This recipe is sponsored by ZenChef. All opinions are 100% my own.
Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots are tender, crunchy, and so much fun to make. No mincing required! Serve them up as a side dish or a snack.
Do you love tater tots? Me. TOO! We keep a bag of frozen tots on hand to air fry as a late-night snack. (Who says vegans always eat healthy?) These Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots are my attempt at making a slightly healthier version of that late-night treat.
How to Cook Frozen Cauliflower Tots (or any other tots) in the Air Fryer
Before we get to the from-scratch recipe, I wanted to add a short section on how to cook frozen tots in the air fryer. These cauliflower tots are easy to make, but sometimes you just want to dump some pre-made, frozen tots in the basket and call it a day.
If you’re working with frozen cauliflower tots (or tater tots or veggie tots), most air fryers will cook them through at 400F for 10-12 minutes. Shake once, if your tots take up more than a single layer.
Air fryers can vary. The cooking time listed here (and in the recipe below) works in my ZenChef Pro XXL and most similar air fryers.
Why Make Your Own Tots?
You might wonder why you’d even bother making cauliflower tots from scratch, when you can buy frozen ones at the store.
I’m glad you asked!
Y’all, those frozen cauliflower tots are easy. But did you know that a lot of them contain eggs?
Many brands also deep fry their tots before freezing them, so you’re not doing your heart any favors when you buy frozen tots.
Plus, a serving of my Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots contains a whole serving of cauliflower!
About My Air Fryer
The air fryer that I used to make this recipe is the ZenChef PRO XXL Air Fryer from ZenChef, who is sponsoring this recipe. Thank you, ZenChef!
I’ve had this air fryer for over a year now, and it is hands-down my favorite that I’ve ever owned. The basket is nice and large (5.8 quarts!), and I love the design.
As you probably know, I am extremely picky about air fryers, and this basket design is the kind I like. It pops out for easy cleaning, and it has holes at the bottom (rather than mesh) to allow air flow and prevent sticking.
My favorite feature on this air fryer, though, is the little S button. The S stands for start and for stop. I’ve never seen another air fryer with a stop button, and it feels so much safer than unplugging it while it’s running, if I need to end a cooking cycle early.
Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots from Scratch
The secret to these no-mince cauliflower tots is to use frozen cauliflower rice as your base.
To make these, start by getting your potato cooking. This recipe only uses one small yellow potato, and you can boil, steam, or microwave it. I prefer the microwave here, because it only takes a few minutes. If you don’t like microwaves, no need to yell at me in the comments. I’m not going to force you to use one.
While the potato cooks, toss the frozen cauliflower into a bowl with a little bit of salt and olive oil. You can leave the oil out, but I find that the tots brown better if you use it. You do what feels right to you!
Once the potato finishes cooking, carefully cut it into 1″ pieces with a knife while it is still hot. Touch it as little as possible to avoid burning your hands!
Transfer the hot potato to the bowl with the cauliflower mixture, and mash it up. The hot potato will thaw the cauliflower, and the cold cauliflower will cool down the potato.
Once the mixture is cooled enough to handle, get in there with clean hands, and knead into dough. The mixture will probably be very cold at this point, and that’s fine.
It’s tot-making time!
To make your tots, grab a heaping tablespoon of the dough at a time, and gently roll it in your hands to create a tube shape, then use your fingers to gently flatten the top and bottom of the tube. You’ll end up with 12-14 tots, depending on how heaping your tablespoons were.
Place your cauliflower tots into a parchment paper-lined air fryer basket, and you are ready to cook!
Air Fryer Cauliflower Tots
- 1 small yellow potato – around 1 cup, once you dice it
- 1 1/2 cups frozen cauliflower rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – see note
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cook your potato using your preferred method. I like to stab it with a fork and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until it's fork-tender.
- While the potato cooks, add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl, and mix well with a fork.
- When the potato is done cooking and still hot, carefully cut it into 1" pieces. Transfer it to the bowl with the cauliflower, and mash with a fork. When it's cool enough to handle, use clean hands to knead the potato and cauliflower together until you have an even mixture.
- Use your hands to form the cauliflower mixture into 12-14 balls or tater tot shapes, and transfer them to your parchment paper-lined air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 400F for 8 minutes, then flip the tots over. Air fry at 400F for 6-8 more minutes, or until they're golden brown on the outside.
- Serve hot on their own or with your favorite dipping sauce.