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These crispy, Fried Potato Cheese Balls are crispy and crunchy on the outside and creamy and cheesy on the inside. Superbly addictive, they will be the talk of any party.

Plus, they are a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Either way, this easy recipe is perfect as an appetizer or a side dish!

Love these mashed potato balls? Try my Ham and Cheese Potato Croquettes next!

Crispy fried potato cheese balls in a stack, with the top one split open to show cheese oozing out.
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Why We Love This Recipe

Aside from being true crowd-pleasers, this potato cheese balls recipe is:

  • Budget-Friendly. Relying on pantry staples like russet potatoes, all-purpose flour, and breadcrumbs mean these carby delights are easy on the eyes and your pocketbook.
  • Meal-Prep & Freezer-Friendly. Once made and fried, these heavenly spheres can easily be refrigerated or frozen for future noms. 
  • Comforting & Hearty. Potatoes. Cheese. Bacon. Need I say more?

Ingredients

*If using leftover mashed potatoes, skip the first 2 ingredients and only add salt and pepper if needed.

  • Russet Potatoes – I’m a firm believer that starchy potatoes make for the best mashed potatoes. If you can’t get your hands on russets, try Yukon gold.
  • Milk – For just a touch of creaminess. You can also use half-n-half or cream if you like.
  • Salt & Black Pepper – Seasoning is super important for balance. Try to use freshly cracked black pepper for the best, most intense flavor.
  • Garlic Powder – Also labeled as “granulated garlic.”
  • Bacon Bits – Feel free to make your own or buy pre-made.
  • Mozzarella Cheese – I love the mild creaminess of mozzarella, but feel free to swap in your favorite melting cheese instead!
  • All-Purpose Flour – For the first stage of standard breading. 
  • Eggs – To get the breadcrumbs to stick.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – These Japanese breadcrumbs are lighter and crunchier than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Dried Parsley – You can also try dried basil or oregano.
  • Neutral Oil – Vegetable, canola, corn, peanut, grapeseed, sunflower seed, or avocado oil will all work. We’re looking for neutral flavor and a high smoke point.

How To Make Fried Potato Cheese Balls

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Mashed potatoes with bacon bits in a large white pot.

Make the Mashed Potatoes. Wash, scrub, peel, chop, & boil the potatoes until fork tender. Add the milk, black pepper, garlic powder, bacon bits, and salt to the drained cooked potatoes. Mash well.

Mashed potatoes in a large pot, a cookie scoop holding some of the mashed potato.
A scoop of mashed potato on a white plate with a cube of cheese in the center.

Shape Potato Balls. Use a cookie scoop if you have one to measure out 2 tablespoons of cooled potato. Form into a ball and make a hole in the center. Place a cube of cheese inside, pinch the hole shut, and roll them back into a ball shape. Set aside on a tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. 

Dish of flour with a ball of mashed potato.
Dish of whisked egg with a ball of mashed potato.
Dish of panko with a panko coated ball of potato.
Panko coated potato balls on a sheet tray.

Set Up Standard Breading Station. The first dish should have seasoned flour, the second should have beaten eggs, and the final should be herbed panko. Gently roll each potato ball in the flour to coat, then in the egg, and finally, the panko before setting it aside on a tray.

Pan of oil frying mashed potato balls.

Fry. Heat oil to 375℉, then gently fry potato balls a few at a time one at a time, until crispy & golden. We’re not deep frying here, just a quick pan fry. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Fried mashed potato balls on a tray with a small dish of marinara sauce.

Serve. When cool enough to handle but still warm, garnish with fresh parsley and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

FAQs

Why are my potato balls falling apart?

It’s important to let your potato mixture cool before breading and frying. If you’re unsure, feel free to refrigerate your tray of assembled potato balls overnight before breading and frying.

Also, make sure you’re not getting too greedy with your cheese-to-potato ratio. Make sure there’s plenty of the potato mix protecting the cheese, which essentially turns into lava during frying.

What’s the best kind of cheese for these potato croquettes?

I’m partial to mozzarella, because it is mild in flavor and melts nicely. But taste is totally subjective! Feel free to experiment with other melty cheese varieties like cheddar, jack, havarti, or colby to find your favorite.

How To Serve

These potato balls are practically begging to be dipped in something delicious. My personal favorite is warmed marinara sauce, but you have plenty of other things to choose from:

  • Spicy Arrabiata – for a bit of extra spice.
  • Ranchero Sauce – for a Mexican-inspired twist.
  • Queso – for that sweet, sweet cheese on cheese action.
  • Ranch – for extra creaminess.
  • Jalapeno Ranch Dressing – For a little creamy, smooth heat.

Storage

Storage: Assembled cheese and potato balls can be refrigerated for 3-4 days, either baked or unbaked.

Freezing: To freeze, place assembled potato cheese croquettes in a single layer on a flat baking sheet or plate. Freeze until solid, then transfer to an airtight container or bag before freezing for up to 2 months.

Reheating: To reheat, allow to defrost overnight in the fridge. If they are unfried, you can fry as described above. If they are fried, feel free to re-fry, air fry, or bake until heated through.

Expert Tips

  • You can use leftover mashed potatoes but may need to add a little extra flour or an egg keep the potatoes together since mashed potatoes have much more milk and butter than the single tablespoon we use to make this mix. 
  • Assign a wet hand and a dry hand for your standard breading. As a rightie, I suggest using your right hand to roll the balls in flour, then gently place them in the egg mixture, without touching it. Use your left hand to roll in the egg mix before transferring it to the Panko plate, again without touching. Switch back to your right hand, tossing some of the breadcrumbs on the wet egg before touching the ball. This will help you keep your station clean and the breading where it belongs.
Crispy potato ball with cheese oozing out of it.

Cheesy Recipes to Try Next

Recipe

Crispy Fried Potato Cheese Balls

5
Crispy Potato Cheese Balls are filled with potatoes, cheese and bacon, coated with panko and fried to perfection for the perfect party snack!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings (1 piece)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled bacon bits
  • 8 ounces block mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Canola or Vegetable oil for frying
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Instructions
 

  • Wash, scrub and peel the potatoes. Cut into 1-inch chunks and place into a large pot. Cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain well and place the potatoes back into the pot. Add the milk, black pepper, garlic powder, bacon bits and a ½ teaspoon of salt and mash well. Set aside to cool.
  • Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, use an ice cream scoop or a large cookie scoop to measure out 2 tablespoons of potato. Form into a ball and make an indentation in the center with your thumb. Place a cube of cheese inside and enclose it with the mashed potato. Gently roll into a ball shape and set aside on a tray. Repeat with the rest of the cheese and mashed potatoes.
  • Prepare the breading station with three shallow dishes (like pie pans). 1-flour and ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, 2-2 eggs, lightly beaten; 3-Panko breadcrumbs and dried parsley.
  • Gently roll the potato ball in the flour to coat, then in the egg and finally coat completely with the panko. Set back on the tray and continue with the remaining balls.
  • Heat 2-inches of oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot with high sides over medium heat. It should reach 375 degrees. Using a heat-safe slotted spoon or metal strainer, gently place the balls one at a time into the hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until the breading is crispy and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, but serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping. Garnish with fresh minced parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 10gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 248mgPotassium: 245mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 204IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 147mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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