Fried Mashed Potato Balls

Everything you love about mashed potatoes in an even better package.

fried mashed potato balls
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Christina Daley
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
28 balls

Quick and easy with a little extra creativity, these Fried Mashed Potato Balls will change the way you think of spuds at suppertime. With a salty, crunchy exterior and soft, creamy interior, they manage to pack everything you love about mashed potatoes into an even better package. Classic mashed potatoes remain fluffy and soft inside a panko shell. Bacon, chives, and garlic add zing and flavor that shines through, and a bit of sharp Cheddar cheese creates gooey pockets of goodness. Refrigerated mashed potatoes save major time in this recipe that clocks in with just 20 minutes of hands-on time. A tip from the Test Kitchen? Have slightly wet hands—it helps prevent the potatoes from sticking to your palms when forming the mashed potato balls. Aside from the incredible flavor, the best thing about these Fried Mashed Potato Balls just might be that they freeze beautifully. Reheat them in the oven and voila: Your dinner guests will be in awe of your expertise.


  • 1 container (24 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes, Traditional)

  • 3 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about ¾ cup)

  • ¼ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (3 [1 ounce] slices)

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives, plus additional to garnish

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 3 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 ½ cups cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Stir together cold mashed potatoes, cheese, bacon, chives, garlic powder, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the flour, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl until combined. Place remaining 1 cup flour in a shallow dish. Place beaten eggs in a second shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Using a 1 ½ -inch cookie scoop, portion mashed potato mixture; roll into balls with hands. Dredge ball in flour; shake off excess. Dip ball in eggs, letting excess drip off; roll in panko, gently pressing to adhere breadcrumbs to egg. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mashed potatoes. Refrigerate, uncovered, 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high until deep-fry thermometer registers 350°F, adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature. Working in batches, add coated potato balls; fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining balls. Sprinkle with remaining salt while still hot. Garnish with additional chives, if desired.

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