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.
We adjusted the sodium content too so that it adheres to our healthy eating guidelines.
Are These Tater Tots Gluten-Free?
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 Make Homemade Tater Tots in an Air Fryer
Here is a brief summary of our air fryer tater tots recipe:
Pre-cook the potatoes.
Grate the potatoes.
Season the potatoes.
Shape the tots.
Cook the tater tots.
Detailed instructions and ingredient measurements are available below.
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 390°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 390°F. If you want your tots to have a thicker crust and golden brown color, cook for another 3 minutes.
Love this easy potato dish? Check out our Air Fryer Hash Browns Recipe for another convenient side dish. We also have a large collection of air fryer recipes for your reference. Come check them out.
How to Store and Reheat Air Fryer Tater Tots
To store tater tots, put them in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and keep them in the fridge. They should last for about a week.
If you have a lot of leftovers, you can also freeze them and keep them in the freezer for up to a month.
We recommend reheating them for 5 minutes at 390°F in the air fryer to make them crispy again.
But Wait, There’s More!
Here are some tasty, easy air fryer potato meals that we just couldn’t help but fall in love with:
Air Fryer Tater Tots Recipe
See how you can make this school lunch favorite at home with our healthy air fryer tater tots recipe using a handful of simple ingredients.
- cook TIME 22 mins
- prep TIME 5 mins
- total TIME 32 mins
- INACTIVE TIME 5 mins
- COURSE Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
- CUISINE American
- SERVINGS servings
- CALORIES 168 kcal
- 20 oz potatoes (peeled)
- 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 cheddar (shredded)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tsp olive oil (divided)
- 2 tbsp parsley (freshly chopped)
- 2 1/2 tbsp Heinz ketchup
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 390°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.
Tuyet PhamChef, Culinary Consultant
Luna ReginaWriter, Author
Natalie Butler, RD, LDNutrition Reviewer
April 19, 2023 at 8:22 AMThese air fryer tater tots are crispy and delicious without all the added oil of traditional tater tots.