Kabocha Squash Fritters with Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce


Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. A drier squash, kabocha has a sweet flavor and cooks down into a custardy texture that's still dry enough to fry into these crispy two-bite appetizers. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce, a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.

Kabocha Squash Fritters With Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
16 fritters


  • ½ (2 1/2-pound) kabocha squash, halved, seeded, and chopped into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 loosely packed cup)

  • ½ teaspoon  kosher salt

  • teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/8 ounces)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 ½ cups panko

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • ½ cup mayonnaise (such as Kewpie)

  • ½ teaspoon yuzu juice concentrate

  • 1 small garlic clove, grated using a Microplane

  • Flaky sea salt, for serving


  1. Place a steamer basket inside a large saucepan; add water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Add squash to basket; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam until squash is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Remove squash from steamer, and transfer to a plate. Let cool about 10 minutes. Remove skin, and discard. Place squash flesh in a medium bowl, and mash using a fork.

  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cooked onion, cheese, salt, and pepper to mashed squash in bowl; stir to combine. Using a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop, scoop squash mixture into about 16 balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Place flour, beaten egg, and panko in 3 separate shallow bowls. Roll each squash ball in flour, and roll into a slightly flattened oval shape. Working with 1 at a time, dip each oval in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in panko, pressing to adhere. Return coated oval to prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, pour canola oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high until a thermometer registers 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, and place a wire rack on top.

  5. Working in batches, fry 3 to 4 fritters per batch in hot canola oil until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack, and let drain.

  6. Stir together mayonnaise, yuzu juice, and garlic in a small bowl until combined. Sprinkle warm fritters with flaky sea salt; serve with mayonnaise mixture.

Make Ahead

Mashed steamed kabocha can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator overnight.


To use canned pumpkin puree: In step 2, add 1 (15-ounces) can pumpkin puree to sautéed onions in skillet. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool in skillet 10 minutes. Proceed with recipe.

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