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Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls Recipe

mashed potato ball on plate
mashed potato ball on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

We've all been there — confidently storing leftover mashed potatoes in the refrigerator, absolutely certain that you'll pair them alongside tomorrow night's dinner or the night after at the absolute latest. Then, before you know it, a few weeks have gone by and your potatoes have sat neglected at the back of the fridge, perhaps growing an impressive mold colony but otherwise not reaching impressive new heights. If you've fallen into the leftover mashed potato trap before, do yourself a favor and don't count on simply reheating the potatoes and calling it a day; when you eat them as-is, they never taste as good, which is why there's such a high chance they'll go to waste. Thanks to this air fryer mashed potato balls recipe — courtesy of recipe developer Erin Johnson — your spud woes can be put to rest, as there's no doubt you'll be eager to use up any and all leftovers.

As Johnson tells us, "These balls are a great way to use leftover potatoes without feeling like you're eating the same thing." While you could technically make this recipe with a fresh batch of mashed potatoes, it's especially ideal for repurposing less-than-desirable leftovers. "It's a great way to make leftovers feel like something new," Johnson says. Moreover, it's a great way to put your air fryer to good use while also using up some other fridge staples like cheese, bacon, and butter.

Read more: The Best And Worst Grocery Store Fried Chicken

Gather The Ingredients For Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls

mashed potato ball ingredients
mashed potato ball ingredients - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Mashed potatoes are the star of the show here, but you'll need a few other things to help bring these crispy-crunchy balls to life. Bacon adds a savory, meaty element to the starch-forward dish, while cheddar cheese, dried chives, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder add some flavor. Finally, you'll roll each ball in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and butter to ensure a crispy exterior.

Step 1: Combine The Potatoes, Bacon, Cheddar, And Chives

mashed potatoes, cheese, and chives
mashed potatoes, cheese, and chives - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Mix together the mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives.

Step 2: Add Seasonings

seasonings going into potato mixture
seasonings going into potato mixture - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Stir in the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Step 3: Combine Butter And Panko

butter pouring into breadcrumbs
butter pouring into breadcrumbs - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Melt the butter in the microwave, then it pour over the panko. Stir with a fork until all of the panko is coated in melted butter.

Step 4: Roll Potato Ball In Breadcrumbs

potato ball in breadcrumbs
potato ball in breadcrumbs - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Roll a scoop of the potato mixture into a ball, then roll it in the buttered panko, pressing the panko into the ball.

Step 5: Finish Rolling And Refrigerate

mashed potato balls on plate
mashed potato balls on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Repeat with the remaining mashed potato mixture, then place the balls onto a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Step 6: Begin Air Frying

mashed potato balls in air fryer
mashed potato balls in air fryer - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Add the balls to the air fryer and cook at 400 F for 5 minutes.

Step 7: Let The Mashed Potatoes Balls Rest, Then Serve

mashed potato balls in air fryer
mashed potato balls in air fryer - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Leave the balls in the air fryer for 10 minutes before removing and serving.

How Can You Switch Up These Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls?

mashed potato balls on plate
mashed potato balls on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Mashed potatoes are the only real non-negotiable ingredient in this recipe — everything from the cheese to the bacon and the seasonings is customizable. "You can use any type of cheese and seasoning you'd like," Johnson says, meaning you can put your favorite blend to use or even keep things super simple with just salt and pepper. As for the cheese, you don't want something that will overwhelm the potato flavor too much, which is why cheddar is such a classic choice. That said, you can switch things up by using sharp cheddar or even pepper Jack for a hit of spice.

Johnson also notes that panko breadcrumbs aren't strictly necessary, and if regular breadcrumbs are all you've got, go ahead and use them. "I prefer the crispness of panko but you can substitute with regular breadcrumbs if that's what you have on hand," she says. Finally, if you're vegetarian or have one in your household, these potato balls can be easily adapted to cater to such a diet. Johnson tells us, "Feel free to omit the bacon to make this vegetarian-friendly."

What Are Some Tips For Ensuring Perfectly Cooked Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls?

mashed potato ball on fork
mashed potato ball on fork - Erin Johnson/Mashed

This recipe is a quick and simple one, but that doesn't mean that it's completely foolproof. There are a few steps to take to ensure that your mashed potato balls turn out perfectly, and the first one happens before you even start cooking. "It's important to refrigerate the balls before air frying so that they stay together," Johnson says, though she notes that there is a perk to the waiting period: "You can do this up to a few hours in advance and air fry immediately before you're ready to serve them."

You also don't want to overdo it on the cheese — a difficult task for some (or all) but a crucial one. "While I usually always advocate for more cheese, too much cheese is not beneficial in this recipe, as the balls will lose their structure when extra cheese melts," Johnson says. Finally, should you have leftover potato balls and plan on reheating them once again, they'll need a little rejuvenating. Per Johnson, "The balls will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and should be sprayed with cooking spray and air fried to reheat."

How Should You Serve These Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls?

mashed potato balls on plate
mashed potato balls on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

These air fryer mashed potato balls are pretty versatile when it comes to serving. Perhaps the most intuitive option is to serve them the way you did the initial mashed potatoes: as a side dish. "These pair well with anything you'd eat mashed potatoes with! Try roasted chicken, a steak, or even roast beef," Johnson says. Thanks to the addition of cheese and bacon, they're a little heartier than they were the first time around, but we don't think your family will mind.

Of course, due to the potato balls' small, snackable nature, you might also serve them as an appetizer at a party or as part of a game day spread. Just remember that they are made from soft mashed potatoes, so they aren't of the sturdiest structure — have small plates and forks nearby. For the same structural reason, it's also a no-go on sauces. "These are not sturdy enough to dip and they are cheesy enough to not need a sauce," Johnson says. But, for all those sauce enthusiasts out there, we certainly won't judge you for trying to dip anyway.

Air Fryer Mashed Potato Balls Recipe

mashed potato balls on plate
mashed potato balls on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Prep Time: 30mCook Time: 5mYield: 6 ballsIngredients

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes

  • ¼ cup crumbled bacon

  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried chives

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Mix together the mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives.

  2. Stir in the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

  3. Melt the butter in the microwave, then pour it over the panko. Stir with a fork until all of the panko is coated in melted butter.

  4. Roll a scoop of the potato mixture into a ball, then roll it in the buttered panko, pressing the panko into the ball.

  5. Repeat with the remaining mashed potato mixture, then place the balls onto a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

  6. Add the balls to the air fryer and cook at 400 F for 5 minutes.

  7. Leave the balls in the air fryer for 10 minutes before removing and serving.

Read the original article on Mashed.