Can You Microwave Tater Tots?

I’m sure you also have a lot of memories attached to tater tots: childhood lunches, late-night snacks in your college dorm, a quick, delicious snack while staying up and studying for your final, or breakfast when you’re hungover. 

It’s impossible to deny the deliciousness of crunchy and crispy, golden-brown tater tots. They’re a favorite of many and the best part is, that you don’t need an oven to make the perfect tater tots.

And while you can microwave tater tots, the more important question is, should you do it? Will it taste the same? Are there some tips to keep in mind when microwaving tater tots? Read on as we answer all of these questions.

Can you microwave tater tots?

Yes, you can microwave tater tots, but you can mess up the texture and taste if you don’t follow the right steps.

In most cases, tater tots turn mushy and soft when you microwave them. They also lose the crispy texture that you expect as soon as you bite into one. And if you leave them in the microwave for way too long than necessary, they can become rock-hard and nearly inedible.  

While the best way to heat tater tots is to bake them, pan-fry them, or use a toaster oven, sometimes it’s just not possible, especially if you live in a college dorm or are in a hurry to get out the door. 

This is where a microwave comes in handy. And with the right steps, you can get hot and delicious tater tots in no time. 

How to microwave tater tots

To microwave tater tots, put them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them for 30 seconds. Once the time is up, flip them and continue microwaving them in 30-second increments until they’re done.

To get started, choose a microwave-safe plate, preferably one made from ceramic or glass. Put a handful of tater tots on the plate, making sure to space them such that they don’t touch each other.

Set the microwave on high and nuke the tater tots for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds are up, take the plate out and flip all the tater tots. Put the plate back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue doing so until the tater tots are as hot as you like. 

Be careful when taking out the plate from the microwave once the tater tots are hot so that you don’t burn your hand. 

Keep in mind that it’s very common to have hot spots when using the microwave. This means that some of the tater tots can dry out and become hard. 

To prevent that from happening, make sure you only microwave the tater tots in intervals, spread them in a single layer across the plate so that they don’t touch, and keep stirring or flipping them around so that they heat up equally.   

How long should you microwave tater tots?

The time for which you should microwave tater tots depends on the power of your microwave and the number of tater tots you want to eat. But in general, you can expect to microwave them for around 3 minutes. 

If you have frozen tater tots, it will take longer to microwave them. Similarly, your microwave’s power is also important to consider. If you have a high-powered microwave, you shouldn’t microwave the tater tots for 3 minutes; they’ll become rock hard. But if you have a low-powered microwave, you might have to microwave them for even up to 5 minutes.

You’ll have to experiment a bit here to find the ideal time that works for your microwave model. Once your tater tots are completely heated, I recommend that you let them sit for around a minute or so before eating them. 

Can you microwave frozen tater tots?

Yes, you can microwave frozen tater tots. But while you can heat them up, they won’t be crispy. You’ll have to use something else like a broiler or kitchen torch or even pop them in the oven for a few minutes.  

Frozen tater tots are pre-cooked, which means you just need to heat them up. They’re made using shredded potatoes blanched and shaped with starches to hold them together. The potatoes are then flash-frozen. 

So when you fry these tasty clumps of potatoes, the oil just brings the crispiness and heats them through. It doesn’t cook them since they’re already cooked. 

Keeping that in mind, if you microwave frozen tater tots, they will become hot, but they won’t get crispy. You need hot fat to make them crispy. But there are some ways you can get that crispiness even if you don’t have an oven. 

You can put the tater tots under a broiler (of your toaster oven) for a minute, turn them over, and put them back in for another minute. Alternatively, you can flame them with a kitchen torch.

Some might argue that these two methods aren’t any different from just popping them in the oven, but there’s one big difference. These two methods are much faster than using the oven, especially since you have to wait for it to preheat and then put the tater tots in for around 20 minutes or so.

Can you get microwaveable tater tots?

Yes, you can get microwaveable tater tots, especially since some companies have now started to offer them in microwavable packages. And if you follow the instructions present on the package, you can get crispy tater tots in no time.

If you want to get crispy tater tots in the microwave, you need to get something called susceptors. You might better know them as crisping sleeves or paper. So if you already know that you want to microwave tater tots, you can just get a microwavable box that already comes with the crisping paper present inside.

In most cases, all you’ll have to do is lift the tab on the box’s back, tear along the dotted lines and line up the tater tots in the remaining box without piling them up over one another. Then just simply microwave them on high for around 3-3.5 minutes. 

Make sure you don’t reuse these microwavable boxes with crisper paper. This is because the glue of the paper can leech into the food when it’s reheated and put your health at risk. 

Wrapping It Up

It’s clear: you can microwave tater tots, but you can’t expect the same crispy and fluffy taste that you can get by frying or baking them. For that, you’ll have to get microwavable tater tots, specially designed to be nuked in the microwave. So if the microwave is the only way to get your hands on this ultimate comfort snack, I say you go for it!