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Potato [Not] Croquettes: Part of this Complete Breakfast - By Z

So, as I’ve mentioned ad nauseum on this blog (and in life), I like variety in all things. With food, this manifests as a desire for different flavors, different textures, and different colors. However, I also always have leftovers because I never want to not have enough if unexpected guests show up. Combine the love of variety and the abundance of leftovers and you get me attempting (and often failing) at reinventing those leftovers into something just as delicious as the meal from whence they came.

Changing the garlic mashed potatoes (leftover from our Surf and Turf meal) into potato croquettes was something more than a failure, but less than a complete success. I’ll certainly be trying again.

Croquettes are apparently often made with meat, but the basic formula is (well, according to me):

Mashed potatoes + binding agent + frying = Croquettes!

According to Wikipedia, croquette comes from the French verb “to crunch.” These weren’t as crunchy as I would have liked but that’s probably because I didn’t bread them. I only added breadcrumbs to the leftover garlic mashed potatoes, cheese, and egg mixture. In retrospect, I should have added breadcrumbs to the outside before frying.

As long as we’re on the subject of things I would do differently, I think I’ll use a non-stick surface next time. Cast iron was OK, but I would have liked a smoother surface.

L to R, T to B: 1) Eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs & garlic mashed potatoes 2) They were too hard to form into patties initially, so I made balls and flattened them out with a spatula. 3) Then I added some oil, because they were sticking. 4) Flipped croquettes

They were kinda mushy, but I think that’s because I used a bit too much cheese. They were still delicious… I ate them all, but I think I could do better next time. I’m still working on the ratios, but if you go with what I have below, it shouldn’t be too bad. What’s below is what I should have done and they way I’ll do it next time.

Potato Croquettes


One of many, many things to do with leftover mashed potatoes. Other than, y’know, just eating them plain.

  • 5 parts leftover mashed potatoes – The consistency of the finished product is largely going to depend on how fluffy your mashed potatoes are. If they’re chunky, you can use more; if they’re super smooth, use less so that they won’t fall apart.
  • 1 part cheese – That’s because I really like cheese. You can use less if you’re using a really flavorful cheese. Bleu cheese might go really well with this, but I haven’t tried that before, so I don’t guarantee that it won’t fall apart. I used cheddar here, but I used way too much (much more than a 1:5 cheese:potato ratio).
  • 1 egg – If you’d really like, you can take out the yolks, but then I’d use two eggs. The egg whites will have plenty of protein to bind the potato together.
  • 1 part bread crumbs – You might want to use less, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t know the exact portion to get the texture I want, which is crispy on the outside, but almost like a soft quiche on the inside.
  • Seasoning – I went with salt and pepper, but feel free to add cayenne, any dried herbs (fresh would work too, provided you chopped them finely), five spice… whatever you feel like. If the mashed potatoes you made weren’t garlic mashed potatoes (and if they aren’t, shame on you), then I’d add one clove of fresh garlic to the entire thing… either use a garlic press, or mince it finely. If you don’t have a press, use the edge of a big knife and some kosher salt as an abrasive to smash it into a paste. Otherwise, you’ll get little chunks of raw garlic which will overwhelm your tastebuds.

Mix your potatoes, cheese, egg, bread crumbs, and seasoning… in other words, all of your ingredients. Mix them together until you have a pretty homogeneous mixture. Try to form them into patties, but if you’re like me, you probably won’t be able to get them to form. In that case, don’t despair. Make them into balls. You can flatten them in the pan.

Speaking of which, get your pan hot and get some grease in it. Anything from bacon fat to one of those cooking sprays will work (or use your own blend of oil), provided you get enough of it to keep from sticking. This is why I’d also use a non-stick pan as I definitely had sticking problems.

The next time I make these, I’m going to bread them. That should help with the sticking and make the croquettes live up to their crunchy name.

Fry for about 2-3 minutes a side on medium heat, until they’re golden brown and crispy. Serve ‘em piping hot, with eggs however you like them, a side of meat (everything from bacon to sausage to, in my case, a leftover ribeye) and you’ve got yourself a damned hearty breakfast.

If I had ‘em, I would’ve included tomato slices as well. Most diners around here don’t serve ‘em, but in the Pacific Northwest, it seems you can get tomato slices at every breakfast place. After my initial hesitation, I’ve concluded that it’s a good thing. The acid and freshness from the tomatoes is a perfect counterpoint to a hearty breakfast like this.


  1. jt wrote:

    use panko and deep fry.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  2. Z wrote:

    I have the panko but, alas, not the setup for deep frying. Any tips?

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  3. asad wrote:

    You can deep fry in a regular pot. That’s what I do. You can buy a fry thermometer, but I use my digital probe thermometer.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  4. Jeremy wrote:

    I usually do breadcrumbs -> egg wash -> breadcrumbs on the outside and do my “half-assed pan / deep fry” because I’m such a huge cheapskate. This is when you pour about 1/2″ oil into a large saucepan and deep fry that way (which necessitates a lot of turning since they won’t be fully submerged). A liter of frying oil last 4-5 frys instead of 2 this way.

    Never made potato croquettes, only ham (or whatever) with a roux base (always thought these were “standard” croquettes, but perhaps that’s just my eurocentrism), for which it’s nice to use a real batter too to help keep them from falling apart.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  5. jt wrote:

    your eyesight should be your fry thermometer. it’s ready when it’s golden brown and delicious… not pastey and not burnty.

    you can use your cast iron to do a shallow pan fry. i use a cast iron for fried chicken so croquettes shouldn’t be a problem. since cast iron retains so much heat, you need to watch how much fire (or electricity) you give it.

    the oil will be hot enough when you stick a wooden chopstick in and tiny bubbles start coming out of it. ancient oriental secret.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  6. I want to come up to the SF one of these weekends since I have Fridays off. Can we hang out in your kitchen? I’ll make brasciole for you!

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  7. Harold wrote:

    So how many trees did you chop down right after you ate this breakfast?

    Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink
  8. Z wrote:


    Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink
  9. Harold wrote:

    Would shredding the cheese smaller have helped? Also, a candy thermometer is good for frying and candy.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink
  10. Z wrote:

    I don’t think so, because it got all mixed and broken up. I really need to get my thermometer game going.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

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  1. Food, By Z › Hamburger Mediterraneane on Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 2:37 am

    [...] true that I’m no good at brevity, but the fact of the matter is, I do like variety. And I guess variety also means trying to do things that you’re not good at. So, I’m [...]

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