With this healthy air fryer tater tots recipe, you can now make these golden, crispy, savory bites at home for National Tater Tot Day (February 2), or National Tater Day (March 31).
Everything is made from scratch and it’s surprisingly simple. As always, we will give you detailed, step-by-step instructions with some pictures thrown in to guide you through the process.
Before we start cooking, here are some interesting facts you may or may not know about today’s dish:
What Are Tater Tots?
“Tater” is short for potato, which hints at the main ingredient of the dish. To make tater tots, potatoes are grated, shaped into small cylindrical pieces, and deep-fried until perfectly golden and crispy.
“Tater Tot” is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida, a company that specializes in frozen potato products. These tasty treats grew so much in popularity nationwide that the name “tater tot” quickly became a generic term.
Today, they are a beloved lunch side in many high school cafeterias in the US. However, some schools have had to remove tater tots from their menus as, in their standard frozen form, they don’t meet the nutrition requirements of the government’s healthy school meal program.
Are These Air Fryer Tater Tots Healthy?
Yes, our air fryer tater tots are healthy. Here’s why:
Traditional tater tots are deep-fried and tend to absorb a lot of oil. This increases the amount of calories and fat content per serving.
By using an air fryer, you don’t need as much oil to cook your food. Less oil content can also help you avoid consuming excessive amounts of saturated fat and calories.
Our tater tots recipe does contain all-purpose flour. So, no, they are not gluten-free.
If you can’t consume gluten, you can use either cornstarch or potato starch instead. Don’t leave it out entirely as you need something to act as a binder to keep your tots from falling apart.
Both flour or starch act as a glue to help the shredded potatoes stick together. They also help your tots to hold their shape when you press them.
How to Cook Frozen Tater Tots in an Air Fryer
Making tater tots can be quite time consuming, but the result is definitely worth it. We recommend taking a weekend afternoon off to make a big batch of these and then keep them in the freezer for later use.
Follow our instructions and finish shaping the tater tots (step 4). Then put them into a freezer-safe bag or container and into the freezer.
Before cooking frozen tater tots, you can thaw them first. Some options are:
Leave them in the fridge and thaw slowly overnight.
Put them into a microwave on the defrost setting for 5 minutes.
Thaw them in an air fryer at 150°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once thawed, cook them according to our recipe’s instructions.
If you skip the defrosting process, it will take a bit more time to cook them:
Put tater tots into the basket of your air fryer.
Spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
Cook for 15 minutes at 400°F. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes.
Tips for Making Tater Tots
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you make tater tots in an air fryer:
Soak the shredded potatoes in water to remove the starch and prevent them from getting brown. We do this in our air fryer hash browns recipe, too.
For evenly golden and crisp tots, don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. It’s best to divide them up and cook in batches.
Check and flip or shake the tots a few times to make sure they’re cooked on all sides.
How Long Do You Cook Tater Tots in an Air Fryer?
Our air-fried tater tots took a total of 15 minutes at 400°F. If you want your tots to have a thicker crust and golden brown color, cook for another 3 minutes.
Pre-cook the potatoes: Put 20 oz peeled potatoes into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 7 minutes. Leave to cool on the counter for at least 5 minutes (keep the wrap on to prevent the potatoes from drying out.)
Grate the potatoes: Once they are cool enough to handle, cut them into shreds using the largest holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl.
Season the potatoes: Add 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 0.5 oz shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 1 tsp olive oil, and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Mix well to combine.
Shape the tots: Scoop out a tablespoon of the potato mixture into the palm of your hand. Gently press and form it into an oblong, cylindrical shape. Repeat with the remaining potato. Our mix made 36 tater tots, each weighing about 0.5 oz.
Cook the tater tots: Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F. Put the tater tots into the fryer. Spray or brush the remaining 1 tsp olive oil over the tots. Shut the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve: Remove tater tots from the air fryer and serve warm with ketchup.
Air Fryer Tater Tots
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 168Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Vitamin A 183IU
Vitamin C 16mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
These air fryer tater tots are crispy and delicious without all the added oil of traditional tater tots.