Spicy Croquetas de Pollo/Chicken Croquettes

A few weeks ago I picked up my son’s friend at the airport. She had just returned from a trip to Spain and France and as soon as she got into the car, she started telling me about the wonderful foods (and wines) she had during her travels.  Her stories took me right back to the time when our family had gone traveling through Spain with some of our Spanish friends.  She told me that she had loved the Spanish Croquetas and that I should try making some for my blog. that’s how I remembered the Croquetas de Pollo I had in a tapas bar in Madrid and I decided to experiment; to try my hand at it.  Of course, being Indian I added some chili flakes and some fresh herbs to the original recipe – I loved the kick the chili added to the Croquetas.


1.    1 lb boneless chicken breast meat (skinless)
2.    2 cups of chicken stock
3.    1 cup of water
4.    2 and ½ cups of all-purpose flour
5.    4 cups of whole milk
6.    One large onion
7.    1/3 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
8.    1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
9.    5-6 leaves of fresh sage
10.    6-7 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme
11.    2 cups of bread crumbs
12.    3 eggs
13.    2 cups of olive oil (for frying so it needn’t be extra virgin olive oil
14.    ½ stick of unsalted butter (1/8 of a lb)
15.    2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
16.    Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions:

1.    In a medium sized pot, pour the 2 cups of chicken stock and one cup of water and keep it to boil on medium heat.

2.    Cut the chicken breasts into chunks that are 2-3 square inches big and place them in the pot to cook.  This should take about 15-20 minutes.
3.    While the chicken is cooking, peel the onion and dice it in small pieces.

4.    Also finely chop the sage leaves and the lemon thyme.

5.    Heat a large sauce pan and pour the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and ½ stick of unsalted butter.

6.    When the butter starts to sputter, add the diced onion into the pan and stir.  Cook the onions over medium heat till they turn translucent (takes about 5-7 minutes).

7.    While the onions are getting cooked, take the chicken out of the stock and shred it into small pieces.  Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and there are no pink parts remaining in it.

8.    When the onions get soft and translucent, add one and a half cups of all-purpose flour into the pan (reserve the remaining one cup of flour for use later – for the breading process).

9.    Over low heat, brown the flour while stirring constantly. Make sure that you stir the entire pot and don’t let any parts of the flour get darker than the rest of it. All the flour should get evenly browned.  This process may take 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring constantly.

10.    When the flour looks a little browned (lightly colored), add the milk to the pan and stir vigorously. You have to incorporate all the flour and the milk evenly. So thorough stirring is essential while keeping this mixture over low heat. This is the standard béchamel sauce.

11.    Add the shredded chicken to the pot and also the chopped sage and lemon thyme leaves.

12.    Add salt, pepper (to taste) and also the red chili flakes and stir all the contents to make a smooth evenly spiced mixture. Take the pan off the heat and let this cool down.  Usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to cool down.

13.   When the chicken and béchamel mixture has cooled down, shape the Croquetas using your hands – they should be the same size and shape as a standard wine cork. Keep placing these on a large cookie sheet or a plate.

14.    When all the chicken and béchamel mixture has been shaped into croquettes, set up a breading station with three separate bowls – the first one with the remaining cup of all-purpose flour, the second one with whisked eggs and the third one with bread crumbs.

15.    Roll each of the croquettes in first the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs.

16.    Heat the 2 cups of olive oil in a large pot on high heat and when the oil is hot, fry the croquettes in batches of 7-8.

17.    Drain any excess oil of the fried croquettes on a dry paper towel.
18.    Serve them while they are still hot.


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  1. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Sun, 30/09/2012 - 23:15

    you know, you should try a fusion version of these with some grated ginger and kaffir lime leaves – I am sure it would be delicious!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 04/10/2012 - 14:26

      Great idea Shilpa – I will try to experiment soon. The kids are coming home for a weekend and have asked me to make these for them – so I’ll experiment with a batch and add the keffir lime leaves! Stay tuned – will send you the review I get from the jury of three 🙂

  2. Permalink Submitted by Poonam Arora on Mon, 01/10/2012 - 15:26

    Kind of chicken koftas?

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 04/10/2012 - 14:30

      Yes, Poonam – kind of like Spanish chicken koftas – much creamier and softer! They were a real hit with my last group of testers – a friend’s son, a son’s friend and a friend 🙂

      Will get the input from the next focus group – my own family – when I make them in a couple of weeks. All three of them have been drooling over the pics. This is usually a real favorite of our family when we go out to eat Tapas at Jaleo (a sister restaurant of Zaytinya – the same chef owns both)! I just switched up the traditional recipe by adding herbs, red chili flakes and reducing the butter and fat content!

  3. Permalink Submitted by Anu varshney on Mon, 17/06/2013 - 03:56

    Loved them! My Collegiate is planning a get together with her high-school friends within next couple of weeks. Appetizer’s taken care of now 🙂

    Just one question – can I make the mixture 2-3 hours ago and fry them later? I realize the breading will be done right before the frying.


    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 17/06/2013 - 17:19

      Yes, Anu you can make the “batter/dough” ahead of time and fry them at the last minute. And if the batter gets thickened (because there is flour in it and that tends to thicken over time) just add a little bit of warm milk and stir it in thoroughly. Let me know how these turn out 🙂

      • Permalink Submitted by Anu varshney on Thu, 20/06/2013 - 23:33

        Thanks for getting back, Shabnam. My Takoyaki pan arrived today. I’ll try some of the croquetas in that pan and let you know how they compare to the deep fried ones. Mighty excited about the new additions to my kitchen gadgets 😀

        • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Fri, 21/06/2013 - 01:39

          WOW!!! I don’t have a Takoyaki pan and would love to know how the croquetas turn out – look forward to your feedback on that 🙂

  4. Permalink Submitted by Surbhi Lal on Sat, 17/10/2015 - 14:12

    Hey Shabnam, can I make them a couple of hours before ( fried and all) and keep warm in the oven?

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sat, 17/10/2015 - 23:48

      Hi Surbhi – I think that may work. I have never done it myself but I don’t see why this wouldn’t work. Just make sure the oven is not too hot, or it my dry them out too much. The texture needs to be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Are you making them for a party? I usually make a whole lot of the “batter” and then over the course of the next day or two, I fry them fresh when I want to serve them. Well, you’ve given me an idea…if the make-ahead plan works, I may use them as appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner. Let me know how your’s turn out! xoxo

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