Snacks and Appetizers

Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

Loaded mashed potato balls are so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

If you’ve ever had something that’s crispy on the outside but so fluffy and soft on the inside, you’ll understand just how tasty these are. It’s like having ice cream with your hot apple pie. Hot and cold. Crispy and soft. Extremes like these are so much fun. We’re taking mashed potatoes, made exclusively for this purpose, or leftover mashed potatoes and mixing them with cheddar cheese, bacon bits and chives. That there will be the fluffy. Then we’re dredging them in a Parmesan-spiked panko bread crumb mixture. This will be the crunch. Crispy yet creamy. Happiness awaits!

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

I’ve made them before with tuna, which you can also sub with salmon in these tuna croquettes. These loaded mashed potato balls are a lot easier to make though, by virtue of how small they are. There’s less awkwardness during the egg dipping stage while your mashed potato mixture melts in your hands because it’s excessively big and unwieldy. We’ll use the magic of a spoon. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty while breading! I’ve refined the technique a little for minimum fuss. So besides the hassle of breading, you can make these relatively easy and show them off at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners. Let’s begin!

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!


As I said earlier, you can use leftover mashed potatoes or make mashed potatoes just for this. This even works with instant mashed potatoes if you feel like cheating a little. Just make sure to chill them beforehand so they are easier to handle and won’t fall apart in your hands. Once they’re ready, mix them up with cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives and pepper to taste. This part is easy.

Then we’ll make them into balls. Just as I did with my meatballs, I used an ice cream scoop to make uniform balls. You should get about 24 balls for 3 cups of mashed potatoes. Dusting your hands with flour before rolling them into balls really helps with the sticking. Pat them gently at first into ball-sized shapes before rolling them gently in your palms to finish them off. Do this until you finish making all the balls. We’ll be doing this stage by stage so there’s less hand washing in between. If your hands get coated with too much mashed potatoes, a trick I learned was to get more flour and rub them in your hands over the sink. The flour will help clump them all up and get them off your hands. You want minimal hand washing during the ball forming stage because your hands should be dry so the potatoes don’t stick.

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

The hard part is over! Now onto the breading stage. You’ll want one bowl with beaten eggs and one bowl with the Parmesan panko mixture. Each bowl is equipped with a handy spoon so your hands don’t get dirty. I used panko bread crumbs because they’re crispier and flakier than the regular kind. They don’t show as much in the pictures because I tested making these overnight and frying them up the next day. The panko breading will look soggy if you prep in advance but it’ll still be crispy once fried. It just won’t be as flaky. When I say flaky, I mean something like these coconut shrimp. You’ll be able to see the difference between making it the day before and frying it up immediately. Regardless of how it looks, both ways are still crispy so it all comes down to how busy you are and how much you care about appearances. For the Parmesan, I used the dry kind in the shaker so it blends in nicely with the bread crumbs.

Back to the breading stage, drop a ball in the egg mixture. This is the glue we’ll use to get the bread crumbs to stick.  Depending on your bowl size, only the bottom will be coated with the egg mixture so flip it over and around with the spoon until all sides are fully coated. Now use the spoon to pick it up and tilt it at the edge of the bowl to remove any excess egg. You’ll want to do this because too much egg drippings into the bread crumb mixture will clump it all up which doesn’t make it stick.

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

Drop the ball in the bread crumb mixture and use the bread crumb spoon to heap it all over until fully coated. Use the back of the spoon to pat it in. You can also choose to pat in any excess bread crumbs with your hands after this without getting your hands clumpy with breading. That’s one ball down! The breading stage is what will take up the bulk of your time so don’t worry about how long this is taking. Do this for the rest of the balls and we’re onto the frying stage. Make sure your oil is hot before frying so the breading doesn’t come off and stick to the pan. It’ll strip all that breading right off. Pan fry in batches or deep fry if you want to. I just coated the bottom of the pan with oil and rolled them around to brown them evenly. The important thing to remember is to be gentle when frying, they’re still fragile and an accidental stabbing will ruin your perfect balls.

If you’re not a fan of frying, you can choose to bake these. I baked the tuna croquettes so I know it can be done. I estimate about 5-10 minutes or until browned. If you feel baking them doesn’t brown them as much, you can also choose to toast the panko bread crumbs in a pan over medium-high heat until they are browned before breading them. No oil is needed, just heat them up in the pan and move them around until evenly browned. Mix it with the Parmesan and use that for the breading. Then bake it!

Loaded mashed potato balls so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!

One more thing. You can also stuff these balls with a cube of cheese in the middle for a nice cheesy center. Substitute the shredded cheddar cheese in the mixture for a cube of cheddar cheese in the middle. Or if you want melty cheesy strings, use a cube of mozzarella!

That’s about it. Happy eats everyone!


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Several stacked loaded mashed potato balls in a bowl covered in white parchment paper.

Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 24 balls 1x


Loaded mashed potato balls are so crispy on the outside but soft, fluffy and creamy on the inside. Impress your guests at potlucks, parties and holiday dinners!


Units Scale


  • 3 cups chilled mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • Pepper to taste


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Combine the filling ingredients and mix well.
  2. Prepare the breading stations with one bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of panko bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Dust your hands with flour and use an ice cream scoop to measure the balls.
  4. Pat them gently to form them into balls and roll them in the palm of your hands to get them perfectly round.
  5. Immediately dust them with flour and set aside. Repeat until you have 24 flour-dusted balls.
  6. Drop a ball into the egg mixture and use a spoon to flip it over until fully coated.
  7. Lift the ball with the spoon and tilt the spoon at the edge of bowl to drain off any excess egg.
  8. Drop it in the panko mixture and use another spoon to dredge it fully. Pat in any excess bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat with remaining balls.
  9. Fry in batches in hot oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  10. If baking, bake at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes or until browned.
  11. Dish and serve hot.
  12. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins

♡ Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases from You can learn more about it here.


  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 7:34 PM

    Omg these are delicious! Just made them in the air fryer! Spritzed with olive oil and baked at 400 for 10 minutes turning half way. So good!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 3, 2021 at 9:41 AM

      Thanks for letting us know these work just as well in the air fryer. This is great news!

  • Reply
    Jeffrey Harmon
    January 8, 2021 at 9:15 PM

    Hello. My family and I used to make plain old potato cakes out of leftover mashed potatoes from our holiday dinners. After trying this recipe, we may never make a plain old potato cake again. These were very delicious. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 14, 2021 at 10:38 AM

      You’re welcome, Jeffrey! I’m happy to have helped you find a new holiday family staple. Enjoy and have fun making them again next year.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2020 at 4:49 PM

    I found that the best way to bread anything is to keep a “wet” hand and a “dry” hand. It is only when you mixed the two up when you get into trouble. Also making sure you chill it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before breading makes the process much easier.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 30, 2020 at 11:02 AM

      Great tips, David! I usually have a wet and dry hand when I season things but find it easier to just use utensils for breading with egg. Learned the hard way with big, fat breaded fingers ?

  • Reply
    May 14, 2020 at 11:14 PM

    Have you tried this in air-fryer? Or any breaded food for that matter?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 30, 2020 at 11:00 AM

      Can’t say that I have. I don’t own an air fryer so I can’t really comment on it much.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2018 at 9:54 PM

    You commented that you can make these before hand, then heat in a 350 degree oven. Have you actually done this?
    If so, how long do I need to bake them?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 27, 2018 at 4:22 PM

      The comment was in reply to my understanding that they have already made it , fried it and just wanted to reheat. I could have misunderstood ‘made ahead’. If you haven’t cooked them and want to try baking it, I suggest trying step 10 in the recipe. I personally have not baked these balls but larger versions of croquettes so the baking suggestions are approximations based on that experience. I would also suggest toasting the panko bread crumbs in a pan to brown them evenly before breading and baking them.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    These looks so tasty! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    These look sooo tasty!!! Definitely adding them to my list of food to make!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 11, 2016 at 2:12 PM

      Glad to hear it! I hope you won’t have too much trouble during the breading stage. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Lucy - (Recipes @ Globe Scoffers)
    May 10, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    Mmm these look and sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 11, 2016 at 2:11 PM

      You’re welcome, Lucy! They were truly yummy. It barely lasted a day in my house.

  • Reply
    Michele Hume
    February 18, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Have you tried them baked too? Did they turn out well? I’m generally not much for cooking in oil. 😀 Sounds really good though! Might have to try them, my last foray into the dipping station thing was a batch of scotch eggs… they didn’t turn out so well. Ha! Or rather I should say they were very very messy, they still tasted pretty good however.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      March 3, 2016 at 1:51 PM

      I haven’t baked these particular ones but I did bake the tuna croquettes which are larger in size. Turned out good. So applying the same technique, these can be baked too. I would suggest toasting the panko bread crumbs in a pan before breading them if you go the baking route. Just so they’re browner and crispier. Baking tends to brown breading a little unevenly so that fixes things. Of course, it’s not gonna be as tasty as fried but it’s still great! And trust me, I’m not a big fan of breading either but some things are worth the hassle. 😉

  • Reply
    Muna Kenny
    February 4, 2016 at 5:37 AM

    These look divine! What a delicious snack Farah. Problem is I don’t think one bowl will be enough for me 🙂 , these balls are loaded with everything I love!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM

      I will admit, the hubby and devoured more than 80% of the balls in less than a day. They were not too bad cold or heated up the next day, but the best is when they’re fresh and hot!

      • Reply
        March 23, 2016 at 8:08 AM

        How do you heat them up if made ahead for a pot luck or family gathering?

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          March 23, 2016 at 6:20 PM

          Try doing it in an oven on a wire rack at about 325 degrees F until they are all heated up. Microwaving will make them soggy. Also space them out from each other so they don’t end up steaming while they bake which will make them soggy as well.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Oh my, these morsels of deliciousness are gorgeous!! Excellent instructions & tips….you make it seem so easy. Pinned. Definitely making soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 1, 2016 at 1:58 PM

      I think the execution is easy-ish in theory but a little time consuming. But I do hope the instructions helps people from having clumpy, battered hands and balls that fall apart while forming and balls that fall apart while cooking! Good luck making them and I hope you enjoy it, Mary!

      • Reply
        November 29, 2017 at 1:26 PM

        Hi Farah I am wondering if you have ever tried freezing these?

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          December 6, 2017 at 1:42 AM

          Can’t say that I have. Maybe someone who has tried it can chime in for future reference? 🙂

          • Aubrie
            November 29, 2018 at 10:53 AM

            I freeze them, and it works beautifully! Makes them easier to work with and hold together!

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