The first croquette (or croqueta, in this case) I had was in Madrid at a tapas restaurant. This life-changing cylinder of creamy, jamón-studded bechamel encased in crisp golden brown breadcrumbs opened my eyes to an entirely new world of deep-fried snacks. Since then, I’ve realized just how many variations on croquettes there are to be enjoyed, from Dutch kroketten filled with meat ragu to patty-shaped Japanese korokke.
This recipe takes a popular dish—mashed potatoes—and turns it into classic potato croquettes. They're the ideal appetizer, especially when served with a simple sour cream dip.
What Is a Croquette?
The word croquette is derived from the French word croquer, meaning “to crunch.” The origin of the dish is hard to pinpoint, perhaps because there are versions of these breaded, deep-fried “dumplings” all over the world.
No matter where in the world you are, a croquette is simply a main ingredient (typically meat or vegetables) bound together and then shaped, breaded, and deep-fried. They’re generally served as an appetizer or snack food.
Most use a thick sauce such as bechamel or brown sauce as the binder, but this recipe takes a tasty shortcut. Egg yolks and grated Parmesan cheese add flavor to the mashed potatoes and make things that much easier.
Tips for the Best Potato Croquettes
- Wait for the mashed potatoes to cool: If you mix hot mashed potatoes with the binders, it can cause the egg yolks to cook and the cheese to melt, resulting in a clumpy, scrambled egg filling that’s far from the light, smooth texture we’re looking for.
- Wet your hands for ease: Forming the potato croquettes should be really easy and the filling should not be very sticky. If you’re finding it difficult, try letting the filling chill a bit in the fridge, then very lightly wet your hands before rolling. I find forming them into balls is the easiest shape, but if you want oblong or even patty-shaped croquettes, go for it! They might have different frying times, but it’s nothing you can’t handle: once the croquette is a deep golden brown on all sides, it’s done.
- Add low-moisture ingredients: If you want to experiment with adding some other ingredients to the croquettes, just make sure you’re not adding anything with too much liquid, as this might affect the forming and/or frying of the croquettes. Good options include caramelized onions, smoked paprika or cayenne pepper, bacon bits, minced jalapeño, finely diced ham, or shredded cheddar cheese.
- Use a neutral oil: I recommend using vegetable, peanut, or canola oil for frying the potato croquettes. The amount of oil you’ll need depends on the size of your pot. Fill the pot at least 2 inches deep, but keep in mind that the oil should never come more than halfway up the sides of the pot. Otherwise, it may overflow while you fry the croquettes.
- Bread and fry in batches: You will end up with far superior croquettes if you bread them in batches. I like to bread about 1/4 of the croquettes at a time, frying them in rapid succession. Don’t fry more than a few at a time—this will keep the oil temperature from dropping, ensuring perfectly crisp exteriors.
Using Leftover Mashed Potatoes
One of the best things about this recipe is that it works really well with leftover mashed potatoes. Simply skip making the mashed potatoes and swap out 2 cups of cold, leftover mashed potatoes for the homemade mashed potatoes in this recipe. Leftovers that contain a minimal amount of milk, cream, and other dairy will work best.
I wouldn’t recommend using instant mashed potatoes here, as the texture of the potatoes may not hold together well when forming the croquettes.
How to Serve Potato Croquettes
As with many fried foods (chicken perhaps being the only outlier), potato croquettes are best eaten immediately while still hot and fresh. They make a great addition to a meal as an appetizer served with a little yogurt or sour cream dip, or they can even be a delicious supplement to the main event when served with a substantial salad and a protein.
Spud Snacks for Parties and Otherwise
For the mashed potatoes
1 pound (3 to 4) medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
For breading and frying
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
2 large egg whites
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Salt, to taste
- Candy or frying thermometer
Make the mashed potatoes:
Place the peeled, quartered potatoes in a medium pot and cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain and transfer back to the pot you cooked them in and set on the stove over medium heat. Let any excess water cook off, shaking the pot a few times.
If you have a potato ricer, rice the hot potatoes into a large bowl. If you don’t, let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes before carefully pressing them through the large holes of a box grater.
Add the butter and pepper. Use a spatula to gently mix until the butter is melted. Do not overmix. Set aside until room temperature, about 1 hour.
Make and form the croquettes:
Once the mashed potatoes are at room temperature, add the Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, and chives. Use a spatula to mix just until combined.
Use a spoon to scoop out one golf ball-sized croquette at a time, then use your hands to roll each into a uniform ball. Place on a baking sheet and continue until the mixture is used up.
If the mixture is sticking to your hands, lightly wet your hands with water.
Preheat the oil:
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with paper towels. Add enough oil to a medium saucepan so that it’s at least 2 inches deep. Make sure the oil does not come more than halfway up the sides of the pot. Heat over medium heat to exactly 350°F while you bread the first batch of croquettes.
The easiest way to know if your oil is at the right temperature is to use a thermometer, and it is especially key for this recipe. Ensure that the oil is 350°F before frying each batch.
Bread the croquettes:
Meanwhile, add the fine breadcrumbs to a plate. Add the egg whites to a small bowl, whisking until well combined. Dip one croquette at a time into the egg whites, then into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat.
Set back on the baking sheet and repeat until 1/4 of the croquettes are breaded and ready to fry.
Breading the croquettes in batches as you fry helps to prevent any blow-outs. This recipe is great to make as a team, with one person breading the croquettes and one person manning the fry station.
Fry and serve the croquettes:
Carefully add a few croquettes to the hot oil (you will need to cook them in batches). Fry until they’re golden brown all over, about 3 minutes. Use tongs or a spider to move them around gently as they cook to ensure even browning.
Transfer the fried croquettes to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Repeat breading the croquettes and frying them in batches until all the croquettes are fried. If the oil level gets too low, add more oil in between batches, bringing it to 350°F before frying.
Serve immediately as is or with a simple dip.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 22g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||27%|
|Total Carbohydrate 23g||8%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||29%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|