What Are Tater Tots?

In the world of fried potatoes, french fries take the crown. However, true fans of gastropub cuisine know that tater tots are the real prized potato. Tater tots, for those who have avoided delight their entire lives, are bite-sized, cylindrical deep-fried potato snacks made from grated or finely chopped potatoes, that have been deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. Over the years, they have become a popular and convenient side dish or snack, enjoyed for their crispy exterior and soft potato interior. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at these tasty table-pleasers. 

When were tater tots invented?

Tater tots were invented in 1953. For context, other things that came into being in 1953 were WD-40, Honey Smacks cereal, Cheez-wiz, and our uncle Frank, who we hope not to be seated next to during Thanksgiving.

Who invented tater tots?

Tater tots were invented in 1953 by two brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg, founders of the Ore-Ida company. These brothers were looking for ways to utilize leftover potato scraps leftover from the production of frozen french fries. To minimize waste, they came up with the idea of creating bite-sized potato snacks, which they called “Tater Tots.” These wee wonders became a commercial success, offering a convenient and flavorful new way to enjoy potatoes. Personally, we’re thankful that a potato company invented them, so we don’t have to suffer through something like “tomater tots.” We shudder to think what that timeline might’ve looked like! 

best tater tots

Best Frozen Tater Tots

What’s the best brand of frozen tater tots? We tasted a bunch of the top brands on the market to find the best frozen tater tots for your next nostalgic meal.

Where were tater tots invented?

Before you assume Idaho, it’s our duty to inform you that tater tots were actually invented in Oregon. Ore-Ida’s headquarters and production facilities are located in Oregon, making it the birthplace of the tater tot. 

What are tater tots made of?

Tater tots are typically made from grated or finely chopped potatoes mixed with flour or starch, seasonings, and can often include additional ingredients like onions. Some producers jazz up their tots with cheese, herbs, or spices for added flavor. Oh, and “love”…don’t forget all the “love” in each tot! 

How are tater tots made?

To make tater tots, producers mix the grated or chopped potatoes with starch and seasonings, then shape them into cylinders or barrels using a special tater tot extruder. The tots are then fried in hot vegetable oil until they achieve a golden brown and crispy exterior. This frying method gives tater tots their signature crunchy texture, while the inside retains a soft, potatoey consistency. Then, they’re frozen, bagged, and enjoyed by you. 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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