Venison Croquettes Recipe

Croquettes originated in France but resemble something you’d buy at the state fair. These deep-fried balls of meat and potatoes are crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. My venison version kicks it up a notch by adding breakfast sausage and pimento cheese.

Croquettes are crowd-pleasing appetizers that can be prepared in advance. They’re tasty and filling on their own, but I suggest serving them with a dollop of smoky aioli.

Serving size

32 croquettes

Time to make

2 hours


1 lb. venison hot breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups pimento cheese
2 cups mashed potatoes
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup flour, plus extra
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Oil for frying

1 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic, grated
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. smoked paprika

Also works with

Any ground meat

Special equipment

Large pot for frying


  1. Pre-heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom in a thin layer. Once the oil is hot, brown the sausage and remove it with a slotted spoon.
  2. Allow the meat to cool, then stir in the pimento cheese and mashed potatoes. In a separate bowl, beat one egg and then fold it into the mixture. The filling should bind together and stick. Transfer the bowl to either the freezer for 15 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.
  3. While the meat mixture chills, spread flour across one plate, beat 3 eggs in a bowl, and spread Panko breadcrumbs across another plate.
  4. Dust your hands with flour then use a spoon or ice cream scoop to roll the filling into small balls, about the size of golf balls. The filling will be a little soft but it should stick together and have the consistency of cookie dough. If it doesn’t, add some Panko to dry the bind.
  5. Roll each ball across the plate of flour to coat and set aside on a tray. You should get about 32 croquettes. Transfer the tray to the freezer or refrigerator again for another 15-30 minutes. Don’t skip this step—it helps the filling set so that it doesn’t fall apart when frying.
  6. Remove the tray from the freezer, dip each ball into the egg wash and then thoroughly coat it with the Panko. Be sure to cover the entire surface area. You can do this step up to a day in advance and store the croquettes in the fridge until you are ready to fry.
  7. Pour about 3 inches of oil into the frying pot and turn the heat to medium-high. When the oil reaches 365 degrees, carefully drop in each croquette. Fry for 3-4 minutes, rolling them around so that they turn golden brown. Work in batches as needed and transfer the cooked croquettes to a plate covered with paper towels. Serve hot with the smoky aioli.

Smoky Aioli

  1. Whisk the mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, honey, and paprika together. Taste and season with a couple of pinches of salt.