Spicy Ham and Cheese Croquettes

I devised these little spicy ham and cheese croquettes as my yummy solution when I realized I made way too much Spanish style rice for dinner the other day. Croquettes are always such a fantastic way to use up leftover rice or potatoes. It was the same principal as my beloved Italian rice balls. Since the rice was already Spanish style, I decided to take these in a spicy direction and they came out even better than I ever could have hoped! Don’t you just love when leftovers get reinvented into something incredible and new?

The spicy ham and cheese croquette mixture all ready! It's easy to put together.
The spicy ham and cheese croquette mixture was just pure flavor. I combined my leftover rice with breadcrumbs and eggs to hold it together. My beloved hickory smoked sea salt gave a fantastic smokey note, but regular salt would have worked. Then the ham and Sriracha just brought it all home.
The spicy ham and cheese croquettes all formed.
I formed the mixture into little balls that surrounded cubes of spicy pepper jack cheese. That pepper jack in the center was going to be perfect for both a creamy texture and a spicy kick! Then I coated all of the spicy ham and cheese croquettes in more breadcrumbs.
Gorgeous, golden spicy ham and cheese croquettes!!
I heated up about 2-3 inches of canola oil in my pot to pan fry the spicy ham and cheese croquettes. I did it in batches of 5 so that the pot wouldn’t be over crowded and I could babysit them more easily. They became so gloriously golden on the outside, I loved it!

Any food that is pan fried is best served immediately, so that’s what I did. Oh my goodness, these spicy ham and cheese croquettes were little bombs of huge flavor! The exterior was crispy with the creamy, spicy pepper jack in the center. They were spicy but not too spicy. I dipped mine in my favorite salsa and that addition of tomato flavor just sent these babies over the top! They were a perfect snack before Marc and I had dinner. Enjoy!

Spicy Ham and Cheese Croquettes
Spicy Ham and Cheese Croquettes
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Spicy Ham and Cheese Croquettes
Spicy Ham and Cheese Croquettes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 10 croquettes
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
  • 2 cups pre-cooked Spanish style rice or any type of leftover rice
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs plus an additional cup for coating
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt hickory smoked sea salt is the best here
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 4 slices deli ham diced
  • 10 cubes pepper jack cheese 1 inch size
  • canola oil for pan frying
  1. In a bowl combine the cooked rice, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, sriracha and ham. Mix it all thoroughly and knead it a bit to bring it together. Take a small handful of the mixture and place a cube of the pepper jack in the middle of it. Form the mixture into a tight ball surrounding the pepper jack. With the size that I made mine, I got 10 croquettes out of the mixture but this could vary depending on the size you make them. Adjust the amount of pepper jack cubes you cut up based on how many croquettes you yield. Roll each of the croquettes in the additional breadcrumbs to thoroughly coat them and transfer them to a platter when they are done.
  2. Get a large pan or pot on the stove and fill it with 2-3 inches of canola oil. Heat the oil over medium high heat for a gentle pan frying. Once the oil is hot, pan fry the croquettes in 2 batches so that there is enough room in the pan and you can babysit them more easily. Let them get golden on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then use a spoon to gently roll them over to the other side without squishing them or making them lose their shape. Transfer the cooked spicy ham and cheese croquettes to a plate lined with paper towels to blot the oil and repeat with the next batch. I did two batches of 5. Once all of the croquettes are cooked, serve them immediately with salsa or marinara for dipping! Enjoy!