Crispy Air Fryer Tater Tots: A Family Favorite Made Easy

Tater tots are a beloved classic for kids and adults alike. These bite-sized potato treats are perfect for snacking, as a side dish, or even as a fun topping for a casserole. With an air fryer, you can achieve the perfect crispy texture without the excess oil of traditional deep frying. Here’s how to make delicious, crispy tater tots in your air fryer.

Air Fryer Tater Tots


  • 1 bag (32 oz) of frozen tater tots
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: your favorite seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, etc.)

Make Your Tater Tots from Scratch

  1. Gather Your Ingredients: You’ll need about 2 pounds of russet potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. You’ll also need oil for frying.
  2. Prep the Potatoes: Wash and peel the potatoes. Then, grate them using the large holes of a box grater.
  3. Remove Excess Moisture: Place the grated potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. This step is important for getting crispy tater tots.
  4. Season the Potatoes: Transfer the grated potatoes to a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then mix until well combined.
  5. Form the Tater Tots: Take about a tablespoon of the potato mixture and shape it into a small cylinder, about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
  6. Freeze the Tater Tots: Place the formed tater tots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until solid. This helps the tater tots hold their shape during cooking.

Tip when using Olive Oil and Air Frying

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the highest quality olive oil. It’s made from pure, cold-pressed olives. However, it has a lower smoke point than other types of olive oil, around 320°F-375°F (160°C-190°C). Therefore, it’s best used for low-heat cooking, dressings, and dips.
  2. Virgin Olive Oil: This is also a first-press oil, but it’s made from slightly riper olives. It has a slightly higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil, around 420°F (215°C).
  3. Pure Olive Oil or Olive Oil: These oils are a blend of cold-pressed and processed oils. They have a higher smoke point, around 465°F (240°C), making them more suitable for high-heat cooking, including air frying.
  4. Light or Extra Light Olive Oil: Despite the name, these oils are not lower in calories. The “light” refers to the color and flavor. These oils have the highest smoke point of all olive oils, around 470°F (243°C), and can be used for high-heat cooking.

So, while extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point and isn’t ideal for high-heat cooking, other types of olive oil like pure olive oil, olive oil, or light olive oil have higher smoke points and can be used for air frying.


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C). This ensures that the tater tots start cooking immediately when you put them in, giving them a nice, crispy exterior.
  2. While the air fryer is preheating, put the frozen tater tots in a large bowl. Drizzle them with the olive oil, then toss until they’re well coated. The oil helps the tater tots get extra crispy.
  3. If you’re using additional seasonings, sprinkle them over the oiled tater tots now and toss again to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  4. Arrange the tater tots in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook them in batches. Overcrowding the basket can result in less crispy tater tots.
  5. Cook the tater tots for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure they cook evenly. The tater tots should be golden brown and crispy when they’re done.
  6. Carefully remove the tater tots from the air fryer (the basket will be hot!) and sprinkle with salt to taste. If you like, you can also add a little more of your chosen seasonings at this point.
  7. Serve your air fryer tater tots hot, with your favorite dipping sauces. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing are all popular choices.

This air fryer tater tots recipe is a quick and easy way to enjoy a favorite snack. The air fryer gives you crispy, delicious tater tots with less oil than traditional methods, making this a healthier option that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of oil for this recipe?

Absolutely! While we used olive oil in this recipe, you can also use other types of oil like canola, vegetable, or avocado oil. Just make sure to choose an oil with a high smoke point since the air fryer gets quite hot.

Can I make my own tater tots from scratch?

Yes, you can definitely make your own tater tots from scratch. You’ll need to grate potatoes, squeeze out the excess moisture, form them into small cylinders, and freeze them before air frying.

How do I store leftover air fryer tater tots?

Store any leftover tater tots in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should last for about 3-4 days. To reheat, just pop them back in the air fryer for a few minutes until they’re hot and crispy again.

Can I cook other frozen foods in the air fryer?

Yes, the air fryer is great for cooking a variety of frozen foods. From french fries to chicken nuggets to vegetables, the air fryer can make your favorite frozen foods crispy and delicious in no time. Just remember to adjust the cooking time and temperature as needed.

Rebekah Plec

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