The key to perfect air-fried breading is a two-fold process. First, ya gotta give the panko a little head start by toasting the bread crumbs in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Then, rather than the traditional flour, egg, and bread crumb process, the egg is whisked together with a little flour. This method creates a light batter for the panko to stick to, while also resulting in a masterful crust when air fried. Et Voilà! Crisp-ity, crunch-ity, ooey-gooey, watch-for-that-cheese-pull croquettes that’ll please both kids and kids at heart.
Once you’ve mastered the breading technique, you can really turn leftover mashed potatoes and whatever odds and ends you have in your fridge into croquettes. Here are three twists to try:
Make them buffalo-style: Sub in shredded and chopped leftover rotisserie chicken for the broccoli, add extra cayenne to the breading, and mash some blue cheese crumbles into the ranch dipping sauce.
Loaded baked potatoes, meet croquettes: Half the broccoli and add in cooked bacon bits and chopped green onion to the mashed potato mix.
Give them tuna melt vibes: Nix the broccoli and add in 4 ounces of drained, good-quality, olive-oil packed tuna, a tablespoon or two of chopped pimento or roasted red peppers, and some chopped green onion. For the dipping sauce, whisk in the zest of a lemon and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Ninja™, and was developed using the Ninja Foodi™ 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer. —The Editors
- Prep time 45 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Makes 12 croquettes
- For the cheesy potato & broccoli croquettes
broccoli, cut into very large florets
leftover mashed potatoes, cold
sharp cheddar cheese, divided
kosher salt, divided
black pepper, divided
extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups
Japanese panko bread crumbs
large egg, lightly beaten
- For the ranch dipping sauce:
whole-milk Greek yogurt
freshly ground black pepper
fresh chives, finely chopped
fresh dill, finely chopped
- Place the Deluxe Reversible Rack in the bottom of the pot in the steam position, add 1 cup of hot tap water and place the broccoli florets on the rack in an even layer. Assemble the pressure lid, making sure the pressure release valve is in the SEAL position. Select PRESSURE and set to LOW. Set the time for 1 minute and press START/STOP to begin.
- When the pressure cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure release valve to the VENT position. Carefully remove the lid when the unit has finished releasing the pressure. Transfer the broccoli florets to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes, then roughly chop and set aside. Remove the Deluxe Reversible Rack and wipe out any residual liquid.
- While the broccoli florets are cooling, prepare the cheese for the croquettes. Divide the cheese in half. Grate half of the cheese on the large side of a grater and transfer to a medium bowl. Cut the remaining half of cheese into batons, about 1-inch x 1/4-inch in size, and set aside.
- To make the croquette mixture, add the mashed potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the grated cheese and reserved cooled, chopped broccoli. Taste and adjust salt, as necessary. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Combine the egg and all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl and gently whisk with a fork to form a homogenous mixture.
- To make the croquettes, divide the potato and broccoli mixture into 12 pieces. Taking one piece, gently roll it between your palms into an oval shape. Make an indent in the mixture and gently press a cheese baton into the center of the croquette, molding the potato mixture around the cheese and forming it back into an oval. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 11 portions.
- Taking one portion at a time, gently roll the croquette in the egg and flour mixture and then in the toasted bread crumbs, making sure the croquette is lightly breaded on all sides. Transfer the breaded croquettes back to the sheet pan and repeat the breading process with the remaining 11 croquettes.
- Insert the Cook & Crisp™ Basket. Arrange the breaded croquettes in a single layer in the bottom of the basket.
- Close the crisping lid. Select AIR CRISP and set the temperature at 400°F. Set the time to 12 minutes and select START/STOP to begin. Halfway through air frying, open the crisping lid and, using a fork, carefully flip the croquettes. Close the crisping lid and continue air crisping for the remaining 6 minutes. Open the lid, carefully remove the crisping basket from the unit and let the croquettes cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
- While the croquettes are air frying, prepare the ranch dipping sauce by whisking all the ranch ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Refrigerate until serving.
- To serve, transfer the air fried croquettes to a platter and enjoy with the ranch dipping sauce and your favorite vinegar-based hot sauce, if desired.