These Potato Croquettes are absolute heaven! A crispy shell surrounds a mix of creamy mashed potatoes, queso fresco, and chorizo sausage for this bite-sized appetizer. They are especially great for parties and game day, and can be mostly made ahead of time for convenience.
Potato croquettes are the kind of food that I always tend to order at restaurants, but they are actually very easy to make at home. And they’re much better that way! They come out of the fryer piping hot and extra crispy, and you can also customize the filling exactly how you like it.
While I will show you how I make the mashed potato filling below, this is something you could even make anytime you have leftover mashed potatoes. It’s a great way to make something new out of leftovers you already have, especially around Thanksgiving time.
What’s Great About This Recipe
Comfort food at its finest – You can think of these potato croquettes as like cheesy mashed potato balls with a crispy shell. The combination of textures is a glorious experience.
Versatile – I add spicy, smoky chorizo sausage and queso fresco cheese to the mix, but you can add whatever you want inside. Swap in parmesan cheese and skip the meat altogether, or add little bits of ham or bacon. There are a million possibilities.
Make ahead friendly – While you will want to wait to fry them until they’re ready to eat, they can be mostly made ahead. Then when you’re ready to cook, they only take 3 minutes to fry. This makes them a little easier for entertaining.
Potato croquettes are traditionally deep fried, which is how I cook them here. I used to have a plug-in deep fryer, but now I just use a dutch oven or heavy stockpot to fry them right on the stove, checking the temperature with a thermometer.
While I do not have an air fryer and thus have not tested it, I think there’s a shot these could be good if made with that method. However, I do not suggest baking these in the oven, as they won’t be crispy enough. If you are concerned about the health factor for deep frying, use a healthy type of fat such as tallow or duck fat, which will taste amazing too.
Tips for Best Results
Leave some texture in the potatoes – This is totally preference, but I think it’s best not to make the potatoes inside too smooth. Some chunks here and there add to the textural experience of the potato croquettes, plus then you don’t have to stress about mashing the potatoes to perfection.
Chill the potato croquettes before breading – This will make it so it’s easy to bread the potato croquettes and you don’t risk them falling apart. Plus, you can make them ahead of time, then simply bread when you’re ready to fry and serve.
Bread lightly – In order to keep the shell delicate but crisp, only one coating is needed: one dunk in the egg, and one dunk in the bread crumbs. Make sure to shake off any excess egg before coating in bread crumbs, in order to prevent the breading from falling off.
Step by Step Process:
As an overview, we need to make the filling by combining mashed potatoes with sausage and cheese, or whatever ingredients you desire, then bread and fry the potato croquette balls.
Make the Mashed Potatoes
To make mashed potatoes, it’s as simple as peeling a couple russet potatoes and cutting them into chunks, boiling for about 15 minutes until fork tender, draining the potatoes, then mashing them up with a fork:
They don’t need to be super smooth. Also, feel free to use leftover mashed potatoes instead! I often have leftover from making Pierogies.
Add Sausage and Cheese
Place the mashed potatoes into a big mixing bowl along with some cooked chorizo sausage crumbles and crumbled queso fresco cheese:
Trust me, it is essential to get the queso fresco. It’s so delicious! I get mine from Whole Foods, but I know Walmart has it too.
Suggestions for Ingredient Swaps
Chorizo Sausage – Feel free to use other flavorful meats here, like crumbled Italian sausage, or bacon bits (I always have bacon in the fridge because I make big batches from How to Cook Bacon in the Oven).
Queso Fresco – You can put pretty much ANY cheese in here! Whether it’s shredded mozzarella, cheddar, colby jack, or harder cheeses like grated parmesan, or feta crumbles. Use what you enjoy.
Herbs – Feel free to incorporate any herbs you’d like here. Fresh chives go beautifully with potatoes!
Mix it All Up
Mix that all together, and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, once it’s seasoned to your liking, mix in one egg. It will look fairly soft, but that’s okay because we’ll be chilling the mixture before breading.
Scoop into Balls
I find the easiest way to do this is use a cookie scoop (affiliate) to portion out a mound of potatoes:
Then roll that in your hands, until you get a uniform ball:
Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, and evenly space the potato balls on a sheet tray or your desired container.
Chill the Mashed Potato Balls
Now, refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes, so the potato balls have a chance to firm up.
You may stop here for make-ahead
If you’d like, you can now “hold” the chilled potato balls for later, until you’re ready to bread and fry them for serving. You may refrigerate them for up to 2 days, or keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Make sure they are well sealed in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.
Then take the balls and dip them in beaten egg, then in Italian bread crumbs:
Be sure to let any excess egg drip off before moving to the bread crumbs, so you don’t get any breading that falls off.
Place the balls back onto the same sheet tray, so you can carry them over to the fryer.
Fry for 3 Minutes
Heat up a few inches of tallow, duck fat, or your preferred deep frying fat in a fryer or dutch oven, and fry the potato balls for 3 minutes:
That’s how long it takes for the balls to get golden and crispy.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the potato croquettes to a paper towel-lined plate:
How to Serve Them
The potato croquettes are at their best when enjoyed hot out of the fryer, so be ready to serve them. They’re tasty as is, but are awesome with a homemade aioli if you feel up to make it. I also love dipping them into Buffalo Wing Sauce when I have some on hand anyway for a spread of football snacks and Crispy Baked Chicken Wings. This Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce is also amazing!
What to do with the used cooking oil?
One benefit of using tallow or duck fat instead of fats like soybean oil or peanut oil, is it’s stable enough that it can be reused again and again. I simply filter it to remove the crumbs and sediment from the cheese sticks, then use it for another deep fried recipe, such as Homemade Mozzarella Sticks, Fried Calamari or Coconut Shrimp.
Recipe FAQ and Tips:
Like many other fried foods, it’s never as good as when it’s freshly fried. But technically you can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze them.
You can assemble the balls all the way up to the point of breading them, then keep in the fridge for two days, or freeze a couple months ahead of time. I recommend coating them with the bread crumbs right before you fry.
You can freeze leftovers for up to 2 months. When ready to eat again, roast in a 300F convection oven until crispy and hot, about 10 minutes.
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For the Potato Croquettes:
- 2 lbs russet potatoes
- 1/2 lb fresh chorizo sausage
- 3/4 cup queso fresco crumbled
- 3 eggs divided
- 2 cups italian bread crumbs
- tallow or vegetable oil for frying
- Peel the potatoes, then cut them into large chunks. Place them in a big pot of water, and generously season the water with salt (it should taste as salty as the ocean).
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes and spread them out on a sheet pan. Mash them well with a fork.
- Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat.
- While that heats up, remove the chorizo sausage from the casing, then brown it in the pan for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir to combine the mashed potatoes, chorizo, and queso fresco.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in 1 egg.
- Use a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop to portion out balls, and shape them with your hand.
- Set them on a sheet pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours so they retain their shape while frying. Alternatively, you can freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate as long as overnight.
- Set up a breading station with the bread crumbs in one dish and the other two eggs in the other.
- Whisk to blend the eggs, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll each ball in the egg, let the excess drip off, then dip it in the bread crumbs. Repeat with remaining potato balls.
- Heat up a deep fryer (or a big stockpot with a couple inches of oil) to 375 degrees F.
- Fry the croquettes for 3 minutes, until golden and crispy, then let them drain on a paper towel. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
[Recipe updated from the archives with new photos, writing, and a video in January 2021. Originally published August 2011]