Air Fryer Tater Tots

Air fryer tater tots are an easy way to cook these little potato nuggets so they get super crispy in just a few minutes without needing to add any oil. In this post, we will go over the simple steps to transforming frozen tater tots, as well as some tasty toppings and variations to try. Whether you’re a tater tot lover or just looking for a quick and easy side dish recipe, you won’t be disappointed!

Air Fryer Tater Tots

Why I Love Air Fryer Tater Tots

If you don’t already know, kids love tater tots, and honestly, anything you can dip in ketchup. Especially now that my kids do most of the cooking around here, the air fryer is their favorite cooking appliance. Honestly, as a mom who wants my kids to fall in love with cooking, an air fryer is the perfect appliance for them to master. And for my younger kids, it isn’t as intimidating as using the gas range or hot oven. 

To help them learn to make more dishes on their own, I’ve been working on creating easy air fryer recipes that are kid-friendly and ready in just a few minutes. Since my kids would eat potatoes every day if I let them, I figured it was time I created the perfect air fryer tater tots for them. When I was testing this recipe, they were constantly swarming and waiting until the next test batch was done 🙂

Air Fryer Tater Tots Ingredients and Tools

  • Frozen tater tots
  • Kosher salt
  • Air fryer
Air Fryer Tater Tots

How to Make Air Fryer Tater Tots

If you can open a bag of frozen tater tots, you can make these super crispy potato nuggets!

Time needed: 12 minutes

How to Make Air Fryer Tater Tots

  1. Place frozen tater tots into the basket of your air fryer

    The amount depends on the size of your air fryer. The important point is to be sure they are in a single layer. If they stack on top of each other, there isn’t enough room for the hot convected air to circulate properly.

  2. Partially cook the tater tots in the air fryer

    Use the hottest temperature setting your air fryer has, usually 400 degrees. Cook for 6 minutes.

  3. Salt and shake the tater tots

    Use kosher salt and generously sprinkle the tots. Shake the basket to flip the tater tots around.

  4. Finish cooking the tater tots in the air fryer

    Use the same 400-degree temperature and cook for 6-8 more minutes. The amount of time will depend on the power level of your air fryer. This recipe was written using a 1500-watt machine.

Air Fryer Tater Tots FAQs

How long do you cook tater tots in the air fryer?

The answer to this question is dependent on the power level of your air fryer, as well as the temperature used. In a 1500-watt air fryer set at 400 degrees, it will take 12-14 minutes to cook air fryer tater tots and make them very crispy on the outside. A 1300-watt machine will take longer and a 1700-watt machine will take less time.

Can you put frozen tater tots in the air fryer?

Not only can you put frozen tater tots in the air fryer, but I also suggest only using frozen tater tots. Starting with frozen tots allows for the outside to get super crispy without overcooking and drying out the interior of the tots.

Will this recipe work with sweet potato tots?

You bet! This recipe works very well with sweet potato tater tots. Use the recipe exactly the same. The only difference you might run into is the need for an extra minute or two during the second session inside the air fryer.

Which Air Fryer Do You Recommend?

With the popularity of air fryers right now, it is completely overwhelming trying to figure out which one is best for your family. First, determine the size of the air fryer you want because that will impact how much food you can cook at once. For our family, the bigger the volume, the better!

You also want to look at the temperature range and power level of any air fryer you are buying. All air fryers on the market easily hit the 400 degree high but not all of them have a lower temperature range. Definitely select one that goes as low as 250 so you can make all types of recipes, like these Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs. Also, look at the power level. I’ve found 1500 watts to be perfect because almost all air fryer recipes you find online are written for that power level.

This is my very long-winded way of saying I recommend the COSORI 5 qt air fryer. I actually have TWO air fryers and this one is my favorite of the two!

Air Fryer Tater Tots

Recipe Variations

Being a home cook provides endless opportunities to experiment with recipes, personalizing them to your tastes and creativity. Any of the following variations would be great spin-offs of these air fryer tater tots.

  • Add bacon by chopping up some thin-cut bacon into small pieces and tossing it in with the tater tots while they cook. You could also use precooked bacon pieces and add them during the last 2 minutes of cook time.
  • Add cheese to the tots by topping them with shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese right after they come out of the air fryer.
  • Add heat substituting your favorite spicy dry seasoning for the kosher salt. You can also combine the use of shredded cheese as mentioned above and add some fresh or pickled jalapeños on top.

Looking For More Great Air Fryer Recipes?

If this recipe was just what you were looking for, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes. Go grab them now before you forget!

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Air Fryer Tater Tots

Air Fryer Tater Tots

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Ready in 12 minutes and taste even better than the deep fried ones!

  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


Frozen tater tots

Kosher salt, or other dry seasoning


  1. Place a single layer of frozen tater tots into the basket of your air fryer. The amount you use doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t stack any tots on top of one another. The single layer allows for the best circulation of the hot air inside the air fryer.
  2. Cook at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.
  3. Take out the basket and sprinkle a generous amount of salt or seasoning. Shake well so the tots will flip over.
  4. Cook at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes, or until the tots reach your desired level of crispiness.


This recipe was written using a 1500-watt air fryer. A 1300-watt machine will take more time, while a 1700-watt machine will take less.

Cheese variation: top the finished tater tots with your favorite shredded cheese as soon as they come out of the air fryer.

Bacon variation: add chopped, thin sliced bacon in with the tots as they cook.

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/4th
  • Calories: 160 kcal
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 320 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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