Crispy Aloo Tikki – Potato Cutlets with a Shortcut
Aloo Tikki, or Potato Cutlets, are South Asian-style potato cakes made with onions, chilis, herbs, and spices. Not only is this recipe easy to make (keep reading for my shortcuts), but it also includes tips for achieving crispy, savory, and perfectly spiced Tikkis.
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“Thanks so much for this recipe! My family loved these and I’ve had compliments from guests as well.”Humaa
Aloo Tikki (Potato Cutlets)
Aloo Tikki, also called Potato Cutlets, are one of those traditional snacks I’m forever amazed by. They’re simple, yet so clever in their flavor profile. Cooling fresh herbs balance the bold, pungent spices, while onions and green chili provide texture to the roughly mashed potatoes. My recipe goes a step further, adding even more contrast with an optional crispy breadcrumb coating.
Aloo Tikki vs Potato Cutlets
In my family, both ‘Aloo Tikki’ and ‘Potato Cutlets’ are used interchangeably to describe any type of potato kebabs. In Pakistani cookbooks, I often see the ones with breadcrumb coating referred to as Cutlets. Sometimes they include shred up chicken or a stuffing of meat. I believe ‘cutlets’ implies breading, but if you have a more conclusive opinion on this, I’d love to hear in the comments!
What Makes this Recipe Easy
Two shortcuts to make this recipe a breeze:
- Use a microwave to cook the potatoes in a quick, hassle-free way. The texture of microwaved (vs boiled) potatoes is perfect for Aloo Tikki because it eliminates any chance of excess moisture.
- Use a food processor to do all your veggie prep! All you need is the pulse setting to finely chop the mixture. (If you blend, the onion may break down too much and create a watery mess!)
Of course, you’re welcome to boil your potatoes (instructions below) and manually chop your veggies. But if speed and ease are top priority, you’ll love this recipe.
Here are notes on some of the ingredients:
- Potatoes: I prefer Russet for their quick cooking time. Red potatoes or Yukon gold would also work well.
- Roughly ground coriander seeds, which add more texture than coriander powder,
- Cumin seeds + cumin powder for earthy flavor, black pepper, and red chili powder + flakes for heat.
- Chaat masala or amchur (dry mango) powder for tang and chatpata flavor. If you have both on hand and love the tangy, umami flavor, add both. My previous recipe gave the option to substitute chaat masala for garam masala, but I found I prefer chaat masala in this context.
- Cilantro and mint: Add fresh, vibrant flavor and a pop of green color to the tikkis. Mint is not essential here, but adds a surprise refreshing element.
- Green chili peppers: I suggest Serrano chilies, which are less spicy than Thai/bird’s eye chilis. If you’re able to find them, Indian chili peppers (called finger chili) add flavor and texture without as much heat.
- Eggs: For coating the Tikkis before pan-frying. Holds up the shape and adds a golden crust.
- Breadcrumbs: Optional, for adding an extra layer of crunch. Regular (fine) and panko both work, depending on how crispy you want them. (Panko make them extra crispy.)
How to Make Aloo Tikki – Read for Tips!
Prepare the Potatoes
- Microwave the potatoes. How long you need to microwave depends entirely on how large your potatoes are. Small ones will take 5 minutes while large ones can take 12 minutes. I prefer using smaller ones – they cook faster and evenly. One thing to note here is that you want to microwave just until they’re cooked through. Cooking too long or handling the potatoes too much brings out all their starchy properties, making them a pain to work with and their texture unpleasant.
- Peel and Mash. Tip from my recipe tester: Once cooked, wrap the potatoes in a dish towel/kitchen cloth for 10-15 minutes to make the skin easier to peel off. Mash the potatoes just enough so the big pieces are mashed and there’s still some texture. You don’t want them to resemble mashed potatoes.
More ways to cook the potatoes
- To boil the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Begin to check the potatoes for doneness after 20 minutes. When they are tender enough so that a fork can slide easily through the center, drain and set aside.
- To steam the potatoes: Fill a saucepan without about 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a steamer basket in the saucepan and place the potatoes on top of it. Cover the saucepan and steam for 25 minutes. When they are tender enough so that a fork can slide easily through the center, remove from pan.
Prepare Onion Mixture
- Chop onion mixture. Add all the remaining ingredients except the egg to the food processor. Pulse to chop finely, so that no large chunks of onion or green chili remain.
Combine and Shape
- Combine. Add the chopped onion mixture to the potatoes and mix just until it’s evenly distributed. Again, avoid overhandling.
- Add the (optional) measured egg. Adding egg here binds the mixture and helps make the Tikkis fluffy. However, too much makes the mixture loose. To make them easier to handle, rest the mixture in the fridge.
- Shape into patties. Use oil or water to coat your hands to make the Tikkis easier to shape. It’s up to you how you’d like them – thick or thin, perfectly round or perfectly imperfect. My husband’s family makes them round and bulky, while mine makes them small and oval.
- Coat them in the egg wash, then breadcrumbs if you’d like. Keep in mind that the breadcrumbs tone down the other flavors. So if you go with this method, taste test after frying to see if you need to add extra salt or spices.
- Shallow fry. To cook the edges/outer rim of the Tikkis evenly, move them to the corners of the pan where there’s more oil. You can also stand them against the sides of the pan.
- Remove from the pan. Once the Tikkis are golden and crispy on both sides, transfer to a paper towel-lined serving plate.
How to Serve + What to Serve With
Though Aloo Tikki are traditionally considered a street food or Chai-time snack, they are incredibly versatile and go with most meals as an ever-welcome side dish. I like to let these shine by serving them as an entrée with some kind of pulao (Matar Pulao, Chana Pulao, Mutton Pulao or Chicken Pulao) and Raita. They’re also delectable in a sandwich or bun kabab with all your favorite toppings and Mint Raita.
However you serve them, the key is to add a saucy component like chutney (see recipes below) or mint raita. My kids love it with ketchup.
Quick Chutney Recipes
Mint and Cilantro Chutney (Hari Chutney)
This is like my mint raita but without the yogurt.
- 1/2 cup (~10-12 g) cilantro leaves
- 3 tbsp (~3-4 g) mint leaves, try not to use stems
- 1 slice Serrano pepper or small Thai green chili pepper, deseeded (choose how thick the slice depending on how spicy you’d like)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 2-3 tbsp water, as needed to blend
- Add all the ingredients to small blender or spice grinder. Blend, until it reaches a fine consistency. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoon more water to make it easier to blend. It should become a runny paste, with the leaves no longer visible. If needed, strain excess water to get the desired consistency.
Tamarind Chutney (Imli ki Chutney)
This tangy and sweet chutney is an essential chaat topping. You can either use your favorite store-bought version or use my 1-minute recipe.
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp water, preferably hot/boiling
- 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (I’ve tried Indira’s brand and Tamicon)
- 1/8 tsp red chili powder
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients in the order listed. Refrigerate or allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes so that the sugar dissolves and the chutney thickens up.
- Mix with leftovers: I love using this as a base recipe to use up leftover chicken, fish, keema, or vegetables. Just reduce the amount of potatoes, chop up your leftovers with the rest of the ingredients, and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Vegan: I tried making the Tikkis with and without the egg as a binding agent. I found the ones with the egg were easier to shape and held up better. If you want to make them vegan, omit the egg within the potato mixture and use breadcrumbs to help bind them from the outside. You also want to turn them gently to help retain their shape.
- Add-ins: The green parts of green onions, peas (matar), and corn are common additions to enhance the taste and texture.
How to Make-Ahead, Store, or Reheat
- Keep the mixture (either shaped or as-is) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. After that, the potatoes will tend to release water.
- Since potatoes tend to lose texture after freezing, I find Aloo Tikki aren’t particularly freezer-friendly. (I’ve tried freezing breaded chicken and potato cutlets. Even then, they didn’t hold up as well as Shami Kabab.) But, as I’ve heard from several of you, you can freeze Aloo Tikki successfully. Ideally, add a piece of parchment in between each Tikki to prevent them from sticking together. When ready to pan-fry, do not allow them to thaw fully. Pan-fry on medium heat, giving each side extra time to fully heat through.
To reheat leftovers while retaining their crisp:
- Air-fry them 350°F for 5 minutes
- Bake them uncovered at 350°F for 5-7 minutes.
- Microwave them for 1-2 minutes. Option to place the tikkis on a hot dry pan to crisp them back up.
More Pakistani Snacks & Kebabs You’ll Love
- Chicken Puff Pastry
- Healthy Pan-Fried Pakora + Simple Green Chutney
- Chicken Kofta
- Easy Shami Kabob (Instant Pot and Stovetop)
- Beef Seekh Kebab
- Chapli Kabab
Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please consider leaving a comment telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I truly love hearing from you. Thank you!
Easy Aloo Tikki – Shortcut Potato Cutlets
Watch the Video
To Prepare the Aloo Tikki
- 3 large (5 small/1.5 lbs) Russet potatoes
- 1 small (~150 g) yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 small Serrano pepper or Thai chili pepper, deseeded for less heat, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves
- 1-2 tbsp mint leaves
- 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
- 1 tsp roughly ground coriander seeds, or 1/2 tsp coriander powder as original recipe was written
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp chaat masala, or amchur (dry mango) powder
- 1/8-1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp whisked egg, optional (See Note 2) – use leftover for pan-frying
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, plus more as needed
- 1-2 eggs, whisked
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, optional
- frying pan
To Cook the Potatoes
- Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes. If your potatoes are small, they may be fork tender already. If not, use a tong to turn the potatoes over and continue to cook in 2-minute increments until fork tender. To test doneness: Cut in half to see if the potatoes have cooked fully on the inside. The knife should slide through without resistance. If not, microwave in 1 minute bursts just until fully cooked.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and transfer to a medium bowl. Use a potato masher to mash them until no large lumps remain.
To Prepare Aloo Tikki
- Place the remaining of the ingredients except the egg in a food processor (Note 1). Use the pulse function to chop so that the onions are finely chopped but not blended (~20 pulses). You don't want the onions to break down too much and end up releasing water. If you do notice any excess water in the mixture, tilt the food processor to drain it or dab it with a paper towel.
- Add the chopped onion mixture to the mashed potatoes and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste, red chili flakes/powder for more heat, and chaat masala/amchur/lemon juice for more tang. Lastly, add the measured whisked egg (if using) and mix well. Ideally, allow this mixture to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (though I often skip this step).
- Using your hands, shape 1/4 cup of the mixture into a round, 1/2" thick patty about 2 ½-3 inches in diameter. If you find that the Tikkis are too soft or not holding their shape, mix in 1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs. Continue with the rest of the mixture. You'll have around 12 patties.
- Place the egg and breadcrumbs (if using) in shallow bowls so that you can dip them as you cook.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet, frying pan, or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Dip both sides of each patty into the egg wash, and then the breadcrumbs (if using). Place 4-5 patties in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, using a spatula to turn them over. Reduce heat if the patties are cooking too fast. Tip: To cook the edges/outer rim of the Tikkis evenly, move them to the corners of the pan where there's more oil.
- Aloo Tikki can take a good amount of salt. If you feel something is ‘missing’, it’s likely an extra dash of salt.
- Try not to overcook the potatoes. Cooking and handling them too much brings out all their starchy properties, making them a pain to work with and their texture unpleasant.
This post is an update of one that I originally published in March, 2019. Since then, I’ve slightly enhanced the recipe, updated pictures, and included video!