Korokke (Japanese Potato & Meat Croquettes) are mashed potato cakes that are coated with panko and deep-fried. With a golden crispy crust and creamy succulent interior, Korokke is a well-loved food in Japan! So delicious with rice and salad, or in your bento lunch.
In Japan, Korokke (コロッケ) are as ubiquitous as fried chicken in convenience stores. They are tasty street food, casual diner food, specialty food, and a home-cooked dish loved by all ages. These potato and meat croquettes come with a crispy-crunchy crust that reveals a creamy, mashed potato filling. You need to try it to believe how good they are!
Since I always have a soft spot for potato dishes and crunchy food, korokke easily tops the chart of my favorite food. I once had six pieces of these golden fried patties for one dinner. Shhh…I shouldn’t be too proud of my big appetite, but I’m absolutely excited to share my best korroke recipe with you today.
What is Korokke?
Korokke is said to be originated from the French croquette or Dutch kroket. I don’t speak French, but when I looked it up, I learned that croquette came from the verb croquer in French, which is to crunch. Makes total sense! Since everyone loves a good crunch, the Japanese started adapting croquettes and it became a popular Japanese-western food in the early 1900s.
At the most basic, korokke is made of a mixture of mashed potatoes, ground meat, and vegetables that have been shaped into small round patties. They are then coated in panko breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until crispy.
These days you can many versions of korokke, with a variety of additions such as ground meat, vegetables, or seafood. Some are flavored with curry powder, and some make use of leftovers from nikujaga. Another must-try flavor is kabocha croquette (my recipe). Each region of Japan also has its own korokke, featuring famous local ingredients such as shrimp, crab, or sweet corn.
Quick Tips for Making the Best Korokke At Home
- Use starchy potatoes such as russet potatoes
- Use quality ground beef – I used organic beef.
- When mashing the potatoes, leave some small chunks for textures.
- Discard any moisture before combining the cooked meat & vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes
- Use only panko breadcrumbs for an extra crispy exterior.
- Lastly, always make extra because they are great for leftovers, and store well in the freezer for up to a month!
My mom makes her Korokke without any written recipes, so over the years, I’ve developed my own version by adopting my mom’s method and personal adjustment.
The recipe that I am sharing here includes carrots and shiitake mushrooms, which are missing from my mom’s and the regular korokke from the stores. I like to add them to give some colors and extra nutrition for the kids.
I’ve finally got my mom’s korokke recipe in March 2012 if you’re interested. It’s good stuff so do give her recipe a try too!
Can I Air Fry or Shallow Fry Korokke?
The short answer is YES. I don’t own an air fryer; so I can’t provide the exact steps. However, many of my readers have tried air frying with my korokke recipe with success.
You can also use a frying pan to shallow fry Korokke. The inside is already cooked, so all you need to do is to brown the breaded outer layer. You just need less than 1/2 inch (<1cm) oil in the pan! It’s easy for cleanup too.
What to Serve with Japanese Croquettes
Korokke can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, main, or as a featured dish in your bento lunch box. They are delicious on its own, but we also often serve it with a sweet-savory Tonkatsu sauce.
This homemade Korokke won’t disappoint you at all!
More Korokke Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
- Mom’s Best Korokke Recipe (Japanese Croquettes)
- Baked Croquettes
- Korokke Bento
- Kabocha Korokke
- Croquette Sandwich
- Creamy Crab Croquette
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Korokke (Potato & Meat Croquette)
For Korokke Patties
- 2 lb russet potatoes (about 4 potatoes)
- 1 onion
- ½ carrots
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (for sauteing)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
For Deep Frying
- 3 cups neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- tonkatsu sauce (for my homemade recipe, click here)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Korokke Patties
- Peel and cut the potatoes in quarters. In a large pot, put water and potatoes, and bring it to a boil. Cook potatoes until a skewer goes through the potato easily, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain the water completely. When you do so, use a lid to partially cover so the potatoes don’t fall off from the pot.
- Move the pot back to the stove. On low heat, shake the pot so that the remaining moisture will completely evaporate (but don’t burn them).
- Turn off the heat and mash the potatoes. Unlike the typical mashed potatoes, you don’t have to mash completely. I like leaving some small chunks for texture. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, chop onion, carrot, and mushrooms finely.
- In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Sauté onion until soft.
- Add carrot and shiitake mushrooms and cook until they are soft.
- Add the meat and break it up with a wooden spoon. When the meat is cooked through, add salt, white pepper, and black pepper. Remove from the heat.
- Add the meat mixture to the mashed potatoes in the large pot, leaving the cooking liquid behind as we don't want to introduce too much moisture to the mixture.
- Add an egg.
- Mix it all together until everything is well combined.
- While the mixture is still warm, but not hot, start shaping the mixture into Korokke patties. Cover and let the Korokke patties rest in the fridge for 30 minutes (Do not skip!). TIP: Resting and cooling down the patties prevents the croquettes from exploding while deep frying. The cold patties in the hot oil will not release any steam; therefore, croquettes will not explode in the oil. If you skip this process and the patties are still warm, the temperature of the patties will go up and start to steam, which will then puncture a hole in the panko coating and explode. It also helps the ingredients to meld together.
To Bread the Korokke
- After 30 minutes, coat each patty with flour, egg, and panko, in that order.
- Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To Deep Fry
- In a wok (or Dutch oven or frying pan), heat oil over medium-high heat. Deep fry Korokke until they are golden brown. The inside is already cooked, so all you need to do is to fry them until nicely brown.
- Transfer Korokke to paper towels and let the oil absorbed in the paper. Serve immediately with Tonkatsu Sauce.
- You can store the leftover in an airtight container and freeze up to a month. To reheat, put frozen or half defrosted korokke on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 15 minutes or until inside is warm.