Fried Mashed Potato Balls

published Sep 23, 2021
Fried Mashed Potatoes Recipe

There's no better way to use up your leftover mashed potatoes.


Makesabout 20 potato balls

Prep20 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Crispy, fried balls made of mashed potatoes, stacked in a bowl, with one cut in half on a different small plate next to it, with a fork leaning on the small plate.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

During the holiday season, or after any large family get-together, leftovers are inevitable. Extra mashed potatoes are fun because they can be easily transformed into something new. Take these fried mashed potatoes. With minimal extra ingredients (that you likely already have on hand), you can make crispy and exciting one-bite appetizers that taste like loaded baked potatoes.

Cold leftover mashed potatoes tend to be a little denser and easier to handle. This works in your favor when forming the balls for fried mashed potatoes. I like to mix the leftover potatoes with some crisped bacon, cheese, and chives for added interest. Then I will set up my breading stations with flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs while the oil is heating. Once all the balls have been shaped, dipped, and coated, they can be fried in batches. This will only take a few minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when they begin to float and are golden-brown.

How Do You Fluff Up Mashed Potatoes?

Normally you can revive leftover mashed potatoes by reheating them with a little bit of butter or a splash of milk to get them back to being fluffy and creamy. However, if you want to make mashed potato balls, it is best to keep them cold and on the drier side.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

How to Form Fried Mashed Potatoes Balls

I have found a useful trick when forming fried mashed potato balls.

  • Set up your dredging station. You’ll need separate plates for the flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs.
  • Shape the balls. Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to form golf ball-sized balls.
  • Roll all the balls in flour. After shaping all the mashed potato balls, immediately roll them in flour and then set it aside on a baking sheet. I’ve found that it helps to first form and roll all of the balls in flour before proceeding with the rest of dredging. Bonus: It keeps my hands neater throughout the process.
  • Dredge in eggs and panko. Once all the mashed potato balls have been rolled in flour, dip them one at a time in the egg mixture then roll in the panko.

Fried Mashed Potatoes Recipe

There's no better way to use up your leftover mashed potatoes.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes about 20 potato balls

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 small bunch

    fresh chives

  • 4 slices

    bacon (about 4 ounces)

  • 2 cups

    cold mashed potatoes

  • 3/4 cup

    shredded cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/3 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 6 cups

    (48 ounces) vegetable oil, for deep frying


  1. Thinly slice 1 small bunch fresh chives until you have 1 tablespoon and place in a medium bowl.

  2. Place 4 bacon slices in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to drain and let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and add to bowl of chives.

  3. Add 2 cups cold mashed potatoes and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine.

  4. Spread 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in an even layer on a rimmed plate or small tray. Lightly beat 2 large eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Place 1 1/3 cups panko breadcrumbs on a rimmed plate or small tray.

  5. Heat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until 350°F. (If you don’t have a candy or deep-fry thermometer, you can test to see if the oil is hot enough by placing a small amount of the potato mixture in the hot oil. It should rise to the top quite quickly and bubble intensely if the oil is hot enough.) Meanwhile, form the potato balls.

  6. Portion and roll the mashed potato mixture into 15 to 20 golf ball-sized balls and place on a large plate or baking sheet. Working with one at a time, dredge in the flour until completely coated, then in the eggs, and finally the breadcrumbs. Return to the plate.

  7. When the oil is ready, fry in batches of 4: Add the potato balls and fry until golden-brown and beginning to float, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined-plate to drain. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Mashed potatoes: This recipe works well with leftover mashed potatoes, prepared mashed potatoes from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, or even instant mashed potatoes.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.