Home News Recipe: Crispy potato tots

Recipe: Crispy potato tots


We recently found that our nostalgia for frozen tots, like many kid-friendly foods, outshone the reality. Determined to right this wrong, we hit the kitchen in search of potato tots with a golden, crunchy exterior and light, fluffy interior.

Many recipes simply mix coarsely ground potato with flour and egg, but these tots fried up into raw, dense nuggets. Parcooking the chopped potato in the microwave was a step in the right direction, but the tots were still too heavy. Reducing the flour and omitting the egg helped, but the tots were still not light and fluffy.

To minimize the gluey texture of potato starch, we tried processing the potatoes with water. Perfection. This step rinsed off the excess starch, and a small amount of salt in the mixture kept the interior downy white.

Crispy Potato Tots

Makes 4 dozen

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 cups peanut oil, or vegetable oil

1. Whisk 1 cup water and salt together in a bowl until salt dissolves. Pulse potatoes and salt water in food processor until coarsely ground, 10 to 12 pulses, stirring occasionally.

2. Drain mixture in fine-mesh strainer, pressing potatoes with rubber spatula until dry (liquid should measure about 1 1/2 cups); discard liquid.

3. Transfer potatoes to bowl and microwave, uncovered, until dry and sticky, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

4. Stir flour and pepper into potatoes. Spread potato mixture into a thin layer over a large sheet of aluminum foil and let cool for 10 minutes. Push potatoes to center of foil and place foil and potatoes in an 8-inch square baking pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing it flush to pan. Press potato mixture tightly and evenly into pan. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until 375 degrees. Using foil overhang, lift potatoes from pan, place on counter, and cut into 48 pieces.

6. Fry half of potato tots, until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally once they begin to brown. Drain on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Bring oil back to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining potato tots. Serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Cool fried potato tots, transfer to zipper-lock bag, and freeze for up to one month. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place potato tots on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until heated through, 12 to 15 minutes.

(For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands — which includes Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country — offers reliable recipes for cooks of all skill levels. See more online at www.americastestkitchen.com/TCA.)

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