With deeply golden, crispy exteriors that give way to tender, creamy interiors, these homemade baked Tater Tots are a better-for-you alternative you can feel good about piling high on your plate.
If you haven’t eaten a fresh, hot, golden batch of crispy tater tots lately, let me refresh your memory: they are delicious.
While the frozen ones in the red bag are fine, today’s homemade tater tots are even better!
- Unlike traditional fried tater tots, these healthy tater tots are baked in the oven, not a deep fryer. That means fewer calories on your plate and more tots in your stomach.
- These are not regular tater tots. These are tater tots with cheese and bacon—plus a sprinkle of chives for good measure. (They remind me of miniature loaded baked potatoes and this Loaded Baked Potato Dip.)
- They’re fun and easy to make. Simply scoop and press into a mini muffin tin, and you’re done! No meticulous shaping by hand is required.
Whether you need a crowd-pleasing appetizer or a side dish to convince your picky eaters to eat their veggies, these better-for-you tater tots will hit the spot. (These Zucchini Fries are another delicious option.)
5 Star Review
“Yaaaas! Perfect concept for an amazing and healthier choice for tots!”— Chris —
How to Make Tater Tots in the Oven
This easy, oven-baked recipe doesn’t require mashing, piping, or frying.
All you need is a bowl, mini muffin tin, and a few simple ingredients you likely already have on hand.
- Russet Potatoes. Often given a bad rap for being starch-heavy and carbohydrate-loaded, potatoes are actually a nutrient-dense food packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin B6.
- Olive Oil. To help keep the tater tots’ interiors moist.
- All-Purpose Flour. Helps bind the potatoes, so the tater tots hold their shape and don’t fall apart after baking.
- Garlic Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper. Seasoning is key for the best tater tots taste.
- Bacon. Baked versions of fried foods often lose their indulgent appeal. That’s not the case here. Crispy bacon gives these baked tots all the savory richness they need to still feel like a special treat.
- Cheese. Go for a full-flavor, melting cheese. Sharp cheddar is my personal favorite.
- Chives. For a final flourish of color, freshness, and flavor.
- Greek Yogurt. I like to serve my tots with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, which is tangy like sour cream, but high in protein and low in fat.
My reader-favorite Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip would be a fantastic dipping option for these healthy baked tater tots!
- Cook the bacon until crisp, cool, then crumble. (Try my easy Baked Bacon in the Oven or Air Fryer Bacon.)
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Then place potatoes in a large pot of simmering water and cook halfway.
Don’t boil your potatoes all the way. You want them par-cooked (meaning partially cooked). This will ensure that your tots are creamy, not mushy, on the inside.
- Drain and let cool before grating the potatoes into a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil, flour, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper and stir to combine.
- Toss in the bacon, cheese, and chives.
- Mix again.
- Scoop and press the potato mixture into a greased mini muffin tin.
Be generous with the nonstick spray. It will keep the tater tots from sticking and give them a golden exterior. I like to use an olive-oil type nonstick spray for this recipe.
- Bake until golden brown, remove from the oven and spray the tops with cooking spray. Flip to the other side, spray again and return to the oven until crisp. ENJOY!
Tater Tot Variations
Feel free to use this tater tots recipe as a base for a variety of flavors.
- Cajun Tater Tots. Spice up your tater tots! Swap in one teaspoon of Cajun seasoning and either reduce or omit the added salt from the recipe.
- Garlic Black Pepper Tater Tots. A favorite in our household. Double the amount of pepper to one teaspoon and use fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder.
- Hash Brown Tots. Serve these at brunch in place of hash browns. Instead of ketchup, include a side of my delicious Homemade BBQ Sauce. (You can also try my Sweet Potato Hash Browns.)
- Tater Tots and Eggs. Top your tater tots with Eggs (poached or fried) and serve them for a rib-sticking breakfast.
- To Store. Leftover tater tots can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Warm gently in a 350-degree F oven until heated through and crispy.
- To Freeze. Fully baked tater tots can be frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze, arrange the baked tater tots on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer until they harden, then transfer to a ziptop bag. Reheat frozen tots directly from the freezer as directed above. DO NOT THAW.
Meal Prep Tip
Scoop the potato mixture into the muffin tins, press it down, then cover the pan with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. Let come to room temperature, then bake as directed.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mini Muffin Pan. Not just for Brownie Bites, this muffin pan brand has been my favorite for years.
- Small Cookie Scoop. Making scooping uniform amounts of the potato mixture a breeze.
- Box Grater. For shredding the potatoes with ease (a microplane also works).
I promise that these better-for-you tater tots in the oven will far surpass anything from a frozen bag!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have only made these homemade tater tots with fresh potatoes. However, I think you could make these tater tots with frozen shredded potatoes with success.
I have not tried air frying this tater tots recipe, so it would be an experiment. If you’d like to play around with this method, you could use this Air Fryer French Fries recipe as a starting point. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to adjust the cooking time to suit your specific air fryer model.
For the ultimate from-scratch tater tot casserole (or if you are from Minnesota or North Dakota, tater tot hotdish), use these homemade tater tots to top your favorite hotdish recipe.
Cooking spray is really key to achieving crispy baked tater tots without sticking. Be generous and feel okay doing so because you are still using far less oil than making deep-fried tater tots.
Taters tots first appeared in the frozen food aisle in 1953. F. Nephi Griggs, founder of Ore-Ida, created them using potato remnants from making frozen french fries in their Oregon facility. It was a clever and profitable way to turn factory waste into a new, trendy, and delicious food product.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 6 strips bacon cooked*
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese about 2 ounces—OK to swap reduced fat, but do not use fat free
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (for serving, optional)
- If necessary, cook the bacon according to one of my easy methods listed below. Once cool, dice into small pieces.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 6 minutes (the potatoes should be about halfway cooked). Drain and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Once cooled, grate the potatoes into a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil, flour, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Gently combine by hand so that the ingredients are as evenly distributed as possible.
- Add the bacon, cheese, and chives.
- Stir to combine.
- Generously coat two 24-cup mini muffin tins with nonstick spray, or make the tots in two batches. With a spoon, scoop about one heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into each muffin cavity, then with your fingers, press each scoop flat.
- Bake until the potatoes are brown at the edges, about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and coat the tops with cooking spray. With a small offset spatula or table knife, flip each tot. Coat tops with nonstick spray once more, then return the pan to the oven and bake until browned, 12 to 15 additional minutes until golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then serve with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- *EASY BACON METHODS: Try my Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Scoop the potato mixture into the muffin tins, press it down, then cover the pan with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. Let come to room temperature, then bake as directed.
- TO STORE: Leftover tater tots can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm gently in a 350-degree F oven until heated through and crispy.
- TO FREEZE: Fully baked tater tots can be frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze, arrange the baked tater tots on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer until they harden, then transfer to a ziptop bag. Reheat directly from frozen as directed above. DO NOT thaw.
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