Golden Ham Croquettes Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Ham croquettes are delicious for dinner or as an appetizer or snack. Here's how to make these fried treats.

Updated: Feb. 13, 2024

Ham croquettes have a fancy French name, but they are actually quite easy to make. This recipe combines ground ham with a seasoned white sauce, then the mixture shaped into small cones and coated in breadcrumbs. They fry up perfectly golden brown and are a delightful handheld option for party appetizers, a main dish or an anytime snack.

As far as ham recipes for dinner go, these croquettes are wonderfully indulgent, full of smoky ham, a pinch of curry powder and a little onion. There’s an optional savory cheese sauce made with Swiss and cheddar, which can be served on the side for dipping or drizzled over the tops just before serving. If you grind your own ham, it’s one of the greatest leftover ham recipes that truly goes beyond the norm.

What is a croquette?

A croquette is a seasoned filling held together with binders like bechamel or diced potatoes. The filling is shaped into balls, cones or oblong shapes, then breaded and fried. While croquettes originated in French cuisine, similar regional dishes can be found in cuisines across the world: croquetas de jamón in Spain; fritters in the United Stated, arancini in Italy, and tikki in India.

Ingredients for Ham Croquettes

Ingredients for Ham Croquettes on marble surfaceTMB Studio

  • Ground ham: Look for ground ham at the grocery store in the meat case or deli, or ask your butcher to prepare some for you. You can also use leftover holiday ham by running it through a meat grinder appliance or a KitchenAid stand mixer attachment.
  • Flour: Flour is integral to the roux, which serves as the base for the white sauce that holds the croquettes together. Can you eat raw flour? No, it’s not safe. Here, it’s cooked into melted butter until the raw flour taste is gone.
  • Milk: Milk is the third important ingredient for the bechamel, one of the mother sauces every home cook should master.
  • Curry powder: You don’t need to use a lot of curry powder to get a lot of flavor. Curry powders run from mild to quite spicy—choose your favorite.
  • Bread crumbs: Breadcrumbs and egg coat the croquettes, creating crispy, golden exteriors once they’re fried. Use regular breadcrumbs or panko, or even use your own homemade bread crumbs.

Directions

Step 1: Make the white sauce

Adding flour and curry powder in melted butter in saucepan TMB Studio

Melt butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the curry powder and flour. Add in the milk.

Adding Milk to mixture in saucepanTMB Studio

Bring the milk mixture to a boil, and stir constantly until it begins to thicken, about two minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 2: Add the other ingredients

Adding grated ham in sauceTMB Studio

Stir the mustard and grated onion into the sauce, followed by the ground ham. Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, cover the pan, and refrigerate the mixture until the mixture is thoroughly chilled.

Editor’s Tip: The longer your croquette mixture sits in the fridge, the better they’ll hold their shape when you fry them. Let the mixture chill for at least one hour.

Step 3: Shape and dip the croquettes

Coating the ham balls in bread crumbsTMB Studio

Whisk together the egg and water in a shallow dish. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow dish. Wet your hands, and shape the chilled ham mixture evenly into 10 balls. Roll each ball in bread crumbs, and shape each into a cone.

Dipping the bread crumb covered ham balls in egg water mixtureTMB Studio

Dip each cone into the egg-water mixture.

Covering egg water mixture covered ham balls again in bread crumbsTMB Studio

Re-roll each dipped cone in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded croquettes on a plate.

Step 4: Fry the croquettes

Frying ham balls in large skilletTMB Studio

Heat the oil in a large electric skillet or deep-fat fryer until it registers 375°F on a thermometer. Slide two or three croquettes carefully into the oil. Fry the croquettes until they’re golden brown on all sides, 2 minutes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the oil, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re new to frying, here’s how to deep-fry at home with confidence.

Step 5: If desired, make the cheese sauce

Ham Croquettes served on plate with melted cheeseTMB Studio

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add the milk. Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about two minutes. Reduce the heat, and stir in the cheeses until melted.

Editor’s Tip: This cheese sauce is not a traditional side for ham croquettes, but it is very tasty. If you’d like, skip the sauce altogether, or try one of our suggested sauces below.

Ham Croquette Variations

  • Add a mustard sauce: A mustard dipping sauce will pair beautifully with ham croquettes. Make a basic white sauce (it comes together in minutes), and stir in a tablespoon or two of yellow, honey or spicy brown mustard. Serve it on the side for drizzling or dipping.
  • Go with gravy: These golden, crispy croquettes are also delicious with a simple country-style white gravy flavored with sauteed onions or fresh herbs.
  • Make some heat: For those who like a little heat, try a sauce made of equal parts mayonnaise and Sriracha.

Can you freeze croquettes?

Yes, croquettes can be frozen very easily and stored for up to three months in the freezer. Once they’re fried and completely cooled, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once solid, transfer them to a tightly sealed container or freezer-safe resealable bag. To reheat, place the frozen croquettes on a baking sheet, and heat them in a 400° oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Ham Croquette Tips

Ham Croquettes served on blue plate with fork on sideTMB Studio

How do you keep croquettes from falling apart?

If there is too much moisture in the ham mixture, the croquettes may fall apart once they hit the hot oil. The best way to find out ahead of time if your mixture is too wet is to shape, bread and fry just one croquette as a test. If it doesn’t stay intact, stir some breadcrumbs into the remaining meat mixture to help soak up excess liquid. Giving the mixture enough time to completely chill will also help ensure that the croquettes hold together.

Are croquettes served hot or cold?

You can serve croquettes hot or cold. We love how ham croquettes taste when they’re still warm from frying, but they’re also delicious served at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Golden Ham Croquettes

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 10 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • 2 cups coarsely ground fully cooked ham
  • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • CHEESE SAUCE (optional):
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, melt butter; stir in curry powder and flour. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in mustard and onion; add ham and mix well. Cover and chill thoroughly.
  2. With wet hands, shape mixture into 10 balls. Roll balls in bread crumbs; shape each into a cone. Whisk together egg and water. Dip cones into egg mixture; roll again in crumbs.
  3. Heat oil in an electric skillet or a deep-fat fryer to 375°. Fry croquettes, a few at a time, until golden brown, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels; keep warm.
  4. If desired, make cheese sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 2 minutes. Reduce heat. Add cheeses; stir until melted.

Nutrition Facts

1 croquette: 218 calories, 17g fat (5g saturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 466mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 8g protein.

Neighbors happened to drop in the first time I made this recipe and they loved it. I often make the tasty favorite as a Sunday dinner for our family. —Peggy Anderjaska, Haigler, Nebraska