Looking for new ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers? I got you! These Turkey Croquettes are an easy and tasty way to upcycle not just leftover turkey, but mashed potatoes and gravy too. These are so tasty you might like them even better the second time around. They are crispy, creamy, and served with a delightfully savory sauce.
My Turkey Croquettes are based on a Japanese favorite known as korroke. They are traditionally made with mashed potatoes and ground beef and served with tonkatsu sauce. Swapping out the beef for turkey and adding gravy to the dipping sauce creates a fun Thanksgiving twist on a classic.
Let’s Get Started
There isn’t much prep for the filling since most of it is using leftovers. The key to delicious croquettes is making sure you have a good consistency and robust flavor before you cook them off. Nothing is more disappointing than biting into a croquette at the table that’s under-seasoned. So taste a small bit before you start dredging them in breadcrumbs.
Butter gives the croquettes extra lusciousness. You can of course use oil if you prefer. Make sure to cook the onions until you have light caramelization and they are nicely softened.
Use any kind of leftover turkey you have on hand. You can also buy roasted turkey meat or use chicken in this recipe too.
You can prepare the turkey croquettes up until this point and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. Cover them with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. It is essential to have cold croquettes when cooking them. If the filling is warm, the steam inside the croquettes will find its way out, causing the crust to crack.
The Secret to Delicious Oven Frying
I really don’t like to fry food at home. I find the amount of oil I have to use, and the hassle of cleaning it and storing it, to not be worth the effort for most foods. So I have combined several different techniques to ensure that you get delicious results without the need for deep frying. If you have an air fryer (which I don’t), you should use definitely use it here. And of course, if you’re like my sister, who has no problems with deep frying, you can fry these up in oil like the champ that you are!
Ok, so the trick with oven frying is making sure to get a crisp buttery crust. Over the years, I have tried all kinds of techniques to get oven fried food to taste like traditionally fried food, and this is by far the best. Why? Because you need to get a head start on creating a delicious golden crust. You will not get it from just spraying the croquettes with oil and popping them in the oven. There isn’t enough time or enough oil to get your oven fried foods uniformly crisp and golden. Some bites will be ok and others will be like dried out bread-ugh.
First toasting the breadcrumbs in a pan with some oil will get all of the crumbs golden in minutes. And now you know that the food coming out will have that delicious crust. You can use this technique for any oven fried recipe you make that requires coating with breadcrumbs.
I use panko because they are the crispiest breadcrumbs. Be sure to cool the breadcrumbs before you start dredging the croquettes.
When you’re ready to start, create an assembly line of ingredients. Having everything within reach makes the process very quick and easy. If possible, try to use one hand for dry food and the other hand for wet, so you can keep your dredging process neat and orderly.
Now they are ready to bake. I spray the tops with oil and bake them for about 15-20 minutes, until heated through and crispy.
While the croquettes are baking, I make the sauce. This pumped up gravy is so delicious and easy! Just heat up your leftover gravy, and add some umami rich ingredients including oyster and Hoisin sauce. Depending on how thick your gravy was, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to thin out the sauce to the right consistency. Also, this sauce should be served warm because of the gravy ingredients. Cold it’s a little congealed and stiff.
Served with a green salad with a simple dressing and some Kabocha Soup, these turkey croquettes can easily be a complete meal. Drop a comment below or rate the recipe, and let me know what you think! And show off your creations by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you.
- 8 ounces roast turkey meat
- 1 ½ cups mashed potato (made from 1 russet potato, ¼ cup milk, 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, and salt to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ large onion
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 ¼ cup panko (or unseasoned breadcrumbs)
- ½ cup gravy
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- Peel and finely dice the onion.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan to coat.
- Add the onions, 2 pinches of salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until translucent and beginning to soften. Cover with a lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions, are very soft and starting to caramelize, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the curry powder and stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and let the onions cool to room temperature.
- Place the turkey into the food processor. Pulse the turkey 10-12 times until it is very fine, but not a paste. Transfer the turkey to a large bowl.
- Add the mashed potatoes and cooled onions to the bowl and stir with your hands to combine.
- Taste a small bit and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Use a ¼ cup scoop and portion the croquettes. Shape the croquettes into flat oval patties and place on a tray.
- Put the tray into the fridge and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.)
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the oil and the breadcrumbs. Toast the breadcrumbs in the pan for 5-7 minutes, moving them around occasionally, until they are a nice golden color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Set up a dredging station:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk to combine. Put the flour, eggs, and toasted cooled breadcrumbs out onto the counter. Dip the croquettes into the flour and coat it lightly with flour. Next dip it into the egg wash. Finally coat it with the breadcrumbs. Do the same for each turkey croquette.
- Set the oven to 425 and move the oven shelf to the middle.
- Spray a baking tray generously with oil. Place the croquette on the sheet pan and spray the tops of the croquettes with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the center of the croquette is hot or reaches 165. (use a thermometer or a skewer to check.)
- Make the sauce:
- Heat the gravy over medium heat for several minutes and whisk until smooth. Add the ketchup, worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin. Continue whisking until warm. Add a Tablespoon or two of water if your sauce is very thick. Serve warm.
- Serve the turkey croquettes with the warm sauce.
*You can of course fry the turkey croquettes, which is traditional. Disregard the step where you toast the breadcrumbs and just use plain (raw) breadcrumbs for coating. Use a deep skillet or dutch oven and heat 3 cups of oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Test the oil by dropping a couple breadcrumbs into the oil. It should bubble immediately. If not, continue to heat for several more minutes. Gently place 5-6 korokke into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the center hot. Drain on paper towels and continue frying the remaining croquettes. Serve immediately.
*It is essential to cool the croquettes before baking/frying. If you put warm or hot croquettes into the oil, the steam trapped inside the coating and look for a way out. This will cause the croquette to crack or burst.
Keywords: korroke, japanese food, turkey, thanksgiving leftovers