One of my favorite memories of growing up in New Jersey was going out to eat at one of the many diners in the area. And Turkey Croquettes was always at the top of my list of dishes I would order when we stopped for dinner.
Although I wasn’t born in New Jersey, we moved here when I was pretty young and at the height of New Jersey’s love affair with Diners.
Turkey Croquettes was a dish that was rarely made at home. But at diner that serves turkey every day, it was the perfect way to use the leftover turkey.
It never fails that every time I roast a turkey, I always have more turkey than we can eat before we get tired of it. I re-use the leftovers just about every way you can think of, but a good portion always ends up in the freezer and never gets used.
That’s why I started making Turkey Croquettes, it’s a delicious way to use up the leftover turkey. And they freeze well too, that way you’ve got more ready to heat up for dinners for those days you don’t feel like cooking.
Table of Contents:
What is a Croquette?
“A Croquette is a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, ham, cheese, mashed potatoes or vegetables, and mixed with béchamel or brown sauce, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer, or some combination, sometimes with a filling, such as sautéed onions, mushrooms, or boiled eggs.
The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder, disk, or oval shape, and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) has gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as fast food.”
How do I make Turkey Croquettes?
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Turkey Croquettes. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
In your food processor, add celery, carrots and onion and pulse till finely minced. Repeat the process with the turkey.
*You can pulse the veggies to a finer consistency if you’d rather not see the bigger pieces in the croquette.
In a saute pan, melt butter and add finely minced celery, carrots, and onion. Saute until softened (3-5 minutes) Allow the mixture to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add turkey, stuffing cubes, sauteed celery, onions, carrots, and poultry seasoning. Mix all the ingredients together.
- Add 1 cup of chicken stock and two lightly beaten eggs and mix together. Gradually add more chicken stock as needed. You want the mixture to resemble a stuffing consistency. **Don’t let it get too wet. It will continue to absorb the liquid as it sits in your refrigerator setting up but it still needs to be shaped, so it needs to have a formable consistency.
- Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
- After mixing all ingredients together fully, refrigerate for 2-3 hours to allow mix to set up.
After the mix has set up, form the mixture into cone-shaped croquettes.
*If you prefer another shape, go for it. Traditionally croquettes were cone-shaped.
If you like using your Instant Pot, this is a delicious Instant Pot Ground Turkey Recipe.
Set up a Breading Station
- Dredge the croquettes in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Then dip the floured croquette into the egg wash (egg and milk).
- Finally, coat the egged croquette with seasoned bread crumbs.
Saute the Turkey Croquettes
- Saute the turkey croquettes in olive oil (or your choice of oil), turning until all sides have been lightly browned.
- Place the croquettes you are going to serve into a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes until fully heated. (minimum 165 degrees)
Not only is this a great way to use up leftover turkey, but it’s also a wonderful way to introduce a new generation to the joys of true Diner Food. Enjoy these croquettes with a salad, soup, or indulge with a side of mashed potatoes and lots of turkey gravy!
You’ll find different views on how to make turkey croquettes, some folks use mashed potatoes and others use stuffing. I’ve always found that stuffing makes a lighter tastier croquette that doesn’t sink like a lead weight in your stomach. I promise you’ll like my stuffing version better!
But any way you make them, you’re making a New Jersey Diner Classic!
Wow my mother-in law used to make these…I enjoyed making them they were wonderful thanks for the recipe. It has made into my recipe list…
Could I use cooked ground turkey for this recipe? I’m excited to try it, looks delicious!
Chef Dennis Littley
you can just cook it first. The texture will be a little different but the taste will be good. If you can find ground turkey that isn’t all white meat they will be better,
Thank you for your response!
Absolutely. I used ground turkey breast and they turned out incredible.
Fabulous!! I made these using leftovers from T-day, I served the with all the leftover trimmings & a new can of cranberry sauce. Everyone raved about them. I recently bought some turkey tenderloins and will make them again. Soo easy, Thank you!
I didn’t have enough turkey, so I supplemented with chicken. I had a ziplock bag of leftover stuffing so I used your idea and just married the two in the food processor. The other recipe I used (from an old New York Times cookbook) was cumbersome to make and … didn’t taste like I remembered from my mom’s house growing up. This recipe was wonderful! The old recipe called for deep frying in vegetable oil, but I like your saute method: the olive oil gives them better flavor, with less absorption. Hands down a winner in our house!!!
These turkey croquettes are so fun and the perfect size for a family of 3 like us. Plus, who can say no to delicious croquettes like this
So nice to have a croquette recipe that doesn’t call for deep frying. How do I make the croquettes without a food processor?
Chef Dennis Littley
You’ll have to chop everything very finely. They don’t have to be as fine as a food processor would make them.
yummy. these croquettes are not only good with leftovers but we make these alot for a quick snack!
My family loved the croquettes last year! I’ll definitely be making them again
How many croquettes does the recipe make? (Assuming the size is equivalent to the ones in the picture)
Chef Dennis Littley
it makes 8 croquettes
These were delicious!!! The only change I made was airfrying them. I will make this again.
Best old fashioned turkey croquettes recipe on the planet!!
Made these exactly as recommended they are great! Used left over cornbread stuffing & mashed potatoes, I have a lot frozen for future meals. I wrapped each one in plastic wrap then in gallon freezer bag.
How big of a pan do I brown my croquettes
Chef Dennis Littley
What ever size you feel comfortable using. You can do them all at once or in batches
I grew up in NJ, and remember back in the 70s when my mom used to make croquettes. Always loved them! Made your recipe last night with my left over turkey from Thanksgiving–and OMG it was delish! My family loved it. To make it just a bit crispier on the outside, I added a bit of cornmeal flour to the breading SO GOOD! Served atop taters, with gravy on top, a few sprigs of thyme… Broc on the side, and Mama Stamberg’s cranberry chutney, plus my lemon/ginger/jalapeno cranberry sauce. MMMMMM!
Chef Dennis Littley
Wow that sounds delicious and I like the addition of the cornmeal to the recipe.
Made these tonight I’m a Jersey girl and have been missing this for 40 + years what a treat, I have pic’s for you too , thank you! I just don’t know how to post them