Tater Tots are a classic way to enjoy potatoes – crispy and savory! Start making them right in the comfort of your home with this easy recipe! See the recipe video below for a quick step by step preparation tutorial.
Tater Tots Recipe
Tater Tots, or simply tots, are made from potatoes as you might have guessed. The word tater actually came from the word potato. It has grown popular over the years since it started in the 1950s.
You might be familiar with the frozen brand, Ore-Ida, which started it all. The company founders had a surplus of potato scraps then and invented this dish. After a slow start, this snack became popular and until now, you can see a lot of frozen potato dishes in grocery stores under the brand.
But you need not buy them anymore once you learn this recipe! Nothing beats homemade, especially with this simple recipe. It might bug you how the tots are formed, but really, all you need is a cheese grater! Let us show you how!
So say goodbye to those frozen bags of tater tots. This homemade version is super easy to make, budget-friendly, and taste way better than store-bought!
What are tater tots?
Made from grated potatoes, spiced and seasoned, then, deep-fried in oil to form the crispy crust. They are versatile as you can pair them with just about anything, and they are just good as a snack on their own.
- Tater tots versus potato croquettes: Both dishes are made from mashed potatoes all right. But the croquettes have cheese and are breaded with flour and egg before deep-frying.
- Tater tots versus hash browns: They are very similar, yes! Their only difference is the shape – hash browns are flat while tots are cylindrical.
- Tater tots versus fries: You can find them in the same aisle in the grocery stores, but these two are not so similar. The tots have a lot of spices and seasonings in them, mashed and then, formed. But the fries are cut-up spuds that are usually salted before serving. So, basically, they are not the same.
How do you make homemade tater tots?
- Parboil: In a saucepan, boil the spuds in water for about 6 to 7 minutes then, drain.
- Grate: Once cooled, grate the spuds using the box grater. Put them inside a cheesecloth, and squeeze and drain as much water as you can.
- Form: In another bowl, put the grated spuds and mix well with the flour, seasonings, and spices. Then, form the mixture into small cylinders.
- Deep-fry: Fry the pieces in batches in vegetable oil.
- Serve: Let the oil drain by transferring them to a plate lined with paper towels. Garnish with parsley, then, serve!
We love this Classic Tater Tots recipe. However, you can easily modify and twist it a bit. There are plenty of ways and variations to this recipe. Here are some of our favorite variations:
- Taco Tater Tots: Want some Mexican inspired flavors?! Simply, add some taco seasoning to the mix.
- Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots: If you love bacon, go ahead and wrap them with bacon. Cut the bacon strip into half, and wrap around the tots. Also, use a wooden pick if needed to secure the bacon stays attached.
- Tater Tot Casserole: This is a delicious casserole, and is pretty much a full meal. Perfect to feed larger crowds. Check out the casserole version of it in this link.
- Cajun Tater Tots: Swap in one teaspoon of Cajun seasoning and either reduce or omit the added salt from the recipe.
- Serve them on eggs: They are perfect along with some eggs. Simply make some scrambled eggs serve the tots along for a complete, and full breakfast!
Are tater tots bad for you?
They taste heavenly! But, since it is deep-fried, it is not recommended to consume it all the time. Baking it instead of frying will not necessarily make it healthier.
A cup of serving will set you back by about 240 calories. That is a lot especially when you are eating this with other popular high-calorie snacks. It makes it easy to exceed your caloric needs.
The good news is that if you eat it occasionally, and with healthier sides like a salad, then, it must be fine.
Making it on your own will do you good, too! You can be sure that the ingredients are fresh, and that there is no preservative.
How to Freeze Homemade Tater Tots?
Homemade does not mean that you cannot freeze these bites. All you have to do is to follow the same recipe until the step wherein you form the pieces.
Once formed, line them up on a baking sheet with space in between. Put in the freezer for an hour to harden the pieces. Then, transfer them into freezer bags.
Are frozen Tater Tots already fried?
No, but they are also partially cooked like the homemade ones. But the good news is that you can skip the thawing process and fry them directly, just remember to remove the ice crystals that may have formed on the surface.
More potato recipes you will love:
- Cheesy Potatoes
- Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup
- Creamy Potato Gratin
- Crack Mashed Potatoes
- Instead of the powder form, you can add in minced garlic and onions.
- Also, do not use the microwave in cooking, they turn mushy instead of crispy. But there are ones that are really made for the microwave, so, buy those instead if you insist.
- You can serve this dish with your favorite sauces, and even with your favorite guacamole.
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hr
- 4 pounds russet potatoes (peeled)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
- Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1-2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until parboiled, about 6-7 minutes. Drain well, remove the potatoes from the pot, place on a cutting board in one single layer and let cool.
- Use a box grater, to finely shred the cooled potatoes. Next, use a clean dish towel to drain potatoes completely, by pressing onto them to remove as much water as possible.
- Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and stir in flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, and dried parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The mixture should be workable but dry, if needed add a bit more flour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form potatoes into tots and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the tots, about 6 at a time, depending on how large is the pot. Cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the others.
- Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
- Method 1: Freeze them before frying. After you formed the tots and placed them onto the baking sheet, transfer them to the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into Ziploc bags. You can later fry them, without thawing.
- Method 2: Freee after frying. Let the tots fully cool. Transfer them to an airtight container. Freeze up to 1 month. To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake until heated through, for about 15-17 minutes.