These are the best Air Fryer Potato Croquettes! With a crispy golden exterior and a pillowy soft center, these cheesy potato balls are perfect as a party appetizer, side dish, or snack. The whole family will love them!
🥔 What Is A Croquette?
A croquette (pronounced KROH-ket) is simply a breaded and fried ball, usually filled with meat, seafood, and/or vegetables. Even though they originated in France, there are now several croquette variations across the globe. For example, the Japanese korroke is traditionally filled with potato, beef, and onion and served with a tonkatsu sauce. Meanwhile, Spanish croquetas are typically enjoyed for tapas and stuffed with Serrano ham. Needless to say, croquettes are beloved all over the world and for good reason!
Mashed potato croquettes are the most popular stuffing - after all, nothing can really beat a delicious fried potato right? But we're going to one-up it by adding in cheese.. have I caught your attention yet? 😉
These easy potato croquettes start with a baked potato for ultimate fluffiness. It gets transformed into a buttery, cheesy mashed potato before we roll them up, bread, and fry them in the air fryer. The result: a rich and creamy potato ball that's covered in a crispy coating. And with a lot less effort and fat than traditional frying!
Why You'll Love It
- Healthier: This easy croquette recipe uses minimal butter in the mashed potatoes and very little oil compared to deep frying. It's also vegetarian and egg-free.
- Versatile: You can serve these as an appetizer, side dish, or snack. You can also add pretty much any ingredient into the croquettes and with these classic flavors, they go with everything!
- Crowd pleaser: Potatoes are a must-have at any gathering or event. They're also very kid-friendly! For more potato side dishes, I recommend German Potato Salad, Brown Butter Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Air Fryer Parmesan Potato Wedges.
- Potatoes: I recommend using either Russet (Idaho) or Yukon Gold potatoes to make croquettes. Both result in delicious mashed potatoes - Russet potatoes are more fluffy while Yukon Gold are buttery-tasting and creamier. I usually use Russet potatoes in this recipe.
- Butter: I prefer unsalted, grass-fed butter.
- Garlic and onion powder: A quick, easy, and no-prep way of adding flavor.
- Green onion (or chives): Adds freshness and color.
- Cheese: Use any good-melting cheese, like mozzarella, cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, or Fontina. I used shredded mozzarella here.
- All purpose flour and eggs: For the classic breading station. I like to add a touch of salt in them to flavor every layer.
- Panko breadcrumbs: A Japanese-style breadcrumb that's coarser than traditional breadcrumbs. But you can use either one in this recipe.
Substitutions & Variations
- If you want melted cheese centers instead of dispersed shredded cheese, use cubed cheese. Flatten the potato rounds in your hand, place a cube in the center, and wrap it around to form a ball.
- Like I said, you could stuff these creamy croquettes with pretty much anything. Ground beef, shredded chicken, ham, bacon, or chorizo are popular meat add-ins!
- If using leftover mashed potatoes (great for Thanksgiving leftovers!), lightly warm the potatoes first. Cold mashed potatoes will be crumbly and difficult to shape. And depending on how they were made, you may need to add flour or an egg to stabilize and bind them.
- To make gluten-free croquettes, use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.
🔪 How To Make Air Fryer Potato Croquettes
⬇️ Please scroll down to the recipe card to see full ingredient amounts and instructions.
STEP ONE: First, cook the potatoes. We're going to bake them in the air fryer so while it's preheating to 400ºF, scrub the potatoes really clean and use a fork to a poke a bunch holes all over. Air fry for 45-60 minutes or until a fork or knife can pierce it easily. Rotate them every 20ish minutes so they cook evenly.
STEP TWO: Place a wire rack over a large bowl. Once the potatoes are done cooking, carefully cut them in half lengthwise and place them on top of the rack. Push down to separate the flesh from the skin. Repeat with the second potato. Alternatively, you can use a potato ricer or just a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
STEP THREE: Discard the skins and let the potatoes steam-dry for 1 minute in the bowl.
STEP FOUR: To the warm potatoes, add the butter, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and green onion. Mash until the butter is fully incorporated but make sure you don't over-mix.
STEP FIVE: Next, add the shredded cheese and lightly stir. You can mix in any other add-ins at this time too.
STEP SIX: Use a 1½ tablespoon scooper or measuring spoon to portion out the mashed potatoes. Roll into balls and place them spaced out on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and let set up in the fridge for 15 minutes.
STEP SEVEN: Meanwhile, set up your breading station. In one shallow bowl, add the all purpose flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together an egg and splash of water. Then in the last bowl, add the Panko breadcrumbs with another pinch of salt and pepper.
STEP EIGHT: Drop a potato ball into the flour and roll to coat it evenly, then shake off any excess. Then roll in the egg wash, followed by the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the croquettes are formed.
STEP NINE: Preheat air fryer to 400ºF and spray the basket with oil. Add the potato croquettes and make sure there's space between each one. If needed, fry in batches. Spray the tops with oil and air fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden, shaking the basket halfway.
💭 Top Tips
- Even though it takes longer, I highly recommend baking the potatoes rather than boiling them. Too much water will make the balls flimsy and it'll steam too much in the air fryer, resulting in cracks. Instead, baked potatoes give you a lighter, fluffier interior with more potato flavor since it won't be diluted down with water or binder ingredients.
- Wire cooling racks are my favorite way to "scoop" out the potato interior. But you could also use a potato ricer, the large holes on a box grater, a food mill, or just a spoon to scoop it out.
- Make sure you don't over-mix the potatoes. This will result in a gluey, unpleasant texture in the croquettes.
- Let the homemade croquettes chill in the fridge. This allows them to firm up and cool down so they hold their shape better. They'll also be less likely to crack or break when fried.
- If you want finer crumbs, you can blitz the Panko breadcrumbs in a food processor. You can also make your own with any leftover bread or crackers.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer or else the croquettes will steam rather than fry. I use a 6-Quart Instant Vortex and can fit all 16 croquettes into the basket. If needed, air fry in batches.
- Each air fryer is different. Test one croquette first to determine the best temperature and time needed for a golden exterior.
- To bake instead of air fry, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway.
🥡 Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let leftover air-fried potato croquettes cool completely. Then store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: To freeze fried croquettes, place them on a baking sheet with 1" between each one. Par-freeze for 20-30 minutes, then transfer to a zip-top bag with as much air removed as possible. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can freeze the mashed potato rounds as well. Follow the same method above. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before breading and continuing on with the recipe.
Reheating: Preheat the air fryer to 350°F and reheat potato croquettes for about 5 minutes or until warm.
If frozen, increase the time by 3-4 minutes.
Make Ahead: You can make the mashed potatoes and shape them into balls up to 1 day in advance. Place them on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge. Then bread and continue with the recipe.
📖 Recipe FAQs
There really is no wrong answer. Potatoes are the most common, but you can also add in meat like chicken or tuna. I've even seen mac and cheese, cauliflower, quinoa, and pumpkin croquettes!
They'll crack, break, or burst if there is too much steam from the interior. To prevent this, let the potato balls sit in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool down and firm up.
In some recipes, you need an egg to bind the croquette together and hold them together. This recipe doesn't need it. Because we baked the potatoes instead of boiling them, they stay dry and therefore only need a little fat - aka butter and cheese - to keep it together.
🍽 Looking For More Air Fryer Recipes?
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Air Fryer Potato Croquettes
- 1½-2 lbs Russet potatoes about 2-3 potatoes
- ¼ cup unsalted butter cubed
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoon green onion or chives minced
- ½ cup shredded cheese I used mozzarella
- 2-3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 egg plus ½ tablespoon water for egg wash
- ⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- Oil spray
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Scrub potatoes clean and use a fork to carefully poke holes all over. Air fry for 45-60 minutes or until potatoes are completely fork tender. Time will depend on the size but make sure to rotate every 20 minutes.
- Once potatoes are cooked, carefully remove from the air fryer (they'll be hot!) and cut in half lengthwise. Place a cooling rack over a large mixing bowl and place the potato halves on top, cut side down. Push down on the potatoes so the inside of the potatoes falls into the bowl. Discard the skin.
- To the warm potatoes, add butter, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and green onion. Gently mix the potato mixture until butter melts, being careful to not over-mix. Stir in cheese and season to taste.
- Use a 1½ tablespoon cookie scooper or measuring spoon to portion potatoes out and roll into golf-sized balls. Place onto a plate with space between each one. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile, set up your breading station. Lay out three shallow bowls. Add flour and ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper in one bowl. In the second, add the egg and ½ tablespoon water. Whisk until homogenous. Then in the third, add the Panko breadcrumbs and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Roll a potato ball in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Coat in an even layer of egg wash, then roll into Panko breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the potato balls are breaded.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F again. Spray the basket with oil and add the croquettes evenly spaced out. If needed, fry in batches. Air fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden and crispy, gently shaking the basket halfway. Let cool slightly before serving.
- Serving size ranges between 16-18 for 1½ tablespoon sized croquettes, but ultimately depends on the size of your potatoes and croquettes.
- Cheese: Use any good-melting cheese, like mozzarella, cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, or Fontina.
- If you don't have a wire rack, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and lightly crumble into the bowl.
- I use a 6-Quart Instant Vortex for this recipe. Each air fryer is different so I recommend testing with one croquette to determine the best temperature and time.