Placki Ziemniaczane: Polish Potato Pancakes

Placki Ziemniaczane

Placki Ziemniaczane (pron.: ‘plat-ski zyem-nya-chaneh’) are a Polish-style Potato Pancakes. They’re delightfully crunchy on the outside (especially around the edges!) and soft on the inside.

Placki can be garnished with a variety of toppings – ranging from a generous dollop of sour cream with chopped herbs, to a rich and fragrant mushroom sauce. Those with a sweet tooth opt-in for a light sprinkle of icing sugar instead.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

Potatoes became more prominent on Polish tables in the XIX century. At times of poverty, potato pancakes became a good alternative to bread. A flourishing Jewish community strengthened these culinary traditions with some pancakes of their own, known as Latkes.

More recently, Potato Pancakes were a hit under the times of communism and still appear on the menus of milk bars and restaurants.

Almost every region has their own version of a Potato Pancake, and some of them are:

  • Greater Poland and Warmia-Masuria: plendze, plindze or plyndze
  • Kashubia: plince
  • Podhale (the Highlands): moskole
  • Silesia: stryki

Are you up for some more pancakes? Next time, I would recommend Racuchy: Polish Apple Pancakes recipe (kids love them).

Do you need any special ingredients to make these Polish Potato Pancakes?

No. You can find all of the ingredients for this recipe in your local supermarket. Pick starchy potato varieties, such as:

  • in Poland: (Type C) Bryza, Gracja, Ibis, Tajfun, Gustaw
  • in the US: Russet, Idaho and Yukon gold 
  • in the UK: Estima, King Edward, Maris Piper, Desiree
Starchy potatoes

In terms of the kitchen gear, it’s best to use a heavy-bottomed frying pan. It distributes heat more evenly and maintains high temperature throughout the whole surface. 

What should you serve with these Potato ‘Placki’?

As a starter: Potato Pancakes taste great with a dash of sour cream and sprinkled with some chopped chives or dill. You can also add a slice of smoked salmon.

As a main course / entrée: Potato Pancakes can be served on their own. Here are the most popular serving suggestions:

  • with mushroom sauce (try this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats)
  • ‘po węgiersku’ (‘Hungarian-style’): a large Potato Pancake served with Hungarian-inspired goulash (beef and pork)
  • ‘po zbójnicku’ (a la ‘Tatra’s highwayman’, inspired by Podhale region): Potato Pancakes with a rich stew (mutton, beef, often wild mushrooms), sometimes served with oscypek cheese (smoked cheese made of sheep milk)
Placki Ziemniaczane (Polish Potato Pancakes) with Mushroom Sauce

As a dessert: Simply sprinkled with icing/powdered sugar. ‘Placki’ taste great with a dash of sweetened cream, sliced fruit, fruit jams or applesauce.

Can you cook these Polish Potato Pancakes another way?

Yes. Placki Ziemniaczane can be oven-baked.

Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper, you can grease it lightly as well. Drop the batter in large spoonfuls, forming evenly spaced pancakes. Place in the oven, bake for 15 minutes. Flip the pancakes onto the other side and continue baking for another 15 minutes until golden.

What diets are these Potato ‘Placki’ suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian diet. To make your Placki gluten-free, swap the all-purpose flour for potato or corn starch.

How long can you keep these Polish Potato Pancakes in the fridge?

Potato Pancakes are traditionally served warm, but cold ones taste just as well. Once served, don’t keep them at room temperature for more than 3 hours.

Sadly, these Placki aren’t refrigerator-friendly. The texture changes, they get rubbery and/or hard. It’s best to only fry up as many as you can eat at the time.

Some homecooks keep the unused batter in the fridge to use the following day. Note that the mixture will darken at the surface (that’s what happens to raw potatoes after a while). 

Can I freeze these Potato Pancakes?

If you’re making Placki with an intention to freeze them – I would advise you against it. They will never taste as good as a fresh batch. 

Regarding leftovers: Some homecooks claim, that they can be frozen. To prevent them from sticking, a layer of cling film is placed between each pancake. Then they go into the freezer, labelled with the description and today’s date. 

I’ve tried that method once, but the results were disappointing – my Placki turned unpleasantly mushy. If you want to try it – go for it, but I’m warning you in advance.

FAQ & Troubleshooting

How to keep Potato Pancakes from falling apart?

If the pancakes are falling apart during frying and turning over, it may mean that the dough has too much liquid. In that case, it is worth adding a little more flour. When making them next time, try squeezing (grated) potatoes, to remove the excess water.

It’s also possible that you’re trying to flip too early – give it more time.

My Potato Pancakes are raw inside, but nearly burned on the outside. Why?

It’s likely your heat is set too high. Lower the heat and cook them longer, that way they’ll be well cooked throughout. 

It’s also possible that your potato pancakes are just too thick. If so, make them thinner next time.

How to pronounce ‘Potato Pancakes’ in Polish?

Potato Pancakes are called “Placki Ziemniaczane” in Polish, pronounced as “plat-ski zyem-nya-chaneh”. Sometimes you’ll see them misspelled as ‘platski’ or ‘plotsky’.

Placki Ziemniaczane - Polish Potato Pancakes served with sour cream
Placki Ziemniaczane - Polish Potato Pancakes served with sour cream

Placki Ziemniaczane: Polish Potato Pancakes

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Polish Potato Pancakes are crispy, a bit chewy, and full of comforting goodness of the good old potato. Serve them with some cream and chives and watch them disappear!

Ingredients

For the Pancakes

  • 2.2 lb (1 kg) potatoes; starchy variety
  • 2 (5 oz, 140 g) onions; yellow or white (for savoury pancakes only)
  • 2 garlic cloves (for savoury pancakes only)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper; freshly ground, to taste
  • canola oil (for frying)

To serve

  • 4-5 tablespoons sour cream (or natural yoghurt)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped chives or dill

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes and the onions. Grate them all the using "medium" holes of the box grater or use a food processor with a grating disc.
  2. Place a strainer over a large bowl. Place the grated potato mass onto a strainer and press - keep the remaining water! 
  3. Blend potato/onion mash together with eggs and flour. Add minced garlic (for savoury pancakes only). 
  4. Take the bowl with the excess water (drained the potatoes), remove the liquid carefully, leaving the thicker potato starch at the bottom. Add that starch into our potato pancake mass.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of sour cream, season with a generous salt and black pepper. Mix together well with a spatula.
  6. Fry on both sides (roughly 3-5 minutes each side) until golden. 
  7. Optional step: To remove excessive fat, move fried pancakes onto a paper towel before serving.
  8. Serve with sour cream and sprinkle with chopped herbs. For sweet version, sprinkle with icing sugar.

Notes

For sweetened version of these potato pancakes, skip onions and garlic. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar instead.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 53mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Polish name:
Pronunciation:
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Other traditional or regional names:
Also known as (including misspellings): platski, plotsky