Tater Tots have long been a tasty favorite of many children, but crispy tots also make a great side dish or appetizer. Frozen Tater Tots are readily available at most grocery stores and easy to cook in the oven or deep fryer.
Tater Tots Cooking Time
Cooking crispy tots is best done by following the directions on the package. To cook frozen Tater Tots in the oven:
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- Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange Tater Tots in a single layer on a baking sheet or shallow pan.
- Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Turn the tots once so that they cook evenly.
The cooking time listed is for approximately 16 ounces, or five servings, of Tater Tots. Cooking time may be reduced if you are cooking a small number of tots.
You can also make homemade tots. Here is a simple tot recipe from Illinois Extension:
- Boil 1.5 pounds of golden potatoes in salted water until cooked. This should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
- After the potatoes cool, shred them using a food processor or box grater.
- Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.
- Shape the potato mixture into tots and place on a baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spray tots with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake the tots at 450 F for 15 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown.
For best results, keep the Tater Tots frozen until you are ready to cook them. You can keep food safely in the freezer indefinitely; however, food quality does decline over time. For the best quality, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends using packaged frozen foods like dinners and entrees within three to four months.
If you have a deep fryer, you can skip the oven and fry perfectly browned tots.
- Heat the oil to 375 F.
- Add Tater Tots until the basket is no more than one-half full. Overfilling the basket may cause the tots to be unevenly cooked.
- Lower basket into the oil and fry for three to four minutes until golden brown.
Deep fryers can be dangerous and hot oil can cause serious burns, advises the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Oil is also extremely flammable and may start a kitchen fire. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy and do not allow water to touch hot oil, as it can cause splattering. Don't leave the area when cooking, as food can burn quickly. When you are finished cooking, unplug the fryer and allow the oil to cool.
Read more: What Are the Dangers of Heating Cooking Oil?
If you are cooking Tater Tots as a side dish for burgers or brats, you can grill them alongside the meat, advises Ore-Ida.
- Spray a disposable foil pan with cooking oil.
- Add a single layer of tots to the pan.
- Place the pan on a preheated grill at medium heat.
- Cook for 20 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Grilling and baking Tater Tots in an oven are the lowest-fat options for cooking Tater Tots, which already contain a fair amount of fat. According to the USDA, an 86-gram serving of nine Tater Tots contains:
- 160 calories
- 20 grams of carbohydrates
- 8 grams of fat
- 2 grams of protein
Tater Tots tend to be high in sodium. A serving contains 440 milligrams, or 18 percent daily value. The specific serving size and nutritional information may vary by brand.
Spice Up Your Tater Tots
Plain Tater Tots dipped in ketchup or cheese are delicious, but sometimes you want an extra kick. Add some variety to your tots with an Ore-Ida Tater Tots recipes such as this Asian Chicken and Tater Tots Stir-Fry.
- Make a sauce of 1 1/2 teaspoons of low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.
- Add 1 pound of chicken breast strips to a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Cook until chicken is no longer pink. This should take about three minutes.
- Add one red and one green pepper seeded and sliced into strips, 8 ounces of sliced water chestnuts and 3 cups of Mini Tater Tots to the skillet.
- Cook for approximately five minutes.
- Add the 3 1/2 tablespoons of stir-fry sauce and stir-fry for one or two minutes until heated through.
Or use Tater Tots to make a casserole, such as this Midwest Classic Tater Tot Hotdish, from the North Dakota State University Extension.
- Brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and one medium chopped onion.
- Put the beef mixture in a baking pan.
- Layer one 10-ounce package of frozen vegetables on top of the beef.
- Cover the meat and vegetables with a can of cream of mushroom soup.
- Layer a 16-ounce package of frozen Tater Tots on top.
- Cover pan and bake at 350 F for one hour; uncover and bake approximately 15 minutes.
Try Homemade Tater Tots Variations
Frozen Tater Tots from the store are nice to have on hand for an easy-to-make, tasty side dish. But if you have more time to cook or want a recipe that adds more vegetables to your dish, try making tots from scratch. Consider our Brussels Sprouts Tater Tots recipe:
- Boil two peeled russet potatoes for approximately 20 minutes.
- Grate potatoes into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
- Grate 12 ounces of raw Brussels sprouts and add to potatoes.
- Whisk 1 cup of low-fat Monterey Jack cheese shreds with 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt and add to potato mixture.
- Shape the potato mixture into small balls or tots and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush tots lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 F.
- Flip tots and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
If you want to avoid potatoes, consider using cauliflower instead. Try our Gluten-Free Buffalo Cauliflower Tots. You can skip the buffalo sauce if you prefer to eat the tots plain.
- USDA: "Tater Tots"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Deep Fat Frying and Food Safety"
- Ore-Ida: "Grilled Ore-Ida Tater Tots"
- North Dakota State University Extension: "Midwest Classic Tater Tot Hotdish"
- Ore-Ida: "Asian Chicken and Tater Tots Stir-Fry"
- USDA: "Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics"
- Illinois Extension: "Recipe Rescue: Tots and Nuggets"