The Great Spanish Cookbook : Ham Croquetas Recipe

When they think of Spanish food, most people immediately think of tapas. And perhaps the most popular and delicious of all the tapas dishes is the ham croquetas (or ham croquettes). Creamy and delicious, traditional Spanish croquettes are so hearty that they could almost make a meal in themselves.

What are Ham Croquetas?

Ham croquetas are surprisingly simple and inexpensive to make. They were traditionally ‘poor man’s food’ so there is no need for fancy ingredients: effectively you need to make a good bechamel sauce, and add in whatever scraps of Serreno ham you have available. These two ingredients are mixed with onions, coated, and then deep fried: despite this, they never taste oily. Ham croquetas can be found in almost every tapas bar in Spain, but it’s just as possible to create a delicious version at home.

The Recipe

You will need:

  • 4 table spoons of unsalted butter
  • 60 millilitres of olive oil
  • 120 grams of plain flour
  • 1 medium onion, very finely diced
  • ¼ gallon whole milk at room temperature.
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ½ pound jamón serrano diced into small pieces (if you have a little more of a little less ham, just use what you have available)
  • flour for breading
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • bread crumbs for breading


  1. Melt the butter and oil in a pan over a medium to high heat
  2. When the butter has melted, add the onions. Saute until they have softened and begin to brown.
  3. Add the nutmeg and diced ham
  4. Add the flour and stir continuously, until the flour turns a light brown color. Don't be tempted to stop stirring: this will burn the flour.
  5. Once the colour of the flour has changed add the milk: only add a little at a time and keep stirring so that the sauce remains smooth.
  6. Turn off the heat, giving the resulting dough time to cool.
  7. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least four hours for the dough to thoroughly cool and set (most people prep this the night before they intend to eat the croquettes).
  8. Shape the dough into logs, and then heat a pan full of olive oil until the oil is hot.
  9. Cover the croquettes in flour, then in egg, and, finally, in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry the ham croquettes in the hot oil and let them cool for a few minutes before enjoying: they should taste so delicious you’ll want to cook them over and over again.


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