Air Fryer Tater Tots with Hash Brown Shortcut

by Erin @ Food Doodles on February 14, 2021

These air fryer tater tots use a huge time-saving shortcut – frozen hash browns! They’re naturally vegan and made with all-purpose flour, but can also be made gluten-free or paleo.

I’m clearly air frying everything these days because I’m in love with my air fryer, but if you don’t have one, you can bake or fry the tater tots. So I’ve included directions on how to bake them in an oven.

Tater tot ingredients

You just need basic ingredients for these tater tots. You probably already have everything, except maybe the hash browns!

  • Frozen hash browns
  • Olive oil
  • Flour
  • Granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt

hand picking up Air fryer tater tot

What type of hash browns to use

You need the shredded and unseasoned kind. If you use one that already has seasoning (other than a little salt), you’d probably need to adjust the seasoning in the recipe.

If you’re thinking, “Frozen hash browns?! But I want a homemade version!” – I get it. But there are brands that are just frozen, shredded potatoes and nothing else.


The store-brand organic hash browns at Sprouts and Meijer both consist of just 100% potatoes. So I really don’t see any disadvantages to using those.

It saves a ton of time! If you’re like me and have an extreme lack of time on your hands the last year, then just get the hash browns. It’s worth it. 😂

Air fryer tater tots in basket

But I really want a from-scratch recipe…

I can definitively tell you that if you use a food processor to shred your own raw potatoes, you’re going to have a mess when it’s time to form the tater tots.

Even if you rinse the potatoes, wring them dry, add egg, and other stuff – it’s not gonna work.

Frozen hash browns are the way to go!

I’ll post a totally homemade tater tot recipe using whole potatoes on my other blog at some point. I just need to find a quicker method than the ones called for in other recipes.

Spending 40 minutes on tater tots that take 4 minutes to eat just isn’t worth it to me. If you really prefer something homemade, try these amazing Air Fryer Garlic Fries or Smashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cheese!

ingredients for air fryer tater tots

Thaw them!

You need to fully thaw your hash browns. If you don’t, they won’t stick together.

If you’re now reading this after starting the recipe, then you can add a beaten egg to the mix. That’ll make the mixture stick together better.

Naturally vegan tater tots

Just make sure that your hash browns don’t have any weird ingredients in them that would make them non-vegan.

And obviously, you’ll want to fully thaw your hash browns so that adding an egg won’t be necessary. I haven’t tried using a chia egg or any egg subs so I have no idea if they’d work.

hand dipping tater tot in ketchup

Gluten-free and paleo options

To make these gluten-free, you can use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour that’s meant as a replacement for all-purpose flour.

I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour, as always, with great results. You can also use it in my:

Using buckwheat flour, almond flour, etc. won’t work as they’re not subs for all-purpose flour.

Your other option is cassava flour. I used Otto’s Cassava Flour and it worked great. That makes these tater tots paleo!

Cassava flour isn’t really a 1:1 sub for all-purpose flour, but it’s pretty close. This is why it works in this recipe.

tater tots in air fryer
And whether you’re gluten-free or paleo, you need to check the label of your hash browns. Most brands are gluten-free but some contain dextrose, making them not paleo.

Even the hash browns from Whole Foods have dextrose, so be sure to take a look.

That’s it! I hope you’ll enjoy the tater tots.

If you make this or any of my recipes, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #fooddoodlesrecipes so I can check them out. 🙂

basket full of Air fryer tater tot

5 from 1 vote
Hand picking up air fryer tater tots
Air Fryer Tater Tots with Hash Brown Shortcut
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Servings: 4 people
  • 1 16-ounce (453-gram) bag of frozen shredded unseasoned hash browns, fully thawed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour or for gluten-free, use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Mix or for paleo*, use cassava flour
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (add 1/4 teaspoon if using unsalted hash browns)
  • olive oil or cooking spray
  1. Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil.

  2. Use a food processor fitted with an S-blade to pulse the shredded hash browns until they're finely chopped.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.

  4. Add the potatoes to that and mix everything together, being careful not to mash the potatoes.

    tater tot ingredients
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (205 °). Meanwhile, start forming the tater tots.

  6. Use a small spoon to scoop out some of the mixture to create 1” tots. Place in the air fryer basket. Don't stack them. You may need to bake them in 2 batches depending on your air fryer. Press down any little bits that are sticking out. If you don't, they'll burn.

    tater tots on pan
  7. Spray the tater tots with an oil mister (I used olive oil) or cooking spray.

  8. Bake the tots at 400 °F (205 °) for 8 minutes. Shake the basket and bake for another 7-9 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

  9. Take the tots out and sprinkle with salt. Serve. These are best enjoyed hot.

  10. Let any leftovers cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. They're great reheated in the air fryer for a few minutes.

Oven option:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (205 °).

  2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of foil and grease with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

  3. Place the tater tots on the greased pan and spray with olive oil or cooking spray.

  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.

  5. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until the bottoms are browned and crisp.

  6. Take the tots out and sprinkle with salt. These are best enjoyed hot.

  7. Let any leftovers cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. They're best reheated in the oven.

Recipe Notes
  • If paleo, make sure to use paleo hash browns! The store-brand hash browns from Meijer and Sprouts are just 100% organic potatoes.

Leave a Comment

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate February 21, 2021 at 22:05

These turned out crispy and delicious! I love your air fryer method, certainly making these again!


2 Sunrita February 20, 2021 at 14:26

Who would say that these crispy little delights are made in the air fryer! Just amazing.


3 jen February 19, 2021 at 16:15

oh delicious! my kids are going to love these!


4 Megan Stevens February 17, 2021 at 22:55

I like that you are able to find 100% organic potatoes in the freezer section. I need to find those! Such a fun recipe!


5 Donny February 17, 2021 at 18:47

That paleo version is calling my name! Can’t wait to try this.


6 Beth February 17, 2021 at 02:28

My kids are going to love this recipe! I’m so excited to give this a try! Looks so crunchy and delicious!


7 Cathy February 16, 2021 at 18:56

Love the hashbrown shortcut!!


8 Catalina February 16, 2021 at 18:10

I’ve never tried to make tater tots in the Air Fryer! I will make it for sure!


9 Allyson Reed Zea February 16, 2021 at 14:54

Love using my air fryer to make tots!!!


10 Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert February 16, 2021 at 11:11

This Air Fryer Tater Tots with Hash Brown Shortcut looks totally awesome!


11 Dorothy Reinhold February 16, 2021 at 02:40

Recipes like this make me love my air fryer even more! Your secret ingredient makes these quick and delish!


12 Jean Choi February 16, 2021 at 02:34

SO crunchy and amazing! I love tater tots, and these are sooo easy in the air fryer!


13 Jen February 15, 2021 at 21:20

Such a genius idea! My kids ate these up!


14 Valentina February 15, 2021 at 20:13

These air fryer tater tots are our go-to recipe! We just got an air fryer and love finding new and delicious recipes like this one!


15 Natalie February 15, 2021 at 19:45

Mmm…they are super crisp & tasty! I can’t seem to make them fast enough, before they are gone!


16 Kim February 15, 2021 at 19:22

Brilliant! I had never thought of trying this with hashbrowns. Thanks for the inspiration!


17 tina February 15, 2021 at 16:37

I love tater tots! Love how the air fryer makes it easy to cook these so yum!


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