If you think tater tots are awesome all by themselves, wait until you try these recipes. Just a few steps beyond the usual cook-and-eat method, these preparations turn everyone’s favorite potato bites into impressive appetizers — or even a festive dessert. (We didn’t think it was possible, either!)
Once you discover how easy it is to turn tater tots into fancy finger foods, you may be inspired to dream up your own creations. Throw a few bags of tots (find our favorites here) in the freezer, and you’ll always be party-ready.
Hot to tot yet? Read on, and you will be!
Tater Tots with Crème Fraîche and Caviar
Elegance doesn’t come easier than these caviar-topped tots standing tall, proud, and crowned with luxury toppings.
For a silver-tray–worthy presentation: Cook frozen tots on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet at 450°F for 10 minutes, remove them from the oven, and carefully stand each tot upright on the sheet (if needed, gently press them down to ensure an even, sturdy base). Return to the oven and cook until crispy, another 10 minutes. Move them to a serving place to cool, then stand each tot on its sturdy, flattened end. Top with a little dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream followed by a small blob of caviar.
One-Bite Artichoke Quiches with Tater Tot Crust
If you’ve got a mini muffin tin, tater tots, and cooking spray, you have everything necessary to make edible hors d’oeuvre cups. (A regular muffin tin works too, but the results will be four-bite appetizers — see note below.) Here, we effortlessly turn them into mini artichoke quiches, but you can add whatever filling you wish.
To make 36 one-bite quiches, spray the cups of mini muffin tins with baking spray, add 2 frozen tater tots to each cup, and cook at 450°F on an oven rack at the lowest position for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using the back of a teaspoon, carefully press the tots into a puffy cup shape in the tin. Cook 5 minutes more on the lowest rack. Meanwhile, mix 1 large egg, 1/2 cup store-bought artichoke dip, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt until well combined. Then spoon 1 teaspoon egg mixture into each cup and bake in the center of the oven until just set, about 8 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, transfer to a plate to cool completely, top with an “x” of mini chive batons, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: To use a regular-size muffin tin — which will give you larger mini quiches — add 4 tots each to 6 greased muffin-tin cups and follow the instructions for making and baking the crust, then add 2 tablespoons egg mixture per cup and continue baking until set.
Tater Tot Waffles with Savory Toppings
Making tater tot waffles is as easy as thaw, spread, press, and serve. Loving them is even easier, especially when you serve them alongside elegant toppings. Here’s how:
Working in batches, fill a lightly greased waffle iron with enough thawed potato tots to make one layer across the surface with all tots touching. Tightly close the waffle iron, pressing down while using an oven mitt, if necessary. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the tots are waffle-shaped and dark golden in places. Open the waffle iron, fill any waffle holes with more thawed tots, then press until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes more, depending on your waffle iron. Keep tot waffles warm in a 250°F oven. Repeat to make enough waffles for your group or slice into wedges or squares (depending on your iron shape) for smaller portions. Serve tater tot waffles on a platter with sides of smoked salmon or smoked trout; sour cream; an herb salad of dill and parsley — or just dill — and lemon wedges.
A pile of cheesy, decadent tater-tot goodness is the ultimate party food. Here we lean Italian with the toppings, but classic nacho fixings work just as well. Plunk this feast in the middle of the table with a serving spoon, side plates, and forks, and watch it disappear.
To make it, spread 1 (32-ounce) bag of tater tots in one layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then cook at 450°F for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook 1/2 pound raw, sweet Italian ground pork sausage, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces until browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cooked sausage over the tots. Top with 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese and jarred Italian giardiniera (drained) to taste, then return to the oven and cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with sour cream, sprinkle with chopped tomato, and serve.
Tater Tot Churros
Little nuggets of salty, crunchy, fried goodness coated in cinnamon and sugar? Yes, please! Just cook the tots extra crispy, roll them in sugar and spice, and serve:
Working in batches if necessary, spread the tots from one 32-ounce bag onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper; make sure they are well spaced so they can get crispy. Cook at 450°F until extra crispy, about 25 minutes, turning halfway through. In a mixing bowl, mix ½ cup sugar and 1-1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon. Toss the tots in the mixture to coat, remove to a plate or platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Want more easy freezer recipes? Check out our game day snack list!
Photographer: Paul Quitoriano
Food Styling: Lena Abraham
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez