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Potato Croquettes are golden fried mashed potato balls loaded with ham and cheese. They are crispy, tasty and a great way to use up leftovers after the holidays!
We definitely love our make ahead mashed potatoes and baked ham for the holidays. But with our favorite dishes comes a dilemma. What to do with the leftovers? Luckily I’ve got just the thing for using up leftover holiday ham and mashed potatoes – Fry up some crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside ham and cheese potato croquettes!
Potato Croquettes with Ham and Cheese
Last Christmas I served a honeybaked ham for our holiday feast. I also fixed a lot of delicious (but filling) side dishes like Cheesy Potatoes, Corn Casserole and One Hour Dinner Rolls so we ended up with a ton of leftover ham. We were over the ham sandwiches after eating them for a couple of meals, so I was determined to find something totally different that I could get my kids to eat.
I surveyed my fridge and pulled out the leftover mashed potatoes, ham, cheese and some fresh chives. Ham and Cheese Potato Croquettes for the win!
What are Croquettes?
Potato croquettes are a small plate sort of appetizer or snack, made from mashed potatoes that can also be served as a main course with a copycat Olive Garden Salad. They usually include cheese and a salty protein, like ham or bacon with a binder, in this case flour, to hold them together. Croquettes are formed into a thick disk shape and fried in oil until they are golden and crispy all around.
How to Make Potato Croquettes
This recipe assumes you have some leftover mashed potatoes on hand, but other than that the ingredients are super simple to get. It’s also very versatile so you can get creative with the ingredients.
- Mashed potatoes – When I cook mashed potatoes, I keep them pretty thick and with a little bit of a lumpy texture which is perfect for these potato croquettes. My Cheesy Mashed potatoes will also work really well and you wouldn’t have to add in extra cheese. In a pinch, grab some mashed taters from the deli on your next grocery run.
- Ham – The ham can be leftover from your holiday feast, a ham steak from the meat department or even thinly sliced deli ham. Chop it up into very small pieces.
- Cheese – Play around with your favorite cheese. Cheddar or swiss are classic pairings with ham, but parmesan or gruyere would also be fantastic.
- Flour – This is the binder that will hold the potato croquettes together but you won’t be able to taste it. If your potatoes are more on the creamy or thin side, you’ll need to use more flour. If you’re having trouble even then, you can add in an egg to help bind them together better.
- Chives – The fresh herbs are added for a little color and flavor. Green onions can be substituted.
- Oil for frying – Choose a flavorless oil that has a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil. Fill the skillet about a quarter of an inch high. You don’t want to soak the croquettes in oil, but it should be just high enough to reach up the sides of each piece.
Helpful Tips and FAQs
- Can you bake the croquettes instead of frying them? You can, but you won’t get that golden exterior unless you coat them in breadcrumbs. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form the croquettes as directed, then dip them in a whisked egg wash and then in breadcrumbs. Lay out on the baking sheet, not touching, and bake for 15 minutes until golden.
- Make ahead of time – Make the potato mixture and form the croquettes, then lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for an hour, then transfer pieces to a plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 6 months. Do not thaw – fry as directed from frozen.
- Mashed potatoes can become very gummy and starchy when overmixed so I recommend mixing the croquette mixture using your hands.
- These can be formed into a disk shape or balls, your choice. For balls, be prepared to flip them around to fry evenly.
- Serve with ranch dressing or even a barbecue flavored ranch for dipping.
Potato side dishes for the win!
Ham and Cheese Potato Croquettes are great as a side dish, a snack or even a main course. Leftover mashed potatoes are also fantastic as a topping for Turkey Shepherd’s Pie.
Ham and Cheese Potato Croquettes
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 cup finely diced ham
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus more for your hands
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil for frying
- Add mashed potatoes, ham, cheese, garlic powder, chives and ½ cup flour to a large bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Lightly flour your hands and divide the potato mixture into 16 small flat disks, about half an inch thick. TIP – use a cookie scoop to get perfectly even portions.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet (I recommend cast iron if you have it). TIP – you can test if the oil is hot enough by sprinkling a few drops of water in. If they sizzle, it’s ready.
- Fry the croquettes in batches, flipping once, about 4 minutes per side until golden. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. TIP – don’t crowd the pan; leave space between each croquette so they crisp all around.
- Cool 5 minutes before serving.