Spanish Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamón)

Spanish Ham Croquettes

The Spruce

 

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Chill: 3 hrs
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1318 Calories
131g Fat
29g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1318
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 131g 168%
Saturated Fat 19g 96%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 440mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 215mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Croquetas de jamón, or ham croquettes, are a staple on Spanish tapas menus, and you'll find them offered throughout Spain. These small, lightly breaded and fried bechamel fritters include delicious Spanish cured ham. They are a sure hit as an appetizer or an afternoon snack with a glass of beer or wine. Luckily, they are easy enough to make at home. Make sure the ham is very finely minced so it can be mixed thoroughly with the dough, and set aside a few hours for the batter to chill. You can even make the batter ahead of time before frying it in olive oil.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup finely minced Spanish cured ham

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 3 cups Spanish olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for ham croquettes

    The Spruce

  2. Heat the 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Very slowly add the milk and the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until both liquids are incorporated. This can take up to 30 minutes.

    Mixing chicken broth into dough in a bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Add the nutmeg and the salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

    Croquette dough with added salt, pepper and nutmeg

    The Spruce

  4. Add the minced ham and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes over low heat, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Minced ham added into croquette dough

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  5. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then refrigerate at least 3 hours until the mixture is cold. If you are preparing a day or so ahead, you can cover the mixture tightly and keep refrigerated until you are ready to fry the croquettes.

  6. Pour the breadcrumbs into a small, wide bowl.

  7. Beat the eggs with the water in a small, wide bowl.

  8. Cover your hands in flour, then divide the mixture into 1-inch balls and set on a plate, so that they are not touching.

    Ham croquettes coated in flour

    The Spruce

  9. Pour enough olive oil in a large frying pan to be 1/2-inch deep. Heat the olive oil to about 355 F.

  10. Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs by rolling in the bowl.

    Ham croquettes coated in breadcrumbs

    The Spruce

  11. Place the croquettes in the hot oil and fry quickly, in batches, turning several times, until golden and all the croquettes are fried.

    Ham croquettes frying in a cast iron pan

    The Spruce

  12. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately.

Tips

  • If the croquettes mixture is spread out in a thin layer on a flat dish before chilling, you will need to refrigerate it for less time. A large glass baking dish works well.
  • If you prefer, you can use a deep fryer to fry the croquettes. Be sure not to overcook them.
  • You can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it. Take the croquette dough out of the freezer to thaw, form into balls, and coat in breadcrumbs and fry. If you have enough freezer space, you can even freeze breaded croquettes—then all you have to do is fry them up.
  • If the croquettes will not be served immediately, place in a warm oven (200 F) for up to 30 minutes.

Recipe Variation

If you want variety or simply do not eat ham, substitute 1/2 cup finely minced, cooked chicken for the ham.

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