Potato Pancake Appetizers

Potato pancakes are great to use as a foundation for an appetizer. Served with some crunchy apple and celery slaw and then topped with smoked salmon, capers and green onions, all the flavors pair perfectly together.

Potato Pancakes are so satisfying, why not make them into cute appetizers? Since potatoes are a great blank slate, they pair well with so many things. In this case, I topped them with a small spoonful of apple and celery slaw that is crunchy, sweet and tangy, which cuts through the richness of the potato pancake and the salty smoked salmon.

I love serving potato pancakes for breakfast or lunch on the weekends, served simply with sour cream, or add a meat filling and serve it as the main entree for dinner too. What could be more Belarusian than an appetizer based on a potato pancake too? Not only does it look pretty, all the components go so well together. The combination of the hearty pancake with the refreshing, crunchy and creamy slaw and the salty fish and fresh herbs is spot on.

These would be perfect as a party starter, and really get your appetite going. You can also serve it as a light meal, with tea or even as a lunch option. If you’re feeling very festive, you can also use caviar instead of the fish or if you’re not a seafood appreciator, you can serve the pancakes with canadian bacon, prosciutto , or sautéed mushrooms instead.


Potato Pancakes:

  • potatoes – I highly recommend using gold potatoes for potato pancakes. They have a wonderful flavor, golden color, aren’t as watery as baking/Russet or white or red potatoes and don’t discolor as easily either.
  • onion – yellow or white onion would be best, not red.
  • salt, pepper
  • sour cream, this is optional, but I like to use it.
  • flour – this will help to bind the potato pancake batter and keep the pancakes from falling apart when cooked.
  • egg – another binding ingredient for the pancake batter.
  • oil – for panfrying the pancakes (sunflower, avocado, grapeseed, light olive oil, etc.)

Apple Celery Slaw:

  • apple – any apples will work for this recipe.
  • celery – I prefer using the celery stalks that are thinner and more tender, but any will work.
  • cucumber – use mini cucumbers, or remove the seeds from larger cucumbers
  • lemon juice – it will add some acidity to the slaw as well as keep the apples from browning.
  • sour cream – plain, unsweetened yogurt can be substituted as well.
  • mayonnaise – it will make the dressing creamier
  • mustard – adds a nice tang to the slaw.
  • salt, pepper
  • smoked salmon – thinly sliced
  • capers – capers are an iconic accompaniment to smoked salmon
  • green onion, dill – add a lovely fresh flavor
Ingredients for Potato Pancake Appetizers with apple celery slaw, smoked salmon, capers and green onion.

How to Make Potato Pancake Appetizers:

  1. Make the potato pancake batter. Grate the potatoes and onion on the small holes of a box grater or use a food processor to make a batter. Drain excess liquid. Add the egg, sour cream, flour, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  2. Cook mini potato pancakes in a skillet or use a griddle. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  3. Make the Apple Celery Slaw. Thinly julienne the apple and cucumbers, finely slice the celery. Combine all the slaw ingredients together, mixing to combine.
  4. Assemble the potato pancake appetizers. Place a spoonful of slaw on top of the potato pancake, top with smoked salmon and garnish with capers and green onions.
  5. Serve right away.
How to make potato pancake appetizers with apple celery slaw, smoked salmon, capers and green onions.

Helpful Tips:

Meal Prep:

You can make the slaw ahead of time, a few hours in advance or up to a day in advance. For best results to keep the apples from browning, fill a large bowl with water and squeeze in 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon or lime juice. Julienne the apple and place in the lemon water, then drain.

Mix the slaw and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve the pancakes.

The potato pancakes are best served right away, but you can make them up to an hour in advance. Keep the pancakes warm until you are ready to serve.

How to keep potato pancakes warm:

This appetizer is much more delicious if the potato pancakes are warm while the other components are cold.

Place a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pancakes on top of the rack and keep warm in the oven until ready to assemble.

Other Potato Pancake Appetizer Options:

For a very easy appetizer, place a dollop of sour cream on top of the pancake, then a small slice or smoked salmon, pickled herring or caviar.

Instead of smoked salmon, top the pancake and slaw with ham, bacon or sautéed mushrooms and sour cream.

Potato Pancake appetizers with sour cream, smoked salmon, dill, green onions and herring.
Potato pancakes with smoked salmon, apple celery slaw, capers and green onions.

Potato Pancake Appetizers

Potato pancakes are great to use as a foundation for an appetizer. Served with some crunchy apple and celery slaw and then topped with smoked salmon, capers and green onions, all the flavors pair perfectly together. 

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 15 pancakes 1x
  • Category: Appetizer



Potato Pancakes

  • 3 potatoes, preferably gold potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • salt, pepper
  • oil, for pan frying (sunflower, avocado, light olive oil, grape seed, etc.)

Apple Celery Slaw

  • 1 apple, cored and julienned
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 mini cucumbers, julienned
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/21 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • green onion, dill

8 oz. smoke salmon, thinly sliced

1/4 cup capers

green onions, dill, for garnishing


  1. Make the potato pancake batter. Peel the potatoes and onion, grate on the small holes of a box grater or use a food processor to combine, until smooth. Discard excess liquid. Add the egg, sour cream, flour, 1/2-3/4 teaspoons of salt and ground black pepper. Mix to combine. 
  2. Heat about 1/2-1 Tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high high and scoop out a heaping Tablespoon of the potato batter into the hot oil, using the back of the spoon to even out the pancakes into oval or round shapes. Cook until golden on both sides. You will have approximately 15 pancakes.
  3. Keep the potato pancakes warm in the oven at 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit, on a rack on top of a large rimmed baking sheet. 
  4. For the apple and celery slaw, first peel and cored the apple, thinly julienne. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze in 1 Tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Add the apples to the water, subemerging completely, them drain and place in a bowl.
  5. Add the rest of the slaw ingredients – celery, cucumber, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Mix until evenly combined. 
  6. Assemble the appetizers by placing a spoonful of the slaw on top of the potato pancake, then a rolled up slice of smoked salmon and garnish with capers and fresh herbs. 
  7. Serve right away. 

Keywords: potato pancakes, potato pancake appetizer, potato appetizer, potato pancakes with smoked salmon, smoked salmon appetizer, herring appetizer

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  • Julia

    How beautiful are these? This is like a fancy appetizer version of “kartoshka s seledkoi” 🙂 My non-Russian husband loves potato pancakes but doesn’t understand my love of potatoes + herring together. Thanks for the recipe, I would have never thought to turn potato pancakes into such a beautiful appetizer!

  • Valya of valyastasteofhome.com

    Looks so good Olga! I think potato pancakes is one of my favorite foods. I usually eat it with sour cream. I wander how adding extra things on them would taste. I want to try it. 🙂

  • Tallya

    Potato pancakes are one of my favorite things as well, also all other forms of potatoes… guess it comes with being Belarusian. It has been a long while since I’ve made potato pancakes and now these will be lunch on next week’s menu. Thanks!

  • Vita

    Olga, I am not sure if you have seen this website yet – this man is also from Belarus and he has the most amazing collection of traditional Belarus recipes and he shows his method in videos. Check it out – http://talerka.tv/ru/recipes_all/belarus
    I nearly died of happiness when I saw some of these dishes that I remember so well by taste but the elders that made me these lovely dishes have passed away.

  • Tamatha Barnes

    I made these potato pancakes and they were easy for me! and our 4 missionaries,two of which are from Ukraine loved them great surprise!! Will be making again for me and hubby!<3

    • olgak7

      That’s great, Tamatha!
      It’s so nice of you to serve other people with cooking.
      I’m glad to hear that you and your husband will be enjoying this dish again.

    • olgak7

      I’ve only seen pickled herring in Russian stores or other specialty European stores, like our local Polish store. You can find pickled herring in normal grocery stores, but they are usually pickled in wine and other things, which gives it a completely different flavor that the Russian herring.

    • olgak7

      Hi Iris,
      Potato Pancakes are best served right away. The raw batter will oxide and turn gray/brown quite quickly and the pancakes themselves will not be as tender when reheated.

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