Stick With Low-Moisture Additions When Making Potato Croquettes

Leftovers have an unglamorous reputation that is not entirely deserved. There are a few scrumptious dishes that can only be made from leftovers, and we think potato croquettes are at the top of the list. These crisp-fried on the outside, and meltingly smooth on the inside little round concoctions are delicious enough to make from scratch, but honestly, it's better to double up on your next mashed potato recipe just so you'll have some leftovers for croquettes. Just make sure that everything else you might want to add to the croquette mixture has a low moisture content, too.

While dried-out leftover mashed potatoes are usually something to avoid, a good batch of croquettes relies on them. Leftover mashed potatoes that have sat in your refrigerator overnight are much drier than freshly-made and therefore ideal for mixtures made for frying.  For this reason, you should also avoid adding anything but relatively dry ingredients to your croquettes (besides a binding agent like eggs). But don't think this limits you from exploring some very flavorful options.

When making croquettes, drier is better

In general, stick with the basic croquette recipe of using eggs for a binder and breadcrumbs as an outer coating. If you want to give the potato mixture your own touch, consider using ingredients like spices (smoked paprika or cayenne pepper will perk things right up), grated cheese, bacon bits or diced ham, caramelized onions, or minced jalapeno peppers. Any and all of these options will add quite a bit of flavor to your croquettes without making the mixture soggy. Some things to avoid include flavored sauces and condiments, oils and butter, and raw veggies that let off water when they cook. 

Something else to keep in mind: you want to make potato croquettes from scratch, you'll need to let them cool before using them — and not simply to avoid them scalding your hands or cooking the other ingredients. Newly-boiled potatoes contain far too much water which needs to steam off. Many croquette recipes call for adding butter to your freshly-mashed potatoes, but that would be adding more moisture along with the flavor. That's why dry leftover mashed potatoes come in so handy: they still have the luscious butter and cream flavor from when you made them, but without much of the water content, removed courtesy of the drying properties of refrigeration.