Spanish croquettes are the definition of tapas perfection.
They come in a delicious variety of flavors. They’re almost impossibly creamy and rich. And they’re perfect for sharing with family or friends (though we’d understand if you want to eat the whole plate yourself).
Eat your way around Spain long enough and you’ll soon discover that there’s no shortage of flavors of Spanish croquettes. From wild mushroom to mint and peas to salt cod, there’s a croqueta for every taste—but nothing beats the classic recipe with local cured ham.
Spanish croquettes from a Madrid native
Here in Spain, every bar, restaurant, and even home cook has their own tried-and-true croquetas recipe. But if you don’t know a Spanish cook personally, no worries—we’ve got you covered.
This recipe for Spanish croquettes comes from Rafa, one of our talented guides here at Devour Madrid. A native madrileño, Rafa learned how to cook by watching his grandmother in the kitchen, and his family’s love for food goes back generations.
The secrets to a perfect croqueta
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the perfectly creamy interior of Spanish croquettes comes from something like cheese or mashed potatoes. The reality might surprise you: it’s actually just a thickened bechamel sauce most of the time (except in the case of vegan croquetas).
The other secret to this Spanish croquettes recipe is time. While it’s tempting to pop them in the fryer right away, make sure to let them chill long enough for the bechamel to hold its shape! If not, the croquetas will fall apart.
Ready to cook? Let’s make some Spanish croquettes!
Rafa’s recipe for Spanish croquettes with cured ham
Makes 24 croquettes
- 14 ounces (400 grams) Iberian or serrano ham (can substitute prosciutto)
- 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
- 1 cup (125 grams) flour, plus extra for rolling
- 6 cups (1.5 liters) whole milk
- ¾ cup (0.2 liters) chicken stock
- 3–4 eggs
- Black pepper
- Bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- Dice the ham into small pieces (the smaller, the better). Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add the flour to the butter a little bit at a time. Mix with a spoon.
- When the butter and flour are totally combined and the mixture has turned golden, add the milk and the stock. Stir for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Blend the bechamel mixture with an immersion blender until there are no lumps. Fold in the ham, then stir in a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the bechamel mixture into a bowl, let it cool, and let chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. This step is important as it ensures the croquetas will hold their shape.
- When you’re ready to fry the croquettes, take the bechamel out of the fridge. Shape it into small balls with your hands or with two spoons.
- Sprinkle some of the excess flour onto a plate and roll the balls in it.
- In another bowl, whisk two eggs together. Dip the flour-covered bechamel balls in one at a time and coat with egg. Add more egg as needed if you start to run out.
- Pour the bread crumbs into a third bowl. Roll each ball in the crumbs until fully coated. Now they’re ready to fry!
- Deep fry the croquettes in hot olive oil until crispy and golden brown. Be sure not to crowd the fryer.
- Remove the croquettes from the fryer and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Let cool just a bit (they will be extremely hot fresh out of the fryer) and enjoy!