What Is a Potato Fritter?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A potato that is battered and fried is sometimes known as a potato fritter. Also known as potato cakes or potato scallops, they vary depending upon the region they are prepared in. The term potato fritter is generally used in Scotland and New Zealand, where the side dish is commonly served with fish.

Various types of potatoes.
Various types of potatoes.

Basic potato fritter recipes call for potatoes, eggs, and flour for their batter. Baking powder may also be needed. Salt and pepper can be added to taste, though many chefs refrain from incorporating them to keep their product simple and appropriate for use alongside various dishes. Prior to cooking, the potatoes are typically mashed.

Making potato fritters often requires making mashed potatoes.
Making potato fritters often requires making mashed potatoes.

Most potato fritter recipes can be widely altered to taste. Some cooks like to incorporate meat, such as pork or beef, into their recipe. Many different vegetables, such as corn or onions, can also be added for flavor and texture. Peppers are another common added ingredient in potato cakes.

Recipes used to make potato fritters can also be altered by their basic ingredients. Sweet potatoes, for example, may be used in place of russet or whichever other variety of potatoes a recipe traditionally calls for. The only constants necessary for a successful potato fritter recipe are batter ingredients, and some type of tuber.

Any number of spices, from fennel to garlic, may also be added. Some people prefer to include a spicy flavor in their potato cakes and add ingredients such as chili powder or cayenne pepper. Others prefer cheesy fritters. Adding in something smooth, such as sour cream, can yield a creamier fritter, while frying the fritters twice can produce an extra crunchy potato cake.

To prepare potato fritters, cooks generally mix all of the ingredients together. Then the mixture is rolled into manageable, bite-sized balls that are fried in a skillet or deep fryer. Once the fritters reach a golden brown color, they are removed from heat and allowed to cool. Any excess oil is also blotted or drained from the fritters in order to assure the most optimal taste. They can be served in place of fries with any traditional meal, from hamburgers to fish and chips.

It is not unusual for Potato fritters to be served alongside a savory dip. Each chef's dip is different, though a common version includes cheese, cream, and various seasonings. Any prepared dips or dressings can also be purchased and used as desired, from garlic aioli to ketchup. Sour cream can be a tasty garnish to use with potato fritter servings as well.

Creamier potato fitters can be made by added sour cream.
Creamier potato fitters can be made by added sour cream.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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