Tater tots were first invented in the 1950s in America. Since then, this potato-based side dish has become one of the all-time favorites loved by kids and adults.
Although commercially prepared products are widely available, tater tots are reasonably simple to make at home.
A traditional recipe starts with parboiling and grating the potatoes. Next, flour and seasoning are added. The mixture is then formed into ‘tots’ or small cylinders and finally deep-fried until golden brown and crispy.
Of course, the deep-fried appetizer is best enjoyed hot, right off the stove. So, what about leftovers? Can you reheat tater tots to taste like freshly baked?
The crispy, golden brown texture is what you want to preserve the most from these crunchy bites. You have a few options of reheating methods; in the oven, air fryer, or skillet.
Well, keep reading to find all you need to know about the proper ways to reheat tater tots.
Can You Reheat Tater Tots To Make Them Crispy Again?
When it comes to reheating foods, your microwave might be your go-to, ultimate appliance. So, can you cook tater tots in the microwave?
Yes and no. Some commercially prepared products, such as from Ore-Ida, have been designed to be microwaveable. In addition, the packaging is equipped with silver crisping foil to crisp up the tots as they cook in the microwave.
Unfortunately, for homemade and non-microwavable versions, microwaving them is not a good idea. The rule of thumb is pretty similar to reheating other deep-fried foods, including French fries and onion rings.
Avoid microwaving tater tots because they will become soft and soggy, thus lacking the crispy texture.
How to Keep Tater Tots Warm For A Party
If you only need to wait for 15 to 30 minutes before serving, simply place the tots on a plate and cover them in aluminum foil.
The foil acts as an insulator to trap the heat inside and thus keep the food warm for a short time. This is perfect when you have to bring the food outside for a party.
Alternatively, you can use your oven to keep the tots warm. First, arrange the delicious balls in a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Then, set the oven to 200 to 250 F and keep them inside until you’re ready to serve them.
Next, let’s touch down to the ultimate guide of reheating leftover tater tots and restore their desirable crispy texture!
Option 1: Reheating Tater Tots In the Oven
Reheating in the oven is your best bet to restore the crispiness without getting the balls greasy as little to no oil is added. It is also perfect when you need to warm up large quantities.
This method takes a considerable amount of time for preheating the oven and baking. Make sure that you have enough time before dinner starts.
Here is the detailed instruction.
- 1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. This temperature is ideal for reheating and crisping up tater tots.
- 2. Arrange them in a cookie sheet in a single layer. Don’t stack them and overcrowd the tray because the heat won’t distribute evenly.
- 3. Cover the tray with aluminum foil to trap the heat inside and prevent the tots from burning.
- 4. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until everything is heated up thoroughly. Check regularly to prevent them from getting overheated and burned.
- 5. Once they are thoroughly heated, remove them immediately. Be careful and don’t burn yourself when removing the foil.
- 6. Serve immediately.
Option 2: Reheating Tater Tots on a Stovetop
Reheating in the oven might be the best bet considering the final result, but it does take time. So, you will need a faster method if you have starving mouths waiting impatiently. In that case, reheating in the skillet is your next best option.
Here is how to do it.
- 1. In a skillet or frying pan, add some vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
- 2. Heat the pan over medium heat. Be careful not to use too high heat as the oil will be too hot and end up burning your potato bites. If the pan looks too hot or the oil is smoking, don’t hesitate to lower the heat.
- 3. Once the oil is hot, add tater tots into the pan. It is best to work with a small amount at a time. To reheat large quantities, work in several rounds and avoid overcrowding the pan.
- 4. Heat them up and flip them often, so both sides are perfectly warmed up. Watch them constantly, so they won’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
- 5. Once they are nicely heated and crisped up, remove them from the pan.
- 6. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Let them stand for a couple of minutes to drain off excess oil.
- 7. Serve immediately while they’re still warm!
Option 3: Reheating Tater Tots in an Air Fryer
If you’re choosing a healthy alternative for deep frying, chances are you have an air fryer. In that case, you can also reheat tater tots in this increasingly popular appliance.
Considering the capacity of the basket, reheating in an air fryer is suitable for small quantities. Work in batches if you have tons of leftovers to warm up.
Here is the proper way to do it.
- 1. Preheat your air fryer to 350 to 380 F.
- 2. Place tater tots in the basket without overcrowding it.
- 3. Reheat for about 5 minutes. Check to see whether they are fully reheated. If not, put them back and continue reheating for 2 to 3 minutes.
- 4. Once ready, remove them from the basket and serve immediately!
Like other cooked potatoes, tater tots usually retain their maximum freshness for 3 to 5 days if adequately refrigerated in a sealed container.
Absolutely yes! You can prepare your homemade version and freeze it for future serving. To freeze, make the tots as usual and form into bite-sized pieces. Arrange them in a foil-lined baking sheet and flash freeze for 1 to 2 hours.
Once they are hardened, portion them out and pop them into a resealable freezer bag. Freeze them and reheat as needed.
Take Away Message
Tater tots are an utterly delicious side dish that goes well with anything. The delicious balls also freeze beautifully, making them an ideal freezer meal.
Whether you have some leftovers from last night’s dinner or keep them in the freezer, the next thing you should master is how to reheat them.
There are three easy methods to reheat tater tots and restore the soft interior and crispy, golden brown outside.
First, you can reheat them quickly in the oven, frying pan, or in an air fryer. Except for commercially prepared microwavable versions, you should avoid microwaving them to prevent the potato bites from getting soggy.
*image by ColleenMichaels/depositphotos