Reuben Croquettes: Easy Irish Cannonballs in Air Fryer!

If you’ve got some leftover corned beef from St Patrick’s Day, or just love a good Reuben, then you’ll want to check out these Reuben croquettes! Also known as Irish cannonballs, these crispy bites feature corned beef, sauerkraut, cheese, and potatoes to make the perfect creamy fritter.

air fryer reuben croquettes recipe dinners done quick featured image

What’s the Difference Between Croquettes and Fritters?

While the term is often used interchangeably, there is actually a difference between croquettes and fritters:

Ingredients

  • Croquettes typically consist of a mixture of minced or finely chopped ingredients, such as meat, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes potatoes, bound together with a thick sauce or béchamel (and in some cases, mashed potatoes). The mixture is then shaped into small cylinders or patties, breaded, and fried until golden brown.
  • Fritters, on the other hand, are made by mixing pieces of meat, seafood, vegetables, or fruit in a batter or dough, which may include flour, eggs, milk, and seasonings. The coated pieces are then deep-fried until crispy and cooked through.

Texture

  • Croquettes have a creamy and smooth texture on the inside due to the use of a thick filling or sauce. The outer crust is crispy and golden, providing a contrast in textures.
  • Fritters typically have a more uniform texture throughout, with a crispy exterior and a softer interior depending on the ingredients used. The batter or dough creates a light and airy coating around the ingredients.

Shape

  • While sometimes they are rolled into balls, croquettes are typically shaped into cylindrical or oval shapes, resembling small logs or patties. This shape allows for easy handling and ensures even cooking.
  • Fritters come in various shapes and sizes depending on the ingredients used. They can be round, flat, irregularly shaped, or formed into specific shapes such as patties or balls.

Usage

  • Croquettes are often served as appetizers, side dishes, or main courses in a variety of cuisines. They can be enjoyed on their own with dipping sauces or served alongside other dishes.
  • Fritters are versatile and can be served as appetizers, snacks, or even desserts, depending on the ingredients used. They are commonly served with dipping sauces, condiments, or as part of larger meals like breakfast or brunch.

In summary, while both croquettes and fritters are fried foods, croquettes are typically made with a creamy filling encased in a crispy coating, while fritters consist of ingredients coated in batter or dough and fried until crispy.

They differ in texture, shape, and usage, making them distinct from one another. However, that said, fritters and croquettes are still often referred to interchangeably for being crispy, fried, bite-sized balls packed with flavor.

holding up a cross section of a reuben croquette cooked in the air fryer

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

These Reuben croquettes feature a crispy, golden breading on the outside, with far less oil compared to deep frying thanks to your air fryer!

The inside, however, is super creamy, savory and delicious. That’s thanks to the use of mashed potatoes in place of bechamel, with corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut to make that traditional Reuben taste.

I love this recipe because it’s a great way to use up leftovers – both mashed potatoes and corned beef!

It’s a great way to repurpose your St Patrick’s meal to enjoy something new and fun, but honestly you can make them anytime with deli corned beef and instant mashed potatoes to make it easier!

Ingredients List

ingredients to make reuben croquettes in the air fryer
  • 4-ounce package roasted garlic instant mashed potatoes, prepared and chilled
  • ½ cup packed sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • ½ pound corned beef (trimmed of excess fat and finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Olive oil spray (or another oil of your choosing)

For the Breading

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Additional salt and pepper (to taste)

For Serving

  • ¼ cup Thousand Island dressing (for dipping)

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

  • You can use about 2 cups of leftover cold mashed potatoes instead of the instant. You may want to add 1 tsp garlic powder for flavor
  • If you do not like swiss cheese, you can substitute mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or similar (but then it won’t be as “traditionally” Reuben-flavored)
  • Deli corned beef works equally well; just dice it into ¼” pieces so it rolls well
  • You can make homemade Thousand Island if preferred, but I use premade for the convenience. Honey mustard or a spicy mustard are good substitutions if you don’t like 1000 Island

How to Make Reuben Croquettes: Step By Step

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cold mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, corned beef, 1 egg, and the seasonings. Stir well to thoroughly mix everything
combine cold mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, corned beef, egg, and seasonings in a mixing bowl
  1. Scoop about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture into your hands and form it into a cylinder or ball shape (a cylinder is more traditional for croquettes). Tip: if the mixture isn’t sticking well, chill it for 20-30 minutes to let it set up more
roll reuben mashed potato mixture into small cylinders
  1. Prepare a breading station using shallow bowls or plates. Put flour in the first, beat two eggs in the second, and add the panko breadcrumbs to the third. Season all with some salt and pepper
set up a breading station for the reuben croquettes
  1. Bread each Reuben fritter by rolling it in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, making sure to thoroughly coat them during each step
roll each reuben fritter through the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs
  1. Place croquettes into your air fryer’s basket or rack in a single layer, allowing some air space between them. Spray the tops with a little bit of olive oil spray (or similar)
place reuben croquettes in air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, pausing halfway through to flip the fritters and reapply oil, until golden brown to your liking outside
  2. Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing for dipping
overhead view of reuben croquettes circling a plate with thousand island dipping sauce in the center

Alternate Cooking Methods

  • Bake Rueben croquettes in an oven preheated to 400°F for about 15-20 minutes (turn halfway through cooking) until desired level of browning is reached. It won’t be quite as crispy as air fried, but still delicious!
  • Deep fry or pan fry Reuben fritters for about 5-7 minutes with oil at around 350°F, turning halfway through. About 1” of oil in a skillet should be sufficient. This method of course uses more oil than air frying, but you’ll get that golden, crispy crust!

More Croquette and Fritter Flavors to Try

  • Air Fryer Chicken Croquettes
  • Ham Croquettes in the Air Fryer
  • Air Fryer Cauliflower Fritters
  • Peach Fritters in the Air Fryer
  • Air Fryer Pumpkin Fritters

Recipe FAQs

What Are Air Fryer Reuben Croquettes?

Air fryer Reuben croquettes, also known as Irish Cannonballs, are savory appetizers inspired by the classic Reuben sandwich. They feature a mixture of corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, coated in breadcrumbs and air-fried until crispy and golden brown.

Serve these crispy fritters with a side of Thousand Island dressing for dipping.

How Do You Make Air Fryer Reuben Croquettes?

To make air fryer Reuben croquettes, combine chopped corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. Form the mixture into small cylindrical shapes, coat them in breadcrumbs, and place them in the air fryer basket.

Coat them in a mist of oil and then air fry at a high temperature until the croquettes are crispy on the outside and heated through.

Can I Use Leftover Corned Beef for Air Fryer Reuben Croquettes?

Yes, leftover corned beef works perfectly for making Reuben croquettes. Simply chop or shred the leftover corned beef and mix it with the other ingredients according to the recipe.

This Irish Cannonballs recipe is also a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes or colcannon, making it ideal for St Patrick’s leftovers.

How Long Do You Air Fry Reuben Croquettes?

The cooking time for air fryer Reuben croquettes can vary depending on the size of the croquettes and your specific air fryer.

In general, they typically take about 10-15 minutes to cook at 400°F (200°C), flipping them halfway through for even browning.

Can I Make Reuben Croquettes Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare Reuben croquettes ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Alternatively, you can freeze them after shaping and breadcrumb coating for longer storage, then air fry them directly from frozen when needed.

What Dipping Sauce Goes Well with Reuben Croquettes?

Reuben croquettes or fritters pair well with a variety of dipping sauces, including Russian dressing, Thousand Island dressing, or spicy mustard.

Experiment with different sauces to find your favorite flavor combination.

Can I Bake Reuben Croquettes Instead of Air Frying Them?

Yes, you can bake Reuben croquettes in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy. However, air frying typically yields a crispier exterior while using less oil compared to baking.

You may also deep fry Reuben bites for about 5-7 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. However, this method requires a lot more oil than air frying.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • If you have a food processor, you can use it to shred the corned beef and your sauerkraut as well (which makes rolling the Reuben balls much easier)
  • Instead of mixing shredded swiss cheese directly into the Reuben fritter, you can also cut your cheese into small blocks and roll it into the center of each croquette before breading for a cheese-filled interior!
  • I do not preheat my air fryer for this recipe since I flip them over. My first batch took 10 minutes, and my second was around 8 due to the higher starting temperature, but you can adjust as needed for your specific air fryer
  • This recipe made about 28 Reuben croquettes for me, but it will vary based on the exact size you roll them, the specific amount of meat you have to use up, etc
closeup view of reuben croquettes on a plate including one cut in half

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Store any leftover Irish Cannonballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer term storage, freeze before cooking and then cook directly from frozen, adding 2-3 minutes to cooking time to account for the frozen start
  • To reheat Reuben croquettes, air fry at 350°F for 3-5 minutes until warmed through. Time can vary slightly between air fryers and based on fritter thickness, so adjust as needed 

More Air Fryer Recipes That Use Corned Beef

Final Thoughts

Whether you call them Rueben croquettes or fritters, or even Irish Cannonballs, these Reuben bites are packed with all the flavors of your favorite sandwich.

They’re a great way to use up both leftover corned beef and mashed potatoes, but you can make them any time of year with deli slices and instant mashed potatoes too.

The air fryer does a great job of getting that golden, crunchy breading outside with less oil than deep frying. Inside, you get creamy mashed potatoes mixed with beef, cheese, and kraut for that perfect bite.

Don’t forget the Thousand Island for dipping when you serve up this savory appetizer or snack! They’re perfect for St Patrick’s (or the day after with leftovers)!

air fryer reuben croquettes recipe dinners done quick featured image

Easy Reuben Croquettes (Air Fryer or Oven)

Reuben croquettes are the perfect way to use up leftover corned beef from St Patrick’s Day! These golden and crispy bites cook up in just 10 minutes in your air fryer!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 12
Calories 226 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Ounce package roasted garlic instant mashed potatoes (prepared and cooled)
  • ½ Cup packed sauerkraut (drained)
  • 1 Cup shredded swiss cheese
  • ½ Pound corned beef (trimmed and finely chopped)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ Tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Tsp parsley
  • Olive oil spray (or another of your choosing)

For the Breading

  • ½ Cup all purpose flour
  • 3 Large eggs (beaten)
  • 2 Cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper in each (to taste)

For Dipping

  • ¼ Cup Thousand Island dressing

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, combine cold mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, corned beef, 1 egg, and the seasonings. Stir well to thoroughly mix everything
    4 Ounce package roasted garlic instant mashed potatoes, ½ Cup packed sauerkraut, 1 Cup shredded swiss cheese, ½ Pound corned beef, 1 Large egg, 1 Tsp salt, ½ Tsp black pepper, 1 Tsp parsley
  • Scoop about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture into your hands and form it into a cylinder or ball shape (a cylinder is more traditional for croquettes). Tip: if the mixture isn’t sticking well, chill it for 20-30 minutes to let it set up more
  • Prepare a breading station using shallow bowls or plates. Put flour in the first, beat two eggs in the second, and add the panko breadcrumbs to the third. Season all with some salt and pepper
    ½ Cup all purpose flour, 3 Large eggs, 2 Cups panko breadcrumbs, Salt and pepper in each
  • Bread each Reuben fritter by rolling it in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, making sure to thoroughly coat them during each step
  • Place croquettes into your air fryer’s basket or rack in a single layer, allowing some air space between them. Spray the tops with a little bit of olive oil spray (or similar)
    Olive oil spray
  • Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, pausing halfway through to flip the fritters and reapply oil, until golden brown to your liking outside
  • Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing for dipping
    ¼ Cup Thousand Island dressing

Notes

  • You can use about 2 cups of leftover cold mashed potatoes instead of the instant. You may want to add 1 tsp garlic powder for flavor
  • If you do not like swiss cheese, you can substitute mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or similar (but then it won’t be as “traditionally” Reuben-flavored)
  • Deli corned beef works equally well; just dice it into ¼” pieces so it rolls well
  • You can make homemade Thousand Island if preferred, but I use premade for the convenience. Honey mustard or a spicy mustard are good substitutions if you don’t like 1000 Island
  • Alternate cooking instructions: Bake Rueben croquettes in an oven preheated to 400°F for about 15-20 minutes (turn halfway through cooking) until desired level of browning is reached. It won’t be quite as crispy as air fried, but still delicious!
  • Deep fry or pan fry Reuben fritters for about 5-7 minutes with oil at around 350°F, turning halfway through. About 1” of oil in a skillet should be sufficient. This method of course uses more oil than air frying, but you’ll get that golden, crispy crust!
  • If you have a food processor, you can use it to shred the corned beef and your sauerkraut as well (which makes rolling the Reuben balls much easier)
  • Instead of mixing shredded swiss cheese directly into the Reuben fritter, you can also cut your cheese into small blocks and roll it into the center of each croquette before breading for a cheese-filled interior!
  • I do not preheat my air fryer for this recipe since I flip them over. My first batch took 10 minutes, and my second was around 8 due to the higher starting temperature, but you can adjust as needed for your specific air fryer
  • This recipe made about 28 Reuben croquettes for me, but it will vary based on the exact size you roll them, the specific amount of meat you have to use up, etc
  • Store any leftover Irish Cannonballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer term storage, freeze before cooking and then cook directly from frozen, adding 2-3 minutes to cooking time to account for the frozen start
  • To reheat Reuben croquettes, air fry at 350°F for 3-5 minutes until warmed through. Time can vary slightly between air fryers and based on fritter thickness, so adjust as needed
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, size of balls, any sauces or sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 82gCalories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 10gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 837mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 1.5gVitamin A: 178IUVitamin C: 2.5mgCalcium: 95mgIron: 1.1mg
Keyword air fryer appetizers, air fryer croquettes, fried reuben balls, irish cannonballs, leftover corned beef recipes, reuben balls recipe, reuben bites, reuben croquettes, reuben fritters, reuben inspired snacks
Tried this recipe?Mention @TheDinnersDoneQuick or tag #dinnersdonequick!
air fryer reuben croquettes recipe dinners done quick pinterest
Katie Vine
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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