Loaded Baked Potato Balls
- Left over mashed potatoes if you have them. They need to be thick and stiff, not watery.
- I had none, so I used 4 russet potatoes….and wow! That is a LOT!
- I also used 3 Tbsp butter, a splash of milk (maybe 1/2 cup), salt and pepper
- Cheddar/mozzarella blend string cheese
- 1 small bag of real bacon bits
- feel free to used real bacon or even crumbled turkey bacon, but I wanted to make this as easy as possible.
- Chopped chives
- Panko bread crumbs – they are much lighter and crunchier than regular bread crumbs
- Canola oil for frying
- Whatever dipping sauce you want (sour cream, salsa, salsa verde, maybe even ranch dressing)
You can skip half of this whole recipe if you have left over mashed potatoes! To make the mashed potatoes, I peeled and cut the potatoes into medium chunks and boiled in salted water until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
While potatoes are cooking, get the cheese ready. I used a cheddar/mozzarella blend string cheese because I knew it would have a good “melting” factor. I chose the bagged “real bacon bits” because after work today, I just wanted fast and easy. Besides, this is much less mess and time than making your own sometimes.
Drain the fork-tender potatoes, then return them to the pot. Add butter, milk, salt, pepper, chives, and bacon to the potatoes and whip them up by hand or with a hand mixer until smooth. Add butter and milk. Add salt and pepper. Blend. Add the bacon bits. Add some chopped chives. I added an egg to bind everything together.
Allow the potatoes to cool. Hot potatoes will stick to your hands and make a big mess. The cool ones like to stick together better. Roll the potatoes into balls. Place a piece of cheese inside a depression in the potato balls and reform the ball around the cheese. Roll the potato balls in Panko bread crumbs. Fry for about a minute or until golden in oil (about 375 degrees F). Sprinkle with salt immediately when you get them out of the oil. Serve hot (while the cheese is all melty).