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Homemade Tater Tots

The trick to homemade tots with that classic crunch and flavor? Get your oil hot enough and don’t crowd the pan. Making your tots in batches will ensure you get perfect results every time.

Featured in: Homemade Tater Tots Are Easier Than You Think

  • Yield: About 30 tots


  • 1 ¼ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 450°.

  2. Step 2

    In a large bowl, add the potato cubes, 2 tablespoons oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt, tossing well to coat. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the bottoms are browned but the tops are a little undercooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 4 inches into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry or candy thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 375°. Set a cooling rack over a layer of paper towels.

  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, transfer the cooled potatoes to the bowl of a food processor, along with any remaining oil from the baking sheet, and pulse about 30 times or until the potato pieces are pea-sized or smaller.

  5. Step 5

    Pour the potatoes into a large bowl, then add the potato flakes, butter, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt, then stir to combine.

  6. Step 6

    Using about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture at a time, form a classic tot shape with your hands, placing each tot on a plate or rimmed baking sheet as you go. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

  7. Step 7

    Fry the tots in batches of 10 until crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. (Make sure the oil temperature returns to 375° before frying each additional batch.) Transfer to the cooling rack to cool slightly. Serve hot.