Homemade Potato Tots: the Recipe for a Simple Appetizer That Everyone Will Love

Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4-6
By Cookist

Craving a satisfying snack that's ready in a flash? Look no further than these addictive Homemade Potato Tots!  Made with just two ingredients, these crispy snacks feature thin potato strips coated in a light cornstarch batter and fried to golden perfection. And who doesn’t love fried potatoes? This dish is perfect for any occasion – whether you’re looking for an appetizer or a starchy side dish. And the best part is that it’s so easy to make! Simply mix the potato strips with cornstarch, and fry. As easy as that!

What Are Homemade Potato Tots?

Potato Balls are a creative twist on similar dishes throughout culinary history across various cultures. The potato part of the dish is inspired by European potato pancakes (or Latkes in Jewish cuisine), which consist of shallow-fried grated or mashed potato patties. The shape of the potato balls is likely inspired by Middle Eastern Falafel, a popular fritter ball made from chickpeas.

Tater Tots Vs. Potato Puffs

Tater tots and potato puffs are both beloved potato-based snacks, but they differ in texture and preparation. Tater tots, a staple in American cuisine, are made from grated potatoes formed into small cylinders and deep-fried until they have a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. They are often seasoned simply with salt, sometimes incorporating onion or other spices into the mix. Potato puffs, on the other hand, tend to be airier and lighter, thanks to their preparation method which involves blending mashed potatoes with eggs and flour, then deep-frying them. This results in a puffy, more rounded snack that is crispy on the outside with a soft, almost creamy center. Both are enjoyed as side dishes or snacks, but their textures and flavors offer distinctly different eating experiences.


  • If you don’t have a mandoline, you can also grate the potatoes on the coarse side of a cheese grater.
  • Make it cheesy by adding grated cheese to the potato mixture.
  • Don’t skip the rinsing step. Soak the grated potatoes in cold water for 10 minutes to remove excess starch. Drain well and squeeze out any remaining moisture with a clean kitchen towel. If you skip this step, the potatoes won’t be as crispy.
  • You can add other ingredients to the potato mixture, such as chopped chives or parmesan.
  • If the potato mixture seems too wet, add a little more cornstarch until it's easier to handle.
  • Don't overcrowd the pot when frying the potato balls. Fry them in batches to ensure they cook evenly and become crispy.
  • Use any neutral oil suitable for frying at higher temperatures (canola, peanut, sunflower, corn oil).
  • Use a thermometer to heat the oil to about 350°F. If the oil is too cold, the potato balls might fall apart before they become crispy.
  • To make perfect, equally-sized potato balls, you can use a large ice cream scoop to portion the mixture.

How to Store Homemade Potato Tots

Store the potato balls in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Reheat in an Air fryer to make them crispy again.

What Are Fried Grated Potato Balls?

Fried grated potato balls are a savory snack made with grated potatoes, formed into balls, and then fried until crispy. They can be enjoyed plain or with dipping sauces.

How Can I Make My Homemade Potato Tots Crispier?

Ensure you squeeze out as much excess moisture from the grated potatoes as possible. This prevents them from becoming soggy during frying. Using a good amount of oil at the right temperature (around 350°F) also contributes to crispness.

What Kind Of Dipping Sauce Can I Use?

Fried grated potato balls are versatile and pair well with various dipping sauces. Ketchup, sour cream, ranch dressing, sriracha mayo, or even a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper are all delicious options.

Can I Add Anything Else To The Potato Mixture?

Absolutely! Chopped cooked bacon, chives, shredded vegetables, or a pinch of spices like cayenne pepper or paprika can add exciting flavor variations.


For the balls:
3 medium potatoes, peeled
A pinch of salt
60g (4 tbsp)
For the sauce:
60 g (¼ cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
All purpose flour
15 g (1 tbsp)
250 ml (1 cup)
A pinch of salt
½ tsp
Mozzarella cheese
40g (¼ cup)
2 slices cheese

How to Make Potato Balls

Shred the potatoes using mandoline or any other slicer, into thin potato strips.

Cover the thin potato strips with water to rinse.

Drain the dry potato strips, then mix with salt and cornstarch. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by melting the butter in a small skillet.

Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle flour on top and mix well. Add the milk, paprika, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil while stirring.

Add both types of cheese and stir to melt.

For the potato balls, take a small portion of the potato mixture and squeeze as much moisture as you can. Form a small ball.

Set aside on a clean surface while you prepare the rest of the potato balls.

Fry potato balls in preheated vegetable oil until golden.

Serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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