Corn & Crab Croquettes (かにクリームコロッケ)

Crab and Cream Croquette

Although croquettes started life in France, these deep fried balls of goodness have managed to spread themselves around the world: from Bangladesh to Portugal to Mexico. You could even make the argument that American crab cakes are a distant relative of the croquette.

In Japan, croquettes(or korokke as they’re known there) are a staple bento box food along with tonkatsu and chicken teriyaki. Korokke comes in just about any flavor you can imagine, but preparations usually fall into two camps. One uses mashed potatoes as the base, the other uses a creamy bechamel sauce as the base.

Bechamel running out of Kani Kurimu Korokke

In order to get the bechamel firm enough to handle, it’s usually made with a lot of flour. The idea being that it is firm when chilled and softens when fried. While I love kani kurimu korokke, I envisioned something a little more luscious this time. A korokke that bursts into a creamy pool of flavor in your mouth as you bite through the crisp panko crust. To accomplish this, I made the bechamel on the soft side then added in creamed corn and crab.

Since the resulting filling is way too soft to shape and bread, I scooped it into ice cube trays and froze it first. This not only firms up the filling, it also ensures your korokke are uniform in shape and size. When you fry them, the frozen center warms up and becomes molten, while the breading has enough time to harden into a crispy crust.

Corn & Crab Croquettes

Makes about 15-20 (depending on the size of your ice cube trays)

3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoon flour
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon

1/3 pound crab meat shredded
7 ounces creamed corn (half a can)
1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs

Chuno sauce (or Worcestershire sauce) to serve

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir vigorously until the mixture is bubbling. Remove the pan from the heat, then slowly whisk in the half and half until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Whisk in the salt, sugar and bourbon, then return the pan to a medium-low heat stove and use a silicone spatula to continuously scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the sauce from burning.

When the sauce is thick and bubbly, remove it from the heat and stir in the crab, creamed corn and white pepper. Salt to taste. Cool to room temperature then put the mixture into two greased ice cube trays. Put the ice cube trays in the freezer until the mixture is frozen.

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Put the panko in another bowl. Put 1/2 cup of flour into a ziplock bag and add some of the frozen cubes of filling. Seal the bag and shake to evenly coat with flour. Tap off any excess flour from each cube and roll it in the egg, making sure to completely coat the cube in egg. Transfer to the panko and roll it around, sprinkling panko on top and pressing down to ensure a thick coat of bread crumbs.

In a medium heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven, add about 2 inches of oil. Heat until it reaches 340 degrees F, then add some breaded croquettes. Don’t over crowd the pot, otherwise the oil temperature will start to fall. Gently turn the croquettes over once and fry until the cubes start puffing up. If you let them fry too long, they will burst, if you don’t fry them long enough the inside will be cold, so you’ll have to keep a close watch on them.

Transfer to a paper towel lined rack as they finish frying. Serve with chuno sauce (Japanese Worcestershire sauce).

  • Julie Helmi

    Thanks for a crab croquette recipe that doesn’t have peppers in it! I definitely need to cook this. It’s sounds really good and the idea of having the filling cold definitely works with frying.

  • Pierre

    Amazing! That’s one epic Croquette!
    I would give my throat a 3rd degree burn if that’s what it takes to wrestle my way in for that melting bite.

  • Maris Callahan

    Looks like the most perfect croquette I have ever seen!

  • Maris Callahan

    Looks like the most perfect croquette I have ever seen!

  • Darren Tran

    ice trays… brilliant man

  • the indolent cook

    Love how they are so golden and crisp on the outside, and all nice and gooey inside!

  • Spinachtiger

    Crab and corn are so perfect together.

  • Tanvi Hathiwala

    What a great idea!  Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Croquettes are such a huge weakness for me when I’m grocery shopping in Tokyo. I occasionally buy one and sit on a bench outside the store enjoying it before piling my groceries in my basket and bicycling home. 

  • Robin O


  • R van Kraayenburg

    These croquettes look incredible. Great idea with freezing it to shape and harden it. Thanks for sharing. 

  • Kocinera

    These croquettes look so delicious! I love the addition of crab and corn, too. These would make such a yummy appetizer or afternoon snack. Plus that ooey-gooey center is making me sooo hungry right now! 😀

  • miri leigh

    I will make these soon…they look so delicious!

  • Alyson

    Brilliant idea! I haven’t had a croquette in years… you may have persuaded me to do them at home!

  • Stacey Snacks

    This is such a Southern sounding recipe…..corn and crab are a great combo.
    Hope you are keeping cool in the city.

  • Jan Bennett

    Great combo, they look delicious!

  • Michael

    I bet a little Japanese Curry in that would also be really good

  • Adrienne Boswell

    I’m adding these to my Friday Food arsenal.  They look delicious and easy to make.  

  • Jackie

    Oh my LORD, I am totally making this! My mouth is watering and it’s 2am! Damn you Marc and your food heaven ways… 😉

    Jax x

  • Jackie

    Oh my LORD, I am totally making this! My mouth is watering and it’s 2am! Damn you Marc and your food heaven ways… 😉

    Jax x

  • Sandra

    I may have missed it, but when does the salt, sugar and bourbon go in?

  • Songsuyoap

    1 cup half and half. Can you explain what do you mean 1 cup half and half

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Half and half is a dairy product available in the US which is essentially half heavy cream, half milk.

  • Songsuyoap

    Marc Matsumoto
    Thanks for the earlier explaination about half  & half.
    Can I leave out bourbon, I google it and I understand is a sort of whisky (spirit). Can you explain further. Thanks again I love the recipes

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Yep, it’s there for flavor, but not essential.

  • Anonymous

    I made this. I am bad ass.

  • Leonakw

    One of my favorites from the underground department stores in the subways!! OMG so excited i found this!

  • Sunshine

     I can’t wait to make this! I just found out about the creamy croquette, all this time I’ve been doing the potato one. It broke my heart when I made it and it did not taste the same as the one my friend gave to me. I still can envision that creamy croquette I had in Japan, I love the way it melted in my mouth…I am doing my grocery shopping tomorrow!!!!

  • Reese Hill

    Will be making these very soon! The look amazing =]

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  • Gary Yuen

    thanks again, I made it last year and now im making these again. Awesome recipe.

  • Mayu

    Can I use whole milk instead of half and half?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Yep, that will work and will make it taste lighter.


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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