Hotdish

From Scratch Tater Tot Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. March 12, 2018 (Last Updated: April 3, 2018)
tater tot recipe feature image. Tater tots on a pan with a potato

Now is when we start to get into the thick of our hot dish series and diving deep into hotdish madness. While the traditional hotdish really is a recipe made for ease and generally has components from a can, we are going to try and compose a hotdish from scratch. Doing it this way may defeat the purpose of an easy hotdish, but that is ok.  Despite the bad rap it may get, I do think there is a meal of beauty deep down in there. One component of making our own tater tot hotdish from scratch are the tots. So, let’s make our own tater tot recipe. Go Straight to Recipe.

Getting Started With Tater Tots

First, I have to get this out of the way because whenever I think of tater tots, I think of Napoleon Dynamite.

What is a tater tot?

Tater tots are shredded potatoes that are then formed into cylinders and deep fat fried. “Tater Tots®” is actually a registered trademark of the tot creator, Ore-Ida.

Tater tots on a pan with potatoes

Why Is It Relevant to Hotdish?

Tater Tot hotdish, duh. If you have been following my series, you know that I most associate hotdish with the tater tot hotdish recipe. This may not have been the original recipe, but part of what it evolved to become. Tater tots helped to remove a tedious task and made the dish even easier to just dump and bake. While I will cover other recipes, I am going to spend a majority of my series trying to recreate the comfort food perfection of tater tot hotdish. Why not spend some time focusing in on making my own tater tots?

peeling potatoes on a cutting board

Some disasters along the way of my tater tot hotdish

So, part of the process of recipe development is to experiment and it is no different for my tater tot recipe. Sometimes, part of the territory is failing. In fact, failures can be some of the best learning experiences there are. I feel like messing up can somehow improve me.

shredded potatoes on a cutting board

The tater tot recipe was surprisingly difficult for me. First, I generally don’t deep fat fry things. So, I was a cook for a few years and had my time at the fry station, but it just isn’t the same thing. While this was not an outrageous obstacle, I had to figure out my frying process for making this tater tot hotdish. I do not keep too many gadgets around the house, so I do not keep a Fry Daddy or home fry utility. I ended up using a metal pot with vegetable oil I already had in my pantry. Instead of a frying spatula for moving things around and taking the tots out of my oil, I used a large slotted metal spoon that I have for cheese making. It worked great.

Peel the potatoes

On my second run, I decided to leave the skin on my potatoes. I generally am a fan of leaving the skin on them, as it adds nutrients and it is completely edible. In this case, however, I choose to peel my potatoes. Leaving the skin on resulted in tater tots that looked really ugly. Sure, they tasted good, but the end product was ugly and it was enough of a deterrence to decide to remove them in the future.

Just Fry The Raw Potatoes for my Tater Tot Recipe

Originally, I figured that tater tots were twice or even thrice cooked. I thought that crisp outer shell and the nice and soft insides indicated the tots were handled a bit differently. Cooking them twice did not work as planned. Also, on that run, I did not use something to bind the potatoes together and that was just a big mistake. Sometimes simpler is better. In my tater tot recipe, there is no foolery with cooking them twice. Shred and go.

mixing all the good stuff togetther that goes in tater tots.

The final tater tot product

My end tater tot product ended up being a tasty golden brown and something I really enjoyed eating. If you enjoyed these tater tots or this post, please share it to Pinterest or subscribe to receive new posts by email.

From Scratch Tater Tot Recipe

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tater tot recipe feature image. Tater tots on a pan with a potato

From Scratch Tater Tot Recipe

  • Author: Ben
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Why buy frozen when you can make your own tater tots at home? This recipe is easy and makes some dang good tots!


Ingredients

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Salt to top and to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel potatoes
  2. Finely Shred Potatoes (See Notes)
  3. Place in strainer and squeeze potatoes to get as much water out as possible ( I squeezed and let sit in
  4. strainer for a half hour, but not necessary.. just make sure as much water is removed as possible)
  5. Get your fryer going or add oil to pot appropriate for frying and fill to no more than half full of oil.
  6. Heat to 375 F
  7. While fryer is heating, In mixing bowl add egg and beat
  8. Add flour to bowl and mix with egg
  9. Add potatoes to bowl, salt, cayenne
  10. Mix
  11. Form potatoes to 2 inch long cylinders – they should be approximately tater tot shapes. Balls are fine, as well.
  12. Once heated, do the following in batches appropriate to the size of your fryer:
  13. Add the tots and cook approximately 5 minutes until outside is golden brown
  14. Remove from oil using appropriate basket
  15. Place on plate that has some paper towels to allow oil to drain off and cool
  16. Immediately sprinkle with salt
  17. After cooled enough to handle, eat.

I dig food and drink. One thing I really enjoy is digging deep into recipes and history. I like to think that I have an L.A. face and an Oakland bootie, but nobody has ever really verbalized it before. They are probably thinking it. Find out more in the About page.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    March 12, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Gotta love tater tots!

    • Reply
      Ben
      March 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

      That’s RIGHT gotta love them tots.

  • Reply
    Kiki Johnson
    March 12, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Hi Ben! What a great recipe! I would have expected tater tots to be at least fried twice as well! Knowing, that the recipe is that easy, I am pretty sure I will give it a try!

    • Reply
      Ben
      March 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

      TOTALLY worth a try. And that fine shred is important in this one. My wife fights me for these tater tots. (hint: she usually wins)

  • Reply
    Marie - Not Enough Cinnamon
    March 12, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I love how easy and simple this recipe is! And can I say your baking tray is beautiful?!

    • Reply
      Ben
      March 12, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      It take A LOT of neglect to make a cookie sheet that ‘rustic’ 😉

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 12, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Tater tots are the best, especially when you are a kid! I need to make these for my kids soon!

    • Reply
      Ben
      March 12, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      They were so great as a kid! Still great today!

  • Reply
    K.C.
    March 12, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Seiously…who doesn’t love tatertots or a tatertot hotdish?! And homemade tatertots, even better!!

  • Reply
    Jessica Robinson
    March 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    LOVE that you made tater tots from scratch!! What a great idea. I just made a Cheesy Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole this morning! These would be delicious in that dish!

  • Reply
    Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe - Ramshackle Pantry
    March 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

    […] I have decided to try and construct a complete tater tot hotdish from scratch. Thus far, I have provided a recipe for tater tots and now we are going to work on a cream of mushroom soup. Sure, you can open a can of Campbell’s […]

  • Reply
    Best Homemade Tater Tot Hotdish - Ramshackle Pantry
    March 19, 2018 at 10:01 am

    […] previously made homemade tater tots, and we are going to ask you to make a double batch of that recipe for this from scratch hotdish. […]

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    March 25, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever had a homemade tater tot!

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