Croquetas de Jamón (Spanish Ham Croquettes) Recipe

Croquetas de Jamón (Spanish ham croquettes) on a white cutting board

The Spruce

 

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 32 mins
Chill Time: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 7 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 20 to 24 croquettes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
363 Calories
23g Fat
28g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 363
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 508mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 121mg 9%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*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 the country. These small, lightly breaded and fried béchamel fritters include delicious Spanish cured ham, and they aren't hard to re-create at home. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, they are a sure hit as an appetizer for your next party or as an afternoon snack with a glass of beer or wine.

In order to ensure the best outcome for your croquettes, make sure the ham is very finely minced so it can be mixed thoroughly with the dough. Once it's made, the batter needs to refrigerate for a minimum of three hours, but you can leave it in overnight if you want to make the croquettes the next day, as long as it's covered. You can even make the batter ahead of time, as long as it's covered and kept in the fridge, before frying the croquettes in olive oil.

If you don't like or don't eat ham, you can easily substitute 1/2 cup finely minced, cooked chicken for the ham.

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"The Spanish ham croquettes had excellent flavor. Make sure you add the liquids very slowly—a few tablespoons at a time—to make sure they are completely blended. The mixture will be very thick, nearly the consistency of mashed potatoes. If too wet, the croquettes could burst open as they fry." —Diana Rattray

Spanish ham (jamon) croquettes/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, more for frying

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup finely minced Spanish cured ham, about 2 to 3 ounces

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for croquetas de jamón (Spanish ham croquettes)

    The Spruce

  2. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until a smooth paste forms.

  3. Very slowly drizzle in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until well combined. This can take up to 30 minutes.

  4. Add the nutmeg, and salt, and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick, smooth, with a consistency similar to mashed potatoes.

    Croquetas de jamón dough with added salt, pepper, and nutmeg

    The Spruce

  5. Lower the heat to low. Add the minced ham, stirring constantly until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

  6. Let cool, 5 to 10 minutes. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold, about 3 hours. 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.

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

  8. Pour the breadcrumbs into another small, shallow bowl.

  9. Cover your hands in flour, then divide the mixture into 1-inch balls or oblong pieces. Set on a plate so that they are not touching.

    Spanish ham croquettes coated in flour

    The Spruce

  10. Add about 1/2-inch oil to a large skillet or other heavy-duty pan and heat to 355 F.

  11. Dip the croquettes in the egg, then coat with breadcrumbs.

    Croquetas de jamón coated in breadcrumbs

    The Spruce

  12. Fry the croquettes in batches, turning several times, until golden.

    Ham croquettes frying in a cast-iron pan

    The Spruce

  13. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate. 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 croquette, 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 Variations

  • You may use a neutral flavor oil for frying instead of the olive oil.
  • Add a small, finely minced onion to the 1/2 cup of olive oil; sauté for about 1 minute before adding the flour.
  • Spanish cured ham—Serrano or Ibérico—is traditional but the croquettes may be made with leftover baked ham, prosciutto, speck, or another type of ham.
  • Replace the ham with finely chopped turkey or chicken.

How to Store Croquetas de Jamón

  • Refrigerate leftover croquetas de jamón in a covered container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat leftover ham croquettes in a preheated 350 F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until hot.

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