Instant Pot Potato Pancake Pillows (Latkes)


When it comes to Hanukkah treats, you can be sure that everyone is expecting these three: dreidels, gelt and latkes!

What is a latke you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. A latke is merely a potato pancake that is typically deep or pan-fried to a crisp so you get a burst of soft and crunchy potato and then dipped in some applesauce or sour cream. Think of it as a hash brown disc, but so much better.

Now with the Instant Pot, I obviously couldn’t do that as it’s not a deep fryer and there’s no fun in just pan-frying it in there. We need to be a little more inventive than that! When I saw everyone going nuts over these silicone pod trays (you can get them here or here depending on availability), I just knew I had to re-invent the potato pancake for the IP! And, bubbaleh, I am here to report that I did it with success!

Perhaps the best part of this is that it not only makes this the PERFECT finger food, but it eliminates all that grease which makes your house smell like a giant french fry for days AND it’s much healthier this way as there isn’t a drop of oil in it!

The end result is something that is so fluffy, potatoey, soft and delightful that it tastes like a latke, knish, dumpling AND potato croquette all in one! PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO CRAZY OVER THESE!

All of the gelt with none of the guilt!

Here’s How I Made It!:

Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl…

…and give it company by pouring in some cold water…

…and whisk well.

Take some Potato Pancake Latke mix…

…and add that to the water and eggs.

Mix it all together…

…until it forms a thick, porridge-like consistency. Set aside to firm up.

Take a potato…

…and cut it into chunks.

Take an onion…

…and do the same.

Now toss them into a food processor/blender (I use this one and it’s awesome and inexpensive).

Pulse it a few times until nice and coarsely chopped.

Then take the blended onion and potato and place on some durable paper towels…

…and wrap them up within the paper towels and really squeeze all the water out of them…

…until nice and dry.

By now, the potato pancake mixture will have really firmed up.

So add in the blended potato and onion to the potato pancake mixture.

And mix it up very well.

Season it with a little seasoned salt…

…dried parsley flakes…

…and white pepper.

Give it a final good mix.

Now turn to your handy silicone pod tray and spray it with some non-stick spray…

…and spoon the potato pancake mixture into each pod…

…so it looks like this when done – nice and flush with the top of the tray.

Now go to the Instant Pot, add the trivet with the handles up and add some water.

Cover the silicone pod tray with some foil and rest it on the trivet (Do NOT cover it with the plastic cover the pod trays may have come with – USE FOIL!). Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.

(By the way, if you’re making two trays worth, make sure to stack them like this where they are slightly off-set from one another so the top tray doesn’t fall into the bottom tray – and make sure they are each covered in foil)

While the Potato Pancake Pillows are cooking in the Instant Pot, set your oven to Broil.

When done cooking in the pot, carefully remove the trivet…

…and let rest on the counter for 5 minutes and remove the foil.

Take a baking sheet lined with foil and spray it with non-stick spray.

After cooling, you’ll notice how easily the pillows will want to pop out of the tray.

Lay them upside down on the foil, lightly pressing on the bottom of each pod…

…and out they’ll pop and fully in tact – right onto the foil!

Now pop them in the oven for a little bit to get slightly crispy and browned on the outside.

And when they come out, transfer ’em to a plate.

You’ll notice the tops of each pillow will have a little indent from the silicone pods and from gently pressing to get them out…

…so spoon a little of my homemade applesauce (or sour cream) in there!

And have the most wonderful, Potato Pancake Pillow Poppin’ Party you’ve ever had!


Instant Pot Potato Pancake Pillows (Latkes)
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Potato Pancake Pillows (Latkes)

Instant Pot Potato Pancake Pillows (Latkes)

These are a healthier, mini version of greasy, fried latkes (not there's anything wrong with greasy and fried). And they're light as a pillow, hence the name.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 3 oz packet of potato pancake mix (I used Streit’s and each 6 oz box comes with two 3 oz packets – you can typically find this in the Jewish/Kosher/International section of your supermarket, near the matzoh ball mix, matzoh and gefilte fish)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1 large potato, shredded and squeezed dry
  • Half of 1 yellow onion, shredded and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 tsp of seasoned salt
  • 1/8 tsp of white pepper (a little goes a long way)
  • 1/8 tsp of dried parsley flakes (don’t use anymore than this – it’s really just to give it some more color)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Applesauce and/or sour cream, for garnish


  1. Make the potato pancake mixture by mixing the beaten egg with the cold water. Once combined, add in the packet of potato pancake mix and stir well until it thickens up like oatmeal. Let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. In the meantime, take the peeled potato and onion, and cut into large chunks. Add them to a food processor/blender and then pulse a few times until coarsely shredded. Remove the shredded potato and onion and lay in a durable paper towel and wrap it up real good and tight (a double layer is best). Squeeze all the water out of the shredded potato/onion until dry (you can also try using a sieve). Unwrap and dump into a decent sized mixing bowl and then add in the potato pancake mixture, seasoned salt, white pepper and parsley. Stir very well until fully combined
  3. Spray a silicone pod tray with non-stick cooking spray and scoop the potato mixture into each pod until it’s slushed with the top of the tray. Cover lightly with foil (DO NOT cover with the plastic cover it may come with as that won’t fare well when cooking at high pressure)
  4. Add the trivet to the Instant Pot along with 1.5 cups of water. Rest the silicone pod tray on it, secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 20 minutes. Quick release when done. While the potato pancake pillows are cooking, turn the oven to Broil and make sure the rack is in the top notch
  5. After removing the silicone pod trasilicone pod tray with the trivet, allow to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place the silicone pod tray on it upside-down and lightly push the tops of each pod. They should pop right out and onto the baking sheet! If you want them extra crispy, brush a little vegetable oil on them before popping in the oven!
  6. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown (keep on eye on it as all ovens vary). Remove, and place a dollop of my amazing homemade applesauce or sour cream on each
  7. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

Goes GREAT with my amazing homemade applesauce!

Why do we cook this in the IP and not just the oven? Good question! Two reasons!:

  1. Due to the pressure steam method, it cooks the potatoes SO much more moistly than the traditional oven AND it won’t burn or dry them out.
  2. Everyone wants to cook everything in their Instant Pot! ?

Want to make it ahead of time? No problem! Just follow steps 1-3 and then pop in the fridge until you’re ready to cook!

Want it cheesy? You’re speaking my language, but this is no longer a traditional latke (but then again, neither are these)! Add in about 1/2 cup of a shredded cheese of your choice (Cheddar is best).

Want to make two sets of the silicone pod trays (you can get them here or here depending on availability) at a time? Great! Just double the recipe, use a second tray and add 10 more minutes of cooking time. When ready to cook, make sure to stagger the trays so the top one is resting on the other in slightly off-position (the top tray’s pods should resting on the supports of the bottom tray – not directly in the same position or they will smush together. See the video for reference).

Reader Interactions


  1. Alina Abramson

    These look lovely. Two questions. 1: Is there a way to sub for the potato pancake mix. Not likely to find it here. 2: Can you brown them using the air fryer lid?
    Thanks for all the great recipes.

    • Jeffrey

      Thanks for the kind words! So I only made it with potato pancake mix so it’s tough to say.

      As for air frying, you can indeed!

  2. Audrey Nikiforos

    I live in a small town in Northern Ontairo and we have only 1 grocery store. I cannot even get beef sausages, nor bacon unless it is from pork!
    No, I am not Jewish, just allergic to pork. There is no way we have a specialty food area in our store, so there is no way to find “potato pancake mix”. Is there a measurement for flour to use as an option? I need to drive a 4 1/2 hr drive in either direction to shop in a larger grocery store, so a 9 hour drive in one day plus whatever time spent shopping!
    Do you have any recommendations for purchasing on Amazon (product maker name).

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