Air Fryer Tater Tots
Looking for a quick and easy addition to your lunch or dinner? These Air Fryer Tater Tots made straight from the freezer are the perfect treat. Tater tots are a beloved snack and side dish that have been enjoyed for generations. However, traditional methods of cooking tater tots typically involve deep frying them in oil, resulting in a greasy and less healthy end product.
Enter the air fryer, a kitchen appliance that has gained immense popularity in recent years for its ability to crisp up food using hot air circulation instead of oil. We will delve into the world of air fryer tater tots—exploring their benefits, providing tips for achieving the perfect crispy texture, and sharing delicious recipe variations to elevate your tater tot game.
If I had been told prior to eating these Air Fryer Tater Tots that they were not deep fried I would not have believed it. They were so crispy on the outside and soft and indulgent on the inside. And this is not an exaggeration. This is one of the best air fryer recipes when you need a quick side dish for dinner.
Whether you’re an avid fan of tater tots or simply curious about this innovative cooking method, read on to discover how you can enjoy these golden delights guilt-free and with maximum flavor!
Why Use an Air Fryer
I have to confess that the air fryer has quickly become the new favorite appliance in my home. One glance at my blog and it will be very obvious that is the case.
The air fryer is basically a compact convection oven that cooks more evenly in small batches. And the clean up is much easier than using a conventional oven. I find that the food in the air fryer cooks more evenly, and quicker than a conventional oven.
If you do not have an air fryer yet then I encourage you to look online on Amazon and read reviews. I purchased the Air Fryer made by Instapot and I love it.
It is small enough to fit easily on my countertop yet large enough to help cook a meal for my family of four. I am able to cook up to four pork chops or 3 large potatoes in it.
I have also become a huge fan of using Air Fryer Liners. They cover the bottom of the air fryer basket and make clean up a breeze.
For this Air Fryer Tater Tot recipe I used these liners and they worked like a dream. The tater tot pieces were still super crispy and cooked evenly.
And when it came time to clean up I only had to throw the liner away.
I am thrilled at the ease and speed by which I am able to cook recipes in the air fryer. If you are interested in a few more air fryer recipes here are some of my favorites. So far Air Fryer Meatloaf and Air Fryer Pork Chops have been some of my favorite ways to cook meat. For vegetables I have found the Brussel Sprouts and Asparagus cook surprisingly well.
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Tater Tots
Tater tots are just one of those childhood favorites that as an adult I keep going back to. They are easy to keep frozen in the freezer until I need a little extra something to add to a meal.
The secret to making crispy air fryer tater tots is in having the tater tots be frozen, and the air fryer be hot.
1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Or to 205 degrees C. Making sure that the air fryer is good and hot helps the tater tots to cook crispy on the outside while slowly cooking on the inside.
2. Spraying the tater tots with oil. Giving the tater tots a small hit of oil helps to make them crispy and the seasonings to stick to them. Olive Oil or Avocado Oil is best for this. I personally prefer to use Avocado Oil as it has a higher smoke point.
I will place the tater tots into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and spray them with the oil, and then add the seasonings. Making sure that the bag is sealed completely I will then shake it massaging the oil and seasonings into the tater tots.
It is also possible to just place the tater tots into the air fryer basket, spray them with Olive Oil or Avocado Oil, season, and mix.
3. Place the tater tots into the air fryer basket and put them into the air fryer when it is done heating. Cook the tater tots for 6 minutes. Open up the basket and give them a shake. Cook for another 6 minutes. If you want your tater tots even crispier than cook them in one minutes intervals, shaking them in between until done to your liking.
4. Carefully remove the tater tots from the air fryer basket and serve with your favorite dipping sauces. Or if you feel like being creative top them with chili and some cheese. Or turn them into fully loaded tater tots by adding cheese, crispy bacon, sour cream, and chopped green onions. Whatever your choice make it one you enjoy.
Tips for Making Air Fryer Tater Tots
Air fryers have revolutionized our cooking experience, allowing us to indulge in our favorite comfort foods with a healthier twist. One such beloved treat is tater tots – crispy, golden nuggets of potato goodness. If you’re an air fryer enthusiast or just getting started, we’ve got some fantastic tips to help you achieve perfection when making air fryer tater tots.
- Preheat Your Air Fryer:
Preheating your air fryer before adding the tater tots is essential for achieving that perfect crunch. Just like preheating an oven, this step ensures even cooking and prevents soggy results.
- Shake Them Up:
Midway through the cooking process, gently shake the basket to ensure that all sides of the tater tots are evenly cooked. This simple step helps them attain a uniformly crispy texture.
- Don’t Overcrowd:
Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket with too many tater tots at once. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and prevent proper airflow around each piece. Cook them in batches if needed for optimal results.
- Lightly Oil or Spray:
While most frozen tater tots come pre-coated with oil, adding a light drizzle of olive oil or using non-stick spray can enhance their crispiness further. A little bit goes a long way!
- Experiment with Seasonings:
Tasty toppings elevate ordinary tater tots into extraordinary treats! Feel free to experiment by sprinkling various seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, or even parmesan cheese onto your air-fried tater tots before cooking.
- Keep an Eye on Cooking Time & Temperature:
Different brands and sizes of air fryers may require slight adjustments in time and temperature settings when preparing tater tots. Follow the instructions on the package as a general guideline, but observe closely to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
- Flip for Extra Crispiness:
For an extra crispy exterior, flip the tater tots halfway through the cooking process. This simple step ensures every side is evenly cooked and results in a satisfying crunch!
Adding a bit of flavor to these air fryer tater tots is so easy to do. So if you are in the mood to take these to the next level then give one of these options a try.
I am a huge fan of being creative with cooking. If there is a seasoning that you are a fan of then make a small batch using that seasoning. You will never know if a seasoning will taste good until you try it.
One of the best things about tater tots is by themselves they have a mild taste. This means that any seasoning or flavor added to them really is able to shine.
- Taco Seasoning
- Dry Ranch Dressing Mix (an absolute must try if you ask me)
- Italian Seasoning (great to dip in marinara sauce)
- Add some Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning to make this have a bit of southern spice. Try dipping them in cheese sauce, I absolutely love them like this.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Tater Tots
Whether it is adding seasonings, dipping in an indulgent sauce, or serving alongside your favorite meal there is an option for you.
Tater tots are best known for being a chubby french fry that is great for dipping. Some of my favorite dips include.
- Ranch Dressing Dip
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- Barbecue Sauce
- Cheese Sauce
Dishes to serve with Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Hot Dogs
- Serve them with breakfast of bacon and eggs.
- Cover them in cheese, crumbled bacon, sour cream, and chives to make leaded tater tots.
Other Air Fryer Recipes to Try
Air Fryer Tater Tots
- 1 Air Fryer
- 1 Pound Bag of Frozen Tater Tots
- 1 Cooking Spray Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Or to 205 degrees C. Making sure that the air fryer is good and hot helps the tater tots to cook crispy on the outside while slowly cooking on the inside.
- Spraying the tater tots with oil. Giving the tater tots a small hit of oil helps to make them crispy and the seasonings to stick to them. Olive Oil or Avocado Oil is best for this. I personally prefer to use Avocado Oil as it has a higher smoke point. I will place the tater tots into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and spray them with the oil, and then add the seasonings. Making sure that the bag is sealed completely I will then shake it massaging the oil and seasonings into the tater tots.It is also possible to just place the tater tots into the air fryer basket, spray them with Olive Oil or Avocado Oil, season, and mix.
- Place the tater tots into the air fryer basket and put them into the air fryer when it is done heating. Cook the tater tots for 6 minutes. Open up the basket and give them a shake. Cook for another 6 minutes. If you want your tater tots even crispier than cook them in one minutes intervals, shaking them in between until done to your liking.
- Carefully remove the tater tots from the air fryer basket and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.