Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Lunch/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Crispy Korokke – Japanese Potato Croquettes

29/06/2023

Korokke just got SO much easier. Crispy air fried perfection on the outside, with a soft and fluffy meat and potato filling. It’s the Japanese style potato croquettes you know and love, without deep frying!

A hand holds a crispy Japanese style meat and potato croquette.

Why We Love This

Japanese croquettes are great as a main for a lighter dinner with the meat and potato combination rather than the heavier alternative of full crumbed meat like chicken or pork katsu.

We love to make mini round korokke to serve as a party dish, with a little bowl of tonkatsu sauce in the middle of the plate for dipping. Voila – the perfect finger food for entertaining!

Related: Tonkatsu Pork Cutlet / Air Fried Chicken Katsu

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A crispy panko coated korokke is served alongside shredded lettuce and tomato.

What are Korokke? 

Korokke are actually a Western adaptation from the French known as croquettes. They’re crispy oval morsels, usually coated in panko breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden brown. Our version today uses an air fryer instead for a lighter, but just as crispy, result.

Usually filled with mashed potato and meat such as ground beef, you may also find versions filled with seafood, pork or veggies. We love that they’re also a touch sweet, with the meat cooked in a combination of sugar and soy sauce.

If you’re in Japan you’ll find korokke in many places. From street food, served at home in bento boxes, at the local conbini, izakaya (Japanese pub) or even supermarkets in the bakery section.

We first tried them on an all Japanese bus tour with our Osaka Mum, Rieko, from Osaka to Ise City and back. It was a freezing cold day, and we were given a korokke each in little white bags. They were so hot and crispy, and I remember us both looking at each in absolute delight with each bite.

What You’ll Need

  • Beef Mince – Also known as ground beef. Sub with other protein such as pork, chicken, seafood or tofu. A higher rated, less fat content mince works best for this recipe.
  • Potatoes – The star of the show in this recipe. We used local Kestrel potatoes, but you can use any good mashing potato such as yukon gold or russet.
  • Soy Sauce – Use a Japanese brand if possible such as Kikkoman, as it is lighter in flavour and salt than other varieties such as Chinese or cheap soy sauce brands.
  • Sugar – Any sugar will work well, it’s just to sweeten the meat slightly alongside the soy sauce.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – Sub with regular breadcrumbs. Panko are a larger and lighter crumb that results in a crispier finish and nice crunch as a coating. It should be now available in most supermarkets, Asian grocers or online.
  • All Purpose Flour and Cornstarch – The combination of the flour and cornstarch will give you that extra crisp result.
  • Eggs – Any size eggs are fine. You just need enough to coat the korokke.
  • Dashi Powder We love adding a little of this dashi for a nice umami undertone in the meat. Giving the korokke that uniquely Japanese taste!
  • Butter We used salted butter, as we always love a little extra salt!
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper – A good crack of both salt and pepper will help lift the flavours throughout.
Ingredients laid out ready to make Japanese potato croquettes.

How to Make Japanese Potato Croquettes

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

For the potatoes

  1. Place your potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a a boil and cook until soft, around 10 minutes. Test with fork and if it goes in easy, they’re ready. Drain and make sure you remove as much water as possible!
  2. Add milk and butter and mash the cooked potatoes until soft. Tip: Using a fork will get it extra soft. Stir through the salt and pepper last.

For the meat

  1. In a small saucepan, add a little vegetable oil and fry onion until translucent then add beef mince. Fry until meat is just browned. Soak up extra oil at this point with a paper towel.
  2. Pour in the soy saucesugar and dashi powder. Mix through and keep cooking until all liquid has been evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle louder in the pan.
  3. Mix the meat and onions through the mashed potato and allow to cool in the fridge for a minimum of around 20 minutes. Tip: You can prep this the day before if you like! Cooling the potato makes it stiffen up and is easier to mold into the korokke.

To make the croquettes

  1. Divide into 6 portions and form into oval patties around 2 cm / 1 inch thick with your hands.
  2. Get out three plates. Place the all purpose flour / plain flour and cornstarch on the first plate and mix. Crack the eggs onto the second plate and lightly beat. Pour the panko breadcrumbs1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and optional salt and pepper onto the third plate, and roughly mix together.
  3. Dip each korokke into the flour mix, then eggs and finally in the panko crumbs. Coating well each time.
  4. Pre-heat your air fryer to 200℃ / 400℉ for 3 minutes. Then place in 3 korokke at a time, leaving space between each. Drizzle the last 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over the tops of each korokke before cooking for 7 minutes. Tip: Don’t overcrowd the air fryer, it’s better to cook them in batches for the best and crispiest results.
  5. Serve hot with sides such as shredded lettuce, fresh tomato and miso soup!

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Storage – Can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a month or two. Best re-heated in an oven or in the air-fryer on low for 10 minutes or so. You can also use a microwave, but you’ll lose the crispyness in the panko crumbs.
  • Cool the Mixture – Give plenty of time for the mixture to cool down. This makes it safer to handle but also easier to form into shape as the mashed potato mix will hard as it cools.
  • Mash with a Fork – We love using a fork to mash our potatoes, for the ultimate smooth potato mash!

FAQs

What should I serve with korokke?

You can enjoy them all on their own, or with sliced tomato and shredded cabbage or smashed cucumber salad on the side. If you want to serve it as part of a meal, why not pair it with a small bowl of Japanese rice, miso soup and daikon pickles, wafu salad or kinpira gobo. Serve it on top of curry udon, with Japanese beef curry, or in place of a katsu cutlet on katsu curry.

My croquette burst while cooking, what happened?

Sometimes if there is a little too much moisture in the potatoes or if they’re cooked for too long and heated too much in the air fryer, they can start to crack and burst at the sides. The good news is, if they do this, they’re still perfectly edible, so don’t stress!

Variations

  • Extra Veg – Feel free to add carrots, onion, celery, zucchini or mushrooms in with the beef mix, or even instead of the meat to make it vegetarian.
  • Extra Crunch and Flavour – Add gomashio sesame seeds into the crumb mix. 
  • Add Cheese – You can either add a handful of shredded cheese to the potato mix once cooled, or a cube of cheese into the centre of each korokke just like we did with our Japanese hamburger steaks. Go one step further and swap the beef for ham for epic ham and cheese croquettes.
  • Loaded Korokke – Serve hot croquettes on a plate topped with kewpie mayo, Japanese BBQ sauce, aonori seaweed flakes and katsuobushi bonito flakes.
  • Deep Fry – If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still deep fry these as normal!
Half a korokke showing the soft meat and potato on the inside.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A korokke is held in baking paper with a hand.

Crispy Korokke – Japanese Potato Croquettes

Korokke just got SO much easier. Crispy air fried perfection on the outside, with a soft and fluffy meat and potato filling. It’s the Japanese style potato croquettes you know and love, without deep frying!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: French, Japanese
Servings: 6 Korokke
Calories: 244kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $8

Ingredients

For the potatoes

For the meat

For the coating

Serve with

Instructions

For the potatoes

  • Place your potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a a boil and cook until soft, around 10 minutes. Test with fork and if it goes in easy, they're ready. Drain and make sure you remove as much water as possible!
    4 potatoes
  • Add milk and butter and mash the cooked potatoes until soft. Tip: Using a fork will get it extra soft. Stir through the salt and pepper last.
    1 tbsp milk, ½ tbsp butter, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper

For the meat

  • In a small saucepan, add a little vegetable oil and fry onion until translucent then add beef mince. Fry until meat is just browned. Soak up extra oil at this point with a paper towel.
    ½ onion, 150 g beef mince, ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • Pour in the soy sauce, sugar and dashi powder. Mix through and keep cooking until all liquid has been evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle louder in the pan.
    1 ½ tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ½ tsp dashi powder

To make the croquettes

  • Mix the meat and onions through the mashed potato and allow to cool in the fridge for a minimum of around 20 minutes. Tip: You can prep this the day before if you like! Cooling the potato makes it stiffen up and is easier to mold into the korokke.
  • Divide into 6 portions and form into oval patties around 2 cm / 1 inch thick with your hands.
  • Get out three plates. Place the all purpose flour / plain flour and cornstarch on the first plate and mix. Crack the eggs onto the second plate and lightly beat. Pour the panko breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and optional salt and pepper onto the third plate, and roughly mix together.
    2 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 eggs, ¾ cup panko crumbs, Salt and pepper, 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Dip each korokke into the flour mix, then eggs and finally in the panko crumbs. Coating well each time.
  • Pre-heat your air fryer to 200℃ / 400℉ for 3 minutes. Then place in 3 korokke at a time, leaving space between each. Drizzle the last 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over the tops of each korokke before cooking for 7 minutes. Tip: Don't overcrowd the air fryer, it's better to cook them in batches for the best and crispiest results.
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Serve hot with sides such as shredded lettuce, fresh tomato and miso soup!
    tomato, shredded lettuce, miso soup

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a month or two. Best re-heated in an oven or in the air-fryer on low for 10 minutes or so. You can also use a microwave, but you’ll lose the crispyness in the panko crumbs.
  • Cool the Mixture – Give plenty of time for the mixture to cool down. This makes it safer to handle but also easier to form into shape as the mashed potato mix will hard as it cools.
  • Mash with a Fork – We love using a fork to mash our potatoes, for the ultimate smooth potato mash!
  • Extra Veg – Feel free to add carrots, onion, celery, zucchini or mushrooms in with the beef mix, or even instead of the meat to make it vegetarian.
  • Extra Crunch and Flavour – Add gomashio sesame seeds into the crumb mix. 
  • Add Cheese – You can either add a handful of shredded cheese to the potato mix once cooled, or a cube of cheese into the centre of each korokke just like we did with our Japanese hamburger steaks. Go one step further and swap the beef for ham for epic ham and cheese croquettes.
  • Loaded Korokke – Serve hot croquettes on a plate topped with kewpie mayo, Japanese BBQ sauce, aonori seaweed flakes and katsuobushi bonito flakes.
  • Deep Fry – If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still deep fry these as normal!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Crispy Korokke – Japanese Potato Croquettes
Amount per Serving
Calories
244
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.4
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
75
mg
25
%
Sodium
 
542
mg
24
%
Potassium
 
614
mg
18
%
Carbohydrates
 
33
g
11
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
11
g
22
%
Vitamin A
 
115
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
23
mg
28
%
Calcium
 
48
mg
5
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Crispy Korokke - Japanese Potato Croquettes
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