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Our Homemade Tater Tots are so easy to make – and so delicious – you won’t want to buy the supermarket version ever again! This is another recipe from my mother’s old recipe box, and Jack says that these homemade tater tots are his favorite out of all of her old recipes we’ve tried so far!
I remember calling these “potato puffs” as a kid (in fact, that was the name on the recipe card from my mother) – and these delicious little potato snacks go by many other names around the world including “spud puppies”, “tater treats”, “juliennes”, “potato gems”, and “potato pom-poms” among others, but the most common name is “tater tots.”
According to Wikipedia, “When the tater tot product was first produced, there was no name for them. The owners of Ore-Ida decided to hold a contest among the employees that would help determine the product name. Clora Lay Orton, then a young house mother, submitted the name “tater tots”. The name was a hit and she won the contest.”
To make these homemade tater tots, all you need are some shredded russet potatoes, salt, pepper, and eggs – which you mix together and then form into small barrel shapes. We wanted our homemade tater tots to have an extra crunchy coating – so we rolled the barrel-shaped potatoes into panko bread crumbs before frying until golden brown! These homemade tater tots come out golden and crispy on the outside, and soft and tender on the inside!
You can make a large batch of these homemade tater tots and freeze them after frying. Then heat them up later in the oven – just like you would with the store bought kind.
These homemade tater tots are addictively delicious little puffs that were very hard to stop eating – especially served with some delicious homemade ketchup!
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (approximately 3 potatoes)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 3 whole eggs
- 1½ cups panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large pot, boil whole skin on potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes to drain and dry for at least 10 minutes.
- When they are cool enough to peel, peel the skin off. (Should peel right off without the need for a knife).
- Note: They will not be fully cooked through.
- Using a box grater, grate potatoes on large shred into a medium bowl.
- Add salt, pepper and eggs and gently stir to combine. The mixture will be very wet and soft.
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees to hold cooked puffs as you make each batch. Line a small sheet tray with paper towels.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan with about two to three inches of oil.
- Place the panko in a wide open bowl.
- Heat oil to 375 degrees using a candy thermometer to hold the temperature.
- One at a time, spoon a heaping tablespoon into your hand and shape into a barrel. Gently set into panko, roll and drop in hot oil. Cook only about six at a time to maintain the oil temperature.
- Once golden, remove to prepared pan and keep pan in oven between batches. Once you get your rhythm, the whole process should only be about 20 minutes.
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