I tried this Italian take on air fryer croquettes and they're cheesy heaven

Air fryer croquettes
(Image credit: Future)

Tater Tots are great but if you're looking for a more grown-up, homemade version of the potato side dish, give these air fryer croquettes a go. 

They're an Italian take on the standard potato croquette, known as panzerotti napoletano, which is a street food staple in Napoli.

I discovered this recipe while carrying out tests of the best air fryers, and these croquettes not only have a soft, buttery potato center and crispy coating, but they have an oozy, cheesy filling that makes them great for parties, or on the side of your main meal. In fact, they're slowly becoming one of my and my children's favorite air fryer sides. 

Below I show you how to create these melt-in-the-mouth potato croquettes in your air fryer at home. 

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Air fryer croquettes recipe 

The air fryer croquettes recipe I have followed is from Daniele Di Nunzio, via his YouTube channel, The Air Fryer Geek. Daniele was born in Napoli but now lives in the States.

Air fryer croquettes ingredients 

For the potato croquettes:

  • 2.2lbs large russet potatoes
  • 7oz parmigiano reggiano
  • 7oz mozzarella cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1tbsp of pork fat (optional)

For the croquette coating: 

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – you can use store-bought breadcrumbs, or make your own by putting slices of bread into a blender.
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Air fryer croquettes ingredients

(Image credit: Future)

Air fryer croquettes method 

To make air fryer croquettes you will need the following:

There are several variations you can make to this recipe to suit your tastes and dietary requirements, or based on what you already have in your cupboards. For example, when making the coating you can swap the milk for beaten eggs, and swap the cornstarch for all-purpose flour. 

If you're vegan, swap the cheese and milk for plant-based alternatives.

Russet potatoes give the best results, in my experience, because they create a fluffy center but you can also use other types of starchy potatoes. 

Step 1:  Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/200°C. 

Step 2: Peel the potatoes and boil them in water on the stove for 15 minutes, or until they're soft. If you chop the potatoes into smaller chunks, the cooking time will be reduced. 

Potatoes for air fryer croquettes being boiled

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Once cooked, drain the potatoes and mash until smooth. 

Step 4: Leave the potatoes to cool for around an hour. 

If you add the eggs to the potatoes when they're still warm, the heat will start to cook them and cause lumps in your croquette mixture. Also, the colder the potato mix, the easier it is to turn into croquettes.   

Step 5: Once cooled, add three eggs, parmesan, and pepper to the potato bowl and mix. You can also add pork fat or butter at this stage. The parmesan adds a cheese flavor but is also a substitute for salt. 

Potatoes for air fryer croquettes being mixed with flavorings and egg

(Image credit: Future)

Step 6: Once each croquette is made, make a hole in the center of each and stuff it with the mozzarella. Sticks of mozzarella work best but you can also use grated mozzarella.

Step 7: Mould and roll the croquettes once more to seal the cheese inside and create a uniform shape. This will help the croquettes cook evenly. 

Moulded air fryer croquettes coated in breadcrumbs

(Image credit: Future)

Step 8: In three separate dishes or bowls, put the cornstarch, milk or beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs. You can also add a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs to add extra seasoning.

Step 9: Coat each potato croquette in cornstarch or flour first, then roll them in the milk/eggs, and then in the breadcrumbs. 

Air fried croquettes in the air fryer

(Image credit: Future)

Step 10: Spray the bottom of your air fryer basket with oil and place the croquettes in a row inside. 

Step 11: Set the air fryer to cook for 13 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, open the air fryer and turn the croquettes over in order to get an even coating. 

Step 12: Once the timer is up, remove the croquettes and serve.

Air fryer croquettes verdict

This air fryer croquettes recipe has quite a lot of steps to follow and, when you factor in the time needed to boil the potatoes and let them cool down, it's not a quick recipe either. 

However, the croquettes themselves are delicious and the addition of melted cheese in the center makes them taste indulgent, despite their somewhat modest and humble ingredients.  

Air fried croquettes

(Image credit: Future)

If you're still sitting on the fence and wondering whether to buy an air fryer, you may want to read our article to decide whether air fryers are worth it? 

Victoria Woollaston is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade’s experience writing for Wired UK, Alphr, Expert Reviews, TechRadar, Shortlist and the Sunday Times. She has a keen interest in next-generation technology and its potential to revolutionise how we live and work.