Crispy Homemade Tater Tots

published Jan 7, 2022
Tater Tots Recipe

When it comes to tater tots, nothing compares to the crispy, crackly outside and soft, fluffy center.

Serves4

Makes54-60 tater tots

Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook11 minutes to 19 minutes

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tator tots (grated potatoes formed into small cylinders and deep-fried, often served as a side dish) with a wooden ramekin with ketchup in it on the plate
Credit: Kelli Foster

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking potatoes. But there is nothing, and I do mean nothing, for me that quite compares to tater tots. That golden-brown, crispy-crackly outside; the soft, fluffy center; the subtle hint of seasoning. These bite-sized nuggets are pure bliss. They’re a must when we’re having burgers or hot dogs for dinner, one of my favorite sides to serve with chili, and a super-fun casserole topper.

I keep a bag in the freezer at all times (this is my favorite brand) for convenience, but making homemade tater tots is a whole lot easier than I ever imagined. There’s absolutely no fancy equipment required, and you need just five basic ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen right now. From the crave-worthy crispy outside to a fluffy center, this version is everything you love about a really great batch of tater tots.

What Type of Potatoes Should I Use to Make Tater Tots?

Because they’re high in starch and have a low moisture content, Russet potatoes are the best choice for tater tots. 

What Are Tater Tots Made Of?

  • Russet potatoes
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Make the Crispiest Tater Tots

The absolute best tater tots are lightly seasoned, soft and fluffy on the inside, and irresistibly crispy on the outside. Making crispy tater tots at home requires just four simple steps.

  1. Par-cook potatoes. Peel, quarter, and par-cook about 2 pounds of Russet potatoes just until they’re crisp-tender when pierced with a knife.
  2. Grate potatoes. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, grate on the largest holes of a box grater.
  3. Mix and shape. Stir in the flour and seasoning, then use your fingers to shape two-teaspoon portions into bite-sized tots.
  4. Fry until golden-brown. Working in batches, fry tater tots at 350°F until golden-brown all over, one to two minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, season with additional salt, if desired, and repeat with the remaining tater tots.

Best Dipping Sauces for Tater Tots

Ketchup is a classic when it comes to tater tots! But there are a lot of other dipping sauces that are great for serving with tater tots.

Tater Tots Recipe

When it comes to tater tots, nothing compares to the crispy, crackly outside and soft, fluffy center.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 11 minutes to 19 minutes

Makes 54-60 tater tots

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds

    medium russet potatoes (3 to 5)

  • 1 tablespoon

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 quart

    (32 ounces) vegetable or canola oil, for deep-frying

Instructions

  1. Peel 2 pounds medium russet potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and add enough water to cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just fork-tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Rinse the pot and thoroughly dry; you will use it again to fry the tater tots.

  2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, grate on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl (about 5 loosely packed cups). Add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir gently to combine. The mixture will be tacky, yet dry, and clump together easily.

  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Scoop out a 2-teaspoon portion of the potato mixture and press and shape it with your fingers into a 1-inch-long tot. The potato mixture should be easy to work with and will hold the shape well without falling apart. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining potato mixture; space the tots evenly apart on the baking sheet.

  4. Heat 1 quart vegetable or canola oil in the reserved Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until 350°F. Meanwhile, line a second rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.

  5. When the oil is ready, fry in batches of 12 tater tots: Carefully add the tots to the hot oil and fry, stirring a few times, until golden-brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the tater tots from the oil, carefully shake off the excess oil back into the pot, and transfer to the paper towel. Sprinkle with more kosher salt if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The tater tots can be shaped ahead of time, then frozen in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet until solid. Store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Fry directly from the freezer; add 1 more minute fry time for each batch.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a regular oven, toaster oven, or air fryer until heated through.