How to make tater tots at home without frying. These homemade tater tots are baked, not fried, which means they are easy. So say goodbye to that store-bought bag!
Watch the Video
These kid-friendly baked tots are so good. They are so good 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 of extras wouldn’t hurt. So we added chopped fresh parsley and cheddar cheese! Hello, cheesy baked tots! For more potato recipes, take a look at our Rosemary Baked Potato Wedges, these Sweet Potato Fries, and our Crispy Roasted Potatoes.
Making Delicious Tater Tots in the Oven
These are pretty 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. Then, after a rough chop, we dunk them in cold water for 10 to 15 seconds, which removes some extra starch. Removing that starch means that our tots will be a little fluffier in the middle and not gummy — We talk more about soaking potatoes in our baked French fries recipe.
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 squeeze as much excess water as possible.
After a minute or two in the microwave, the potatoes are cooked and tender, but they still have a bit of crunch — perfect for tots!
It’s time for the other ingredients: salt, onion powder, pepper, cornstarch, parsley, and cheese. Feel free to add some more ingredients here, like bacon, basil, and something spicy — there are many options.
Gently mix everything — the potatoes can be a bit sticky, so gentle is best. A rubber spatula works nicely, as well as a fork.
Our recipe makes 24 tater tots. We did our best to get them in the classic tater tot shape. Keeping a bowl of cold water nearby (or a bit of 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 of tries, shaping goes 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!
I love dunking them into some ketchup, but we have a variety of dipping sauces you might enjoy:
- Homemade Ketchup
- Easy Creamy Fry Sauce
- Homemade Mayonnaise or try our Vegan Mayonnaise
- Garlic Aioli
- Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce
FAQ: Can I Make These in an Air Fryer?
Yes, absolutely. You can make these tater tots in an air fryer (see our video for proof). We cook them on the air fry setting somewhere between 375° F and 390° F for 10 to 15 minutes. You might find that you need to cook them in two batches.
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.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, like grapeseed or canola
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks (2 medium-to-large potatoes)
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ounce sharp white cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, optional
Fresh ground black pepper
- Prepare Potatoes
1Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit — if you have a convection setting, use it. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and grease with half of the oil. If you have a nonstick baking sheet, you can use it without lining it first. The tater tots brown best on a silicone mat or unlined, nonstick baking sheet. They may stick to foil or regular baking sheets.
2Place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water and agitate for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain in a colander for a minute or two.
3Transfer half 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.
4Wrap the dish towel around the processed potatoes and squeeze well to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid and transfer the potatoes to a medium microwave-safe bowl.
5Microwave for 1 minute, stir and then microwave for 30 seconds more.
6Stir the potatoes — they might be a little sticky — then let them cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
7Sprinkle 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).
- Bake Tater Tots
1Shape the mixture into cylinders about 3/4-inch wide and 1-inch long. Place shaped tater tots onto the oiled baking sheet. The mixture will be a bit sticky. Slightly damp hands can help.
2Drizzle the tops of tater tots with the remaining oil, then bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes.
3Carefully flip each tater tot — using two forks helps to wiggle any tots that are more stuck than others — then bake until the second side is golden brown, another 12 to 15 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 them into small pieces with a knife.
- Shaping: Keep a small bowl of water nearby. 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, underbake them 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 them for up to 3 months. To reheat, heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake until golden brown.
- Microwave Alternative: If you do not have a microwave, bake the potatoes in a 400°F oven 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, 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 database to calculate approximate values.