Kirbie's Cravings

3 Ingredient Crispy Potato Pillows

These potato pillows are crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. They are a fun and unique appetizer to eat. The potato dough only needs 3 ingredients. They also stay crunchy for a few hours so they can be made ahead of time.
a plate of crispy potato pillows with ketchup on the side.

These potato pillows are my favorite way to eat potatoes. The outside is super crunchy and the inside is so fluffy and creamy that it almost melts in your mouth. The recipe is based on the viral potato pillows recipe but I’ve made a few modifications to make them easier to make.


  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch

Potatoes: These potato pillows are made with Russet potatoes. You will need approximately 2 potatoes but if you have a scale, I definitely recommend weighing them because potato size can vary so much. The potatoes will need to be cooked and mashed.

Salt: Salt is used to add some seasoning to these. We added salt to the dough so that you don’t have to add it after.

Cornstarch: Cornstarch is mixed with the potatoes to make the potato dough. It is also the key to these potato pillows getting super crunchy. We chose to use cornstarch as it is a more easily accessible ingredient. The original recipe uses glutinous rice flour but we found it still works well with just cornstarch.

potato pillows piled on a plate.

How to Make Potato Pillows

The potatoes are first peeled and then cut to 1/2 inch slices. This will cut down a lot on the cooking time. Previous recipes we came across required an hour cooking time for the potatoes, but with this method you will only need about 15 minutes. The potatoes are then cooked until tender and then mashed either with a hand potato masher or a potato ricer.
process photos showing how to make the recipe step by step.
The potatoes are then mixed with the salt and cornstarch until a dough forms. Working in small batches, roll the dough into logs. Then cut the dough into pieces. Use the back of fork to press indents on one side. The indents are not necessary. They are just there for decoration. We tried several different shapes and also tested ones without indents. We thought this version just looked the best.

The potato dough is then cooked in hot oil until golden. You can also cook them in the air fryer (with or without oil). Presentation-wise, I prefer the fried version, but if it’s just me eating them then I will cook them in the air fryer.  If you plan on eating the potatoes within a few minutes, you can just fry them once. They will be crunchy after just frying them once but they do not stay crunchy for long. If you want them to stay crunchy for longer, then you will need to fry them a second time. The second fry is only about 1 minute long but will let the potato pillows stay crunchy for hours.


Can you air fry these?

Yes. You can cook these in the air fryer with or without oil. Just preheat your oven to 400F and cook them for about 15 minutes. They will come out super crunchy, very much like the fried version. If you cook them without any oil, the surface won’t be golden brown and they will look a bit dry and pale but they still taste great. You can also spray the surface with cooking oil before cooking and that will give them a golden brown finish.
crispy potato pillows piled on a wooden board with a container of ketchup.

More Potato Appetizers

3 Ingredient Crispy Potato Pillows

Servings: 40 pieces
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
These viral potato pillows are creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside making them the most fun snack or appetizer ever. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.
4.50 from 2 votes


  • 2 Russet potatoes (about 306 g total, see note)
  • 3 tbsp (24 g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • oil (such as canola or vegetable oil, for frying)


  • Peel potatoes. Slice them lengthwise into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices. (See photo in post for reference). You should get about 4 slices per potato.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes to boiling water, cooking them for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. You want the potatoes to be very tender so that it is easier to mash completely. Remove and thoroughly drain potatoes from the water. You don’t want excess water in the mash.
  • Once potatoes are cool, mash with a potato masher or potato ricer until finely mashed.
  • Add cornstarch and salt and mix to evenly combine into a dough.
  • Take a handful of dough and squeeze it between your palm until it becomes malleable and workable. It will be a bit crumbly at first but once you squeeze it a few times, it should be shapeable. Roll it into a 1-inch thick log (mine was around 4 inches long but the length is going to depend on how much dough you grabbed). Cut the log with a sharp knife, into pieces that are 5/8 inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough. It’s better to just do this with a handful of dough at a time rather than trying to make one giant log because the dough is a little crumbly and much easier to manage with a smaller batch. I made about 5 logs.
  • Use a fork to make indents on one of the cut sides of each dough piece (see photo in post for reference). This should result in the dough piece becoming a slightly wider oval. The indent/ridges only need to be on one side, so the other side is flat.
  • Add about 1 inch of oil to a deep saucepan or whatever pan or pot you prefer for frying. Bring the oil to 350°F/177°C.
  • Add potato pieces into the hot oil and cook for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides, flipping potatoes as needed. It took about 5 minutes for me (see notes regarding difference in timing). Make sure you adjust your stove heat as needed to maintain a constant 350°F/177°C. Do this in small batches so that the pot is not overcrowded and so that the oil temperature does not drop. I found, especially with the potatoes made with the potato ricer, that the oil temperature dropped too much if I did more than 8 at a time.
  • Remove potatoes from the hot oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is fried.
  • Place the potatoes back in for a second fry. For the second fry you can slightly lower the temperature (around 325°F/163°C), and you can add a lot more to the pot at once. It is a very quick fry, about 30-60 seconds. During the second fry, the potatoes will turn a bit darker brown (a medium brown instead of golden brown). Cook just until they feel very crispy when you tap on them. It’s okay to crowd more this second fry so I usually put about half of the batch in at once. The second fry helps the potatoes stay crispy much longer.



  • If you have a scale, it's best to weigh the potatoes because large Russet potatoes can vary a lot in size. When I made these, I chose the largest potatoes out of a 10lb bag. But when one of my team members tested this, they were able to find potatoes nearly double in size.
  • The total weight of both combined should be about 306 grams. If you don't have a scale, you should have about 1 and 3/4 cups of mashed potatoes (not packed in).
  • I found some slight differences in how the dough cooked when I used a hand potato masher to mash the potatoes versus a potato ricer. A potato ricer will definitely be easier to mash the potatoes finely. However, the potatoes will also take a few extra minutes to cook to golden brown and you have to cook them in very small batches or else the oil temperature drops too much. 
  • Don't add more than the amount of cornstarch listed. Adding too much will make the dough crumbly.
  • The potatoes will be golden and crunchy after the first fry but they only stay crunchy for a few minutes. If you plan on eating them within minutes then there is no need for a second fry. Frying them a second time will let the potatoes stay crispy for a few hours.
  • Be careful not to fry the potatoes too long the second time and turn down the heat if the potatoes are getting too dark. They should still be close to golden brown but a slight shade darker.
  • If you prefer a shallow fry, you can also use just 1/2 inch of oil. You will have to turn the potatoes more.
  • The estimated nutrition is for the potato dough only and does not include the oil absorbed during frying. Since it is very difficult to calculate how much oil the potatoes are absorbing, I am only able to provide nutrition of the dough. 
  • As discussed in the post, this recipe is a version of the viral potato pillows that originated from Ms Shi and Mr He. We did do a few different things to simplify and modify the recipe.


Serving: 1piece, Calories: 8kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.01g, Saturated Fat: 0.002g, Sodium: 24mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.05g, NET CARBS: 2

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

8 comments on “3 Ingredient Crispy Potato Pillows”

  1. Excellent recipes so easy also yum

  2. Your recipes are very simple and there’s this local approach that I like: the recipes appeal to African taste.
    The step by step explanations are comprehensible.

  3. Love your recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Made these for Superbowl and they are INCREDIBLE!!! Super simple to whip. They are ridiculously crispy and fluffy and soft on the inside. This recipe is a keeper!