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Top Your Burger with Crispy Smashed Tater Tots

Look out, lettuce and tomato. There’s a new burger topping sheriff in town. 

I’m usually simple when it comes to my burger toppings. Lettuce and tomato, done and done. Maybe onion if I’m feeling daring that day. But thanks to my genius colleagues, I’m branching out.

Tater tots, anyone?

You used to only find these short, stout, and fluffy potatoes in the cafeteria, but they're making quite an epic comeback. They’re great as a casserole topping. On pizza. Or in a burrito

They’re also delicious when crisped up in a skillet and thrown onto a burger. 

Notes From the Test Kitchen

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My mind was blown when I stumbled upon this burger topping. Crispy like a potato chip on the outside. Slightly fluffy on the inside. It’s brilliant! 

I’ve tried it once (ok twice) and I don’t think I’m ever going back. 

These satisfying spuds from our cookbook Cooking with Plant-Based Meat. The recipe? Meatloaf burgers. Think of the tots as a whimsical nod to the mashed potatoes often served in a classic meatloaf dinner. It’s brilliant.

(To be fair these crispy tots work on really any burger.)

Did I mention they’re so easy to make? Yes, you can fry them up in an air fryer. Or you can also fry it in the same skillet as the burger. The key: a spatula or dry measuring cup to flatten them slightly. This gives you more surface area for more crispiness. And also makes them easier to sink your teeth into. 

Oh, lettuce, tomato, and onion? You can still come, too. 

Crispy Tater Tots Burger Topping

Makes enough for 4 burgers 

  • 1 cup frozen tater tots, thawed and patted dry
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil 


Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tater tots to skillet and press with spatula or underside of dry measuring cup to flatten slightly. Cook until crispy and deep golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer tater tots to paper towel-lined plate. Serve on top of your burgers.