Can you cook Tater Tots in a frying pan?

Tater tots are one of America’s ultimate comfort foods. They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, making them a beloved side dish or snack for any age group. Originally invented in 1953 by Ore-Ida, tater tots came from the desire to make use of leftover potatoes that couldn’t be used otherwise. Now, tater tots are a staple in many grocery stores and served in countless restaurants across America.

While tater tots can be cooked in various ways – such as baking them in an oven or deep frying them – using a frying pan is another popular method. Cooking tater tots this way gives them a crispy texture without making them too oily or greasy.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to cook tater tots perfectly in a frying pan, including tips and tricks you can use to ensure you get the best results every time.


When cooking tater tots in a frying pan, preparation matters just as much as the cooking process itself. Here’s everything you need to do before starting your stovetop or oven-to-stove method:

Choosing the Right Pan

Using the right frying pan is crucial when it comes to getting perfectly cooked tats. A cast-iron skillet or nonstick skillet works great because they both distribute heat evenly, ensuring your tats will cook properly. The size of your pan depends on how many tater-tots you’re cooking at once – you don’t want to overcrowd your pan!

Preparing Tater Tots

If using frozen tater-tots (which most people do), let them thaw first before cooking. This step helps prevent splattering hot oil while they’re being fried. After they’re defrosted, pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture; this will help ensure they have that perfect crispy texture.

Stovetop Cooking Method

One way to cook tater tots in a frying pan is to use the stovetop method. Follow these steps for best results:

Heating the Pan

You can use oil or cooking spray for this method. Heat your frying pan on medium-high heat, adding enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan without making it too deep.

Adding Tater Tots to The Pan

Once your pan is heated, add your tats in and leave them alone; don’t move them around too much. This gives them time to build up that crispy crust on the outside. If you start flipping or moving them around too much too soon, they won’t get as crispy as they could be.

Cooking Time

Cook your tater tots until they’re golden brown – this should take about 4-6 minutes per side depending on the size of your pan and how many tats you’re cooking at once. Once cooked, remove from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and place them onto a paper towel-lined plate to rid them of any excess oil before serving.

Oven-to-Stove Method

Another popular method for cooking tater tots in a frying pan is baking them first in an oven and finishing on the stovetop. Here’s how to do it:

Preheating Oven

Preheat your oven to 425℉.

Baking Tater Tots In An Oven-Safe Dish

Spread out your thawed tats evenly in an oven-safe dish and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re golden brown on each side. Remember that by using this method you may leave some residue from baking lying around or even some excess fat; make sure you handle it properly before using your pan again for stovetop cooking!

Finishing Off On Stovetop

Heat up a well-oiled cast-iron skillet or nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add your tater tots to the pan and cook them for an additional 3-5 minutes, flipped periodically to ensure they’re crispy on the outside all around!

Tips For Perfectly Cooking Tater Tots In A Frying Pan

  1. Don’t overcrowd your frying pan as it will result in steaming and interfere with proper browning.
  2. Flip your tats regularly – use a spatula or wooden chopstick to avoid scratching the bottom of your silverware.
  3. It’s best to serve tater-tots immediately after cooking since their texture changes as they cool down.


In conclusion, if you’re looking for a quick but delicious snack that doesn’t require too much effort, cooking tater tots in a frying pan is one great way to go about it! With the right equipment, preparation, and tips it can be easy and fun experience making sure everyone enjoys snacking time even more!


  1. Q: Is it possible to cook Tater Tots in a frying pan? A: Yes, absolutely! In fact, cooking Tater Tots in a frying pan is one of the simplest and most popular methods for preparing this delicious snack.
  2. Q: What’s the best way to fry Tater Tots in a pan? A: To start, heat up some oil in your frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add your Tater Tots and cook them until they’re crispy and golden brown on all sides.
  3. Q: Can you make any adjustments to make Tater Tots even tastier when frying them in a pan? A: Definitely! Some people like to sprinkle their Tater Tots with seasoning salt or garlic powder for an extra kick of flavor. Additionally, you can experiment with different oils or frying temperatures until you find your preferred method.
  4. Q: Are there any health concerns I should keep in mind when deep-frying tater tots using a frying pan? A: Frying food generally involves more calories and fats but doing it occasionally may not cause significant harm especially when eating them as snacks or side dishes only within moderate consumption levels and paired with healthier options (e.g., salad). However, if fried food consumption becomes a part of someone’s daily routine then negative health consequences are more likely to occur such as weight gain, high cholesterol levels among others.

Similar Posts