How to Make REAL Tater Tots at Home
When you're young, utensils tend to be optional—and eating with your hands is optimal. One of the best examples of finger food for kids that has pervaded today's nostalgia-driven culture is tater tots.
Tater tots are one of those snacks (or meals) that pairs well with just about anything. Whether you like to dunk yours in ketchup or top them with melted cheese and chili, we can all agree that tots in any preparation make the world a better—and more delicious—place.
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Today, I'll be showing you how to use fresh ingredients to make these delectable snacks from scratch. Once you try homemade tots, you'll never pick up that frozen bag at the grocery ever again!
- 4 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- Canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. cracked, black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. garlic salt
- Additional salt and pepper, to taste
- Shred the potatoes on a box grater. (Alternatively, you can use a potato ricer if you own one.)
- Use a kitchen towel to squeeze out any excess liquid from the grated potatoes.
- Place the potatoes in a bowl and season them with the salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
- Add the beaten egg and mix well.
- Then add the flour and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Pour the canola oil in a deep pan with a heavy bottom. The amount of oil should be enough to come halfway up the sides of the pot.
- Heat the oil to 375°F.
- Form the potato mixture into tots—about an inch in diameter.
- (Optional): If you would like to use the tots at a later date, freeze them at this point instead of frying them. Lay the tots in a resealable, plastic bag without letting them touch one another. Do not stack them or the tots will freeze together. Place the bag horizontally, preferably on a flat space in the freezer.
- Place them gently in the hot oil, frying them in small batches without overloading the pan. Do this for four to five minutes, turning them once or twice, until they are golden brown on all sides.
- Remove the tots from fryer and drain them on a paper towel-lined tray.
- While they are hot, season with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
When Frying Frozen Tots: Keep an eye on the oil temperature and do not crowd the pan. The frozen tots will lower the oil temperature and they will take longer to fry, soaking up oil along the way. The less time the tots spend in the hot oil, the better!
Hot, homemade tater tots are great on their own, but don't let that stop you from getting creative. Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the raw potato mixture, ½ cup of chopped chives, ½ cup of cooked bacon, or all a combination of the three to turn your tots into a creative spin on stuffed, baked potatoes.
As for sauces, ketchup is the norm... but if you'd like to try something different, add 1 Tbsp. of Sriracha to ½ a cup of mayo for a spicy dipping sauce with an extra kick.
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However you choose to enjoy your tots, I'm sure you can agree that they certainly aren't just for kids anymore. Let us know in the comments if you've got any especially awesome ideas for how to enjoy these homemade tots!