Chicken Croquettes Recipe

by Sandra Merville Hart

A character in Book 1 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, Avenue of Betrayal, prepares chicken croquettes for a picnic. She’s a talented cook and everything she makes is a crowd-pleaser. I’ve never made these and it seemed a good idea to try this recipe from an 1877 cookbook, to make them as similar to the way Rebecca, my character, prepared them in the novel.

If you’ve ever tried to follow recipes from 150 years ago, you’re already aware that there’s a lot of guesswork involved. In this particular recipe, it gives the measurement for rice but not the amount of chicken. In fact, the only other hint is that one egg is needed for the actual mixture.

That’s it.

There are actually 2 recipes for chicken croquettes in this book and I studied both of them before creating the following recipe. The original cook for one recipe is Mrs. E. L. Fay, from New York City and the other is anonymous.


1 ½ cups cooked chicken

1 cup cooked rice, white or brown

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 eggs, separate

¼ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon sage

½ – ¾ cup bread crumbs


Mince the cooked chicken. Add rice, butter, and cream and stir until moistened. Stir in 1 beaten egg. Season the mixture with sage, salt, and pepper.

I formed them into balls, but they didn’t hold up well in the skillet. I suggest shaping them into patties.

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Place bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Dip croquettes into the egg and then roll them in bread crumbs.

Melt shortening in a skillet over medium – medium high heat. (I used a cast iron skillet which cooks evenly so medium heat worked well for me.)

Frying will take 5 – 10 minutes. Turn croquettes gently to brown on all sides. Wooden spoons worked best for me and 2 croquettes still fell apart. (I suggest patties—and a modification in the recipe that I’ll mention at the end.) This made 8 croquettes. Two were a satisfying lunch for me.

What a great recipe for using leftover chicken!

I liked the croquettes. The sage gave a nice flavor without overpowering the rice and chicken. Rice is a favorite of mine, but this is too much rice for 1 ½ cups of chicken. I’d decrease the amount of cooked rice to ½ cup. I believe they will hold together better.

Also, I’ll add ¼ cup of bread crumbs to the croquette batter next time so that it will hold up better while cooking. The original cooks didn’t do this and I try to follow the historic recipes as closely as I can at first to have the dining experience they had.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.