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The Best Way To Reheat Tater Tots – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

If by some wild chance you find yourself with leftover tater tots, you might be wondering if you can store them and reheat them the following day.

Unfortunately, when we heat leftover tater tots, they sometimes end up soggy, lifeless, and generally lacking in crunch.

In light of this, I’ve experimented with four different reheating techniques to find out the best way to reheat tater tots while still keeping them soft and moist inside, and crunchy outside.

The way you store them is equally important, so I’ve also explored how best to store, freeze, and thaw tater tots to keep them as fresh as possible.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

What’s the best way to reheat tater tots? The best way to reheat tater tots is in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven. Spread the tater tots evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet. Optionally, coat them with cooking spray for extra crunch. Place them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway. Serve immediately for best results.

A note on my experiment

I firmly believe that tater tots are the tiny pockets of potato goodness we always need in our lives. 

Last night, however, I got carried away and cooked too many. Needless to say, I decided to store my remaining tater tots in the fridge to reheat for lunch the next day.

Determined to restore them to their former glory, I experimented with no less than four different reheating methods, which included:

  • Reheating tater tots in the oven (best and most convenient method)
  • Reheating tater tots in an air fryer (an excellent option for an even crisp)
  • Reheating tater tots in the microwave (resulted in soggy tater tots with no crisp)
  • Reheating tater tots by refrying them (delicious result but not convenient)

My two favorite results were from the oven and air fryer methods. Both techniques returned a lovely level of crispiness to the tots while maintaining their signature soft interiors.

The microwave method was most disappointing and made the tater tots soggy. I combatted this by blowtorching them, which gave them a delightful crunch, but is a lot of effort.

Refrying my tater tots produced the most delicious and fresh-tasting result. However, it was an enormous inconvenience to heat a whole pot of oil to refry leftovers. Furthermore, it can make them a bit greasy, which many people don’t enjoy.

Reheating tater tots in the oven

You can reheat tater tots in a pre-warmed 350°F (180°C) oven. Spread your tater tots out evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet. Optionally, coat them with cooking spray for extra crispiness. Place them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, halfway. Remove and serve them immediately.

The oven method is the best and most convenient way to restore tater tots’ crispy exterior while keeping them soft and tender inside. Be mindful not to scorch them.

How to reheat tater tots in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  3. Spray your tater tots with cooking spray (optional).
  4. Place in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Turn your tots.
  6. Return to the oven for a further 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Spreading the tater tots out evenly on the baking sheet will prevent them from sticking to one another and make it easier to turn them. Don’t forget to turn them, otherwise, they will end up soggy on one side.

This method takes a bit of time, but slower heating warms up the soft inside of the tater tots, while allowing a crispy outer coating to develop.

Reheating in the oven is also a great way to warm up larger quantities of tater tots.

Keep an eye on them to make sure you don’t overheat them, as they will become dry and unpleasant or burn.

My verdict

I found this to be the best and most convenient way to reheat my tater tots, as they came out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They retained all of their flavors too.

This method is reliable, accessible, and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or cleaning up afterward.

Reheating tater tots in an air fryer

To reheat your tater tots in an air fryer, begin by setting it to 350°F (180°C). Optionally, lightly coat your tater tots with cooking spray for a freshly fried taste. Heat them for 6 to 8 minutes while occasionally shaking the fry compartment to ensure an even crisp on all sides. Remove and serve.

When it comes to restoring tater tots’ crispy coatings, this is the superior method. It is also speedy and convenient, but not everyone has an air fryer so that prevents it from being the overall winner.

How to reheat tater tots in an air fryer:

  1. Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Coat your tater tots with cooking spray (optional).
  3. Place them in the air fryer for 6 to 8 minutes, spread out.
  4. Shake occasionally so that they can crisp up all over.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

You need to keep an eye on your tater tots to make sure they don’t burn. Together with this, it’s advisable to keep shaking the fryer basket to crisp them evenly.

Coating them with cooking spray took their crunch to a new level and prevented them from sticking and clumping together.

For best results, it’s preferable to reheat small quantities at a time.

My verdict

This method was my personal favorite and the tater tots’ tasted super fresh. They were moist and fully inside and had an all-over crunch on the outside. This is a great no-fuss, no-mess reheating technique.

Unfortunately, I could only reheat a limited number of tater tots at a time. In addition to this, not everyone has access to an air fryer, in which case the oven works equally well.

Reheating tater tots in the microwave

To reheat tater tots in the microwave, first, prepare a microwave-safe plate with a piece of dry paper towel. Microwave them for 30 to 60 seconds on medium-high. Serve immediately. Optionally, broil for 1 – 2 minutes on a baking sheet or, alternatively, crisp them up using a blowtorch.

This is a fast and convenient method if you have absolutely no other option, but it is impossible to get them to crisp up in the microwave alone.

How to reheat tater tots in the microwave:

  1. Place a piece of (dry) paper towel on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Place your tater tots on the paper towel, spread out evenly.
  3. On medium-high heat, microwave them for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Optional additional steps for adding crunch:

  1. Lightly spray microwaved tater tots with cooking spray.
  2. Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Place them under your broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to crisp their exteriors.
  4. Alternatively, flame them with a blowtorch.

Reheating tater tots in the microwave leaves them tasty but soggy. 

Being the kitchen geek that I am, I have a chef’s blowtorch and thought it would be fun to see what happened when I blow-torched the tater tots.

I was really impressed! The flame crisped up the outside in a few seconds and gave them a slightly charred flavor. 

If you are also a kitchen geek, I recommend it. If not and you want a crispy exterior the broiler works well too.

However, both of these options completely negate the ease of using the microwave.

My verdict

Microwaving my tater tots left a lot to be desired. They tasted nice, but they had none of the crunch that tater tots are known for.

I enjoyed them once I had crisped them up with my blowtorch, but it isn’t worth all the fuss.

Reheating tater tots by refrying them

To reheat tater tots by refrying them, begin by heating oil to 350°F (180°C). In a frying basket, dip your tater tots into the hot oil for 20 to 30 seconds. Then, remove them from the basket to drain on a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack. Serve immediately.

Hardly the healthiest method, but refrying tater tots makes them taste as good as new.

How to reheat tater tots by refrying them:

  1. In a pot or deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place your tater tots in a frying basket and insert them into hot oil for 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Remove them from the fryer and drain them on a paper towel or a wire rack.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

While the results of this method were crunchy, crispy tots, it was inconvenient and time-consuming.

The taste was the best of all the methods I tried but just didn’t seem worth all the effort it took for reheating leftovers. Especially if you’re only doing one portion.

After frying, if you don’t drain your tater tots on a rack or paper towel, they come out quite greasy.

My verdict

Refrying gave my tater tots a freshly fried taste, but I didn’t enjoy how much work it was and how unhealthy it is.

Refrying is neither quick nor convenient. It uses a lot of oil and can be pretty messy too.

How to store tater tots

Store your tater tots as soon as they have cooled down. Space the tater tots out in an airtight container lined with paper towels to soak up extra moisture. Consume the tater tots within 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze tater tots for 6 to 8 months.

It’s important your tater tots are at room temperature before you place them in a container.

If you seal up your tater tots in a container while they are still hot, it will cause condensation and make them soggy and possibly mushy.

When storing them, try to space them out to avoid them getting stuck to one another.

If you store your tater tots following the steps above, they have a good chance of maintaining both their taste and texture when you reheat them.

Can you freeze tater tots?

First, freeze tater tots individually by laying them out on a baking sheet and freezing them for two to three hours. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a zip-lock freezer bag, removing as much air as possible in the process. Tater tots can last between 6 and 8 months in the freezer.

How to freeze tater tots:

  1. Lay room temperature tater tots out on a baking sheet, not touching.
  2. Freeze for two to three hours.
  3. Remove tater tots from the freezer and place them in a zip-lock bag.
  4. Remove as much air from the bag as you can, or vacuum seal it.
  5. Store your tater tots in the freezer.
  6. Thaw and reheat within 6 to 8 months.

By freezing your tater tots individually, you ensure that they don’t stick together. This way, you can also take out a few at a time instead of trying to unstick the whole lot.

Individually frozen tater tots are also less at risk of getting squished in the storage process.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, you can remove the air from your zip-lock bag with a straw or by pressing the air out with your hands.

How to thaw tater tots

One way to thaw tater tots is to leave them out to defrost on your counter for an hour or so before reheating them. You can also let them thaw in the fridge.

If you’re in a rush, you can defrost tater tots in the microwave. Spread them out on a microwave-safe plate, not touching, and microwave on medium heat for 2 minutes. Stick them under the broiler afterwards to crisp them up.

Whichever method you decide on, always let your tater tots rest on a plate lined with a paper towel before you reheat them. This absorbs excess moisture and gives them a good chance of crisping up when you warm them.

How to reheat frozen tater tots

To reheat frozen tater tots, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Place them spread out on a sheet pan and cover the pan with foil. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes, checking them regularly to ascertain how they are progressing. For added crisp, return them to the oven uncovered for five minutes.

To reduce oven time, you can blast your frozen tater tots in the microwave for 30 seconds on high beforehand.

You can also use an air fryer.

In the fryer basket, arrange your tater tots so that they are not touching, which allows them to crisp up evenly. Set it to 350°F (180°C) and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes, regularly checking to ensure they aren’t burning.

How long do tater tots last?

If you have leftover tater tots that you would like to store and reheat some other time, you can use the information below to keep them fresh and keep you healthy.

  • Room Temperature: Potato products, including tater tots, should not be left standing out at room temperature for more than two hours after cooking.
  • Refrigerated: In an airtight container, tater tots can last for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Frozen: Tater tots sealed in freezer bags can last for between 6 and 8 months in the freezer. They should be individually frozen first.

The BEST Way To Reheat Tater Tots

If by some wild chance you find yourself with leftover tater tots, you might be wondering if you can store them and reheat them the following day.
Unfortunately, when we heat leftover tater tots, they sometimes end up soggy, lifeless, and generally lacking in crunch.
In light of this, I’ve experimented with four different reheating techniques to find out the best way to reheat tater tots while still keeping them soft and moist inside, and crunchy outside.
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Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 11 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 177 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion tater tots
  • 1 spray oil optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Lightly grease a baking tray.
  • Spray your tater tots with cooking spray (optional).
  • Place in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Turn your tots.
  • Return to the oven for a further 5 to 6 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 177kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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