These Ham and Cheese Croquettes make a great main dish or appetizer all year round! Use up leftover holiday ham, or grab a few ham steaks and whip up an unforgettable treat!JUMP TO RECIPE
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Easy Ham and Cheese Croquettes
If you're looking for a way to use up leftover ham in your fridge, look no further than these creamy, crispy Ham and Cheddar Croquettes.
Made with ground ham, sharp cheddar, and scallion- these croquettes are easy to make, and are great for dinner, or as an appetizer. Every time I make a ham, my boyfriend asks me to make these with the leftovers. I think he may like these better than the ham itself!
Making the croquettes
To make the croquettes, you will need:
- Ham- either leftover, or ham steaks
- Butter- I use unsalted to control the salt in my dish, but use salted if you prefer/if that’s what you have on hand
- Regular old flour
- Milk- I used 2%, but you could also use whole milk
- Salt and pepper- always
- Shredded cheese- I used sharp cheddar, but Monterey Jack, Gouda or Swiss would also work really well here. I prefer to shred my own, as I feel it’s creamier, but use what you like.
- Scallions- for mild onion flavor. If you don’t have those- chives or shallots would work here as well. We’re looking to impart a subtle onion flavor.
- Garlic Powder- for flavor.
- Some crackers to grind in your food processor, or some ready-made Panko bread crumbs.
- Oil for frying- such as vegetable, peanut or canola.
Making the Croquette mixture
You'll start by grinding up the ham into fine bits in the food processor. After that's done, set those aside.
Croquettes are made as a sort of batter which consists of a roux (flour/butter), milk, and meat of choice (usually chicken or ham.
To make this recipe, you'll start by melting some butter in a medium saucepan, then slowly incorporating the flour, and cooking that out for a few minutes. Then you'll slowly whisk in the milk and spices and cook that for a few minutes, to create a thick base for the croquettes.
Once that's done, you'll simply fold the ham, ½ cup cheddar and the scallions into the flour/butter/milk base to create a sort of batter.
Pop that into the fridge for a few hours to cool. This can be anywhere from 2-3 hours and up to overnight.
Once the mixture is cooled, you'll fold in an additional ½ cup of shredded cheddar, This ensures the mixture stays moist and cheesy- with little pockets of cheese, as the first ½ cup of cheese we added in fully incorporated and melted into the batter.
Forming the croquettes
After the rest of the cheese is added in, form the croquette mixture into even sized balls and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I like to use a medium ice cream scoop to portion them out, and then gently roll them between my hands to smooth them out. The mixture will be a bit sticky, which is why I recommend refrigerating them again for an hour or so to firm them up before dredging and frying. Trust me, they are worth the wait!
Breading and frying the Ham and Cheese Croquettes
Once the croquettes are firm and ready to fry, all you need to do is finely grind your crackers in the food processor, or grab your Panko, and set up a dredging station.
First roll the ham balls in seasoned flour, then in beaten egg/milk, then in the cracker crumbs or Panko.
Set back onto parchment lined sheet and continue until all croquettes are breaded.
Heat ½" of oil of choice in a large, deep frying pan or skillet and heat over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until it's nice and hot and shimmery.
Working in batches, fry croquettes 1-2 minutes a side, flipping once and lightly pressing after flipping. Remove to a cooling rack and continue until all croquettes are fried and crispy golden brown.
Tools for great croquettes
- A food processor.
- A sheet pan.
- A cooling rack or paper towel lined plate.
- A cheese grater, or food processor attachment for grating the cheese.
- A few mixing bowls.
- a 12" cast iron skillet, for frying the croquettes.
These ham croquettes are great by themselves, but I have also served them with a little honey mustard, some spicy brown mustard, or even leftover ham glaze or hot sauce. Choose any dip you like, or just dive right in!
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Ham and Cheese Croquettes
- Food Processor
- 4 cups ham, finely chopped in food processor (about 1.5-2 lbs ham)*, (leftover or ham steak)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For Dredging/Frying the Croquettes
- 2 cups finely ground butter crackers, or Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
- neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
- 1. Prepare the ham: Cut the ham into small pieces and place in the bowl of your food processor with the blade in place. Pulse until ham is well ground, but some larger pieces remain. 2. Make the croquettes: Melt butter over medium heat in medium nonstick saucepan. 3. Add 2 tablespoon flour, and stir to combine. 4. Cook flour and butter mixture, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.5. Slowly whisk in milk and spices until no lumps are present, and cook (stirring occasionally) until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.6. Once thickened, turn off heat and fold in ham, and sliced scallion. Once combined, fold in the cheddar. For best results, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.7. When ready to fry, Form into roughly 2” balls, and transfer to a parchment lined sheet. 8. Add flour to a medium bowl or large rimmed plate and season with salt and pepper, whisking to combine. 9. Set cracker crumbs in a similar bowl/plate.10. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.11. To dredge: Carefully coat each ball in flour, then egg, then cracker crumbs. Place back on to parchment-lined sheet, and repeat until all balls are coated12. Heat 1” of neutral frying oil in a deep, wide skillet or frying pan over medium-high hear for 3-4 minutes.13. Set a cooling rack set over a baking sheet close to your work station for cooling/draining the croquettes as you fry.14. Working in batches, fry the croquettes in oil on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes a side, flipping once (gently) with a spatula, pressing down gently when you flip. Croquettes should be golden.15. Once both sides are fried, transfer to rack, and continue to work in batches until all croquettes are fried.16. Serve hot with dipping sauce of choice (I love Ken’s honey mustard!)
I used leftover pieces of spiral sliced honey ham for this recipe, but you could use any thick sliced ham of your choosing for this recipe! Even ham steak would work well. Just cut it into small chinks and grind in the food processor.
Use any milk you have on hand for the croquette batter and dredging. I used 2% milk for these.
I love the taste of sharp cheddar for these, but you could also do Swiss cheese, Gouda, or Monterey Jack for these!
I used scallion for these, but you could sub in either shallot or chives if you have those on hand.
Either ground butter crackers (such as Ritz or something similar) or Panko work for the breading.
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