Tater tots are the salty, crunchy cousin to French fries, and depending on where you live, they go by different names. In Canada, they are called tasti taters. In Australia, potato gems or potato pom poms. On the West coast, taco joints call them Mexi-fries; when Taco Bell still served them, they called them Mexi-Nuggets. All the same to us!
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In Minnesota, where we live, they are the key ingredient in “hot dish” which is a casserole of meats and cheeses. So we were not surprised to find out that this multifaceted favorite snack food is used to make pizza.
Tater tot pizza can be made in three different ways, and we are going to teach you how to make tater tot pizza at home.
What is Tater Tots Pizza?
Tater tot pizza is a fun way to make pizza using tater tots instead of pizza crust. It is easy to make, and everybody loves tater tots, so it is a crowd-pleaser. You can find frozen tater tots in any supermarket.
Recently, we have even seen cauliflower and zucchini tater tots on the shelves too. We stick with the classic potato-based tater tots, but we are curious about the cauliflower version since many people are eating cauliflower pizza crust.
Traditional tater tots are made from potatoes, and their flavor is salty. Potatoes are so versatile you can easily switch out pizza dough for a potato base. Some even add mashed potatoes to their pizza dough for fluffier dough.
Basically, flavor-wise, using tater tots as pizza crust isn’t going to alter the flavor significantly. You are still going to get a mouthful of tangy tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. But tater tots as pizza crust will alter the texture quite a bit.
3 Ways to Use a Tater Tot Pizza Recipe
We made homemade tater tot pizza three different ways. They were all good and easily customizable for different tastebuds.
1. Tater Tot Pizza Crust
The most common way to make tater tot pizza is to make a type of tater tot pizza casserole or “hot dish.” For this, you will need:
Start by spreading olive oil on the baking dish. Then layer the tater tots on the bottom of the dish. Next, bake the tater tots by themselves at 425º F for 15 minutes.
If you want the crust to form a solid crust similar to actual pizza crust, brush some egg white onto the tater tots before baking, and that will help bind everything together. If you don’t mind a casserole-ish pizza, then leave out the egg white.
Once you have established your tater tot crust, spread your sauce. You will want to stick with classic red pizza sauce for tater tot pizza. Tater tots are usually eaten with ketchup, so switching the ketchup to a red pizza sauce makes sense. Next, add grated mozzarella cheese or a cheese blend. Then sprinkle on your other toppings.
We like to add some veggies since this is a carb-heavy dish, but really, any pizza toppings work. For this one, we added a layer of roasted zucchini strips between the layers of tater tos and cheese.
Be mindful not to overload the pizza since the crust may get soupy and too wet with too many toppings. Put it back in the oven and bake again for another 8-10 minutes.
2. Smashed Tater Tot Crust
Smashed tater tot crust is similar to tater tot pizza, but we are going to smash the tater tots together and add some egg and cheese to hold them together. This works really well for small individual pizzas or even appetizer-sized pizza snacks.
Start with room-temperature tater tots. Usually, they are sold frozen, so take them out an hour before you plan on making this dish.
Put your defrosted tater tots in a bowl. Half a bag of tater tots will make one pizza or several mini pizzas. Use a potato masher or fork to mash them together. Sprinkle in some Italian seasoning and add one egg. Mash them together.
Add in ¼ a cup of Parmesano Reggiano or other parmesan cheese, just not the powdered kind in the green container. You should have a tater tot dough now.
On a baking sheet or parchment paper, spread the mixture to make a crust. If you are making mini pizzas, make sure they are all the same size, so they will cook evenly. Now par-bake for about 3-5 minutes on 425ºF. Take them out and top them with sauce, cheese, and any toppings.
3. Tater Tots as Pizza Toppings
If you really want pizza and tater tots but can’t decide which to make, just throw some on your pizza. The simplest way to make tater tot pizza is to just add tater tots to the top of your pizza. Anyone who puts French fries on their hamburger or potato chips on their sandwich will understand.
It amps up the texture, and adding tater tots turns it into comfort food. If you are going this route, add other complementary toppings like bacon, ham, onions, or scallions. Getting hungry.
- Any tater tot brand will work for this. We tried several and couldn’t taste the difference in flavor or texture between the more expensive brands and the less expensive ones.
- Use a deeper baking dish if you want it to lean more into a casserole or a shallow dish for a more pizza style.
- For smashed tater tot appetizers, swap out the red sauce for a little sour cream. Think pizza meets latkes meets appetizer.
Have you tried tater tot pizza? What’s your favorite way to use tater tots on pizza?