The Holidays are coming and with it brings family feasts and the inevitable question of “What am I going to do with all these leftovers?” If you are looking for a fun way to repurpose those mashed potatoes that is full of flavor, you’ve come to the right place! Our friend Tanya Anurag sent us this recipe for her Potato Pepper Pops that are gourmet enough for a party appetizer, yet simple enough for an afternoon snack. Loaded with our Sweet Bell Peppers, these fun appetizers are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and are sure to please anyone and everyone!

Croquette, or potato poppers, or potato snack balls – whatever you want to call them, they are a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Crispy on the outside, smooth and decadent on the inside, these flavorful, bite-sized snacks are full of melted cheese, Sweet Bell Peppers and nobody would ever believe you made them with leftovers! They’re also a very versatile snack or appetizer. You can fill them with ground meat, veggies, cheese, herbs – pretty much anything you want! The only rule is that they must be coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

Ingredients for Potato Pepper Pops

  • Potatoes – Peeled and boiled. Tanya made her recipe from fresh mashed potatoes, but with the Holidays coming up, you can use leftovers and still get the same wonderful results.
  • Sweet Bell Peppers – Not only do these peppers bring a wonderful rainbow of colors to this appetizer, but they also bring a nice crunchy texture and sweet flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs – Panko are the best for this recipe, but any kind will do. Panko breadcrumbs will produce a lighter and crunchier result because they don’t absorb as much oil.
  • Cheddar Jack Cheese – If you can’t find cheddar jack, any type of cheddar or Colby cheese.
  • Corn Flour – This is needed to help bind the breadcrumbs to the balls.
  • Seasoning – You don’t want your appetizer to be bland! Tanya’s recipe calls for basil, cumin, red chili flakes, plus some good old salt and pepper.

How To Make Potato Pepper Pops


First you will prepare the mashed potatoes. Put the peeled and boiled potatoes into a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer, which will give a smoother texture to the potatoes. Add the diced peppers, breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings, then mix it well to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the corn flour with some water to make a slurry. Then, prepare a plate with breadcrumbs on it so that you can dip the balls into the slurry and then roll them in the breadcrumbs.

Rolling the Pops

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop up enough of the mashed potato mixtures to roll it into a golf ball sized portion. Dip each ball in the corn flour slurry and roll them in the breadcrumbs. Place them on a plate and set aside. Repeat this step until all of the mashed potato mixture has been rolled into balls and dipped in breadcrumbs.

Fry Them Up!

Peanut oil is the best oil for getting a crispy, crunchy crust on these Potato Pepper Poppers. It won’t smoke and will enhance the flavor of these tasty treats. Canola oil is also an acceptable oil if you can’t tolerate peanut oil or you’re looking for a different option. The best temperature for deep-frying these pops is between 325° F and 350° F.

Process Potato Peppers

Choose a deep pot that will allow you to leave at least 3 inches of space above the oil. This is for your safety in case the oil begins to bubble a lot as you’re putting the pepper pops in to cook. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil, or you can test it by placing a small piece of bread and if the oil starts to sizzle, it’s ready for your pops.

Using a metal slotted spoon or skimmer (because you definitely do not want to use plastic or it will melt), carefully lower the Potato Pepper Pops, one at a time, into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd them or they will not cook properly. For safety, make sure to monitor them at all times and do not cover the pot.

When the Potato Pepper Pops are golden brown, after about four to five minutes, remove them and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. You can make these ahead of time and store them in the fridge for three to five days. They can be reheated in the oven or the air fryer! But they do taste the best made fresh the day of eating them.

You can dip them in any dip of your choice. From ketchup to ranch, or even slathering them in leftover gravy will do too – the possibilities are endless.

For Tanya’s full Potato Pepper Pops recipe, click here.

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