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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots

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This easy recipe for air fryer frozen tater tots is a game-changer for all the tater tot lovers out there. Say goodbye to the deep fryer and hello to your air fryer, which will give you the crispiest, golden brown tater tots you’ve ever tasted. It’s one of those air fryer recipes that will make you wonder why you ever used anything else!

Air fryer frozen tater tots served with ketchup on a white countertop.

These air fryer tater tots are not just incredibly tasty but also healthier than their deep-fried counterparts! Using an air fryer reduces the amount of oil needed, making these tots a great side dish for those wanting a guilt-free option to a classic! Plus, the air fryer basket ensures even cooking, so every single tot comes out perfectly crispy every time.

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. All you need are your favorite frozen tater tots from the grocery store and your trusty air fryer. The hot air circulating in the air fryer cooks the tots to maximum crispness, giving them a delightful crunch with every bite.

These air fryer tots are versatile, too. Serve them as a side dish with your favorite dipping sauce, like barbecue sauce or sour cream, or use them as a base for tater tot nachos. Just sprinkle some cheddar cheese over the crispy tots, and you’ve got a delicious snack that the whole family will love.

The main ingredient, of course, are the frozen tater tots. These little potato puffs are transformed in the air fryer, becoming crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And the best part? You can customize them with your favorite seasoning, making these tots truly your own.

These air fryer tater tots are the perfect side dish for any meal, or a snack on their own. They’re so easy to make, you’ll find yourself reaching for your air fryer basket more often. Whether we are making tater tot casserole, mini tater tots, tater tot nachos, or loaded tater tots, the options are infinite for this quick recipe.

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots

  • Plant-Based & Healthy: These air fryer tater tots are naturally vegan, made from simple, plant-based ingredients like potatoes. And because you’re not deep frying these tots, they’re a delicious and guilt-free snack that everyone can enjoy, regardless of dietary restrictions.
  • Quick and Easy: With just a few simple steps and minimal ingredients, you can have these crispy tater tots ready in less than 30 minutes. It’s one of the easiest things you can do with your air fryer!
  • Gluten-Free: Tater tots (or tater puffs) are just grated potatoes, making this recipe naturally gluten-free. It’s a great side dish or snack for those with gluten sensitivities or anyone looking for a tasty gluten-free option. 
  • Versatile: These air fryer tater tots are not just a great side dish, but they can also be used in a variety of dishes like tater tot nachos. Or serve them with your favorite dipping sauce – ketchup, bbq sauce, sour cream, or even honey mustard. The possibilities are endless!
  • Family-Friendly: These crispy tots are a hit with kids and adults alike. Serve them as a side dish with dinner, or as a snack during movie night. They’re a healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried tater tots, making them a great choice for a family-friendly meal.

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🥘 Ingredients

Creating the perfect frozen tater tots in an air fryer is easier than you think! The ingredients are simple and can be easily found at your local grocery store. 

Ingredients for air fryer frozen tater tots recipe on a white background.
  • Tater Tots: Tater tots are the star of this air fryer recipe. Whether you opt for store-bought frozen tater tots or decide to make your homemade tater tots, they are the key to creating those crispy, golden brown bites we all love. Remember, for the best results, cook the tater tots frozen, directly from the freezer, do not defrost first.
  • Spray Oil: A little bit of spray oil goes a long way in this recipe. It ensures that the frozen tots don’t stick together and helps to achieve that golden brown, crispy finish. Remember to ensure these potato bites are evenly coated in spray oil before air frying.
  • Salt: While optional, a sprinkle of salt can add an extra layer of flavor to your air fryer tater tots. Feel free to play around with your favorite seasonings to create your own unique flavor profile.

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Tater Tots: If you’re up for a bit of extra work, you can make your own homemade tater tots using plant-based ingredients. Alternatively, you can find a variety of types of tater tots in the frozen section of many grocery stores.
  • Spray Oil: Any plant-based oil in a spray form will work for this recipe. Canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil are all great options. If you don’t have a spray, you can lightly brush the oil onto the tater tots.
  • Salt: While salt adds flavor, it’s not necessary for the recipe to work. You could experiment with other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or your favorite seasoning blend for a different flavor profile.

🔪 How To Make Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots

Here’s your guide on how to cook tater tots in an air fryer! Follow these steps to making perfect, crispy, delicious air fryer tater tots every time. For more detailed instructions, see the steps below!

Preparation and Initial Cooking

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Start by preheating your air fryer for five minutes at 390°F or 200°C. This step is crucial to achieving maximum crispness.

Prepare The Tots: Next, place the frozen tater tots in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer. Lightly spray the tots with oil, toss them, and then respray to ensure all the tots are covered with oil.

tater tots in air fryer basket sprayed with olive oil

Air Fry Tots: Put the air fryer basket into the air fryer, set the heat to 390°F or 200°C, and cook for ten minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the air fryer basket and toss the tater tots to prevent them from sticking together.

tater tots in air fryer basket

Final Cooking And Serving

Continue Cooking: Return the basket of tater tots in the air fryer, set the heat to 390°F/ 200°C, and cook for another 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, toss the air fried tots again and continue cooking until they are golden brown and crispy.

Serve Your Tots: Finally, remove the crispy air fryer tater tots from the basket and serve them in a serving bowl with your favorite dipping sauce. Whether it’s BBQ sauce, sour cream, or honey mustard, these tots make a great side dish for any meal. Enjoy!

Air fryer tater tots served with ketchup on a white countertop.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Preheat Your Air Fryer: Cooking tater tots in an air fryer is really easy, but you have to make sure to always preheat your air fryer for five minutes at 390°F or 200°C before cooking. This step is crucial to achieve the perfect golden brown and crispy tater tots. 
  • Don’t Defrost The Tots: Cook your tater tots frozen, directly from the freezer. Defrosting first can lead to soggy tater tots, which is not what we want for this recipe.
  • Use Spray Oil: To prevent the tater tots from sticking together and to ensure they turn a beautiful golden brown, make sure they’re evenly coated in spray oil. 
  • Shake And Toss: After 10 minutes of air frying, remove the basket and toss the potato tots. Giving them a good shake ensures even cooking and helps to avoid any tots from sticking together.
  • Adjust According To Your Air Fryer: Keep in mind that cooking times and air fryer settings may vary depending on the make and model of your air fryer. Different brands of air fryers might require different settings.
  • Enjoy Warm: For the best results and maximum crispness, enjoy your air fryer tater tots warm right after cooking.

📖 Variations

If you’re looking to switch things up when making tater tots in an air fryer, then you’ll love these delicious variations:

  • Tater Tot Nachos: Give your leftover tater tots a new life by transforming them into tater tot nachos! Just sprinkle cheddar cheese, black beans, jalapenos, and your favorite toppings on them. Pop them back in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Don’t forget to serve with sour cream and guacamole!
  • BBQ Tater Tots: If you’re a fan of BBQ, toss your crispy air fryer tater tots in your favorite BBQ sauce after they’re cooked. This adds a tangy, sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the potato. This variation is perfect for a backyard BBQ or a game day snack.
  • Sweet Potato Tots: For a healthier twist, try making sweet potato tots in your air fryer. Simply substitute your regular frozen tater tots with sweet potato tots from the grocery store. They’ll come out just as crispy and golden brown, but with an added boost of vitamins and fiber.
  • Seasoned Tater Tots: You can easily change up the flavors of your tater tots by tossing them with your favorite seasoning before air frying. Taco seasoning, chili powder, spicy Cajun seasoning, smoky barbecue, zesty lemon pepper, or even curry powder would all taste great with these potato nuggets. These are an easy way to switch up the flavor and keep this side dish exciting.
  • Loaded Tater Tots: Turn your crispy air fryer tater tots into a hearty meal by loading them up with toppings. After air frying, sprinkle with cooked bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. Return to the air fryer for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then serve with a dollop of sour cream.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

Who doesn’t love crispy, golden brown tater tots straight from the air fryer? These frozen tater tots air fryer recipe are the perfect side dish or appetizer, and they pair beautifully with a wide variety of meals. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire you:

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This air fry tater tots recipe is already naturally vegan and gluten-free, as it uses simple ingredients like frozen tater tots, cooking spray, and optional salt. However, always double-check the ingredients list on your chosen brand of frozen tater tots at the grocery store, as different brands may add ingredients that are not gluten-free or vegan. 

Low-Sodium Option: If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can choose to omit the optional salt in this recipe. Most frozen tater tots already contain some level of sodium, so removing the additional salt won’t sacrifice too much on flavor.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • To Refrigerate: Store the leftover air fryer tater tots in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for up to five days.
  • To Freeze: While freezing is a common method of storing leftovers, it’s not recommended for these crispy air fryer tater tots. Freezing can cause them to lose their perfect crispness and become soggy when reheated. Since they come frozen, you can quickly air fry them when you want in less than 30 minutes!
  • To Reheat: Reheat the leftover tater tots directly from the fridge in the basket of your preheated air fryer. Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and heat for about 5-8 minutes until they’re golden brown and crispy again. This is the best way to enjoy leftover tater tots without sacrificing their wonderful texture and flavor.

❓Recipe FAQs

How do you make extra crispy tater tots?

To achieve extra crispy tater tots, make sure to coat the tater tots in spray oil and cook them in a preheated air fryer. If you have stored these tots in the fridge, you can also reheat them in the air fryer at 350 degrees for a few minutes to get them super crispy again!

Do you need to thaw or defrost the tots first?

No, you don’t! In fact, I don’t recommend thawing the tots, as it can make them more soggy instead of crispy. The key is to air fry straight from frozen for the best results.

Do you have to preheat the air fryer?

Yes, you should always preheat the air fryer for this recipe. Preheating helps to ensure the tots cook evenly, getting them perfectly crispy every time! If you forget to preheat your air fryer, the tots will still cook well, but you may need to adjust the cook time to achieve that restaurant-quality crunch.

Can you pan fry tater tots or cook them in the oven?

Absolutely!
To pan fry, place some oil in a pan over medium-high heat, then add the frozen tater tots to the pan and cook until golden brown.

To cook in the oven, preheat your oven according to package directions, place the potato puffs on a baking sheet and cook until golden brown. The oven will take longer than the air fryer to cook.

Can I use different brands of air fryers?

Yes, you can! However, cooking time and air fryer settings may vary depending on the make and model of the air fryer and if different air fryer brands are used. Always refer to your air fryer’s manual for best results.

Are air fried tater tots healthy?

As long as the brand of frozen tater tots you’re using is free of preservatives and artificial ingredients, then yes! Frozen tater tots made in the air fryer are healthy as they are lower in fat and calories than other deep fried potato snacks.

How Long Do You Air Fry Tater Tots?

The answer depends on the size and brand of your air fryer! In general, with a larger air fryer, you’ll want to air fry the tots for 10 minutes, toss, and cook for another 10 minutes. If you want less crispy tots, cook them for less time. For crispier tots, cook them for the full time.

Air fryer frozen tater tots served with ketchup on a white countertop.

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🎥 Watch How to Make It

Air fryer frozen tater tots served with ketchup on a white countertop.
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5 from 12 votes

Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots

These delicious air fryer frozen tater tots are out-of-this-world and the best way to eat homemade tater tots! Perfectly crispy with fluffy centers, this air fryer recipe is so easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes. These are seriously the best tots, ever!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 226kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 18 oz tater tots frozen; or 500 grams
  • spray oil
  • salt optional, for additional flavor
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer for five minutes at 390·F or 200°C.
  • Place the frozen tater tots into the air fryer basket. Lightly spray the tots with oil. Toss tater tots and respray to ensure oil has covered all the tots.
  • Put the air fryer basket into the air fryer, set the heat to 390°F or 200°F for ten minutes. Press start and continue cooking. After 10 minutes remove the air fryer basket and toss the tater tots to ensure they don’t stick together.
  • Return basket to the air fryer. Set the heat to 390F/ 200C and the time for a further 15 minutes. Press start and continue cooking. After 10 minutes, toss the tater tots again and cook until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the basket and serve in a serving bowl with your favorite sauces.

Notes

  • Ensure tater tots are evenly coated in spray oil to make sure they don’t stick together and are golden brown when finished cooking.
  • Cook tater tots frozen, directly from the freezer, do not defrost first.
  • Always preheat the air fryer, prior to cooking, to ensure you get the crispiest tater tots in town!
  • Cooking time and air fryer settings may vary depending on the make and model of the air fryer and if different air fryers brands are used.
  • For best results, enjoy warm.
  • Store these leftover tater tots in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. To avoid soggy tater tots, reheat the tater tots in the basket of your air fryer until crispy.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

16 responses to “Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots”

  1. The tater tots came out super crispy and delicious. It’s a quick and easy snack that I’ll definitely be making again!5 stars

  2. This is such a great way to cook frozen tater tots! 🙂 I love using my air fryer. I will have to try this next time I have a craving for tater tots.5 stars

  3. I love tater tots, especially when they have that crunchy crust! These look so good that I think I’ll make them for breakfast tomorrow.5 stars

  4. This is seriously the best way to cook tater tots. They come out so perfect and crispy in way less time than the oven.5 stars

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