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  • Writer's pictureChrysta

Picadillo-stuffed Potato Balls: Transform Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes into Fried Delight

You’ve gotta use up those mashed potatoes by the 5th day after you cooked them if you maintained good refrigeration and food safety practices

So my answer is making Picadillo-stuffed fried potato balls!

You can make these today and either eat these now to take a break from the past 5 days of Thanksgiving Tastes, or freeze them (before frying!) and fry them fresh for upcoming Holiday or News Years gatherings because these potato balls can freeze well for up to 2 months!

So gather that leftover onion and pepper in your fridge, get some ground beef at the store, and throw some spices and a few other things you have in your kitchen together and you have Cuban Picadillo. Add that to the leftover mashed potatoes you have and victory shall be yours!

This recipe is VERY forgiving because you basically make as many potato balls as you can, and then eat the leftover picadillo over some rice with some black beans and call it a success!

Picadillo recipe:


1lb Ground Beef (85/15 fat %)

3/4 cup diced yellow onion

1/3 cup diced red pepper

1/3 cup diced green pepper

1 tbsp minced garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp Spanish paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste

4 tbsp white wine

1 tsp white vinegar

1/3 cup sliced green olives that have been drained and then chopped


Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until they are translucent, about 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add your peppers and cook for another 2 minutes. Add your ground beef and make sure to break it up so that there are no large clumps. I find that if the meat isn’t very cold, it breaks up more easily.

Once the meat is browned, add your spices and cook for 1 minute more. Next, add your tomato paste and thoroughly coat the ground beef. Cook for 1 minute and reduce heat to medium. Add the white wine and vinegar, and stir to combine. Simmer the mixture until the liquid has evaporated. Add the green olives and ensure they are well mixed into the ground beef. Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat.

Cool completely before making potato balls.

Picadillo can also be served as a main dish over rice with a side of black beans. This recipe will give you 3 main dish portions.

Making Picadillo-stuffed Potato Balls:


Bread Crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of flour

Once the Picadillo has cooled:


(1) Take cold mashed potatoes and roll them into a ball. Then flatten like a pancake.

(2) Take 1tbsp of cold picadillo and put it at the center of the flattened potato “pancake”

(3) Fold the edges of the potato pancake around the picadillo, and then roll into a ball

(4) Roll the potato ball into flour and shake off excess.

(5) Dip the potato ball into a beaten egg, making sure to coat.

(6) Coat the potato ball with bread crumbs until well coated.

(7) Refrigerate the potato ball for 20-30 minutes before frying to help it set up its structure.

(8) Bring your vegetable oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Cook until potato balls are golden brown: this will take about 2 minutes. Monitor them closely because they can fall apart and lose their shape.


If your mashed potatoes were super creamy, almost to the point of runny, add either another cooked and mashed potato to it to firm it up, or a tablespoon or so of flour to bind it.

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