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Tater tots are a favorite of many people because they are so convenient and easy to make. They also go well with many different meals. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get your tots to turn out as crispy as you would like them to be.
It is actually much easier than you think to get golden-brown, crunchy tater tots, though some cooking methods are better than others for doing this. This article aims to detail how to get your tater tots to come out crispy and delicious according to the cooking method you are using, whether it be a microwave, a toaster oven, or anything in between.
Keep reading to learn how to effortlessly get crispy tots every time you make them. Also, make sure to check out the recipe at the end of the article for a meal idea that incorporates those crunchy, golden tots.
1 – Conventional Oven
If you are utilizing a conventional oven to make tater tots, there are certain tips you can follow to get them to turn out crispy. First, you should add an extra five minutes or so to the cooking time that is shown on the packaging. This will ensure they come out much crunchier and more golden-brown.
Another trick you can try out when cooking your tater tots in the oven is using bacon grease, or any grease, for that matter. You can put some of the grease on the baking sheet you plan to use and let it get melty in the oven while it preheats.
Once the grease is liquified, you can roll the tater tots around in it to coat them with it, and you can sprinkle a bit of salt onto them as well. Also, make sure you flip your tots halfway through the baking time. Taking these steps will result in crunchy tots that are also much more flavorful.
2 – Toaster Oven
If you want to prepare your frozen tater tots in a toaster oven, the key to getting them to come out crunchy rather than soft and soggy is to elevate them by placing them on a baking rack inside the toaster oven.
Also, if your toaster oven happens to have a convection fan in it, you should most certainly use it as this will help your tater tots turn out much crispier. If you are using the convection option, make sure that you put your baking rack in the middle of the toaster oven, and lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. You also may not need to bake them for as long with the convection method.
3 – Skillet
One way you can ensure your tots get crispy without a deep fryer or air fryer is by making them in a skillet over your stovetop. Simply put about a quarter-inch of oil in the pan, and set the stove to medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, you can carefully add your frozen tots to the skillet, making sure to watch out for splattering hot oil. Keep moving the tater tots around as they become crispy and golden so they do not burn.
You can remove them as they finish frying and transfer them to a plate with a paper towel on it.
4 – Microwave
When it comes to making food crispy and crunchy, this can be quite difficult to accomplish when you are heating it up in a microwave. However, for tater tots, there is actually a trick you can use to get those little potato nuggets nice and crispy, though you will need a microwave grilled cheese maker.
Grilled cheese makers use grilling plates to make food crispy, and they work well for making your tater tots turn out slightly crunchy instead of soggy.
All you need to do is grease the grilled cheese maker with cooking spray or vegetable oil, and sprinkle a bit of salt onto your tots. They should be ready to eat in about five or six minutes with your microwave set to high.
5 – Air Fryer
Air fryers are great because you can easily get a crispy outer shell on those tots without all the grease. To make sure your tater tots turn out nice and crunchy, let your air fryer preheat all the way before popping them into it.
If you want to really ensure you get a crispy end result, coat your tater tots in cooking spray, and you can also sprinkle on a bit of salt. Be certain to flip the basket holding your tots halfway through their cooking time to get both sides evenly crunchy.
Cooking your tater tots at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes should get them good and crispy.
6 – Deep Fryer
To really get some crispy (as well as unhealthy) tots, you can throw them into a deep fryer, if you happen to own one. Fill the fryer about half full with oil, and put enough tater tots in the frying basket to fill half of it as well.
Once the oil has gotten hot, you can slowly lower the basket of tater tots into it and let it fry them to crispy perfection for about three or four minutes. After you have pulled out the frying basket, empty the tots onto a paper towel and let them cool off for a while, as they will be piping hot.
Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots
If you want to turn those plain old tater tots, as delicious as they are, into something more meal-worthy and you love buffalo chicken, you should definitely try out this recipe.
Here are the ingredients you will need:
- 32-ounce bag frozen tater tots
- 2 pounds chicken breast, cubed
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
- 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
- 1/2 cup ranch
- 1-1/2 tablespoons celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
First, you need to preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and then spread your frozen tots onto a baking sheet, which you can grease if you would like to prevent your tots from sticking. Bake your potato nuggets for around 25 minutes or however long it takes for them to get golden and crispy.
While your tater tots are busy baking, put your cubes of chicken into a bowl, and coat them in the olive oil and celery seeds. Next, place them into a hot pan over medium-high heat, cooking them to completion before pouring the buffalo sauce onto them and combining it all.
Now, set your oven’s broiler to low, and put an oven rack about six inches away from the heat. Put the chicken and buffalo sauce from the skillet onto the tater tots, and sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese overtop. Place it in the broiler, and let it cook for around five minutes, or until the cheese has melted, then drizzle ranch over the top.
Tater tots are so versatile. They make a wonderful side dish for various meals—they are even capable of being the star ingredient in some delicious meals, as you have found out.
Now that you know multiple ways to make crispy, golden-brown tater tots, you will likely be stocking up on bags of frozen tots and trying out every method mentioned in this article to find your favorite way to cook them.