Wow your family and guests with these fried loaded potato balls. Crispy on the outside, and filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, and bacon, they make the perfect make ahead appetizer or side dish.
Over the years, I had heard about how good a local restaurant’s Boxty was. Last week, I decided to try the Boxty for myself. It was basically a mashed potato ball with a crispy fried coating on the outside. The Boxty was all right, but not great. It made me think about Stuffed Baked Potatoes that I had perfected years ago. Why not take the stuffed baked potato filling, and turn it into Fried Loaded Potato Balls? Voila – a huge success!
I used the following ingredients for these amazing potato balls: Russet potatoes, butter, sour cream, bacon, extra sharp cheddar cheese, salt, freshly ground black pepper, eggs, milk, all-purpose flour, Panko breadcrumbs, and vegetable oil for frying. I always use extra sharp cheddar cheese because that’s what the Master Taste Tester likes, but any cheddar cheese or Colby cheese for that matter would work.
Making the Loaded Potato Balls
First I crumbled the bacon that I had fried, drained, and set it aside. Next, I microwaved the potatoes until they were well cooked. You could also bake the potatoes in the oven if you wanted. However, I would caution against boiling them because of the amount of water that would be introduced into the filling.
I added the butter and sour cream to a large mixing bowl. After allowing the potatoes to cool for about 10 minutes, I scooped them into the mixing bowl on top of the butter and sour cream. I wanted the potatoes to still be hot so that they would melt the butter. I then added the bacon, salt ,and freshly ground black pepper, and beat the mixture on high with my electric mixer until it was smooth. For the final addition, I added shredded cheddar cheese, and continued beating the mixture until everything was fully incorporated. I tasted the filling to see if more salt or pepper was needed. It was perfect!
I used my 1-1/2 inch (4 teaspoon) ice cream scoop to partition out the potato mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, I rolled the potato mixture into round balls. They were about the size of a golf ball.
Because I wanted the potato balls to be extra cheesy, I inserted a half-inch cube of cheddar cheese into the center, and pinched the mixture to totally enclose the cheese.
Breading the Loaded Potato Balls
When all of the potato balls had been made, I popped them into the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up the mixture. Next, I set about coating the balls in flour and Panko breadcrumbs. First, I rolled each ball in flour. Then, I dipped it in a mixture of egg and milk. I rolled it again in flour and dipped it again in the egg mixture. Finally, I rolled the ball in the Panko breadcrumbs and placed it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Finishing the Fried Loaded Potato Balls
When I was finished rolling the balls in flour and Panko breadcrumbs, I placed them in the freezer until I was ready to fry them. I heated the oil in a small Dutch oven to 350° F, and fried five balls at a time. I let them drain on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
Several of the potato balls fell apart while I was frying them. However, I ended up with two dozen perfectly fried and perfectly delicious loaded potato balls. I refrigerated what we didn’t eat for later use. They reheat beautifully in a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes. They could also be frozen and reheated in a 350° F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Yum!
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Fried Loaded Potato Balls
- 2 pounds (32 ounces) Russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (I use extra sharp)
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
- 30 1/2-inch cubes extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped chives for garnish optional
- Scrub skin on potatoes; prick all over with fork. Cook in microwave or oven until fully cooked. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add butter and sour cream to large mixing bowl. Cut potatoes in half, and scoop into mixing bowl. (The hot potatoes will melt the butter.) Add crumbled bacon, salt, and pepper.
- Beat on high until smooth. Add shredded cheddar cheese; beat on high until well combined.
- Form potato mixture into balls about the size of golf ball and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Insert cheese cube into center of potato ball; pinch shut.
- Refrigerate or place in freezer until potato ball is firm.
- Mix eggs and milk in bowl. Coat potato balls as follows: (1) roll in flour; (2) dip in egg mixture; (3) roll again in flour; (4) dip again in egg mixture; (5) roll in Panko bread crumbs; (6) place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Refrigerate or freeze coated potato balls until firm.
- Heat 1-1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan to 350° F. Fry several balls at a time until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels or wire rack set over baking sheet. Allow to cool 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped chives. Serve alone of with sour cream on the side.
- Yield: 24 - 30 Fried Loaded Potato Balls.