Homemade Tater Tots

Love tater tots but not processed foods? Try these homemade tater tots, made simply with potatoes and olive oil and baked until crispy.

Baked Homemade Tater Tots | A Couple Cooks

What foods make you most nostalgic? Is it your grandmother’s peach cobbler? Your mom’s mac and cheese? It’s interesting how generational foods have become. If you’re part of my generation, you might have fond memories of tater tots. A little Google research shows they were invented in 1953 when a company was trying to decide what to do with leftover slivers of cut up potato. They chopped it, mixed it with flour and salt and fried up little bits of it. Genius, right? Incredibly, today Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of tater tots per year (so says Wikipedia).

Still trying to wrap my mind around that. 70 million pounds of tater tots?

Rule #39 in Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules says that you can eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself. He figures that with the effort required to make it, you’ll indulge only occasionally. This is just how Alex and I feel about tater tots. After working to minimize the processed foods in our diet, we’ve begun to make many of the foods we used to buy.

Instead of buying frozen french fries, we have a crispy oven baked fries recipe where we hand cut them and bake them at home. Not only are they clean eating, but the flavor is also 1,000 times better. Jamoca almond fudge ice cream? We’ve got a recipe; it’s vegan and made completely of whole foods. Granted, it’s a bit of a process to make it and it’s not even close to healthy, but that’s what makes it an occasional treat.

Homemade tater tots ingredients

For these baked tater tots, you’ll need red skinned potatoes, flour, garlic powder and onion powder, kosher salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s important that you buy red skinned potatoes in particular since they’re a little smaller than regular potatoes and parboil more quickly. Feel free to play around with the seasonings though — tater tots pair well with so many flavors!

How to make tater tots from scratch

It’s a bit of a process to make tater tots, but they’re worth it!  You peel and parboil the potatoes until they are slightly tender but not mushy. Then you grate them, mix them with a bit of flour and spices, and form them into nuggets. After brushing the tater tots with olive oil, they’re roasted in a very hot oven, turning occasionally until they’re crispy.

Baking them in this manner results in tater tots that are a bit flatter than the traditional fried cylinder, but the flavor is just as good. And honestly, they’re not too terrible for you either, since they’re made simply with potatoes and olive oil. (Pick these over jamoca almond fudge any day.)

Since they’re a bit of a project, we like making these homemade tater tots as part of a dinner. While they’d accompany a veggie burger perfectly, we’d rather just top them with delicious toppings and eat them as a main dish. That’s right, tater tot nachos! Our recipe is inspired by a dish we had when on vacation in Montana.

In the meantime, serve up some of these baked homemade tater tots for a nostalgic trip down memory lane (or maybe not so nostalgic, if you’re part of the 70 million pounds).

Related: Homemade Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Baked Homemade Tater Tots | A Couple Cooks

How to reheat tater tots

If you have leftover homemade tater tots, I recommend reheating them either in a skillet on the stove or in the oven. To reheat tater tots in the oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook the tots in a 350ºF oven for 15-20 minutes. Check the tater tots halfway through the cooking time to make sure they’re not burning or getting too crisp on one side. Some ovens burn hotter than others, so you may need to turn the heat down halfway through!

To reheat tater tots on the stove, drizzle a little olive oil in a pan and turn the burner to medium heat. Cook the tater tots until heated through, about 7-10 minutes, making sure not to stir them too often (you run the risk of breaking them apart if you stir too frequently).

Looking for healthy side dishes? 

We love making your favorite sides a little healthier without skimping on flavor. A few of our top healthy side dishes:

Looking for healthy snacks? 

When we’re not eating homemade tater tots, we reach for healthy snacks. A few of our top healthy snacks:

Looking for vegetarian meals? 

Though we’re not 100% vegetarian, we eat vegetarian meals on the regular. A few of our top vegetarian meals:

This homemade tater tots recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Homemade Tater Tots

Homemade Tater Tots

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Love tater tots but not processed foods? Try these homemade tater tots, made simply with potatoes and olive oil and baked until crispy.



  • 2 pounds red skinned potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all purpose or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Place them in a large pot, cover with 1 inch of cold water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, parboil for 6 to 7 minutes until they give when poked with a fork, but are still slightly firm (the fork should encounter some resistance). The goal is to parboil the potatoes, not fully boil them, so that they’re still dry enough to grate in the next step.
  3. Remove the potatoes, drain them well, and dry them with a towel. Allow them to cool for several minutes (this also helps to achieve he right consistency for grating). Then, finely grate them with a box grater. Place the grated potato into a large bowl and mix in the flour, spices and salt and pepper using your hands, squeezing the mixture a few times to help it to come together. If the mixture is very wet, add a tablespoon or two more flour.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and brush it lightly with olive oil. Form the dough into small cylinders, squeezing it together with your hands. Make the tots small enough to have 40 on one sheet (you may have some extra dough remaining). Lightly brush olive oil over the top of the tots.
  5. Place the sheet in the oven and bake 15 minutes on one side. Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully flip each tot over using a spoon (taking care not to touch the baking sheet). Don’t worry if a few break apart a bit; just squeeze them back together and they will set upon further baking. Reverse the baking sheet and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the tots one more time using a spoon, and bake another about 5 minutes until the tots are evenly golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving, which allows the tots to set.


Note that baking these homemade tater tots makes them a bit flatter than the traditional cylinder shape, but the flavor is just as good.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: homemade tater tots, baked tater tots

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    September 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    If I only need a couple of tablespoons of flour what would you suggest I use to make it Gluten Free without having to buy a big bag of flour? Thanks, they look amazing!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I would recommend GF flour if at all possible…we haven’t tested it any other way and I’d worry about the texture being different! Sometimes we use cornstarch or oat flour but I’m not sure they’d work for these tots!

      • Reply
        September 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

        Thank you.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    I didn’t have flour in the house and I wanted to make these tonight, so I improvised by using Chickpea Flour. I frequently use Chickpea or Garbanzo Bean Flour for gravies and sauces, since I am trying to cut back on using regular flour. The process was “sticky”, however in my opinion they tasted good. I doubled the recipe because there were four large appetites in the house tonight. Our son, who came by, said they tasted good. I thanked him and said it was a bit difficult to make them, to which he replied “you made these?” I guess they tasted so good that he assumed they were from the store. There were only six remaining of the approx 24 that I made. That tells me more than words!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Hello! I just want to check – it says that the “yield” is 4, does that mean it’ll serve four people? Or it makes 4 tater tots? :P

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 31, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Ha! Serves four :)

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