Microwaving tater tots, especially frozen ones, can be tricky because many have tried with little success. But this article will carefully guide you so you can enjoy your microwaved tater tots.
You can microwave frozen tater tots, but they may not be as crispy as they should be. However, it’s much faster than conventional methods, like grilling or frying. To microwave frozen tater tots, you must arrange them in single rows, cook them at high heat, and monitor them constantly.
Let’s get to it!
How To Make Crispy Tater Tots in the Microwave?
Making crispy tater tots, especially those that had been initially frozen, using a microwave is challenging but not impossible. Here are three easy ways:
1. Follow Microwavable Tater Tots’ Packaging Directions
Before, tater tots weren’t made for microwaving. You have to cook them in an oven or pan for the best results. If you try making them in the microwave, they can be a soggy, cold mess.
However, times have changed – more companies, including the original, have made their own microwavable tater tots. If you only have a microwave, these are the types you should get, as you are assured of crispy tater tots in a few minutes. That’s because their packaging includes heat susceptors, like crisping papers, that ensure the product gets crisped even with a microwave.
To make those microwavable tater tots, simply follow the packaging directions. Each brand may vary, like their cooking times may differ, so referring to the actual pack is best to achieve consistent and desired results. Moreover, it’s not advised to reuse the packaging, as reheating crisping paper in the microwave can be dangerous.
Ore-Ida Ready in 5 Extra Crispy Crowns is a popular microwavable tater tots product. It may not be officially called “tater tots,” but it comes from the original tater tots brand and looks and tastes much like one. It takes only 5 minutes to prepare them – 4 in the microwave and 1 for resting – then you can enjoy them hot and tasty.
2. Cook Tater Tots Using A Microwave Crisper Pan
If you got the regular tater tots, the best way to make them crispy in the microwave is to use a crisper pan. It works by diverting energy, so the base becomes hotter, making the food crispier without burning it.
With crisper pans, though, you have to preheat them, so it’ll take longer than your typical microwave cook. But it’s worth the extra time to get crispy tater tots, right? After all, it would still be quicker than an oven.
Here are some crisper pans you can get on Amazon:
- MACONEE 12-inch Universal Microwave Crisper Pan. This non-stick and dishwasher-friendly crisper pan cooks the food from the bottom, making it crispy. The pan absorbs the microwaves and directs them to the food from the bottom.
- MACONEE Microwave Crisper Pan. This crisper pan is from the same brand but has a different design because it has a lid and is deeper than the universal pan. It is also non-stick and dishwasher-safe. Preheating is also necessary.
Once you have a crisper pan, here’s how you can make crispy tater tots using a microwave:
- Preheat your crisper pan for up to four minutes (you may also refer to the pan’s specific guidelines).
- Arrange the tater tots on the preheated crisper pan. Keep them in a single row and apart from each other.
- Set to high heat and cook them for a minute or so. Flip the tater tots afterward.
- Add a minute or so again to the timer. Microwaving tater tots can take up to six minutes, so monitor carefully and extend by one minute until they are done. You can flip them if needed.
- Take the tater tots and let them rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
To check if your tater tots are done, you can get one out after the timer is done, then check if the inside is good and cooked. If not, continue cooking the rest left in the microwave.
3. Cook Tater Tots in a Single Row/Layer
If you have no crisper pans, you can still make crispy tater tots using the microwave. To do so, you’ll need to arrange the tater tots so they aren’t piled up and are spaced from each other. If they are too crowded, there’s a big chance the cook won’t be consistent, and some will be cold or soggy.
Here are the steps to cooking tater tots without a crisper pan:
- Spray your microwave plate with some vegetable oil or cooking spray. If you don’t have cooking spray, use a tissue to wipe the oil on the plate.
- Arrange your tater tots on the plate in a single row or layer and apart from each other. Do not pile them.
- Set the microwave to high heat and timer for a minute or so.
- After a minute or so, flip the tater tots.
- Continue cooking the tater tots for a minute or so.
- Check the tater tots and see if they are cooked already. If not, keep extending the timer by one minute until they are cooked.
- Be careful not to overcook the tater tots. They can be dry. You can flip the tater tots if needed.
- Once your tater tots are done, take them out of the microwave and let them rest for 1 to 2 minutes. This step makes them crispy as the residual heat keeps cooking the tater tots (thus, do not overcook them while still in the microwave).
Cooking tater tots in a microwave at high heat takes only 3 to 5 minutes. However, it depends on how frozen they are and how powerful your microwave is, so it can be a hit or miss.
Should You Even Try to Microwave Tater Tots?
If possible, you should not microwave tater tots. Although possible, they are not designed for such a cooking method. Thus, there’s a high risk they can turn out soggy, cold, undercooked, etc.
Tater tots are better suited for baking, frying, and even grilling. But there are instances when the microwave is the only choice, such as:
- Living in a dorm. Most student housings do not have ovens or stoves, but microwaves are readily available.
- In a hurry. Baking can take a lot of time – half an hour or more. Frying isn’t as long as baking, but microwaving is quicker.
How To Reheat Tater Tots
If you are heating (or reheating) tater tots, there are other ways besides microwaving. These methods are even more recommendable than a microwave.
Another way to reheat your tater tots is by using an oven, grill, pan, or air fryer. Baking and frying are the more conventional methods of cooking tater tots, but baking takes time, and frying is oily. However, air frying is an emerging method that saves time while minimizing oil.
Tater tots can be baked in an oven, and their packaging often comes with directions. They often turn out perfectly golden, crispy, and delicious – minus the oil that comes with frying and the risks of microwaving.
The downside is baking takes a lot of time. You have to preheat it then the tater tots also take a long time to cook – around 20 minutes or so in an oven.
It is also possible to grill tater tots. The resulting flavor is unique but takes about 20 minutes or so. These are the steps to grilled tater tots:
- Spray a foil plate with cooking spray.
- Arrange tater tots on the plate.
- Grill the tater tots on their plates for 20 to 22 minutes at medium heat. Halfway through, stir them.
Those steps are from Kraft, the current owner of Ore-Ida, the original brand of tater tots. Thus, they are best for that brand of shredded potato treats.
The most popular cooking method for tater tots is pan frying. Among the conventional methods, it’s the fastest, simplest, and most efficient way to get them cooked and crispy.
However, it can be oily, which is a downside because too much oil can harm one’s health. Thus, if you opt for pan frying, keep the oil to a minimum and cook your tater tots for up to five minutes.
A growing alternative to traditional frying is air frying. It’s quicker than baking or grilling but takes a bit longer than pan-frying. It also results in the same crispy, delicious tater tots. However, it’s without oil, so you can avoid harmful health effects.
However, you must have an air fryer already (or will buy one) to air fry your tater tots and other food products.
Are Frozen Tater Tots Already Cooked?
Many frozen items have been cooked before freezing. Are tater tots one of those?
Frozen tater tots are already cooked before being packaged, frozen, and sold. Even so, eating them frozen straight from the pack is not advisable. It’s highly unpalatable, and you may ingest bacteria from the product picked up during storage or purchase.
Frozen tater tots can be heated in a microwave and are done by many because it is quicker and more accessible, especially for those without ovens or stoves.
However, it is not recommended because crispy tater tots are much harder to achieve with a microwave, especially if the product isn’t designed for it or you’re not using crisper pans.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss Can You Microwave Frozen Pizza? (Yes, and Here’s How).
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
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With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
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