- Put the potatoes in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot, empty pot. Add the butter, salt and pepper, and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until mostly smooth. Add desired mix-ins. Let sit until potato mixture is cool enough to handle.
- In a deep, heavy pot or a deep fryer, heat the oil for deep-frying to 350° F.
- Scooping out about 1 Tablespoon of the potato mixture at a time, roll the potato mixture into 2-inch balls.
- Set up a breading station with two shallow bowls and a plate: Beat the egg with 2 teaspoons of water in the first bowl, then put the panko breadcrumbs or dehydrated potato flakes in the second. Roll each ball first in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs or potato flakes; put the coated mashed potato balls on the plate. Repeat until all the mashed potato balls are coated.
- Drop several of the mashed potato balls at once into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the mashed potato balls on a rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat until all the mashed potato balls are fried.
- Stick a lollipop stick or toothpick into each ball. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
Time Saving Tip: *4 cups of dehydrated Idaho® potato flakes mixed with 2 cups boiling water can be substituted for the fresh mashed potatoes. Prepare according to package directions, then proceed with recipe as written.