Tater Tots — an ingenious American invention — bring to mind childhood lunches, college dorm rooms and late-night bar snacks. Although you can microwave Tater Tots, it's not recommended. The microwave will warm the Tots, but they won't get as crispy as when you bake, deep-fry or grill them.
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Tater Tot Cooking Instructions
According to the New York Times, Tater Tots were first created in 1953 by the brothers who founded the company Ore-Ida, now a subsidiary of Kraft Heinz. Tater Tot is a trademarked name owned by Ore-Ida. Though this is the case, you can find many varieties and brands of this frozen snack in the grocery store, with the name slightly altered.
The cooking instructions on the package of Ore-Ida Tater Tots contain only directions for oven baking and deep-frying. Baking half of a 32-ounce bag of Tater Tots in the oven should take 20 to 25 minutes, while baking the whole bag should take about 28 to 32 minutes. Deep-frying, on the other hand, takes about three to four minutes.
Another option is making your Tater Tots in an air fryer. According to the Cleveland Clinic, any foods you're used to making in the deep fryer, such as potatoes, will turn out well in an air fryer. This method uses less oil than baking and deep-frying, so it might be a good option if you are watching your fat intake.
Read more: Are Baked Potatoes Healthy?
You can also make your Tater Tots on the grill. Ore-Ida recommends buying its foil pie plate for this recipe. To cook, first spray the foil pie plate with cooking spray and place 4 cups of Tots inside. Then, grill for 20 to 22 minutes until the Tots are heated through, stirring about halfway through.
If you don't have an oven, grill, air fryer or electric deep-fryer handy, or you just don't want to wait the 20 to 32 minutes to bake them, you might want to microwave Tater Tots.
Microwave Tater Tots
According to the the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators, without crisping paper or sleeves, also known as heat susceptors, you will not be able to get your Tater Tots crispy in the microwave. That said, if you know you want to microwave your Tater Tots, you could plan ahead and buy a microwaveable version, which will come with crisping paper attached to the inside of the package.
Read more: The Effects of French Fries on Your Body
Ore-Ida sells microwaveable Tater Tot lookalikes called Crispy Crowns. To make them, follow four basic steps. Lift the tab on the back of the container, tear the top along the dotted lines and discard, place the Crispy Crowns side by side in a single layer in the remaining box and, finally, place them in the microwave.
Microwave on high for 3 1/2 minutes, let stand for 1 1/2 minutes and voilà. You've just made crispy Tater Tot disks in the microwave. According to Pennsylvania State University, you should not reuse microwaveable packages with crisping paper. The glue that holds the susceptor to the package can be damaged when first used and is then more likely to migrate into the food you're cooking when used a second time.
Read more: Sweet Potato Fries Nutrition
- Kraft Heinz: "Brands People Love"
- New York Times: "Ore-Ida Campaign Focuses on Authenticity of Tater Tots"
- Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators: "Microwave Susceptors"
- Ore-Ida: "Extra Crispy Crowns"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Air-Frying: Is it as Healthy as You Think?"
- Penn State: "Food Safety Questions and Answers"
- Ore-Ida: "Grilled Ore-Ida Tater Tots"