Loaded Potato Croquettes with fluffy potato centers, crisp bacon, green onions, cheese, and golden-crisp bread coating are a delicious party appetizer or any time of the day snack the whole crowd will love. They’re the perfect use for your dinner leftovers!
It’s a day before Thanksgiving and I’m still scurrying from one grocery store to another trying to scramble together some semblance of a holiday menu. Preparing a special Thanksgiving can indeed be very stressful but there have been so much to be thankful for this year, I thought I’ll get into full festive spirit and cook our Thanksgiving dinner instead of picking up a ready-to-serve package from our favorite restaurant.
I’m keeping it simple, though, and I’m not even roasting a whole turkey. G is going to grill turkey legs like last year and I am going to round up the meal with slow cooker green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, and sweet corn pudding.
But although I’m doing anything fancy, I am planning to double up on the servings especially the mashed potatoes. Because what’s better than creamy mashed potatoes with loads of tasty gravy? It’s plenty of leftover mashed potatoes to turn into loads of crunchy potato balls!
Tips on How to Make Loaded Potato Balls
- The recipe includes preparing the mashed potatoes from scratch but you can, of course, use leftover mashed potatoes or instant mashed potatoes to cut the work in half.
- I used crisp bacon crumbles, chopped green onions, and shredded cheese but feel free to add or swap whatever leftovers you have on hand such as green peas, diced carrots, mushrooms, and shredded chicken/turkey.
- Make sure to chill the mashed potatoes in the refrigerator until completely cold to make rolling into shape easier and lightly dust hands with flour so the potatoes balls won’t stick.
- You can use regular bread crumbs to coat the croquettes but I highly suggest Panko breadcrumbs. They have a light, flaky texture and absorb less oil, giving fried foods a crispier and crunchier texture.
- Use the right kind of oil such as peanut, safflower, corn or canola oil which have high smoke points. Use enough oil with the potatoes about halfway deep in oil when deep-frying.
- Maintain optimal oil temperatures of 350 F to 375 F. Too high and the breading will brown before the inside is sufficiently heated through; too low and the potatoes will absorb more grease.
- Drain the fried croquettes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch drips instead of on paper towels as the escaping steam might make the breading soggy.
Can You Make Potato Croquettes in the Oven?
Not a fan of deep-frying? You can easily and conveniently make these scrumptious mashed potato nuggets in the oven!
- Prepare the potato balls as directed in the recipe.
- Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray the croquettes with nonstick cooking spray or drizzle with oil.
- Bake in a 400 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Can You Make Potato Croquettes Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can. Please note, however, that croquettes, like most fried foods, are best enjoyed fresh and may lose crispiness when stored for future use. For maximum texture, it might be best to store them breaded but unfried or unbaked.
Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm before transferring to resealable bags or airtight containers so they don’t stick together when frozen.
To warm up, thaw completely and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Although reheating in the microwave might be quicker, I don’t recommend this method as they will turn the croquettes soggy.
These loaded mashed potato balls are a must try! They’re economical to make, with the batch of two large potatoes making about 2 dozen one-inch size balls. With fluffy potato centers and golden-crisp bread coating, they are a delicious party appetizer or any time of the day snack the whole crowd will love. Enjoy!
Loaded Mashed Potato Balls
- 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 cups oil
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine potatoes and enough cold water to cover to about an inch. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and continue to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork. Remove potatoes from heat and drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until golden brown and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- In a saucepan over low heat, combine heavy cream or milk and butter, and warm until butter is melted.
- In a deep bowl, combine mashed potatoes and heavy cream-butter mixture. Mash potatoes with a fork until smooth and have no lumps. Do not over-beat or mashed potatoes will turn "gluey".
- Add cheese, bacon and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Cover with film and refrigerate for about 15 to 20 minutes or until completely cold.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat about 2 inches deep of oil to 350 F.
- Using a small scoop, portion mashed potatoes into 1-inch balls and between the palm of hands, roll into round shape.
- Place flour on one plate, eggs in a bowl, and Panko in another plate.
- Working one at a time, dust potato ball in flour, shaking off any excess flour, dip in egg, and then dredge in Panko, gently pressing down breadcrumbs to coat.
- Add balls to hot oil and deep-fry, turning as needed, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Do NOT overcrowd the pan, work in batches as needed.
- With a slotted spoon, remove from heat and drain on a wire rack. Serve immediately.