Hot out of the air fryer, these crunchy nuggets are irresistible! Try homemade air fryer tater tots — they’re easy to make!

Overhead view of tater tots in a small metal basket on a white background.

Crispy on the outside, soft and warm inside, once you bite into a homemade air fryer tater tot, you’ll wonder what took you so long to try them.

One of my friends is always on the lookout for restaurants that serve tater tots. Yes, some eateries specialize in tater tots and they have almost a cult following. You’ll find lots of add on options, like bacon, sausage, shredded chicken, grilled or fresh veggies, and cheese. These are tater tot dinners.

You’ll love air fryer tater tots. Like everything else we’ve tried in our air fryer, they’re done perfectly: crisp on the outside but soft and moist inside.

How do you like your tater tots? Straight up, with nothing added? With ketchup? How about this Fry Sauce? or Healthy Ranch Dressing? or maybe Jalapeño Ranch Dip if you like a little heat. Maybe you’re more of a BBQ Sauce or Salsa type.

About this tater tot recipe

This recipe uses pre-shredded potatoes for convenience. Some recipes show you how to start from a raw potato but it involves parboiling the potatoes, shredding them with a cheese grater, and pressing the moisture out with towels. Whew! Sounds like an ordeal.

I keep things a lot simpler for you. You’ll be able to have these tots in the air fryer in 20 minutes. Most of that time is spent shaping the tots so if you can enlist some help (your kids will love to play with these), it will go even faster.

You’ll find the complete printable recipe near the end of this post.

Tater tot being dipped into a small white dish of ketchup.

What you need

  • Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes: Isn’t it nice you don’t have to shred your own potatoes? We like Simply Potatoes Shredded Potatoes which aren’t frozen, but frozen ones are fine, too, just thaw them ahead of time.
  • Olive Oil: Just a couple of tablespoons. Other kinds of oil are fine, too, such as avocado or grapeseed.
  • Flour: Helps to stick the tater tots together.
  • Seasoning: Garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Other seasonings can be added, if desired.
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray: Misting the tater tots with oil spray before frying helps crisp them up and turn a golden brown.
Overhead view of ingredients: shredded potatoes, olive oil, flour, and spices.

How to make them

Homemade tater tots are easy to make. Using a food processor, pulse the shredded potatoes briefly to chop them into smaller pieces.

Add them to a large bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients, and mix everything together lightly. Have a light touch with this because you don’t want to mash the potatoes up. A little texture here is good.

Uncooked hashbrowns in a mixing bowl.

Scoop out a spoonful of the mixture and form it into a tater tot shape, or whatever shape you like. Keep scooping and shaping until you have about thirty tater tots.

Uncooked homemade tater tots on a baking sheet.

Place the tater tots in a single layer into your air fryer and spray them lightly with oil. “Fry” them up until they are crisp and golden brown.

Cooked air fryer tater tots still in basket.

Enjoy them just plain or with your favorite dipping sauce.

Overhead view: small baskets of tots, ketchup.

FAQ

Are air fried tater tots healthy?

Homemade tater tots are better for you than store bought. You control the amount of salt and fat that’s added to your tots.

How do I make my tater tots crispy?

An air fryer is your friend here. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the air fryer. A single layer is ideal. Give the tots a shake halfway through the cooking time so they get crispy on all sides. A light spritz with oil helps them crisp up, too. Still not crispy enough for you? Cook them a few more minutes.

How do you cook frozen tater tots?

If you have a bag of frozen tots you purchased at the grocery store, make them in your air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F-400°F (or skip the preheat and just add a couple minutes to the cooking time). Spray the frozen tots with oil spray, sprinkle with salt, if desired, and put them in the basket. Cook them about fifteen minutes, shaking the basket frequently.

Close up of tater tots in a tiny fryer basket.

How to make these tots your own

  • Jazz up your tater tots by stirring in green onions, chives, cheddar cheese, minced garlic, or whatever you like.
  • Change the seasoning. Instead of garlic powder and onion powder (or along with them), add chili powder, taco seasoning, or Italian seasoning.

Make Ahead Ideas

Prepare the tots up to a day ahead, refrigerate them, and fry them when you’re ready to serve them.

Storage & Reheating Suggestions

Leftover tater tots can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, or frozen for a month.

For best results, reheat in your air fryer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Your toaster oven or a heated skillet are great options, too. The microwave, not so much. If the tots are frozen, double the reheating time.

Leftover Love

Try a tater tot casserole. You know you want to. This tater tot breakfast casserole with sausage, bacon, and eggs from Buns in My Oven sounds really great.

More tater recipes

Not into tater tots? I have lots of ways to make potatoes. Try one of these “tater” recipes:

Tater tots in a small metal basket with parchment paper.
Air fryer tater tots in a tiny metal basket.

Air Fryer Tater Tots

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes

Hot out of the air fryer, these crunchy nuggets are irresistible! Try homemade air fryer tater tots -- they're easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen shredded hash browns, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Olive oil cooking spray, for frying

Instructions

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the shredded hash browns until finely chopped. 
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, olive oil, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt; mix lightly, trying not to mash the potatoes.
  3. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture, shaping a 1” tot in your hand. Place in a greased air fryer pan. 
  4. Mist the tots with an olive oil cooking spray and bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. Shake the air fryer basket halfway through cooking so the tots cook evenly.
  5. Remove from the fryer, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and enjoy while warm.
  6. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • If your hash browns aren’t fully thawed, they might not stick together. If that happens, add a beaten egg to the mixture and they’ll come together perfectly.
  • Suggested add ins: green onions, chives, cheddar cheese, minced garlic.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 7 tots
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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