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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.
If potatoes are your carb of choice too, you should definitely try our Breakfast Potatoes, Roasted Red Potatoes and the best Baked Potatoes.
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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
I substituted mashed sweet potatoes and used sauteed shallots and diced red peppers and a half small drained crushed pineapple, served it with spinach salad with a mustard vinaigrette
Thanks for Sharing!!.
You are so welcome Roni! Awesome feedback, thanks for stopping by to share.
Will these work with instant mashed potatoes?
Hard to say, since the texture is different. I kind of don’t think it will.
Tasty, great way to use leftovers and I sometimes make these even without having leftovers, right from scratch! They are just that good and I don’t know of anybody who does not like them!
Love the comment Carol Anne! Thanks for stopping by.
I haven’t made this yet, but I have made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes. In those recipes they require an egg to hold it all together. Is there any reason you’re not asking for an egg in this recipe? I don’t mean to question it because I haven’t made it yet, but I’m just curious I don’t wanna make them and have them fall apart.
Hi Pam, I didn’t need an egg to hold them together because you are frying them, so the outside gets crispy. They have held together pretty well for me.
Can you use instant mashed potatoes? I’m excited to try your recipe! Thanks
Hi Beverly, I haven’t tried this with instant potatoes, but I don’t know that the consistency is the same. However, it would definitely be worth a try.
I hav made this recipe MANY times and it’s soooo good!!! I’m gluten free so I used GF all purpose flour and it works so great!!!! I press a tiny bit of rice flour Panko into the top for an extra lil crisp. They can totally be made without flour altogether too. Love this one, Kristen!!! Thanks for sharing this ! ❤️
You are so welcome Samantha! Awesome feedback, thanks for stopping by.
to test if oil is hot enough use the handle end place in oil when you see bubbles foaming around the wood your oil will be hot enough to fry
Hi David – Yes this does work, but wood is very porous and can absorb the oil so I usually avoid this trick.
Have you tried to put them airfryer, would they be crispy?
I haven’t tried this but if you do, come back and let us know how they came out!
They are not near as good if cooked in the air fryer. I’ve done this and they were very dry tasting. I don’t recommend cooking them in the air fryer.
Thanks for your feedback, Tanya.
Sometimes I just fry mine in a frying pan instead of Deep frying them. But I never add flour and they stick together just fine. So for those that maybe can’t have regular flour, try it with no flour
Love the feedback Lissa! Thanks for stopping by.
Very very delicious with not too many fancy ingredients. Even fun for kids to make. The whole family enjoyed it.
Enjoyed your up to the leftover challenge creative approach.
My challenge is that we have a local restaurant “ Henries” that serves an awesome bangers and mash plate. The bangers or sausages are wild boar with apricot which is sweet countered with elk jalapeño cheddar which is spicy. The mash is fried mashed potatoes which is centered on a cast iron server with the bangers around the mash all smothered in some decadent gravy that compliments all the ingredients.
We had some elk jalapeño cheddar sausage made from this years elk and your contribution with the croquettes looks like a keeper in our quest- thanks Steve.
These looks delicious! Have you ever made them gluten free? If so, which GF flour would you recommend?
We aren’t a gluten free household, so I haven’t. I’ve heard that Bob’s Red Mill is great though.
I used oat flour and it seemed to require extra cooking time but otherwise still really good!
I’m not g free but I’ve been making these for 30 years and I’ve never used the flour. They have always stayed together for me without that binder. I also just fry them in a pan with spray oil to be a bit healthier.
These look yummy. Would you tell me what dip is shown in the photo? Thank you.
It’s a barbecue ranch, as mentioned in the paragraph above the photo. Enjoy!
Can the croquettes be made the day before they are fried?
These are best served fresh.
Can you still fry them if you dip them in bread crumbs?
Yes you could still fry them.
I was wondering… Have you ever baked them?
I haven’t. I hesitate to recommend it because I’m afraid they would dry out. You could certainly try it though, maybe spray them with cooking spray first.
The Ham and Potato Croquettes came out perfect! Baked them at 400 degrees for 30 min. Turned them at 15min. (Half way thru) Also took your advice and sprayed them with my Misto and they were crunchy around the edges, Will make again. THANK YOU!
You are so welcome Leslie! thanks for stopping by.
Can these be air fried?
Oh I haven’t tried them in the air fryer but that’s a great idea!
Can you freeze these?
Yes! Cool them completely and freeze on lined baking sheets, then pop them off and place in freezer safe bags for up to 3 months. Thaw, then reheat in the oven.
Hello, first time making these with ham, last year I used turkey. I hope you don’t mind but I am going to be adding more garlic salt, because we love garlic and I will also be adding finely chopped celery. I will let you know how the family likes them, thank you for the great start up recipe.
Sounds delicious Patricia!
Growing up we called these potato pancakes… Sure went quick too..Thank you for all the good recipes. .. Have a sweet day… Smile
You are so welcome Rhonda! Thanks for stopping.