Transform Leftover Mashed Potatoes Into Easy, Crispy Croquettes

One of the many great things about mashed potatoes is that the leftovers can go a long, long way. There are so many things you can do with a humble pile of leftover mashed potatoes. Maybe you've already tried latkes, mashed potato soup, or even potato bread — but have you tried potato croquettes?

Croquettes are believed to be of French origin, but they're a familiar Spanish tapas dish and a popular food throughout most of Europe. A croquette is essentially any mix of meat or vegetables that's bound together and shaped — usually into a ball, but sometimes a small log or patty — then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The result is a small, savory bite that's delightfully crispy on the outside with a smooth, creamy interior.

While variations abound, leftover mashed potatoes make a killer ingredient to transform into croquettes. So, next time you've got some in the fridge, consider this your sign to turn to these crispy balls of goodness for an easy, delicious way to use leftovers.

Tips for making leftover mashed potato croquettes

They may sound fancy, but croquettes are relatively easy to make, especially if you're using something already pre-made as the main ingredient, like leftover mashed potatoes. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you get them right.

The most important thing is to ensure the mixture stays together. We suggest using your leftover mashed potatoes cold and directly from the fridge for the best results (don't reheat them). To ensure you can roll your mixture into balls that will hold their shape, add a little flour to help keep them together.

As for frying, you want your croquettes to get very crispy without the inside getting so hot that it bursts or splits open. To do this, heat your oil to the ideal temperature, around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and fry your croquettes until nicely browned and crisped. It only takes a couple of minutes. If you're making another batch, reheat your oil before frying the next round.

Croquette variations to try

The beauty of a croquette is that you can use as many or as few ingredients as you want. You can make leftover mashed potatoes the true star and shape them, roll them in breadcrumbs, and fry them. However, if you want to add more ingredients to the mix, there are numerous croquette variations at your disposal.

Different parts of the world have go-to croquette dishes; many already include potatoes as a main ingredient or binder. For example, in Mexico, they often add chicken or tuna to their croquettes. The Italian version, called croche, uses parsley for some added freshness and cornstarch instead of flour. In Japan, potato croquettes (called korokke) are often mixed with ground beef and onions and are coated in panko before frying.

Other popular ingredient variations include meats like diced-up ham, chorizo, or sausage, fish like cod or salmon, or finely chopped vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or corn. Many recipes also incorporate different types of cheese — from mozzarella to goat — for added flavor and a creamy, melty texture.