Croquetas de jamon, or Spanish ham croquettes, are one of the most typical Spanish tapas that you will find at restaurants and bars across the country. This croquetas recipe is a perfect way to make a traditional Spanish dish at home. They can be served as part of a tapas evening, as a starter or appetizer, or a snack paired with Spanish wine or beer.
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What Are Croquetas De Jamón
Simply put, Spanish croquetas are fried pieces of goodness. Croquettes are lightly breaded and deep fried, and filled with ingredients like Spanish ham, cheese, potatoes, and a bechamel sauce. As much as Spain has a regional cuisine, with different regions specializing in different dishes, croquettes are popular across the country.
There are many types of croquetas in Spain, but croquetas de jamon are probably the most traditional and most popular. When living in Spain, we saw a lot of different varieties, including mushroom, spinach, duck, and even foie gras. Spanish ham croquettes, though, are pretty humble, with the main ingredients being Spanish cured ham and onion.
We ate croquetas in Spain all the time. We ordered them out at tapas bars, bought them at the local market, and even found a company that specialized in homemade croquetas in different varieties. Once we moved to Ireland, though, I realized if we wanted ham croquettes from Spain, we were going to have to make them ourselves.
See our complete guide to all of our best Spanish tapas recipes.
Tips For Preparing This Homemade Croquettes Recipe
Although not terribly difficult to make, Spanish croquetas are a bit time-consuming because they need to rest in order to hold their shape while cooking. It is important to prepare the mixture and then let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours. You can also let it rest overnight.
If making these for a party or event, you can prepare the croquetas completely, including the breading, and keep them in the fridge overnight. You can then just pop them into the fryer before serving. If you are in a bit of a rush, you can spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet or glass serving dish to help it cool quicker in the fridge.
For best results, finely chop the ham so that it blends well with the rest of the mixture and isn’t too chunky. The best way to do this is using a food processor.
See some of our best and most traditional tapas recipes here:
Ingredients For This Spanish Croquetas Recipe
Chances are most of the ingredients for this Spanish croquetas recipe you have at home. The one particular ingredient is the cured Spanish ham, like a jamón serrano or iberico. The ham is cooked in a mix of olive oil and butter alongside chopped onion. The mixture is prepared by creating a bechamel sauce of milk, flour, and nutmeg. The dish is seasoned simply with just salt and black pepper.
The croqueta mixture is coated in egg and breadcrumbs before frying in vegetable oil. I prefer cooking the ham and onion in olive oil, but I fry the croquetas in vegetable oil. This is because the olive oil can be a little too heavy for frying.
How to Make Spanish Croquetas De Jamon
Preparing The Croquetas Mixture
Use a food processor to chop the jamon into small pieces. This is important so that the ham can blend well with the other ingredients.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and then add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter is melted and the olive oil is warm, add the chopped onion. Cook over a low heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and starts to yellow.
Add the ham to the butter and olive oil and cook for another 1-2 minutes just until the jamon warms and softens. Add the salt, nutmeg, and ground black pepper and stir.
Next, it is time to create the bechamel sauce. Slowly add the flour to the onion and ham mixture. Stir until it starts to brown just a bit. Then, add the milk in a bit at a time. The goal is to allow the milk to thicken the dish before adding the next bit of milk.
Continue to stir to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn while waiting for all of the milk to evaporate or blend into the dish. The mixture should be dense but also creamy.
Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature (about 20 minutes). Place the mixture in a covered storage container and put in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Cooking The Croquetas
When you are ready to cook the croquetas de jamon, beat the eggs and pour the mixture into a shallow bowl or dish. On another plate, add the breadcrumbs. Remove the croqueta mixture from the refrigerator. Wet your hands with water or oil and start to shape the mixture into cylinders, placing each croqueta de jamon onto a plate as you go. Once all the croquetas are formed, gently coat them in egg and cover in breadcrumbs. Be careful to try to keep the croquetas in their shape. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the croquettes. Cook them in the oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side until they are browned. Serve them warm.
- 3/4 cups jamón serrano
- 1/2 large-sized onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil, for frying the croquetas
- Using a food processor, chop the ham into very tiny pieces.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat and put in the butter and olive oil.
- Heat until the butter is melted, then add the chopped onion. Turn down the heat to the minimum and sautée the onion at low heat for 8-10 minutes, until tender and golden-colored.
- Mix in the chopped ham and cook for a few more seconds.
- Sautée with salt, nutmeg, and ground black pepper.
- To create the bechamel, slowly mix flour with the onion and ham. Stir until it starts to darken a bit.
- Then slowly add in the milk in small dashes, being sure that it evaporates and thickens before adding the next pour.
- Once all the milk is integrated and the batter separates from the pan, turn off the heat and let it cool down for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight, so it can fully develop its flavors.
- Once the batter has rested, beat the eggs and put them on a large plate. On another plate, prepare a bed of breadcrumbs.
- Slightly wet your hands with water or oil and shape little cylinders. You can also use two spoons if you do not wish to use your hands. Keep wetting your hands once the batter starts to stick.
- Gently place the croquetas on the egg plate, being careful that they do not lose their shape. Repeat until all the croquetas are shaped.
- Turn each of them around to cover with the beaten eggs.
- Then transfer them into the breadcrumbs plate and completely coat them.
- Pour the vegetable frying oil into a large pan and heat at medium heat.
- Fry the ham croquetas for about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
- You can use any kind of Spanish ham, but of course, Iberic ham is always preferred!
- You can use panko breadcrumbs for an extra crunch
- You can swap 1 cup milk for 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth for extra flavor. If doing that, avoid adding salt into the batter.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 621Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 825mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 15g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
What Is The Difference Between Croquetas And Croquettes?
I’ve read that croquettes originated in France, although considering how common they are in Spain, some Spanish folks might disagree. So, croquettes is the French spelling, which is often the way they are written in English as well. Croquetas is the Spanish spelling.
Iberico vs. Serrano Ham Croquettes
You can use either Serrano ham or Iberican ham. Serrano is less expensive, so I prefer Serrano for cooking and Iberico when eating naturally. If you can’t find Spanish cured ham, you can also use prosciutto.
What Is Bechamel Sauce?
At its most basic, bechamel is a white sauce. Bechamel sauce is commonly used in Spanish and Italian dishes, like traditional Bolognese lasagne. It’s an easy-to-prepare sauce made of flour, milk, and nutmeg. It’s what adds the creaminess to jamon croquettes. I used to assume there was cheese or potato in a simple ham croqueta, but it’s the bechamel that gives the croquettes the creaminess.
FAQs – Spanish Croquettes Recipe With Ham
Receta croquetas is translated to croquettes recipe in English. The word receta is the Spanish word for a recipe.
Spanish croquettes come in a wide range of flavors. You will find salmon croquettes, potato croquettes, chicken croquettes, and even tuna croquettes.