How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

How to make tater tots at home without frying! These homemade tater tots are baked, not fried so they are easy. Say goodbye to that Ore-Ida bag!  Click here to jump to the homemade tater tots recipe or read on to see how we make them!

How to Make Homemade Tater TotsThese kid-friendly baked tots are so good. So good in fact, that adults go crazy for them, too.

The base recipe is simple.

Potatoes + salt + pepper + a touch of cornstarch. You could leave it at that and everyone will be happy, but we thought a couple extras wouldn’t hurt. So we added chopped fresh parsley and cheddar cheese! Hello, cheesy baked tots!

You could of course take these in your own hands and play around with other ingredients — bacon, maybe?

How to Make Tater Tots

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How To Easily Make Delicious, Baked Tater Tots at Home

These really are quite simple. A microwave and food processor makes quick work of the whole process! Here’s how we do it.

We start with peeled russet potatoes. After a rough chop, we dunk them in cold water for 10 to 15 seconds. This gets rid of some of the extra starch, which means our tots will be a little fluffier in the middle and not gummy.

After the water, we add the potatoes to a food processor and pulse twenty or so times until they look like little bits of potatoes.

Next, we wring them out and get rid of as much excess water as we can.

How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

That gets us here. Dry tiny pieces of potatoes and a bunch of excess water. We’re done with the water — that just gets thrown out.

How to Make Homemade Tater Tots (baked not fried)

On to the microwave — most tots recipes out there call for boiling or baking the potatoes before shaping. We were not into the extra time that required so we opted for using the microwave.

A microwave makes quick work of cooking the chopped potatoes — just 2 minutes. After 2 minutes of cooking in the microwave, the potatoes are cooked just enough to be tender, but still have a bit of crunch — perfect for tots!

It’s time for the rest of the ingredients. Salt, onion powder, pepper, cornstarch, parsley and cheese. Remember, you could go off the rails here. Bacon, basil, something spicy — there are lots of options.

Tater Tots

Gently mix everything together — the potatoes can be a bit sticky, so gentle is best. A rubber spatula works nicely as well as a fork.

How to Make Tater Tots

This recipe makes about 24 tater tots. You can see we did our best to get them in the classic tater tot shape. Keeping a bowl of cold water near by (or oil) helps when you’re shaping the tots. Since things get a bit sticky, the water keeps the potatoes from sticking to your hands. After a couple tries, shaping goes really quickly.

Baked Tots

That’s it. After about 20 minutes in a hot oven, you’ve got crispy, golden brown tater tots ready to be devoured by anyone in a 20-foot radius! Enjoy!!

How to Make Homemade Tater Tots (baked not fried)

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How to Make Homemade Tater Tots
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Skip buying that bag of Ore-Ida tater tots and make this homemade tater tots recipe. To keep things easy and healthier, we bake the tots instead of frying them. A microwave and food processor makes quick work of the potatoes. Shaping the mixture is a little tricky — but with a bowl of cold water next to you, you’ll quickly get the hang of it (see our notes in the recipe). These tots can be made in advance! Check out our tips below for how.
Yield: 24 tater tots
You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, like canola
  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks (about 2 potatoes)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, optional
  • 1 ounce sharp white cheddar cheese, finely grated (1/3 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare Oven and Baking Sheet: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with half of the oil.
  2. Prepare Potatoes: Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water and agitate for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain.
  3. Transfer 1/2 of the potatoes to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about twenty-five 1-second pulses. Transfer to a clean dish towel and repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4. A+J’s Tip: Be careful not to over process potatoes or they will become gummy. If a few large chunks of potatoes remain, remove them and chop into small pieces with a knife.
  5. Wrap dish towel around processed potatoes and squeeze well to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard liquid and transfer potatoes to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave for 1 more minute.
  6. Stir potatoes — they might be a little sticky then let cool for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt, onion powder, cornstarch, parsley, cheese, and black pepper to taste over the potatoes. Gently mix in to combine. (The mixture will be sticky, a rubber spatula or fork work well).
  7. Shape the tots: Shape potatoes into cylinders about 3/4-inch wide and 1-inch long. Place shaped tater tots onto oiled baking sheet.
  8. A+J’s tip: Keep a small bowl of water close by. Occasionally wetting your fingers keeps the mixture from sticking to your fingers and makes shaping easier. Pressing the potatoes into a tablespoon measure helps to portion out each tater tot.
  9. Bake Tots: Drizzle tops of tater tots with remaining oil then bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Carefully flip each tater tot — using two forks helps to wiggle any tots that are more stuck to the foil than others — then bake until the second side is golden brown, another 10 minutes.
  10. Make-Ahead: To freeze the tots, follow the recipe through shaping then continue to baking. Instead of baking until both sides are golden brown, under bake them just slightly. Transfer to a large plate in a single layer and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Transfer the frozen tots to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake until golden brown and heated through.
Notes and Tips
Microwave Alternative: If you do not have a microwave, simply bake the potatoes in a 400 degree F oven just until tender (not mushy or soft) then let them cool. Once cooled, chop into 1-inch chunks then add them to a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses. Continue with our recipe as written.

Food Processor Alternative: If you do not have a food processor, simply use a box grater to grate the potatoes then continue with our recipe as written. The texture will be slightly different inside the tots, but they will still taste great!

A note about salt: We use kosher salt in our recipes. It’s much easier to pick up with our fingers and gives us better control of our seasoning. Use what you have, but keep in mind that kosher salt has larger flakes compared to table or fine sea salt. If using a finer salt, you will need to reduce the amount of salt called for in our recipe by 25% to 50%.

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5 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Chris December 22, 2016, 4:00 pm

    My specialty is a tater tot poutine with fresh curds and demiglace or veal gravy and an egg over easy on top. Will definitely try with homemade tots.

  • Mabel Standridge April 2, 2016, 10:42 pm

    I need to try this.

  • Benz April 1, 2016, 7:11 pm

    I am one of those Luddites who don’t own a microwave. Any alternative method of cooking the potatoes? These look gorgeous and I would love to try them. Thanks

    • Adam April 2, 2016, 11:06 am

      Yes, instead of using a microwave you can bake the potatoes. There are instructions for baking in the note section of the recipe.

  • Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon April 1, 2016, 9:00 am

    I need these in my life….and my belly.


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