How to Make the Best 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 store-bought bag! Jump to the Homemade Baked Tater Tots Recipe or read on to see how we make them!
These 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?
Making Delicious Tater Tots in the Oven
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. Then we wring them out and get rid of as much excess water as we can.
On to the microwave — most homemade tater tot recipes out there call for boiling or baking the potatoes before shaping. We were not into the extra time that required so we use 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. 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.
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.
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!
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Recipe updated, originally posted March 2016. Since posting this in 2016, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
How to Make the Best Homemade Tater Tots
Skip buying that bag of store-bought 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.
You Will Need
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, like grape seed or 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 (about 1/3 cup)
Fresh ground black pepper
- Prepare Potatoes
- Bake Tater Tots
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with half of the oil.
Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water and agitate for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain.
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.
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.
Stir potatoes — they might be a little sticky — then let cool for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt, onion powder, cornstarch, parsley, cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper over the potatoes. Gently mix in to combine. (The mixture will be sticky, a rubber spatula or fork work well).
Shape potatoes into cylinders about 3/4-inch wide and 1-inch long. Place shaped tater tots onto oiled baking sheet.
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.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Processing the potatoes: 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.
- Shaping: 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
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