Air Fryer Tater Tots are a delightful twist on the classic favorite, offering a healthier and equally crispy alternative. These tots, made from grated potatoes and a touch of seasoning, transform brilliantly in the air fryer.
What are Tater Tots?
Tater tots, the iconic American comfort food, are a delightful creation crafted from grated potatoes mixed with seasonings, compressed into small cylinders or ovals, and then fried to crispy perfection.
Their charm lies in their crispy golden exterior, achieved through the frying process, which encases a soft, fluffy interior made from the tender potato filling.
These beloved bites have won hearts nationwide for their delicious taste and convenient, snackable size. They’re a staple at diners, school cafeterias, and home kitchens alike.
Tater tots offer a nostalgic and satisfying crunch that brings back memories of childhood meals and fun snacking moments.
Their appeal doesn’t end there. Tater tots are incredibly versatile and can be dressed up with various toppings, sauces, or seasonings, transforming them into an endless array of flavorful dishes.
From loaded tots topped with cheese, bacon, and sour cream to being served as a sidekick to burgers or sandwiches, their adaptability knows no bounds.
Beyond their culinary allure, tater tots have become a symbol of comfort and indulgence, offering a crispy, comforting embrace in every bite.
They’re a beloved treat, cherished by generations and beloved for their simplicity, crispy texture, and warm, potato-rich flavor.
How Long to Cook Frozen Tater Tots in Air Fryer?
Preheat the Air Fryer
Begin by preheating your air fryer. Set the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and let it preheat for around 2-3 minutes.
Prepare the Tater Tots
While the air fryer is preheating, take the frozen tater tots out of the freezer. It’s not necessary to thaw them beforehand.
Arrange in the Basket
Once the air fryer is preheated, open the basket and place the frozen tater tots in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding to ensure proper air circulation and even cooking.
Set the air fryer timer for 12-15 minutes. Begin with the lower end of the cooking time, and then check the tater tots halfway through the cooking process.
Shake or Flip
About halfway through the cooking time (around 6-7 minutes), pause the air fryer, and gently shake the basket or flip the tater tots using tongs. This helps ensure even browning and crispiness on all sides.
Return the basket to the air fryer and resume cooking. Keep an eye on the tater tots in the last few minutes to prevent overcooking. Adjust the remaining cooking time based on the desired level of crispiness.
Check for Doneness
Once the cooking time is complete, check the tater tots for a golden brown and crispy exterior. If they’re not as crispy as desired, you can add a couple more minutes of cooking time.
Once done, carefully remove the tater tots from the air fryer basket and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
If desired, sprinkle some salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning over the tater tots while they’re still hot.
Serve the crispy tater tots immediately as a snack or side dish with your favorite dipping sauce or alongside your preferred meal.
Cooking times might vary based on the air fryer model and the quantity of tater tots. Experiment with timing to achieve the desired level of crispiness.
How to Make Air Fryer Tater Tots?
Preheat the Air Fryer: Start by preheating your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 3-5 minutes.
Arrange the Tater Tots: Once the air fryer is preheated, place the frozen tater tots in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding for even cooking.
Spray with Oil (Optional): For extra crispiness, you can lightly spray the tater tots with cooking oil spray. This step is optional but can enhance the texture.
Cooking Time: Set the air fryer timer for 12-15 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time (around 6-7 minutes), pause the air fryer and shake the basket or flip the tater tots for even browning.
Check for Crispiness: Keep an eye on the tater tots towards the end of the cooking time. Adjust the remaining time based on how crispy and golden brown you prefer.
Serve Hot: Once they’re crispy and cooked to your liking, remove the tater tots from the air fryer basket and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
Season (Optional): While still hot, you can season the tater tots with salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning for added flavor.
Enjoy: Serve the hot and crispy air fryer tater tots immediately as a snack or side dish alongside your preferred dipping sauce or meal.
Remember, cooking times may vary slightly depending on the air fryer model and the quantity of tater tots being cooked. Adjust timing as needed to achieve the desired level of crispiness.
What to Serve with Tater Tots
Tater tots are a versatile and beloved side dish that pairs well with various meals and snacks. Here are some delightful options to serve with tater tots:
Burgers or Sandwiches: Serve tater tots alongside burgers or sandwiches for a classic diner-style meal. They complement the flavors of a burger or sandwich beautifully.
Hot Dogs: Enjoy tater tots as a side to hot dogs or sausages. The crispy texture of the tots pairs wonderfully with the savory taste of a hot dog.
Salads: Balance a hearty salad with a side of tater tots. The contrast between the crispy tots and fresh greens can create a satisfying meal.
Dipping Sauces: Offer various dipping sauces like ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, ranch, or aioli for a fun dipping experience. Tater tots are fantastic with a variety of condiments.
Brunch Options: Serve tater tots alongside brunch favorites like eggs, bacon, or sausage for a hearty morning meal.
Loaded Tater Tots: Transform plain tater tots into a meal by adding toppings like cheese, bacon bits, green onions, sour cream, and jalapeños for a loaded tots dish.
Snack Trays: Include tater tots on a snack tray or platter with other finger foods or appetizers for a gathering or party.
Kids’ Meals: Tater tots are a hit with kids and can accompany a variety of kid-friendly meals like chicken tenders, fish sticks, or macaroni and cheese.
Tater tots are incredibly versatile and can complement a wide array of dishes. Their crispy and comforting nature makes them a popular addition to many meals or as a standalone snack. Feel free to experiment and pair them with your favorite foods for a delightful dining experience!
Ingredients of Air Fryer Tater Tots
The typical ingredients in tater tots include:
- Potatoes: Usually grated or finely chopped.
- Salt: For seasoning.
- Oil: Often used to bind the ingredients together and for frying.
- Flour or starch: Sometimes added as a binding agent.
- Seasonings and preservatives: These can vary depending on the brand, and might include spices, flavorings, or preservatives to enhance taste or shelf life.
These ingredients are combined, formed into small cylindrical shapes, and then either fried or baked to create the crispy exterior and soft interior that characterize tater tots.
Tips for Making Better Tater Tots
Preheat the Air Fryer: Always preheat your air fryer before adding the tater tots. This ensures they start cooking immediately and become crispy evenly.
Use Cooking Oil Spray: Lightly coat the tater tots with cooking oil spray before air frying to enhance their crispiness.
Avoid Overcrowding: Arrange the tater tots in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can prevent even air circulation, resulting in uneven cooking.
Shake or Flip: Halfway through the cooking time, shake the air fryer basket or use tongs to flip the tater tots. This helps ensure they cook uniformly and become crispy on all sides.
Monitor Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the tater tots as they cook to prevent overcooking or burning. Adjust the cooking time based on your air fryer’s performance and desired level of crispiness.
Seasoning Options: Experiment with different seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, or seasoned salt to add extra flavor to your tater tots.
Serve Immediately: Tater tots are best enjoyed hot and crispy. Serve them immediately after cooking to retain their crunchy texture.
Customize with Toppings: Consider adding toppings like grated cheese, chopped bacon, green onions, or sour cream to create loaded tater tots for a fun twist.
By following these tips, you can achieve perfectly crispy and delicious tater tots in your air fryer, making them an irresistible snack or side dish for any occasion!
What to do With Leftover?
Leftover tater tots can be repurposed into tasty new dishes! Here are a few creative ideas:
Tater Tot Casserole: Crush the leftover tater tots and use them as a base for a casserole. Layer them at the bottom of a baking dish, and top with cooked ground beef or turkey, vegetables, cheese, and a mixture of cream of mushroom soup or a cheese sauce. Bake until bubbly and golden.
Tater Tot Breakfast Hash: Chop the leftover tater tots and use them as a base for a breakfast hash. Sauté with onions, bell peppers, and any other preferred breakfast ingredients like sausage, bacon, or scrambled eggs. Top with cheese and serve as a hearty breakfast.
Loaded Tater Tot Nachos: Turn the tater tots into a loaded nacho-style dish. Spread them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with shredded cheese, bacon bits, green onions, jalapeños, and any other desired toppings. Bake until the cheese melts and serve with sour cream or salsa.
Tater Tot Waffles: Press the leftover tater tots into waffle iron and cook until they form a crispy waffle-like texture. Serve these savory waffles with toppings like fried eggs, cheese, avocado, or salsa for a unique brunch or breakfast idea.
Tater Tot Pizza: Flatten the tater tots into a crust-like shape and bake until they’re crispy. Top them with pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings. Pop it back into the oven until the cheese melts and bubbles.
Tater Tot Soup Topping: Crush the leftover tater tots and use them as a crunchy topping for creamy soups like potato soup or broccoli cheddar soup.
These ideas should help you turn those leftover tater tots into exciting new dishes! Which one are you most excited to try?
How long should i cook tater tots in an air fryer?
Cook tater tots in an air fryer for 15-20 minutes at 400°F (200°C), shaking the basket halfway through for even cooking.
What is the temperature for tater tots?
Tater tots are typically cooked at 400°F (200°C).
How do you keep tater tots crispy?
To keep tater tots crispy, ensure they’re spread in a single layer in the air fryer, avoid overcrowding, and shake or turn them halfway through cooking for even crispiness.
Are tater tots healthy?
Tater tots aren’t considered very healthy as they’re often high in fat and calories due to being deep-fried and processed.
Are tater tots junk food?
Yes, tater tots are generally considered a type of junk food due to their high fat and calorie content from frying and processing.
Are air fried tater tots bad?
Air-fried tater tots are generally healthier than deep-fried ones due to less oil usage, but they’re still processed and high in calories. Moderation is key!
“From crispy perfection to endless possibilities, air fryer tater tots are a game-changer in the kitchen. Their crunchy exterior and soft inside make them irresistible, whether you’re enjoying them fresh or turning yesterday’s leftovers into today’s flavorful creations.
Remember, these tots are your canvas! Sprinkle them with your favorite seasonings, pile them high with toppings, or repurpose them into new dishes. The air fryer’s quick cooking makes it a go-to for anyone craving that satisfying crunch without the guilt of deep frying.
So, fire up that air fryer, pop in those tots, and get ready for a crispy, tasty adventure. Cheers to enjoying every crunchy bite and making the most out of your air fryer tater tots!”
Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Air Fryer
- 16 ounces frozen tater tots
- air-fryer-safe avocado oil
- salt to taste
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes.
- Spread the frozen tater tots in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding for even cooking.
- Cook the tater tots for 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket or turning the tots halfway through to ensure they cook evenly. Adjust cooking time as needed based on crispiness preference.
- Once they're golden brown and crispy, remove the tater tots from the air fryer. Test one to ensure they're cooked to your liking.
- Enjoy the hot and crispy tater tots immediately as a snack or with your favorite dipping sauce.