These Air Fryer Potato Pancakes are loaded with cheddar and bacon for an easy, savory side dish – the perfect way to use up those leftover mashed potatoes! They fry up crispy on the outside and so cheesy on the inside!
My mama has always made sure to have leftovers whenever she makes a pot of mashed potatoes. She turns the leftovers into potato pancakes and now I do the same thing!
These aren’t your traditional sweet breakfast pancakes! These are crispy on the outside, soft and cheesy on the inside, and loaded with savory flavors like bacon, cheddar, garlic, and green onion.
We serve these up as a side dish to dinner, much like you would any other potato. They’re the perfect excuse to make mashed potatoes, but we’ve been known to use the store-bought refrigerated mashed potatoes in this recipe on many occasions. They work perfect!
Potatoes– Leftover mashed potatoes work well here or you can purchase a box of refrigerated mashed potatoes.
Cheese– We use shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack. You can substitute either with your favorite cheese.
Bacon– Cooked and crumbled.
Green onions– This is an optional ingredient if you want a bit more kick and savory flavor in your pancakes.
Panko– The panko offers up a little bit of variety in the texture of the potato pancakes. It helps make them a little crisp on the outside.
How to Make Potato Pancakes in the Air Fryer:
Combine Ingredients– Add all the ingredients except the panko into a bowl and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the potatoes firm up – this will make them easier to bread. Add the panko to another shallow dish.
Make the pancakes – Use a large cookie scoop to scoop the potato mixture directly into the bowl of panko. Sprinkle some Panko over the potato mixture and press the mashed potatoes down into the Panko. Flip the patty and press the Panko into that side too. This is an easy way to bread the pancakes without making a mess all over your hands.
Cook the pancakes- Pop the pancakes in the air fryer basket, leaving a bit of space between each. Spritz liberally with oil and cook til crispy.
Latkes are usually made with shredded potatoes and are fried in oil and generally are more similar to hashbrowns. These mashed potato pancakes are crispy outside and fluffy inside, loaded with cheese, and breaded in Panko breading.
Depending on your potatoes, you may need to add more or less flour to get them to hold together nicely. If your leftover mashed potatoes are very loose, you’ll need extra flour to help the dough hold together. If your potatoes are quite thick, you may need less flour or a bit of milk.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
The amount of flour needed will vary depending on how loose your mashed potatoes were. If they’re very thick, use a bit less flour. If very loose, add more flour.
We tested these pancakes with both Panko bread crumbs and traditional bread crumbs and both work well. We prefer the crispiness of the Panko paired with the cheesy, soft center of mashed potatoes. If you’d prefer a more traditional version, use regular bread crumbs and they won’t be as crisp on the outside.
More potato recipes for the air fryer you might like:
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Air Fryer Potato Pancakes
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes cold
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack
- 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup flour plus more as needed
- 1 large egg beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon prepared ranch dressing
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs see note
- Add everything but the bread crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt, being careful not to add too much salt if the potatoes were already well seasoned.
- Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place the Panko in a shallow bowl.
- Use a large cookie scoop to scoop out the mashed potato mixture directly into the Panko. Use your fingers to sprinkle Panko over the top of the mashed potatoes and then press lightly to form a patty, flipping the patty to coat in the Panko. The Panko will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
- Place the breaded pancakes in a greased air fryer basket. Repeat with as many potato pancakes as will fit in the basket, still leaving space between each for air to follow. You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
- Liberally spritz the tops of the potato pancakes with oil spray.
- Air fry at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and then carefully flip the pancakes over. Spritz with more oil spray and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.