Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (2023)

Hey everyone, we’re back with another one of our foodie recommendations, and today we’re exploring the world of croquettes in Málaga, Spain.

These little bites of heaven have been a staple in Spanish cuisine for generations, and they continue to be enjoyed by locals and visitors just as much as Louis XIV did back in the day in France where these balls of crispy goodness originated. A fun fact is that Louis XIV was commonly known as ‘The King of Croquettes’.

Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (1)

So, How did These Tasty Treats Come To Be?

Croquettes have an interesting history, dating back to the 18th century. Originally, they were made with leftover meat or fish, mixed with béchamel sauce and then fried to create a crispy exterior. These little bites became popular in Spain, and since then, chefs have experimented with all kinds of fillings to create a variety of flavors and textures.

One of the most popular types of croquettes is the classic ham and cheese (jamon y queso). This savory croquette features a creamy interior made with a mixture of, well, ham and cheese, wrapped in a crispy breadcrumb coating. Other popular fillings include chicken, spinach, and cod.

During our croquette adventure in Málaga, we visited some of the best croquette spots in the city.

Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (2)

Our first stop was El Pimpi, a traditional bar and restaurant that’s been serving up croquettes since 1971. The head chef, Juanita, said they use only the freshest ingredients and advanced cooking techniques. Their ham croquettes were crispy and crunchy on the outside and had a deliciously creamy inside.

Next up was Casa Aranda, a café that’s been serving croquettes since 1932. Their chicken croquettes were crispy outside and juicy inside. We also tried their spinach and cheese croquettes, which were absolutely delicious.

La Tranca was our next stop, a local bar that’s been serving up croquettes for ages. Bartender Paco said their spinach and cheese croquettes were a customer favorite. They had the perfect ratio of a creamy filling and crispy outside border.

Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (3)

Mesón de Cervantes was next on our list, a traditional Spanish restaurant serving authentic cuisine for generations. Chef Jesus said their cod croquettes were made according to a family recipe. They were mouth-watering with the perfect cod flavor that goes perfect that crispy deep fried coating.

Last but not least, we hit up Los Mellizos, a seafood restaurant and a Málaga institution since 1994. As a seafood restaurant, it was only right to try their cod croquettes, which were outstanding.

We created a chart to rate each restaurant based on factors like flavor, texture, and experience. Here’s how they ranked:

El Pimpi545
Casa Aranda444
La Tranca353
Mesón de Cervantes554
Los Mellizos445

El Pimpi and Mesón de Cervantes were tied for the top spot. Both delivered croquettes that were packed with flavor and had the perfect texture.

So What Makes This Spanish Staple So Special?

This fundamental part of Spanish cuisine is more than just a delicious treat, they are also a symbol of Spanish culture which speaks to their perseverance, resourcefulness, and creativity. Their ability to turn leftover ingredients into something so iconically tasty is quite a feat.

Croquettes have become so popular in Spain that they’re now considered one of the country’s national dishes. You won’t only find these tasty treats in Málaga. Croquettes are served all over the country, with each region adding their own special touch to this classic dish. From the jamón ibérico croquettes in Madrid to the chorizo croquettes in Barcelona, there’s no shortage of different options and varieties to try on the iberían peninsula.

Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (4)

Over the past couple of decades these little fried balls have gained popularity all over the world. They have become very popular in Latin America and all across Europe, as well as The United States.

The next time you find yourself in Málaga, you cannot miss the opportunity to try some of the city’s best alongside an ice cold beverage on the beach. As previously mentioned, there is a croquette for everyone, so don’t be shy and make sure you try as many different varieties as you can, from classic to modern, you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the new flavors you try.

Finally, check out this perfectly traditional, yet simple croquetee recipe so you can also make these tasty treats right at home:

All-purpose flour50g
Salt1 tsp
Ground black pepper1/2 tsp
Nutmeg1/4 tsp
Serrano ham, diced100g
Manchego cheese, grated100g
Bread crumbs200g
Olive oilfor frying


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes a paste (roux).
  3. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes a smooth, creamy béchamel sauce (around 10-12 minutes).
  5. Add the diced Serrano ham and grated Manchego cheese to the béchamel sauce, stirring until the cheese melts and the ham is evenly distributed.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish or baking sheet and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  7. Once the mixture has chilled and solidified, use a spoon to form small balls or cylinders (around 2-3 cm in diameter).
  8. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and put the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
  9. Dip each croquette in the egg mixture, then roll it in the bread crumbs until it’s evenly coated.
  10. Heat olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  11. Fry the croquettes in batches, turning them occasionally, until they’re golden brown and crispy on all sides (around 3-4 minutes per batch).
  12. Drain the croquettes on paper towels to remove excess oil, then serve hot.

What’s Next?

Now that you have learned all about this special Spanish cuisine, are you ready to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and discover even more? Whether you are looking to start a new adventure, embarking on your Spanish language learning journey, or improve your Spanish speaking skills, don’t hesitate and get signed up today for our Spanish course in Málaga and let the adventure begin! What are you waiting for?

To sum it all up, croquettes are a beloved dish in Málaga, Spain, and there’s a croquette out there for everyone. From classic ham and cheese to spinach and cod and different ‘mariscos’, there’s no shortage of flavors and textures to choose from. So next time you’re in Málaga, be sure to stop by one of these top croquette joints, as well as get some Spanish lessons under your belt so you can discuss your favorite croquettes with the locals!

Bonus tip: Here is another recipe in case you want to try something a bit different:

Introduction: There’s nothing quite like the taste of authentic Spanish croquettes. These bite-sized morsels are the perfect way to bring the flavors of Spain into your own kitchen. Our recipe for these crispy, creamy treats is perfect for sharing with friends or serving as an appetizer at your next dinner party. So let’s dive into the world of Spanish cuisine and learn how to make these delicious croquetas caseras!

Croquetas or Croquettes: Recipe and history of Spanish Stemple (5)


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked ham, chicken, or fish (your choice)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably Panko)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Prepare the béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and chicken broth, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until they are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped meat or fish, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.
  3. Combine the béchamel sauce and the cooked meat mixture, stirring until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the mixture is firm and cold.
  4. Once the mixture is cold and firm, shape it into croquettes: using your hands or a spoon, scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape it into a small cylinder or oval. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  5. Set up your dredging station: Place the flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a separate dish, and the breadcrumbs in a third dish. Coat each croquette first in flour, shaking off any excess, then dip it in the beaten eggs, and finally roll it in the breadcrumbs, ensuring an even coating.
  6. In a deep frying pan, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F (180°C). Fry the croquettes in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, for 3-4 minutes, turning them occasionally until they are golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croquettes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  7. Allow the croquettes to cool slightly before serving. For a truly authentic Spanish experience, serve your croquetas caseras with a side of aioli or your favorite dipping sauce. ¡Buen provecho!

Join the conversation on social:

We have new events and updates every week! Practice your Spanish, learn about Buenos Aires, or prepare for your trip to South America by browsing our blog.


What is the history of Spanish croquetas? ›

Spanish croquette is a dish that came to be in an effort to avoid wasting food. Essentially, all leftover vegetables and meat were mixed with the bechamel sauce and then fried. It was France that brought croquettes to Spain; however, the French variety uses a creamy potato base as opposed to the Spanish bechamel sauce.

What is the history of croquettes? ›

The croquette originated in France and it was in 1898 that Monsieur Escoffier, the founder of the classical French Cuisine, together with the help of Monsieur Philias Gilbert started to write down the recipe. The classical formulation and procedures were in place.

What are croquettes made of in Spanish? ›

Croquetas de jamón, also known as ham croquettes, is a staple food in Spain found in most Spanish tapas menus. They're small, breaded & fried cylindrical-shaped fritters made from bechamel sauce and Spanish cured ham.

Who invented the croqueta? ›

Who invented La Croqueta? While La Croqueta is the signature move of Spain and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, Michael Laudrup is generally credited with introducing the move on the world stage.

What is the history of Cuban croquetas? ›

As history goes, croquettes originated in France and came about as a way to not waste any leftover meats or vegetables. However, instead of using a béchamel sauce as a binding base, potato is used. As many recipes throughout history go, it later was adapted by the Spaniards where the béchamel base was introduced.

Where are croquetas from in Spain? ›

Croquettes came to Spain from France, the latter of which use creamy potatoes as a base. While the French use potatoes for their croquettes, Spaniards use bechamel. This is a rich, creamy sauce that is the result of butter, flour, and milk, like a roux.

What is the difference between a croquette and a patty? ›

If you're really into technical terminology, the difference is that croquettes typically use breadcrumbs and patties typically use flour. A croquette mixture is flakier and lighter than a patty mixture.

What is the difference between cutlets and croquettes? ›

The difference between a croquette and a cutlet is just in the shape. Then dip each croquette in beaten egg, roll in bread-crumbs again, and fry in hot fat. The term “croquette” used by Gollmer does not fully cover H.; some indeed, resemble modern croquettes and kromeskis very closely.

Are croquettes from Spain? ›

Croquettes originated in France, where they feature a mashed potato center, but when croquettes traveled down to Spain, they became croquetas, and took on something a bit different. What is this? Rather than being filled with potatoes, Spanish croquetas are filled with a creamy bechamel sauce.

Are tater tots the same as croquettes? ›

Tater tots versus potato croquettes: Both dishes are made from mashed potatoes all right. But the croquettes have cheese and are breaded with flour and egg before deep-frying. Tater tots versus hash browns: They are very similar, yes! Their only difference is the shape – hash browns are flat while tots are cylindrical.

What are Cuban croquetas made of? ›

Croquetas de Jamón (Ham Croquettes) are a Cuban household staple! They're crispy, bite-size logs of smooth ground ham coated in breadcrumbs then fried to perfection.

What is the most popular croquette? ›

Croquetas de jamón

Spanish croquetas are made with a variety of ingredients but the jamón version, which incorporates diced Spanish ham, is the most common and popular of them all.

What ethnicity is croquette? ›

A croquette /kroʊˈkɛt/ is a deep-fried roll originated in French cuisine, consisting of a thick binder combined with a filling, which is then breaded. It is served as a side dish, a snack, or fast food worldwide.

Are fritters and croquettes the same? ›

Sometimes called cakes or fritters, classic croquettes are mixtures of meat, shellfish or vegetables bound with a sauce, shaped, then dipped in egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and sizzled in oil.

What countries eat croquetas? ›

Some of the most popular countries for eating croquettes include Belgium, where they are often served with a dipping sauce; France, where they originated; and Spain, where they are often made with a filling of ham and cheese. Other countries known for their croquettes include Brazil, Italy, and the Netherlands.

What is Miami croquetas? ›

A favorite of many Miamians, croquetas — the typically breaded and fried béchamel dish — are a staple in the Magic City.

Are croquettes Dutch or French? ›

The croquette is not a Dutch, but a French invention. In 1691 the cook of Louis XIV wrote a recipe for 'croquets'. 2. Croquette is derived from the French word 'croquer', which means nibbling.

Where did croqueta originate? ›

The Origin of the Croquette

A croquette is a small cylinder or ball of filling that has been breaded and fried. Auguste Escoffier, a French culinary artist, created the modern form of these bundles of joy in France in 1898.

What do Italians call croquettes? ›

Crocchette di patate (Potato Croquettes)

Why are croquettes called croquettes? ›

Even the name kroket was taken from the French - from croquer, or 'to crunch'. Croquettes gained in popularity in the Netherlands in the 18th century, when French food was all the rage in the Low Lands. And, while their origins are French, what is typically Dutch is the way these treats are consumed today.

What do you eat with croquetas? ›

Goats cheese and rocket salad, grilled halloumi, baked beans, coleslaw, and bean salad are all worthy options for what to serve with potato croquettes.

Are croquettes healthy? ›

Snacks such as croquettes and bitterballs are unhealthy because they're fatty and high in calories.

What is a bread is eaten at Christmas in Spain? ›

The roscón is a sweet bread (almost like a brioche) that is baked into a circle or an oval shape. It isn't always filled, but traditional fillings include whipped cream, chocolate cream, meringue or custard cream.

What is the English translation of croquettes? ›

Translation of croquette – French–English dictionary


Are croquettes always fried? ›

Croquettes are a versatile little morsel. You can fill them with ground meat, potatoes, veggies, really anything your heart desires. The only rule is they must be coated in breadcrumbs and they must be fried.

Why are my croquettes fall apart? ›

If left in the fryer for too long, the filling will get too hot, expand, and cause the croquettes to split. To prevent this, only fry the croquettes for three to four minutes — just enough time for the outside to crisp and the filling to heat through.

Where did kroketten originate? ›

And, while their origins are French, what is typically Dutch is the way these treats are consumed today. Kroketten are often mass-produced and bought ready-made from fast-food chains and snack bars and consumed as street food in the Netherlands.

Where did croquetas de jamón come from? ›

Croquetas de jamón are delicious fried croquettes containing a filling made with béchamel sauce, onions, chopped garlic and the famous Serrano ham. It is a typical tapa of Spanish origin that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or accompanied by a salad.

What's the difference between croquettes and cutlets? ›

The difference between a croquette and a cutlet is just in the shape. Then dip each croquette in beaten egg, roll in bread-crumbs again, and fry in hot fat. The term “croquette” used by Gollmer does not fully cover H.; some indeed, resemble modern croquettes and kromeskis very closely.

What is the difference between bitterballen and croquettes? ›

The difference between kroketten and bitterballen is their size. Kroketten have an oblong shape and are about 8 to 10 cm long. Bitterballen are ball shaped and have the same diameter as a Dutch kroket. The way you eat them is also different.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated: 08/12/2023

Views: 5498

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.