 2-3 mins until it is golden brown as well.
- 7- Remove the potato from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- 8- Serve
- Be careful when frying the gluten free potato pancakes in oil
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove