Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots are shredded potatoes mixed with cheese, formed into tots, and cooked in an air fryer for a crispy, cheesy appetizer. Try my Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets for another air fryer appetizer!

Very Close up of Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots from Scratch
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Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots {From Scratch}

Forget about frozen tater tots for this recipe; these air fryer cheesy tater tots are homemade and cooked in an air fryer. Air fryers are all the rage right now. It’s a great kitchen gadget to have when you want to enjoy fried foods, but also want to keep the foods a little healthier.

Cheesy Tater Tots in the Air Fryer

Cheesy Tater Tots Ingredients

With just a few ingredients and a little prep time, you can get this cheesy potato appetizer on the table, ready to serve.

Potatoes: I used russet potatoes for this recipe. They are starchy potatoes that will bake crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, so the more recipes you have, the better!

Cheese: I prefer sharp cheddar cheese to add the most flavor. But, you can use your favorite kind of cheese in this recipe.

Process of Making Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots from Scratch

How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

Frozen tater tots are nice to have on hand for a snack or appetizer. But, the storebought tots are highly processed and it’s always nice to know exactly what is in the food you are consuming. These homemade air fryer cheesy tater tots are made from scratch with just five ingredients.

To get started, first, boil the potatoes. Then, let the potatoes simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until a fork can pierce them. Drain the potatoes and let them cool for about 15 minutes before grating them. They should be cool enough to touch before moving on with the recipe.

When ready, grate the potatoes and put them into a large bowl. Mix the grated potatoes with cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well. After it’s mixed, make the tater tots. To make the tots, use about a tablespoon of the mixture to make them into the cylindrical shapes they are known for. Place the tater tots on a piece of parchment paper as you make the remaining tots.

After the tots are formed, spray the basket of the air fryer with nonstick cooking spray and preheat to 380°F. Working in batches (I had three batches for a total of 40 tots), place them in a single layer. Spray the tops with cooking spray and cook for 10 minutes. Then, flip the tots and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Overhead of Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots

Can I Make Tater Tots without an Air Fryer?

Yes! Just because you don’t have an air fryer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this homemade appetizer. You can either bake the tots in the oven or fry them in oil.

To bake the tater tots, preheat the oven to 425°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Before baking, brush the tops of the tots with melted butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. (You may want to flip halfway through baking.)

To fry the cheesy tater tots, heat about a half-inch of oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot (sizzling or 350°F-375°F on a candy thermometer), work in batches to fry the tots to a crisp, golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the tater tots from the oil and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve hot.

What is the Best Air Fryer?

I have tested 3 brands in my home and I recommend the Ninja Air Fryer. (affiliate link) You can go up a size if needed, but it is superior in achieving consistent results and also ease of use. I’ve been very happy with this Air Fryer!

Hand Holding Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tot

More Air Fryer Recipes

5 from 2 votes

Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots {From Scratch}

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Air Fryer Cheesy Tater Tots are shredded potatoes mixed with cheese, formed into tots, and cooked in an air fryer for a crispy, cheesy appetizer.


  • 4 medium russet potatoes, washed
  • cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Place potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. (A fork should pierce the potatoes, but they will still be firm). Drain and let cool for about 15 minutes (or until cool to the touch).
  • When ready, grate the potatoes and place them into a large bowl.
  • Add cheese, flour, salt, and pepper to the bowl of grated potatoes and mix well.
  • Set out a large sheet of parchment paper. Scoop out 1 tablespoon and form it into a tater tot (cylindrical shape), and place it on the parchment. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 380°F and spray the basket with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the tater tots in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.
  • Spray again with oil and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the tater tots and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from air fryer and serve immediately.

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Reader Comments

  1. These were excellent. They did stick (even though I sprayed with oil), so next time I’ll spray the tots on all sides before I put them in the air fryer. Not sure I needed to grate the potatoes — it might have worked mashed — but tasted great and were super crispy. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I am not sure what I did, but mine fell apart…tasted good, but didn’t hold together…..any advice?

  3. 5 stars
    Those sound really good. I’m thinking why not roll them in a long log and cut them into tot size pieces, but the result would be the same. You could probably add some other vegetable in there and have veggie tots.
    I must try this.

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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