Air Fryer Irish Cheddar + Bacon Potato Croquettes are a delicious way to use up leftover mashed potatoes for a fun, two-bite appetizer.
Cheesy Potato Croquettes in the Air Fryer
These croquettes are pillows of fluffy potato + bacon wrapped around a nugget of cheddar. The little ball is coated in Panko and air fried for a crispy, melty morsel that everyone will enjoy!
Serve them with a sour cream + chive dip and a glass of your favorite ale at your St. Pat’s celebration or for happy hour anytime of the year.
These can be assembled in advance and cooked in the air fryer or oven, so there’s no messy vat of oil to contend with!
Ingredients for Potato Croquettes
- Leftover mashed potatoes — makes this easy to whip up. If you don’t have any, make a batch with 1 pound of potatoes…that will yield the 2 cups needed.
- Bacon — choose your favorite style (thick cut, center cut, smoked, etc.). I used an uncured, pork bacon without sugar.
- Leek — has a sweet, delicate, onion flavor that is a classic combo for potatoes.
- Irish cheddar — a delicious cheddar made from grass-fed cow’s milk is the way to go! You can find varieties from young (mild + creamy) to aged (nutty + sharp). Your choice!
- Sour cream + chive dip — made with sour cream, fresh chives, granulated garlic + onion, lemon juice, kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper.
- Dredging station — you’ll also need all-purpose flour, a beaten egg and Panko bread crumbs to create that crispy exterior.
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How to Assemble Croquettes with Potato, Bacon + Cheese
Cook the Bacon — Crisp up bacon slices in a skillet, then drain on paper towels and cool. Reserve some of the bacon fat in the skillet for cooking the leeks. Crumble or chop the bacon into very small pieces then add them to a mixing bowl.
Sauté the Leeks — Add leeks to the skillet and season with salt + pepper. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. They’ll soften and just begin to color around the edges. Transfer them to the bowl with bacon.
Make the Croquette Mixture — Add cold mashed potatoes to the mixing bowl and combine with the bacon and leeks until everything is well distributed.
Fill with Cheese — Flatten each portion, then place a cube of cheese into the center. Wrap the potato around it and roll it into a ball. Set these aside on your work surface.
Coat the Croquettes — Set up a 3-bowl dredging station…one with flour, one with whisked up egg, and one with Panko breadcrumbs. Roll each croquette lightly in flour (shake off the excess), then roll in egg. You may find that the egg is a little stubborn, but continue to roll it around and it will eventually coat the croquette. Lastly, roll it in breadcrumbs until completely coated then set it aside. Repeat with the remaining croquettes.
Air Fry the Potato Croquettes
Note: I have the Air Fryer Lid for a 6-quart Instant Pot. Having made other recipes in this appliance, I find I have to reduce the cooking time or temperature because this unit retains heat very well. Every air fryer is unique, so you may find you need to increase the cooking time for your particular brand. I recommend cooking up a couple test croquettes and adjust accordingly.
Preheat your air fryer at 400°F for 3 minutes.
Liberally spritz the croquettes with cooking spray. Working in batches, place some in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving a little breathing room around each. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, rolling/flipping carefully halfway through.
Oven Fry Instructions
No air fryer? No worries! Preheat your oven to 425°F. Evenly space the croquettes on a sheet pan and spritz liberally with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Sour Cream + Chive Dip
Sour cream and chives are another classic combo with potatoes. This is a super simple dip to serve alongside the croquettes. Just combine the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate or set aside until you’re ready to serve!
How to Cut + Wash Leeks
When you bring leeks home from the market, you’ll notice they are typically really dirty. I like to give them a good rinse to remove as much surface dirt as possible before storing in the fridge or slicing up for a recipe. Even so, you’ll still find some grit and dirt hidden within the layers.
Here’s how to clean things up for this recipe:
- Trim the leek down to the part you’ll be using: the white and pale green portion.
- Cut it in half lengthwise, then in half again (thereby quartering the leek).
- Now make thin slices across the quartered leek.
- Transfer the sliced leek to a fine mesh strainer. Give it a rinse under the faucet. Finally, submerge the strainer in a large bowl of clean water and using your fingers, rub the leeks to release any stubborn dirt. It should sink the bottom of the bowl.
- Spread the leeks out on paper towels or a tea towel to drain. They’re ready to use!
Common Questions + Helpful Tips
Starting with cold potatoes will improve the stability of your croquettes during the cooking process. You can also chill the croquettes before cooking if they become too soft during assembly. They will soften during the cooking process, so let them rest for a minute or two before transferring them from the air fryer/sheet pan to a serving dish.
One pound of potatoes will yield about 2 cups of mashed. Peel, cut and cook potatoes in salted water. Drain, then mash with a little butter and salt + pepper. Don’t forget to chill them before you make croquettes!
Assemble croquettes to the step when you stuff with cheese. Arrange them on a sheet pan and pop in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to an air-tight freezer safe container and store up to 3 months. Thaw completely before coating them with flour, egg + breadcrumbs to cook.
These are best right out of the air fryer! If you’re preparing these for a party, it’s unlikely you’ll have leftovers. But, if that isn’t the case, store them in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Warm them up in the oven or your air fryer.
Looking for More St. Pat’s Party Recipes? Check These Out…
- Leftover Corned Beef Hash Waffles with Savoy Cabbage + Eggs
- Cashel Blue Cheese + Pear Tarts
- Dublin Coddle Egg Rolls with Mustard Caper Sauce
- Mini Steak + Stout Pot Pies
Air Fryer Irish Cheddar + Bacon Potato Croquettes
Sour Cream + Chive Dip
- ½ cup light sour cream
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp fresh chives minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 leek quartered lengthwise, sliced thin, thoroughly rinsed (white and pale green parts only)
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes cold
- 3 oz Irish cheddar cut into 1/2" cubes (or smaller depending on the size of your croquettes)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- cooking spray
- Combine sour cream, garlic powder, fresh chives and salt and pepper to taste for a simple dipping sauce. Cover and refrigerate until the croquettes are ready to serve.
- Crisp bacon slices in a skillet over medium heat. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the skillet. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain and cool. Then, crumble the bacon and add them to a mixing bowl.
- Add the leeks to the skillet with a little salt + pepper and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until soft and just beginning to color. Add the leeks to the mixing bowl with the crumbled bacon.
- Add the cold mashed potatoes to the bowl and combine with the bacon and leeks. Taste and season with salt + pepper as needed.
- Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoon volume), scoop out a ball of potatoes. Flatten with clean hands then wrap it around a cube of Irish cheddar, turning it back into a ball. Repeat until all the potatoes are used.
- Create a 3-bowl dredging station: one with flour, one with the egg (whisked up with a fork), one with the Panko.
- Coat each potato ball in flour, then egg, then Panko and set aside on a sheet pan. (If you're making these ahead, cover and chill the potato balls until you're ready to cook).
- Air Fryer Instructions: Preheat the air fryer at 400°F. Spritz the croquettes with cooking spray, then place them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Flip them halfway through. Repeat until all croquettes have been cooked.
- Oven Instructions: Preheat oven to 425°F. Spritz the croquettes with cooking spray. Bake on a sheet pan for 10 minutes. Flip them halfway through.
- The croquettes will be soft after cooking (using either method). Let them sit for a minute or two before transferring to a serving dish. Season with some coarse salt and garnish with fresh herbs, if you like.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.