Recipe: Flamin’ Hot Tots

updated Apr 30, 2019
Flamin' Hot Tots

A Flamin' Hot Cheetos-inspired take on tater tots, which are tossed in a spicy dry rub and served with spicy queso dip.


Prep5 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 45 minutes

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When you’re just having a “day” and that balanced dinner you were planning won’t do, let these Flamin’ Hot Tots come to the rescue. In my opinion, sometimes the best way to cheer yourself up is to cook something just for the fun of it.

These tots fit the bill. They’re quirky and playful, which is reason enough to keep a bag of frozen tater tots on hand at all times. Inspired by fiery Cheetos, they’re spicy, savory, and totally irresistible — especially when you serve them with a good-sized bowl of queso for dipping.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Give Your Frozen Tater Tots a Flamin’ Hot Kick

While these tots don’t actually contain Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (look to our fried chicken bites if that’s what you’re after), they’re heavily inspired by the spicy, cult-favorite snack. Frozen tater tots are tossed in a dry rub of sweet paprika, chili power, garlic powder, and cayenne, then roasted in a screaming-hot oven for much longer than the instructions on the bag will say. From all our tater tot-cooking experience, we feel pretty strongly it’s the only way to get them as crispy and golden-brown as we like them.

The tots come out of the oven with a nice reddish color, thanks to plenty of paprika, which we actually prefer to the neon red hue of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We can’t forget what makes Cheetos, Cheetos, though, and that’s the cheese. To bring that cheesy element in, have a bowl of queso nearby for dipping, whether you make it yourself or simply warm up your favorite jar from the store.

Flamin' Hot Tots

A Flamin' Hot Cheetos-inspired take on tater tots, which are tossed in a spicy dry rub and served with spicy queso dip.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 45 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (32-ounce) bag

    frozen tater tots

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Spicy queso dip, for serving


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

  2. Pour the bag of frozen tater tots out onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt. Toss to evenly coat and spread out in even layer.

  3. Bake, tossing halfway through, until golden-brown and crispy, 40 to 45 minutes total. Serve hot with queso for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.