Spanish Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamón)

Spanish Ham Croquettes

The Spruce

 

Ratings (78)
  • Total: 3 hrs 40 mins
  • Prep: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
668 Calories
60g Fat
27g Carbs
8g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Every Spaniard promises that their mother makes the best ham croquettes. These creamy fritters are a staple of the Spanish tapas scene, and you'll find them on offer throughout the country. Luckily, they're easy enough to make at home too.

Croquetas de jamón (cured ham croquettes) are small, lightly breaded and fried bechamel fritters that include delicious Spanish cured ham. They are a sure hit as an appetizer or an afternoon snack with a glass of beer or wine. The best part is you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it. Then, take the croquette dough out of the freezer, coat small fritters in breadcrumbs and pop them into the frying pan. If you have enough freezer space you can even freeze fully breaded and ready croquettes-- then you just have to fry!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup/100 milliliters chicken broth
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup/107 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 cups/350 milliliters milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ham (very finely hand-minced, so it can be mixed thoroughly with the dough)
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (for coating)
  • 1​ bottle Spanish olive oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Heat the 8 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and the chicken broth, stirring without stopping. This can take up to 30 minutes.

    mix ingredients
    The Spruce
  3. Next, add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

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

    crumb minced ham on top
     The Spruce
  5. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and refrigerate at least 3 hours until 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 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.

    coat in flour
     The Spruce
  9. Pour enough olive oil in a medium-to-large frying pan to cover 1/2-inch deep. Heat the olive oil for frying to about 355 F.

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

    coat in breadcrumbs
     The Spruce
  11. Place the croquettes in the hot oil and fry quickly, turning several times, until golden.

    fry croquettes
     The Spruce
  12. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

  13. Serve immediately. If croquettes will not be served immediately, place in a warm oven (200 F degrees) for up to 30 minutes.

Variation

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

Tips

  • If the mixture is spread out in a thin layer on a flat dish, 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 over-cook them.