How to Make the Best Homemade Tater Tots

If you’ve ever had store-bought tater tots, you know that nothing quite beats the taste of crispy, golden homemade tater tots. Making your own tater tots from scratch may seem intimidating, but with a few simple steps, you can create a batch of these delicious potato treats that will rival any restaurant’s version. Whether you’re looking for a side dish for your next meal or a tasty snack, homemade tater tots are sure to hit the spot.

To start making the best homemade tater tots, you’ll need just a few key ingredients: russet potatoes, an egg, flour, seasonings of your choice, and oil for frying. Begin by peeling and grating the potatoes. A food processor or box grater works well for this step. Be sure to squeeze out any excess moisture from the grated potatoes to ensure your tater tots turn out nice and crispy.

Next, in a large bowl, mix the grated potatoes with the egg, flour, and your preferred seasonings. The seasonings could include salt, pepper, garlic powder, or any other flavors you enjoy. Once everything is thoroughly combined, it’s time to shape the tater tots. Take a spoonful of the potato mixture and roll it into a small cylinder shape. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the mixture.

Now, it’s time to fry the tater tots to perfection. Heat oil in a skillet or deep fryer to about 375°F (190°C). Carefully place the tater tots into the hot oil and fry them until they are golden brown and crispy. This should take about 2-3 minutes per batch. Once fried, remove the tater tots from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Serve them immediately, and enjoy the homemade goodness.

The Secret to Crispy Homemade Tater Tots

The Secret to Crispy Homemade Tater Tots

Add cornstarch or breadcrumbs to the coating mixture.

The secret to achieving crispy homemade tater tots lies in the coating mixture. Along with the usual ingredients such as grated potatoes, onions, and seasoning, adding cornstarch or breadcrumbs to the mix can help create a crunchier texture. Cornstarch or breadcrumbs act as a binding agent, absorbing excess moisture and forming a crispy outer layer when fried or baked. The ratio of cornstarch or breadcrumbs to the other ingredients may vary depending on personal preference, but a good starting point is to add about 1-2 tablespoons for every cup of grated potatoes.

If you prefer a gluten-free option, cornstarch is a great choice. It’s also important to ensure that the potatoes are thoroughly squeezed of excess moisture before forming them into tots. This will help the tots hold their shape better and prevent them from becoming too soggy. Additionally, frying the tater tots in hot oil or baking them at a high temperature can further enhance their crispiness. Remember to flip the tots halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.

To summarize, the secret to achieving crispy homemade tater tots is to add cornstarch or breadcrumbs to the coating mixture. This helps absorb excess moisture and creates a crunchy outer layer when frying or baking. Make sure to squeeze the potatoes of excess moisture, fry them in hot oil or bake at a high temperature, and flip them halfway through cooking to ensure a crispy, golden brown exterior.

Choosing the Right Potatoes

Choosing the Right Potatoes

Russet Potatoes: Russet potatoes are widely considered the best choice for making tater tots. These potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture, which helps create a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. They also have a mild flavor that pairs well with other ingredients. When selecting russet potatoes, look for ones that are firm and have a smooth, unblemished skin.

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes can also be used to make tater tots. These potatoes have a slightly buttery flavor and a creamy texture, which will result in a softer and more delicate tot. If you prefer a less crispy tater tot, opt for Yukon gold potatoes. Make sure to choose ones that are clean, firm, and have a golden skin.
  • Red Potatoes: Red potatoes are another option for making tater tots, although they are not as commonly used as russet or Yukon gold potatoes. These potatoes have a waxy texture and a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. Tater tots made from red potatoes will be denser and stickier. Choose red potatoes that are firm and have smooth skins with few blemishes.

Note: Avoid using waxy or new potatoes, as they have a higher moisture content and are not suitable for making tater tots. Additionally, it’s important to peel the potatoes before using them to ensure a consistent texture and flavor.

Potato Varieties for Tater Tots
Potato Variety Texture Flavor Skin
Russet Potatoes Crispy exterior, fluffy interior Mild Smooth, unblemished
Yukon Gold Potatoes Softer, more delicate Slightly buttery Golden
Red Potatoes Denser, stickier Slightly sweet, earthy Smooth, few blemishes

Grating vs. Mashing: Which Method is Best?

Grating vs. Mashing: Which Method is Best?

Grating: Grating the potatoes involves using a grater or food processor to shred the potatoes into small, thin pieces. This method is often preferred for its ability to create a crispy and crunchy texture in the tater tots. The shredded potatoes have more surface area, allowing them to crisp up nicely when baked or fried. Grating also helps to evenly distribute the potato pieces, resulting in more consistent tater tots. However, grating can be time-consuming and requires a bit of effort.

Mashing: Mashing the potatoes involves boiling them until they are tender, and then using a potato masher or fork to crush them into a smoother consistency. This method is typically easier and quicker than grating. Mashing the potatoes can result in tater tots that have a softer and creamier texture on the inside, while still maintaining a crispy exterior when cooked. However, the mashed potatoes may be more prone to falling apart during the shaping process, requiring additional ingredients such as flour or breadcrumbs to bind them together.

Grating Mashing
Creates a crispy texture Produces a softer and creamier texture
More time-consuming Quicker and easier
Evenly distributes potato pieces Potato may be prone to falling apart
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