Can you air fry frozen tater tots? Yes! Try these air fryer frozen tater tots. They’re the best way to cook tater tots that are crispy and delicious! Learn how to make healthy homemade tater tots in the air fryer AND get directions for air frying store-bought tater tots. Don’t miss this ultimate guide for cooking tater tots in an air fryer!
Grated potatoes that are shaped into small rounds or cylinders and deep-fried.
It doesn’t sound that impressive, but the humble tater tot is a hugely popular side dish in the United States. Frozen potato rounds, potato puffs, and tater crowns are often used to accompany burgers as an alternative to fries.
If you’re in Australia, you’ve probably encountered tater tots under a different name. Potato gems, potato pom poms, and potato royals are some other monikers this potato side may go by.
The tater tot is an American invention, created by the founders of Ore-Ida as a way to use bits of cut potatoes. The potatoes were mixed with flour and seasoning, and extruded into its familiar shape. The name “tater tot” is actually a registered trademark of Ore-Ida, but tends to be used as a generic term in the U.S.
(It's similar to how Band-Aid and Scotch tape have become generic trademarks. Except there’s a lot more deliciousness involved with the tater tots.)
Tater tots are convenient and they work well as an appetizer, snack, or side dish. If it’s warmer in your part of the world, cooking air fryer tater tots doesn’t heat up the house.
If you’re a health-minded person, I’ve even got a healthy frozen tater tots recipe to share. These are tater tots with no potatoes, but they taste just as good as the real thing, believe it or not!
📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
Each serving of homemade air fried tater tots provides 308 calories, 25.1 grams net carbs, and 10.2 grams protein. A serving of store-bought cauliflower tots provides 130 calories, 15 grams net carbs, and <1 gram protein.
If you calorie-match the portions, my homemade tater tots provide fewer net carbs and more protein than store-bought tater tots. However, neither type of air fried frozen tater tot is a low carb option.
People choose tater tots as a side dish because they are super EASY and delicious. However, with a bit of extra effort, you can enjoy tots that are still tasty but also better for you.
These tater tots from scratch are most definitely a healthier version of tater tots. Wondering why? Here are some reasons!
Potatoes do have a little protein, but these homemade tots have beans and flaxseeds from the protein food group. Quinoa is considered a pseudograin that is technically a seed. It adds protein in the mix too.
The fat in store-bought tater tots primarily comes from highly processed added oils. This homemade version has flaxseeds, a whole food source of fats as well as a rich source of omega-3s.
Lower in carbs
You’re getting a better balance of macronutrients from homemade versus store-bought tater tots. Tater tots from the store are mostly carbs plus fat. With homemade, you’re getting some protein, fewer net carbs, and more healthy fats.
No added sugar
Most store-bought tots have added sugar, often under hidden names like “dextrose” or “apple juice concentrate.” You can have no sugar tater tots when you make your own.
Offers a more varied range of nutrients
The only whole food in tater tots from the store is typically potatoes. With this homemade tater tots recipe, you’re getting beans, seeds, quinoa, veggies, and whole grains. A greater variety of healthful foods means a broader range of essential vitamins and minerals for you.
Not an ultra-processed food
Though it’s possible to find frozen shredded hash browns that are just potatoes, one-ingredient tater tots don’t exist. Tater tots are always seasoned and fried (and often have additives), so store-bought tater tots definitely count as ultra-processed foods. When you make your own tots with whole foods, you’re taking a step towards a better diet.
Air fried, not deep-fried
Bad news. Your store-bought tater tots were deep-fried before freezing, so even if you bake them in the oven, you still have a fried food. With homemade tater tots, you can ditch the deep frying entirely.
Delicious family favorite
Who doesn’t love tater tots?!? We thought these homemade healthy tater tots were just as tasty as ones from the store. You won’t have to compromise on flavor when you make this healthy tater tots recipe.
We’re making frozen tater tots in air fryer in two ways: homemade and store-bought. I’ve adapted the homemade recipe from the amazing book Julie Morris’s Superfood Kitchen. I adjusted the amounts of certain ingredients, switched up the flour, and made it into an air fryer recipe.
Here’s what you need to make these homemade superfood tots:
- Great northern beans (canned and drained)
- Flax meal
- Cooked quinoa
- White miso
- Whole grain spelt flour
- Finely diced onion
- Olive oil
- Cooking spray
Miso is a paste used in Japanese cooking that is usually made from fermented soybeans. (Soy-free miso made from chickpeas also exists.)
Make sure to use a white miso for this recipe, it is more mellow and mild than red miso. Here is the brand that I used.
To make air fryer store tater tots, here's what you need:
- Bag of frozen tater tots from the store (do not thaw)
That’s seriously it. You shouldn’t even need cooking oil spray, since store tater tots typically contain a lot of oil.
I used Birds Eye Veggie Made Cauliflower Tots for this recipe. This product has no added sugar or preservatives.
It’s just veggies (cauliflower, potatoes, and onions), corn starch, oil, and salt. I like that you get the mix of cauliflower and potatoes with this product.
That said, feel free to make an Ore Ida tater tots air fryer recipe with the directions provided instead. Trader Joe’s, Alexia, Great Value, or your favorite store brand tater tots should also work here. You may need to make slight adjustments to the air fryer cooking times depending on the brand you use.
Here’s the kitchen you need to make air fryer frozen tater tots from scratch:
- Hand potato masher (to mash the beans; a fork can also be used)
- Freezer paper
- Large cookie sheet
- Good knife
A ruler is also helpful to have since we’re going to be cutting the tots into uniform pieces of a specific size. This will help them to air fry more evenly. Speaking of air fryers...
This is an air fryer recipe, so of course you will also need an air fryer! (If making the store-bought tater tots, that’s really the only piece of equipment you need.) I use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven to develop my recipes.
It tends to take a little longer to cook things compared to air fryers with an air fryer basket. The benefit is that the air fryer oven can cook more food at once. There’s less of a need to make multiple batches.
Feel free to use whatever air fryer you have for this recipe. Your Ninja Foodi, Philips, Power Air Fryer, Cosori, Nuwave, Instant Vortex Air Fryer, Cuisinart, or whatever brand you have can air fry frozen tater tots.
I recommend keeping a close eye on the food the first time you try a new air fryer recipe. You may need to adjust the cooking time for your type of air fryer.
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots
Let’s make frozen tater tots in an air fryer! I’m going to cover how to make air fryer frozen tater tots from scratch. (For cooking directions for store-bought frozen tater tots, skip down to the cooking time and temperature section.)
Begin by cooking the quinoa in water according to the quinoa’s package directions. Quinoa is a short-cooking whole grain; it should only take 15-20 minutes.
Drain and rinse the white beans and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mash them into a paste with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Stir in the flaxseeds, flax meal, hot quinoa, miso, spelt flour, and onion until a dough forms.
Chill this mixture for 2 hours in the refrigerator. This step will help the dough firm up.
After chilling, roll small pieces of the dough into 1-inch thick logs. Cut each log into ½-inch thick slices. It’s helpful to use a ruler for this step so the tots all end up the right size.
I ended up with A LOT of quinoa tots! 68 to be exact. It’s fine though, since they’re all going into the freezer.
Yes, you’re going to be freezing these. (They are air fried FROZEN tater tots, remember?)
Line a large baking tray with freezer paper. Lay the tots out in a non-touching single layer on the tray. Put the tray in the freezer overnight.
After they’ve frozen on the tray for 24 hours, you can store any tots you won’t be air frying right away in a freezer bag. I could only fit half of the batch of tater tots in my large air fryer oven at a time. This was plenty for my family of three.
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long do frozen tater tots go in the air fryer? If you’re using two air fryer trays, air fry homemade frozen tater tots for a total of 24-26 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the store-bought frozen tater tots, I used only one air fryer tray. Air fry on the top rack (closest to the heating element) for 15 minutes at 400F.
To prepare your homemade frozen tater tots for air frying, put them in a large bowl and toss with a little olive oil. Mist two air fryer trays with cooking oil spray. Spread the tots out on the trays in a non-touching layer.
Air fry homemade tater tots for 8 minutes at 400F. Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer (don’t flip the tots) and air fry an additional 8 minutes at 400F.
Next, gently flip all the quinoa bean tots. If they are flattening out too much during flipping, squeeze them a little to help them maintain their shape. Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer, and air fry for 5 minutes at 400F.
You’re almost there! Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer one final time. (You don’t need to flip the tots again.) Air fry at 400F for 3-5 minutes until done to your liking.
Then let them cool a bit, and serve with your favorite dip.
To air fry tater tots from the store, put them in a single layer on a tray in the top position (closest to the heating element). Air fry for 8 minutes at 400F, shake the rack, and air fry for 7 more minutes at 400F.
Store-bought tots are thoroughly cooked when they’ve reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 165F.
️👪 Best Dipping Sauce for Tater Tots
My favorite dip for air fryer frozen tater tots is ketchup! This no added sugar vegetable ketchup is seriously one of my favorite condiments ever (for nutrition AND taste). You might notice it makes an appearance in a lot of dishes on this site!
But what if you aren’t a catsup fan? Try one (or more!) of these dips to go with tater tots:
- Cheese sauce (Here’s a keto cheese sauce recipe we love.)
- BBQ sauce
- Marinara sauce
- Ranch dressing (Check out my Air Fryer Fried Mushrooms for a super delicious recipe for homemade ranch dip.)
- Buffalo sauce
- Gravy and cheese curds (Ok, ok, not a dip. However, could not resist suggesting tater tot poutine! A nice little variant on the classic Canadian dish.)
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Homemade or not, tater tots are a high energy side dish. The combination of fat and carbs with minimal protein is generally not found to be very filling. Most of us don’t eat a single serving.
The protein in this homemade tater tots recipe may help this side feel more satisfying to you than store-bought tater tots. In fact, the combination of legumes and grains here could be used as the base for a vegetarian meal.
Increase the portion and use these bean and quinoa tots in a tater tot casserole or in a burrito filling. (BTW, I wouldn’t suggest using store-bought potato tots to replace your entrée. They lack protein and tend to contain refined grains, sugars, preservatives, etc. we should limit.)
On the other hand, these homemade tater tots (without potato) could work as an entrée. Consider adding cheese for additional protein and calcium. You could make “totchos” (AKA tater tot nachos), a fun variant on corn chip nachos.
If you have kids, this recipe is a great way to add some familiarity to what might be new food. Do your kids tend to be picky and you don’t think they’ll try flax, miso, or quinoa? Try this recipe on them and see if they’ll give these unfamiliar foods a go.
I know these potato-free tater tots may sound a little strange, but they taste great! It’s hard to believe that there’s no potatoes in the recipe at all.
One of the benefits of frozen tater tots is that you can just cook what you need. If you cook too many, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat refrigerated tater tots, preheat your air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Air fry the tots for 3-5 minutes at 350F until they’re warm and crispy.
You could, but they won’t crisp up nicely on the outside. I don’t recommend it!
So glad you asked! Air fry frozen tater tots to help them crisp up on the outside while staying moist on the inside. Baking frozen tater tots in the oven also works, but it takes longer and heats up the house.
Yes, you can air fry frozen sweet potato tots as you would frozen potato tots made with white potatoes. Sweet potato tots have a higher risk of burning. Keep a close eye on them and turn the temperature down on the air fryer if needed.
These from scratch air fryer tater tots are naturally vegan. Many store-bought tater tots are also vegan (though that doesn’t mean they are a healthy choice).
These homemade frozen tater tots are not gluten free due to spelt flour. Swap spelt for brown rice flour or almond flour for gluten free air fryer tater tots. For store-bought tater tots, check the label to see if the product is certified gluten-free. Though there may be no gluten in the ingredients list, the product may contact gluten in the fryer.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Potato Recipes
Are you looking for more potato air fryer recipes? You might want to make one of these next:
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Air Fryer Home Fries
- Potato Skins in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Frozen Hash Browns
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots (Recipe + Video!)
For homemade tater tots:
For store-bought tater tots:
- 12 ounces frozen tater tots (340 grams; I used Birds Eye Cauliflower Tots)
- dipping sauce (optional)
To make homemade frozen tater tots:
- Cook the quinoa in water according to the quinoa's package directions. It should take 15-20 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the white beans and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mash them into a thick paste with a potato masher or a fork.
- Mix in the flaxseed, flax meal, flour, cooked quinoa, miso, and onion. You should have a cohesive dough.
- Chill the dough for 2 hours to give it time to firm up.
- Roll small pieces of the chilled dough into 1-inch (2.54 cm) thick logs. Cut each log into ½-inch (1.27 cm) thick slices. I ended up with 68 homemade tater tots. (Perhaps they are better called "tater nots" since they have no potato. Haha! But I digress...)
- Line a large baking tray with freezer paper. Lay the tots out in a non-touching single layer on the tray. Put the tray in the freezer overnight.
- After they’ve frozen on the tray for 24 hours, you can store any tots you won’t be air frying right away in a freezer bag.
- To prepare your homemade frozen tater tots for air frying, put them in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil. Mist two air fryer trays with cooking oil spray.
- Spread HALF the tots out on the trays in a non-touching layer. You will need to air fry them in two batches to prevent over-crowding in the air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer, you may need to cook the tater tots in three or four batches.
- To air fry: Air fry homemade tater tots for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer (don’t flip the tots) and air fry an additional 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Next, gently flip all the tots. If they are flattening out too much during flipping, squeeze them a little to help them maintain their shape. Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer, and air fry for 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer one final time and air fry at 400°F (200°C) for 3-5 minutes.
- Let them cool a bit before serving with your favorite dip for tater tots.
To make storebought frozen tater tots:
- No cooking oil spray is needed for this recipe. Put the tater tots in a single layer on a tray in the top rack position (closest to the heating element). Air fry for 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C), shake the rack, and air fry for 7 more minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Storebought tater tots are thoroughly cooked when they’ve reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Serve cooked tots with your favorite dipping sauce.