You’ll love cooking air fried frozen tater tots. Once you make them in these air fryer tater tots, you’ll never want to cook them any other way. Promise! Air fried potato puffs are amazing: the texture is crispy, perfect without all the oil.

Air fried frozen tater tots in the air fryer in a basket

How to Cook Air Fried Frozen Tater Tots (potato puffs)

You really don’t need to add extra oil spray at all because the frozen tater tots already have oil in them. But if you decide to spray with oil, the tater tots will just have a more “crispy deep fried” texture. Add your favorite dip to a plate of these and you’ll have the best snack ever. Air frying these potato puffs or tater tots gives an incredible crunch that the traditional big oven doesn’t.

Video: Air Fryer Tater Tots:

Air fried frozen tater tots in the air fryer in a bowl

Can you cook air fried frozen tater tots in the air fryer?

  • Yes! Check out the photos below. There’s so many different sizes of tater tots or potato puffs, so adjust timing as needed.
  • Also, each air fryer cooks a little differently. So you’ll have to adjust time and temp accordingly. Just use our temperature recommendations below and keep checking the potatoes.
  • Make sure to lay them in a single layer and space between them. That way the hot circulating air can cook around all the edges and makes the tots crispy and crunchy.
  • Gently shake or turn them halfway through cooking to make sure they’re crispy on all edges. You might need to turn them an additional time if you’re cooking a lot at once.
  • Once you cook your first batch, you’ll know what is the best time for your style of air fryer, potato puffs or tots.
  • See recipe below for details.
  • Pro-Tip: here’s our favorite tools to help make air frying easier:
Evo Oil Sprayer
Evo Oil Sprayer

We LOVE Evo Oil Sprayers. Not the prettiest, but they’re functional and spritz oil great! They don’t clog up like many others we’ve bought. There’s different styles, but all seem to have the same great spray head. Works great for grilling!

8.5" Square Blue Silicone Mat
Perforated Silicone Mat

There are Square Mats & Round Mats. These perforated non-stick silicone mats are used to cook food in your air fryer or steamer to minimize sticking. Holes allow hot circulating air to cook the food & keeps the food from sticking.

Perforated Parchment Paper
Perforated Parchment Paper

Parchment sheets are great for your air fryer or bamboo steamer (food tends to stick most on wire basket or tray). Choose from different sizes, shapes, white and brown (unbleached). Holes allow air to cook food evenly.

Do you Need to Thaw First?

No. You don’t need the thaw the tater tots before air frying. You’ll get the best results by air frying them straight from the freezer. Cooking from frozen gives them the crispiest outside. We’re obsessed with these air fried potato puffs. If you happen to have thawed the tater tots, you must be gentle with them. When they’re thawed, they get mushy and start to break apart. So make sure to gently handle them and place them in the air fryer.

Why we love making tater tots in the air fryer

  • They’re the perfect quick and easy snack or side dish. And they’re a great item to have in your freezer for an emergency snack or appetizer.
  • Our air fryer tater tot casserole is amazing! Once you make an initial batch of regular tater tots as a practice batch, you can advance yourself to making this awesome breakfast casserole in the air fryer. Add egg to air fryer with sausage and tater tots
  • If you have a camping trailer you can bring a small air fryer and make these for breakfast! It takes just a few minutes.
  • Tater tots are the best for anytime of day. From breakfast to lunch and to dinner, there’s always an occasion for these.
  • We love adding these little crispy potato puffs to an appetizer platter with different dips. We have a list of favorite dips below.
  • Finally, if you love hash browns. Try our hash brown breakfast casserole in the air fryer. Finished air fried hash brown breakfast casserole
Air fried frozen tater tots in the air fryer |

Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots (Puffs)

Lots of factors influence outcome of how the tots or puffs cook. They all vary in size, thickness, and sometimes the coating so you’ll have to adjust timing. For smaller air fryers (less than 5qt.) 1 pound is about the max without overcrowding the air fryer. The more you fill the basket the more frequently you’ll want to shake the basket to help them cook evenly. If you have a larger air fryer, you can cook more so long as the basket isn’t filled more than 1/2 full. 
All air fryers are different and some cook much hotter than others. Once you cook your first batch, you’ll know more of what works for your model of air fryer and size of food. These were tested on basket style air fryers. Read more recipe notes below the recipe.
5 from 8 votes

{click on stars to rate}


  • 1 lb. (454 g) Frozen Tater Tots (Potato Puffs, etc.)
  • salt , to taste
  • black pepper , to taste
  • optional dipping sauce (ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard, ranch, hot sauce, queso, etc.)



  • Place the frozen tots (puffs)in the air fryer basket and spread out evenly. No oil spray is needed.
    Frozen tater tots in air fryer basket
  • Air Fry at 400°F/205°C for 5-8 minutes. Shake and gently stir about halfway through cooking. If cooking larger batches, or if your tots (puffs) don't cook evenly, try turning them multiple times on following batches.
    Cooked tater tots in air fryer basket
  • If needed air fry at 400°F/205°C for an additional 1-3 minutes or until crisped to your liking. Season with salt & pepper if desired and serve with optional dipping sauce.
    Cooked tater tots in a shallow bowl


Air Frying Tips and Notes:
  1. No Oil Necessary. Cook Frozen – Do not thaw first.
  2. Shake or turn if needed. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket.
  3. Recipe timing is based on a non-preheated air fryer. If cooking in multiple batches back to back, the following batches may cook a little quicker. 
  4. Recipes were tested in 3.7 to 6 qt. air fryers. If using a larger air fryer, they might cook quicker so adjust cooking time.
  5. Remember to set a timer to shake/flip/toss as directed in recipe.

If your air fryer is preheated or if you are cooking multiple batches, you may need to reduce timing by a few minutes (unless preheating is called for in the recipe).


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 201kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 485mg, Potassium: 301mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg

Best Dips for Tater Tots or Potato Puffs?

We love serving different dips for tater tots! The possibilities are endless and eating these potato puffs or tater tots is never boring. When serving these as an appetizer, add several different small bowls of dips. It’s great to have different options and this makes the tater tot platter even better.

  • You can never go wrong with classic ketchup or mustard.
  • If you love mustard, try dijon or Colemans mustard. They have a zingy and tangy flavor.
  • Fan of hot sauce? We love dipping tater tots in spicy hot sauce. Even drizzling some chili crisp or chili garlic crunch makes these tater tots super flavorful.
  • Cheese dip or queso is great with tater tots!
  • Creamy buttermilk ranch dressing is always a favorite.
  • Thousand island dressing is fantastic as a dip.
  • BBQ sauce is amazing and so flavorful for these crispy potato bites.
  • How about tarter sauce? It’s not just for seafood.

History of Tater Tots?

Tater tot history is fascinating and ever wonder the origins of this popular snack? It’s a proprietary term owned by Ore-Ida. Here’s a great article about how the evolution of tater tots came to life.