Almost Homemade Tater Tots


tater totsThese almost homemade tater tots are easy, yummy, and so much better than frozen. The secret is using shredded potatoes from the grocery, which cuts prep time in half!

According to this Daily South article on, tater tots are trending in the food world.  No longer viewed as a lowly lunch room staple, tots are getting fancy. Whether fried in duck fat, smothered in gourmet cheeses, or serving as the foundation for loaded “totchos,” tater tots are commanding respect. In fact. this year has been named “Year of the Tot.”

Having always loved tater tots, I am perfectly happy baking them from frozen, heavily salting them, and dipping them in ketchup. But the trend toward gourmet & fancified tots prompted me to step out of my comfort zone and try making a homemade version.

Many homemade tater tot recipes call for boiling or baking potatoes before shredding them. Always looking for a shortcut, I used Simply Potatoes hash browns to avoid this long step. Since these hash browns are shredded but not cooked,  I microwaved them (in a Ziploc Zip & Steam) for four minutes before seasoning and shaping them. I made my “tots” oversized–actually more like potato patties.

These turned out to be an easy do-ahead side. I mixed all the ingredients and shaped the patties early in the day and refrigerated them until time to cook. I actually think these could be frozen and cooked later–and frozen would likely be easier to handle. The patties made from fresh potatoes are a bit hard to hold together.

NOTE: it is very important to let the tots fry long enough on the first side before turning them, as turning them too soon will result in their falling apart. Mine took roughly 6-7 minutes per side to turn golden brown.

If you have a version of tater tots that you’d like to share, please tell me about it! I love getting comments and reader emails, so please, keep in touch!

Almost Homemade Tater Tots


  • 1 bag Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB chopped chives or scallions (optional)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • canola oil for frying (1-1/2″ in a skillet)


  1. Microwave hash browns (I use Zip & Steam Ziploc bags) for about 4 minutes.
  2. Pour cooked potatoes into large bowl.
  3. Add flour, EVOO, chives/scallions, pepper, sea salt, and garlic salt.
  4. Mix ingredients well.
  5. Shape into patties or whatever size you prefer.
  6. Heat oil on medium-high to high.
  7. Carefully add potatoes, frying without turning until each side is fully golden brown.
  8. Remove from skillet; salt & pepper before serving.


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  1. A really good recipe. Problem with tater tots is having the center turn to mashed potatoes. Adding olive oil solves that problem. We added oil and spices then mixed thoroughly before adding the flour. There is enough flour to hold the tots together without having to use an egg.
    Had a little trouble with potato strands sticking out. A rough chop before microwaving would fix that. Four minutes in our lower watt microwave was perfect. We fried at 335 to 350 F and it took 3 to 4 minutes on a side. Will make this again soon. Thanks.

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