[GUIDE] How Long To Cook Tots In Air Fryer

Air fryers have become a popular kitchen appliance due to their ability to cook food quickly and with less oil than traditional frying methods. If you’re a fan of crispy tots, you’ll be pleased to know that air fryers can help you achieve that perfect texture and taste. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the specifics of cooking tots in an air fryer, covering everything from selecting the right tots to the optimal cooking time and temperature.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Tots In Air Fryer

If you’re looking for a quick answer, cooking tots in an air fryer typically takes about 12-15 minutes at a temperature of 400°F (200°C). However, the specific cooking time can vary based on the type and brand of air fryer, as well as personal preferences for crispiness.

Choosing Tots

Before you start cooking tots in the air fryer, it’s essential to choose the right type of tots. While the most popular choice is potato tots, you can also find sweet potato tots, cauliflower tots, or other vegetable-based variations. Here are a few things to consider when selecting tots for air frying:

1. Type Of Tots

Potato tots are the classic choice and are widely available in the frozen aisle of most grocery stores. If you prefer a healthier option, you can opt for sweet potato or vegetable tots. Consider your dietary preferences and any allergies when choosing the type of tots.

2. Size And Shape

Tots come in various shapes and sizes, from small bite-sized tots to larger, thicker ones. The size and shape can impact the cooking time and the level of crispiness achieved in the air fryer.

3. Quality

Look for high-quality tots with minimal additives or preservatives for the best flavor and texture. Reading product reviews or trying different brands can help you find tots that suit your preferences.

Preparing Tots

Properly preparing the tots before air frying can significantly impact the final result. Here’s how to prepare your tots for air frying:

1. Thawing (if Necessary)

If you are using frozen tots, it’s essential to thaw them before cooking. Thawing can be done in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost setting on the microwave. Thawing ensures that the tots cook evenly and achieve a crispy exterior.

2. Drying

After thawing, or if using fresh tots, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Dry tots will achieve a better crisp in the air fryer.

3. Seasoning (Optional)

You can optionally season the tots before air frying. Common seasonings include salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or any other preferred spices. Toss the tots in the seasonings to ensure even coating.

Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Tots

The right temperature is crucial for achieving perfectly cooked and crispy tots in the air fryer. In general, a temperature of 400°F (200°C) works well for most tots. However, if your air fryer has variable temperature settings, you may need to adjust accordingly based on the specific type and size of the tots.

Air Fryer Cooking Time For Cooking Tots

The cooking time for tots in the air fryer can vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the tots, the individual air fryer model, and personal preferences for crispiness. Here’s a general guideline to help you determine the cooking time:

1. Preheating

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 3-5 minutes. Preheating ensures that the tots start cooking immediately and helps achieve an even crisp.

2. Cooking Time

The cooking time for tots in the air fryer typically ranges from 12 to 15 minutes. However, it’s important to shake the basket or toss the tots halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking and crispiness.

3. Checking For Doneness

After the initial cooking time, check the tots for desired crispiness. If they require additional crisp, consider adding a few more minutes of cook time.

4. Size And Quantity Adjustment

For smaller or more substantial tots, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. More tots in the basket can also increase the total cooking time, as it may take longer for the air to circulate around each piece.

Cooking tots in the air fryer is a convenient and delicious way to enjoy this classic snack or side dish. By choosing the right type of tots, properly preparing them, setting the appropriate air fryer temperature, and following the optimal cooking time, you can achieve perfectly crispy tots. Remember to experiment with different seasoning and dipping sauce options to personalize your air-fried tots to your liking. With these detailed guidelines, you can now confidently cook tots in your air fryer and impress your family and guests with the irresistible crunch and flavor of perfectly air-fried tots.

How To Cook Tots In Air Fryer

Tater tots, popularly known as "tots," are a beloved snack or side dish enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. These bite-sized potato treats are traditionally deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. However, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative that still retains the satisfying crunch, cooking tots in an air fryer is an excellent option.

Air fryers have become increasingly popular due to their ability to replicate the crispiness of deep-fried foods with significantly less oil. They use hot air circulation to cook food evenly, resulting in a guilt-free indulgence.

Cooking tots in an air fryer is incredibly easy, making it an ideal method for hassle-free snacking or quick side dishes. Follow these steps for perfectly cooked tots every time:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating the air fryer helps ensure even cooking throughout the tots. Set your air fryer to the desired temperature (we will discuss temperature adjustments later) and allow it to preheat for about 3 minutes.

  2. Arrange the Tots: Lightly coat the cooking basket of your air fryer with cooking spray or a small amount of oil to prevent sticking. Arrange the tots in a single layer, leaving enough space between them for proper hot air circulation. Avoid overcrowding the basket, as it may result in uneven cooking.

  3. Cooking Time: Cook the tots at the recommended temperature and adjust the cooking time based on whether you are cooking frozen or freshly made tots. We will discuss the specific cooking times in the next section.

  4. Shake or Flip: For even browning and crispiness, shake the basket or flip the tots halfway through the cooking process. This ensures that all sides of the tots receive adequate heat exposure for a consistent texture.

  5. Check for Doneness: Once the cooking time is complete, check for doneness by cutting into a tot or tasting one to ensure it is cooked to your preference. If needed, continue cooking for an additional minute or two.

  6. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the tots from the air fryer and serve immediately. Tots are great on their own as a snack, or you can pair them with ketchup, mustard, or any dip of your choice.

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Cooking tots in an air fryer is quick, convenient, and produces excellent results. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy crispy and golden tots with minimal effort.

Cooking Time For Frozen Tots

Frozen tots are the most common type available in grocery stores, and many people choose to cook them because of their convenience. Cooking frozen tots in an air fryer is a fantastic way to achieve that delectable texture without the need for deep frying.

The cooking time for frozen tots in an air fryer may vary slightly depending on the brand and thickness of the tots. However, as a general guideline, you can follow these cooking times for perfectly cooked frozen tots:

  • Small to Medium-Sized Tots: Cook at 400°F (200°C) for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Large-Sized Tots: Cook at 400°F (200°C) for 16-18 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Keep in mind that the cooking times provided are approximate and may need to be adjusted based on your air fryer’s efficiency and personal preference. It’s always recommended to check for doneness by cutting into a tot or tasting it to ensure it is cooked to your liking.

Adjusting Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Tots

While the standard temperature for cooking tots in an air fryer is 400°F (200°C), it might be necessary to adjust it depending on your desired level of crispness and your specific air fryer model.

Here are a few considerations for temperature adjustments when cooking tots in an air fryer:

  1. Higher Temperature: If you prefer your tots to have an extra crispy exterior, you can increase the temperature to 425°F (220°C). This higher temperature will help the tots develop a deeper golden brown color and a crunchier texture. However, be mindful that cooking at a higher temperature may result in a faster cooking time, so keep an eye on the tots to prevent them from burning.

  2. Lower Temperature: On the other hand, if you prefer a softer texture or have smaller tots that tend to cook faster, you can decrease the temperature to 375°F (190°C). This lower temperature will allow for more gentle cooking, resulting in a softer and less crispy exterior. Adjusting the temperature lower may also be useful if you notice that your tots consistently overcook or become excessively browned.

Experimenting with different temperature settings in your air fryer will help you find the perfect balance of crispiness and texture for your tots.

Adjusting Air Fryer Cook Time For Cooking Tots

Although the recommended cooking times for tots are provided in the previous section, it’s essential to note that these times may need to be adjusted based on personal preference and variations in air fryer models.

Here are a few factors to consider when adjusting the cook time for tots in an air fryer:

  1. Thickness: The thickness of the tots can impact the cooking time. Thicker tots may require a few extra minutes to cook through, while thinner tots may cook more quickly. Always refer to the packaging or adjust the cooking time experimentally to ensure that the tots are fully cooked.

  2. Crispness Preference: If you prefer your tots to have a lighter and less crispy texture, slightly reduce the cooking time recommended for frozen tots. Conversely, if you enjoy a more golden and crispy exterior, you can increase the cooking time by a minute or two. Remember to monitor the tots closely to avoid burning.

  3. Air Fryer Efficiency: Every air fryer model may have variations in heat distribution and cooking speed. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your specific air fryer and adjust the cooking time accordingly. If you find that your air fryer tends to cook faster or slower compared to others, you may need to decrease or increase the cooking time accordingly.

  4. Flip and Shake: As mentioned earlier, flipping or shaking the tots halfway through the cooking process helps achieve even browning. This step also gives you an opportunity to monitor the progress of the tots and determine if they need additional cooking time. Adjust the total cook time based on the visual cues, making sure the tots are cooked to your preference.

Cooking Techniques

While the traditional method of cooking tots involves placing them in a single layer in the air fryer basket, there are a few other techniques you can try to elevate the taste and texture of your tots.

  1. Drizzle with Oil: To enhance the crispiness, you can lightly spray the tots with oil or toss them in a small amount of oil before placing them in the air fryer. This technique adds a thin layer of oil that helps achieve a deep golden brown color and a crunchier exterior.

  2. Seasoning Options: Experimenting with different seasonings can transform your tots into a flavorful delight. Before cooking, toss the tots in a combination of your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, or even grated Parmesan cheese. These seasonings add a burst of flavor to the tots and take them to the next level.

  3. Preheat the Air Fryer Basket: Another technique to consider is preheating the air fryer basket before placing the tots. With the preheated basket, the tots start cooking immediately upon contact, resulting in a slightly faster cook time and a crisper exterior. Be cautious when preheating the basket, as it may become very hot. Always use oven mitts or kitchen tongs to handle the basket.

  4. Use Parchment Paper or Perforated Liners: If you find that the tots tend to stick to the air fryer basket or you prefer easier cleanup, you can line the basket with parchment paper or perforated liners specifically designed for air fryers. These liners prevent sticking and make it easier to remove the tots once they are cooked. However, it’s important to note that using liners may slightly affect the crispiness of the tots as they may not have direct contact with the hot air.

By applying these cooking techniques, you can add variety and personal flair to your tots, transforming them into a crowd-pleasing snack or a delicious side dish.

Cooking tots in an air fryer provides a healthier alternative to deep-fried tots while still delivering the satisfying crispy exterior that makes them undeniably delicious. With the straightforward process of preheating, arranging, cooking, and flipping the tots, you can have a batch of perfectly cooked tots in no time.

Remember to adjust the cooking time and temperature settings based on whether you're cooking frozen or homemade tots and your personal preferences. Consider experimenting with different techniques such as oil drizzling, seasoning options, and preheating the air fryer basket to enhance the taste and texture of your tots.

Whether you're enjoying tots as a snack or serving them as a side dish, cooking them in an air fryer ensures a guilt-free indulgence that doesn't compromise on flavor. So go ahead, dust off that air fryer, and cook up a batch of crispy, golden tots that will be a hit at any gathering or enjoyed as a tasty treat at home.


If you are a fan of tots, you know that achieving the perfect texture and taste can sometimes be a challenge. The good news is that cooking tots in an air fryer can give you the crispy exterior and fluffy interior that we all love, without the need for excessive amounts of oil.

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One common mistake when cooking tots in an air fryer is undercooking them. While it’s tempting to remove the tots from the air fryer as soon as they turn golden brown, this may result in a disappointing texture. Undercooked tots will lack the desired crispiness and may feel doughy or raw in the center.

To avoid undercooking, it is important to follow the recommended cooking time and temperature specified in the packaging of your tots. If no specific instructions are provided, a general guideline is to cook the tots at 400°F (200°C) for around 15 minutes. However, cooking times may vary depending on the size and brand of your tots, so it’s best to keep an eye on them and adjust the cooking time accordingly.


Overcooking tots in an air fryer can result in a dry and unpleasant texture. When tots are cooked for too long, they may become overly crunchy or even burnt. It’s crucial to find the right balance in order to achieve a crispy exterior without sacrificing the fluffiness inside.

To avoid overcooking, start by setting the air fryer to the recommended temperature and cooking time stated on the packaging. Check the tots periodically throughout the cooking process to prevent them from over-browning. If you notice that the tots are cooking too quickly, you can lower the temperature slightly or reduce the cooking time.

Checking For Doneness Of Tots

To determine if your tots are cooked to perfection, it is essential to check for doneness. One foolproof method is to insert a toothpick or a small fork into the center of a tot. If it comes out clean and without any doughy residue, the tots are likely cooked through. However, if there is still some uncooked batter clinging to the toothpick, the tots need more time in the air fryer.

Another way to check for doneness is by observing the color and texture of the tots. Fully cooked tots should have a golden brown exterior with a crispy texture. Wait for the tots to achieve this desired color before removing them from the air fryer.

When Things Go Wrong

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things may not go as planned. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common issues that may arise when cooking tots in an air fryer:

1. Tots Sticking To The Basket

If you find that your tots are sticking to the air fryer basket, it could be due to the lack of oil. Although air fryers require less oil than traditional frying methods, a light coat of cooking spray or a drizzle of oil can help prevent sticking. Alternatively, you can try using parchment paper or silicone mats in the air fryer basket to create a nonstick surface.

2. Tots Are Too Dry

If your tots turn out dry, it may be because they were cooked for too long or at too high of a temperature. Reduce the cooking time and temperature slightly to ensure a moist and tender interior. Additionally, shaking the basket at regular intervals during the cooking process can help redistribute the heat and prevent dryness.

3. Tots Are Not Crispy Enough

If your tots lack the desired crispiness, it could be because you didn’t preheat the air fryer. Preheating allows the air fryer to reach the ideal temperature before you start cooking, resulting in a crisper exterior. Another tip is to lightly coat the tots with oil or cooking spray before placing them in the air fryer. This extra layer of fat helps achieve a golden and crispy texture.

4. Tots Are Unevenly Cooked

Unevenly cooked tots are often the result of overcrowding the air fryer basket. To ensure even cooking, spread the tots in a single layer, leaving ample space between each piece. If you have a large batch to cook, it is best to cook the tots in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding.

Tips For Cooking Tots In Air Fryer

To create the perfect tots in an air fryer, consider the following tips:

  1. Preheat the air fryer: Preheating the air fryer for a few minutes before cooking will ensure that it reaches the desired temperature and helps achieve a crispy exterior.

  2. Shake or flip the tots: Shake or flip the tots halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning and crispiness.

  3. Experiment with cooking time and temperature: Different brands and sizes of tots may require slight adjustments in cooking time and temperature. Keep track of the cooking process and adjust accordingly to find the perfect balance.

  4. Use cooking spray or oil: Although air fryers reduce the need for oil, a light coat of cooking spray or a drizzle of oil can help prevent sticking and enhance crispiness.

  5. Avoid overcrowding: Cook tots in a single layer with sufficient space between each piece to ensure even cooking. If you have a large batch, cook them in multiple batches.

  6. Season to taste: Before cooking, you can season your tots with salt, pepper, or your favorite spices to enhance their flavor. Experiment with different seasonings to find your perfect combination.


Cooking tots in an air fryer offers a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods while still providing a crispy and delicious result. To achieve perfectly cooked tots, it is important to avoid undercooking or overcooking and to check for doneness using the toothpick or color and texture method. Troubleshooting issues such as sticking tots, dryness, lack of crispiness, or uneven cooking can be easily resolved by following the provided tips. With a little practice and experimentation, you can master the art of cooking tots in an air fryer and enjoy this beloved snack whenever you please.


How Do I Cook Frozen Tots In An Air Fryer?

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the frozen tots in the basket in a single layer. Cook for 10 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Can I Cook Homemade Tots In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can! Simply form the tots into small, evenly sized balls and place them in the air fryer basket. Cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.

Can I Use Oil In An Air Fryer When Cooking Tots?

Yes, you can lightly coat the tots with oil before cooking for a crispier texture. However, be sure to use a minimal amount of oil to avoid excessive smoking in the air fryer.

How Long Do I Cook Tots In An Air Fryer?

Frozen tots typically take 10-12 minutes to cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Homemade tots may take slightly longer, around 12-14 minutes.

Can I Cook Other Types Of Tots In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook a variety of tots in an air fryer, including sweet potato tots, broccoli tots, and cauliflower tots. Just follow the same cooking instructions as you would for frozen or homemade tots.