No one can resist these cheese-stuffed potato balls with a crispy, crunchy coating!
The ultimate appetizer for a party, picnic, or watching the big game, fried mashed potato balls are a budget-friendly crowd-pleasing fave!
An Easy Cheesy Side!
Make ‘em basic or make ‘em fancy by changing the seasonings or cheeses. Either way, they’re always the first to disappear! Serve on their own or with some Ranch, bbq, or bleu cheese dressing.
Quick and easy to make, kids love cheesy potato balls and won’t even notice if you slip in some healthy veggies like mashed broccoli or cauliflower!
This is a great recipe to transform leftover mashed potatoes into savory, crispy-fried balls of deliciousness! Double up the next batch of mashed potatoes and save some for this recipe!
Ingredients and Variations
Potatoes – Use up leftover potatoes, or instant mashed potatoes if leftovers aren’t available. Cooked sweet potatoes can be mixed in for a new twist, too!
Cheese – Any cheese will work! We love ooey-gooey cubes of Velveeta or cheddar cheese, but gruyere, mozzarella, and even blue cheese will be just as delicious!
Breadcrumbs – Panko is favored for its superior ability to adhere to foods and give them extra crunch! Choose seasoned panko breadcrumbs or choose a seasoning blend from the pantry like Italian, taco, or a zesty bbq rub and mix into the panko.
Extras – Experiment with what’s on hand! Bacon bits, chopped jalapenos, green chiles, sundried tomatoes, or green onions, just be sure they are diced finely so the potato balls stick together.
How to Make Potato Balls
- Flatten a ball of mashed potato mixture and add cheese.
- Top with another piece of the potato mixture and shape into a ball.
- Bread and fry (per recipe below).
- Drain cooked fried mashed potato balls on clean paper towels to soak up excess oil.
In the Air Fryer:
- Preheat air fryer (per recipe below).
- Coat mashed potato balls with cooking spray.
- Air fry until mashed potato balls are golden brown and crispy.
Use an ice cream scoop to get uniform-sized mashed potato balls.
If the potato ball mixture is too dry and they aren’t holding together, add a little milk bit by bit. However, if they are too wet, mix in extra mashed potatoes or instant mashed potatoes until they hold together.
Potato balls can be made ahead of time and then dipped and breaded right before cooking. They can also be frozen on a sheet pan and then stored in a zippered bag in the freezer until ready to use. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
These fry up great in the air fryer, too, and with less oil!
Serving And Storing Solutions
Serve potato balls with a tangy honey mustard sauce, a savory onion dip, or a rich and hearty homemade white gravy.
Keep leftover potato balls in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat them in the oven or in an air fryer to make them crispy again. Freeze them in a zippered bag for up to 3 months.
More Mashed Potato Ideas
Fried Mashed Potato Balls
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons flour or potato flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 ounces processed cheese cut in ½ inch cubes
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- oil for frying* See note
- In a medium bowl mix together mashed potatoes, flour (or potato flakes) and garlic powder. Thicker mashed potatoes will need only 1 tablespoon of flour, but softer mashed potatoes may need more to give them enough structure to be formed into balls.
- Scoop mashed potatoes into 1 ½ inch balls. Place a cube of processed cheese in the center of the potato ball. Shape into a ball, ensuring that the potato completely covers the cheese. Repeat for the remainder of the mashed potatoes.
- In separate dishes whisk the egg and spread out the Panko breadcrumbs. Take each mashed potato ball and dip first into the beaten egg, then coat with Panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with all the mashed potato balls.
- Using either your deep fryer or oil in a pan on the stove heated to 350°F, fry each ball for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool before eating.
- Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
- Coat mashed potato balls well with cooking spray.
- Air fry for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway, until mashed potato balls are golden and crispy.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Just wondering — did it require you to freeze these first? Or do they hold their shape fairly well when first hitting the hot grease? Thanks…