Skip to Content

6 Simple Ways to Keep Tater Tots Crispy

6 Simple Ways to Keep Tater Tots Crispy

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

For many, the crispy texture is integral to tater tots’ deliciousness. However, some have difficulty getting the desired crispiness when preparing their tots.

Luckily, getting golden-brown, crunchy tater tots is much easier than you think. Still, you need to follow some special tips to achieve it, depending on your cooking method.

In this article, I’ll guide you to easily achieve crispy, yummy tots regardless of how you prepare them.

1. Conventional Oven

If you use a conventional oven to make tater tots, here are a few tips to get them crispy: 

Open Oven

Extend the Cooking Time a Bit 

The recommended cooking time on the tot’s package will help you thoroughly cook them but won’t achieve the crispness you want. 

So, you should add five more minutes to the cooking time shown on the packaging. This will ensure your tots come out much crunchier and more golden brown.

Add a Little Grease

Another trick to get golden-brown tater tots in the oven is to use grease; I recommend bacon grease. 

Here’s how to use it correctly: place some grease on the baking sheet and let it melt in the oven while it preheats.

Once the grease is melted, you can put the tater tots into it. Then, sprinkle a bit of salt onto them and start cooking.

Flip the Tots Halfway

To get evenly cooked and crispy tater tots, you need to ensure all their sides receive equal heat. So, make sure you flip your tots halfway through the baking time to get yummy crunchy tots.

2. Toaster Oven

Toaster Oven

If you want to prepare your frozen tater tots in a toaster oven, here are some key tips for getting them crunchy rather than soft and soggy:

Elevate the Tots

Elevating tots inside the toaster oven by placing them on a baking rack is crucial to get them crispy. Doing so will ensure your tots are cooked evenly and eventually turn golden brown.

Turn on the Convection Fan 

If your toaster oven has a convection fan, consider switching it on while cooking the tots. This will help them turn out much crispier. 

Still, I recommend paying attention to the following when using a convection fan:

Place your baking rack in the middle of the toaster oven. In addition, lower the baking temperature by 25°F compared to the one recommended in the recipe.

Moreover, with the convection method, you may not need to bake the tots for as long as recommended. 

So, watch the tots’ cooking condition ten minutes or so before the recommended cooking time finishes to turn off the oven if they reach the desired golden-brown color.

3. Skillet

Pouring Oil Into Skillet

Believe it or not, you can make crispy tots like those made in a deep fryer or air fryer using only a skillet over your stovetop.

With that in mind, you should follow these steps to prepare these golden-brown tots in a skillet:

  1. Set the stove to medium-high heat.
  2. Put about a quarter-inch of oil in the pan and place it over the stovetop.
  3. Once the oil is hot, carefully add your frozen tots to the skillet. Be cautious here, and watch out for splattering hot oil. 
  4. While fried, keep moving the tater tots around once they become crispy and golden to avoid getting burned.
  5. Remove tots as they finish frying and transfer them to a plate with a paper towel.

4. Microwave

Open Microwave

We all know that making crispy and crunchy food in the microwave is sometimes challenging. 

However, a little trick can help you get those little potato nuggets nice and crispy. Simply use a microwave-grilled cheese maker. 

Grilled cheese makers use grilling plates to make food crispy. They can work perfectly well to make your tater tots turn out slightly crunchy instead of soggy.

To prepare golden tater tots in a grilled cheese maker, follow these three steps:

  1. Grease the grilled cheese maker with cooking spray or vegetable oil and place the tots in.
  2. Sprinkle a touch of salt onto the tots. 
  3. Set the microwave to high and place the cheese maker inside. 
  4. Your tots should be ready to eat in about five or six minutes.

5. Air Fryer

Air Fryer

Using an air fryer is one of the best cooking methods to easily get a crispy outer shell on those tots without much grease. 

Still, the following are some considerations to keep in mind to get your desired crispiness:

  • You need to preheat your air fryer to 400°F to achieve the crispy texture.
  • Spray a little cooking spray on the tater tots before placing them in the air fryer. 
  • I recommend adding a pinch of salt to the tots before cooking to boost the flavor.
  • Make sure the cooking time is 10-20 minutes, depending on your recipe. This is the perfect time frame to get golden-brown tots.
  • Shake the air fryer basket 10 minutes in to flip the tots and ensure they’re cooked evenly and crispy on all sides. 

6. Deep Fryer

Deep Fryer

Another excellent cooking method to get crispy tots is using a deep fryer. Given that, I recommend you follow these steps when using it to get the best results:

  1. Fill the deep fryer about half full with oil.
  2. Preheat the deep fryer oil to 380°F before adding the tots to it. 
  3. Put enough tater tots in the frying basket to fill half of it.
  4. Once the oil is hot, slowly lower the basket of tater tots into it. Let them fry to crispy perfection for about three or four minutes.
  5. After pulling out the frying basket, empty the tots onto a paper towel and let them cool off for some minutes before serving.

Additional Tips to Get the Crispiest Tater Tots 

There are a couple of general tips to help you yield crispy and crunchy tater tots. These are highly effective regardless of the cooking method you prefer. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Avoid overcrowding tater tots pieces in the cooking container to ensure they’ll cook evenly and achieve the desired crispness.
  • If you cook tots in batches, store the cooked ones in a warm oven. The oven should ideally have 200°F to maintain the tots’ crispiness

Special Bonus: Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots

So, you want to turn your perfectly crisp tater tots into a mouth-watering main dish. You can do so by adding them to some buffalo chicken

Interested? You should definitely try out this recipe. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 32-ounce bag of frozen tater tots
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 cup ranch
  • 1.5 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Once you have these ingredients, let’s move on to the steps:

1. Prepare the Tots

Start by preheating your oven to 450°F. Then, grease your baking sheet and spread the frozen tots onto it.

Bake your potato nuggets for around 20 minutes or until they’re golden and crispy.

2. Cook the Chicken

While your tater tots are baking, place the chicken cubes into a bowl and coat them with olive oil and celery seeds. 

Next, place them into a hot pan over medium-high heat. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, pour the buffalo sauce onto them and mix them well.

3. Combine the Chicken and Tots

Now, put an oven rack about six inches away from the heat and set your oven’s broiler to low. Transfer the chicken and buffalo sauce from the skillet onto the tater tots, and sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over top. 

Place the mixture into the broiler and cook for around five minutes or until the cheese has melted. Then, drizzle ranch over the top.

When done, wait for a few minutes before serving it.

Final Thoughts

Tater tots are so versatile; they make a wonderful side dish for various meals. As you have found out, they can even be the star ingredient in some delicious meals!

Regardless of your preferred cooking method for these appetizers, you now know multiple ways to make them golden-brown crispy. 

Whenever you need help achieving the desired crispness for your next tater tot dish, refer to this article for guidance. 

Share this post: