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How to make the perfect air fryer tater tots every time!
Tater tots may be the perfect food to make in an air fryer.
And are they possibly a perfect food? Golden and crispy on the outside and comforting potatoey goodness on the inside…
But if you’ve ever made tater tots in a microwave or conventional oven you know that isn’t how they usually turn out.
You probably are disappointed with their soft and mushy texture like I am.
What you REALLY want are tator tots that are crispy and golden on the outside yet cooked through on the inside.
Well, this post will help you to get perfect tots every time at home in your air fryer. Read on to learn how!
Air Fryer Tater Tots Ingredients
First start with any frozen tator tots, such as these from Ore-Ida.
I’ve tried a few different brands and they all seemed to cook the same.
What do NOT work the same are veggie tots or other variations on the tater tot. I’ll give advice for those at the end of this post!
These are the only ingredient for making perfect tater tots at home – no oil required.
Air Frying Tater Tots: My Recommended Machines
I have this 5 quart Gourmia Air Fryer that I got for $60 at Target.
I like the large size and pre-heating function. This was an upgrade from a 1.6 quart air fryer that was way too small to make anything for the family!
I bought this Insignia 5-qt. Digital Air Fryer from Best Buy for my dad and he highly recommends it as well.
It goes on sale for as low as $50 sometimes so look out for a good sale!
Any air fryer will work, but if you want to know what brands and models I’ve had good luck with, here they are.
How To Make Air Fryer Tater Tots
Here are the steps to air frying tater tots to get great results every time.
First, preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (about 160 degrees C).
This is very important! If you just throw them in without preheating they will likely burst and you’ll have tater tot insides all over your basket. No fun at all.
Next, spread the frozen tots evenly in the basket.
It’s ok if you have some overlapping a bit but I would void making two full layers since they will cook unevenly.
Set your timer for 8 minutes and begin to cook.
Shake the tator tots around at about the four minute mark. This will insure they get nicely browned on all sides.
Check them after 8 minutes and if they aren’t browned or crispy enough, add another minute or two.
Cooking time will vary depending on what machine you have but generally 8-10 minutes will be perfect.
Let them cool down inside the basket for a few minutes (don’t burn your mouth!!), shake them out, and enjoy.
Air Fryer Tater Tots Variations
In addition to your standard tater tots, you can make a bunch of other types of “tots” in an air fryer!
Air Fryer Veggie Tots
I’ve successfully made veggie tots in my air fryer but it did take some experimenting!
Veggie tots (such as the Broccoli Cheese tots pictured above) tend to explode in the air fryer unless you take some special steps. Here is my advice:
- Be sure to preheat your air fryer!
- Start at a lower temperature – I started at 325 degrees F for the first four minutes.
- Then crank your temperature up to 375 degrees for the last half of cooking. Mine took about 8 minutes total.
If you follow these steps you will get nice and crispy veggie tots that don’t make amess in your air fryer.
Sweet Potato Tater Tots
Sweet potato puffs can turn out perfectly in your air fryer but they also need some special instructions.
- Preheat your air fryer to 325 degrees F.
- Cook at this lower temp for about 4 minutes.
- Then crank it up to 375-400 degrees F and cook for another 6 – 8 minutes.
In my experience sweet potato tots take longer to cook than regular tator tots and also need a higher temp to get crispy.
I hope these tips and tricks for air frying tater tots were helpful to you!
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or send me a message through The Frugal South’s Facebook page here.