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If you love low carb comfort foods or sneaking in veggies for your kids (or significant other!), this cheesy cauliflower tots recipe is for you. They’re soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and easy to make!
But even though these are keto low carb cauliflower tater tots, they also make a healthy side dish or appetizer for just about anyone – no matter what dietary lifestyle you follow. Zucchini fries are a popular choice, too.
So, you probably want to know how to make cauliflower tots crispy? The key is the method – you need to fry them! I love roasting and baking many things, but when you want something with the crispiest exterior, nothing beats frying. Trust me, these turn out much crispier from a pan than they do in the oven.
What Are Cauliflower Tater Tots?
If you haven’t heard of cauliflower tots before, you may be wondering, what are they? Or, what do cauliflower tots taste like?
Cauliflower tots are simply tater tots made with cauliflower instead of potatoes. To replace the potatoes, cauliflower tater tots use cauliflower rice instead.
I won’t lie – you can taste the cauliflower. So, they probably aren’t for you if you don’t like cauliflower.
But if you like the idea of a traditionally starchy comfort food turned low carb and healthy…
If a crispy outside and soft inside sounds appealing…
If you want to sneak in a veggie when you’re bored with roasted veggies…
Then you have to try this easy, cheesy cauliflower tots recipe!
Cauliflower Tots Nutrition
Are cauliflower tots keto friendly? Yes!
Are cauliflower tots gluten-free? Yes!
Are cauliflower tots healthy? Definitely yes!
Cauliflower tater tots replace the starch in potatoes with plenty of good stuff from cauliflower – vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin.
And since we already know cauliflower is the power lifter of low carb comfort foods, it’s no surprise that a cheesy cauliflower tots recipe can be pretty amazing.
If you want to see a few other reader-favorite low carb comfort foods with cauliflower, try these:
- Cauliflower pizza crust
- Cauliflower mashed potatoes
- Cauliflower mac & cheese
- Buffalo cauliflower bites
Tips For How To Make Cauliflower Tots
Cheesy cauliflower tots are super easy to make, but here are a few tips to streamline the process:
Use a food processor to rice the cauliflower.
You can use a box grater, but a food processor is so much faster. Check my cauliflower fried rice post for more tips on ricing cauliflower.
Cook the cauliflower rice is cooked correctly.
No one wants cauliflower tots that are crunchy or watery on the inside! To avoid both, stir fry the cauliflower rice over medium-high heat. Make sure it’s both soft and dry before mixing with the other ingredients.
Here it is in the pan when it’s done:
If you need to, you can pat it with paper towels at the end to get rid of extra moisture.
Here it is in the bowl with the other ingredients – notice it’s sticky and cheesy with no extra moisture:
Use a small cookie scoop to form the tots.
This makes it super easy to make them uniform in size.
Flatten the cauliflower tots before frying.
Unlike regular potato tater tots, cauliflower tots are best flattened rather than rounded. This ensures that the inside cooks through by the time the outside browns.
Use enough oil.
Cauliflower tater tots rely on oil to get crispy, so don’t skip it!
Use a heat-safe oil.
Many types of oil, like extra virgin olive oil, have a low smoke point that isn’t suitable for high-heat cooking. Make sure you fry your cauliflower tots in an oil that can handle the heat. I like avocado oil best!
Play with the temperature.
There’s a happy medium between having the cauliflower tater tots too pale and burning the outside before the inside is done. The heat level will vary depending on your stovetop and the pan you use, so you may need to adjust it to find that middle ground.
Drain on paper towels.
Since we are using plenty of oil, paper towels will help soak up the excess and make the cheesy cauliflower tots more crispy.
What To Dip Cauliflower Tots In
There’s a particular common pairing for regular tater tots – ketchup, of course! But, if you’re trying to avoid sugar or carbs, most commercial ketchup options are off the table.
Instead, it’s super easy to make your own homemade sugar-free ketchup. It goes perfectly with this cauliflower tots recipe, and lasts a long time.
Serve ’em with some low carb chicken nuggets for a complete kid-friendly – or childhood throwback – meal.
Can You Make Cauliflower Tots Ahead?
Yes, you can. The best way is to pre-make them but only fry right before serving.
However, if you have leftovers, you can definitely refrigerate them and reheat later. They will just be softer and less crispy, but still good!
Can Cauliflower Tots Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze cauliflower tots either before or after frying.
How to freeze cauliflower tots after cooking
To freeze cooked cauliflower tots, simply arrange them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once they are solid, you can transfer them to a freezer bag for long term freezer storage.
To eat frozen cauliflower tots, you can reheat them in the microwave (they will be softer this way), in the oven, or lightly fry again for a crispy exterior. No need to thaw before heating.
How to freeze cauliflower tots uncooked
You can also freeze cauliflower tots prior to cooking. However, you do need to cook the cauliflower rice and form the tots before freezing.
Arrange the uncooked cauliflower tots on parchment paper, place in the freezer until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag.
To cook the cauliflower tots later, you can roast them in the oven or fry them. Either way, don’t thaw them first because they will get mushy.
If you choose to fry frozen cauliflower tots that were not cooked before freezing, do it at lower heat so that you don’t burn the outside before the inside is hot.
Cheesy Low Carb Cauliflower Tots Recipe
Tools To Make Cauliflower Tots
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Food processor with shredding disc – The fastest way to make cauliflower rice for cauliflower tater tots (and for cauliflower pizza crust, cheeseburger casserole and more!)
- Small cookie scoop – For making uniform sized tots.
- Hard-anodized French skillet – This one is non-stick, PFOA/PTFE-free, metal utensil safe, and lasts a long time. The large size makes it easy to stir fry cauliflower rice.
- Turner – For flipping your cauliflower tots easily.
Cauliflower Tots (Easy, Cheesy, 4 Ingredients!)
Easy, cheesy cauliflower tots needs just 4 ingredients! Cauliflower tater tots make the perfect healthy comfort food, snack or appetizer.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg in a large bowl. Mix in the mozzarella, garlic, and sea salt.
When the cauliflower rice is done, stir it into the bowl right away while it's hot. It will melt the cheese in the bowl and make the mixture sticky.
Use a small cookie scoop to pick up balls of the "dough". Form small tater tot sized patties and flatten slightly. (Make sure they are not too thick so that they'll cook through.)
Wipe the pan lightly with a paper towel to get rid of any cauliflower rice pieces.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) avocado oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the tater tots in a single layer, trying not to have them touch, and fry for about 2 minutes, until golden on the bottom. Flip and repeat until golden on the other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Repeat with all tater tots. (You may need to add more oil between batches.)
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Serving size: 6 tater tots
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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I finally made these..been wanting to for a while! They were excellent! For me it was easier to make them in a mini muffin tin & bake them for 23 minutes at 400 degrees & they were great! I added 3 Tb melted butter so they’d get crispy since I wasn’t frying them. Be sure to spray your tin well or they will stick. I used bagged cauli rice so they took no time to make. The kids liked them too!! Thank you for the recipe…I will make these often.
I baked them at 450 for 10 minutes on both sides. Used parchment paper. They were awesome.
Second time I made these and they taste delicious. First time, they held together like tots, the second time they broke apart. Wondering if instead of 1.5 pounds cauliflower it could be written in cups? Maybe would have more consistent results. Husband and I did enjoy these though!
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Elisa, Measuring the cauliflower by weight will give you a more accurate and consistent recipe.
Can these be air fried?
Wholesome Yum D1
Hi Robin, Yes, that would work.
Can these be made in airfryer?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Stephanie, Yes, that would probably work for you.
Have you tried using frozen riced cauliflower?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Theresa, I have not tried using frozen rriced cauliflower.
Hi there. I really like these but one thing I did differently is I used spray oil. I tried the avocado oil but they were too oily but with the spray oil, it’s much better. It’s a great recipe Thank you!!!! Melissa
Hi: Sure would like to give this recipe a try, using a bag of frozen riced cauliflower. However, I’m not a fan of any type of ketchup. I see that some people used sour cream for dipping. How about your homemade ranch dressing? Would that also be a good choice as a dip as well? Your thoughts, please.
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Sandra, Yes you could use ranch as a dipping for this recipe.
First, thank you for all the research and testing you put into this recipe. Second, I noticed some people commented that the tots are lacking in flavor.
I’m from south Louisiana and added the flavors I wanted. Sautéed the cauliflower in bacon fat. I put the trinity in the food processor and stirred in some Tony’s and a little black pepper. Added a Tbsp to the cauliflower. They turned out perfectly. I didn’t get to freeze any because my peeps ate them all. Thanks again.
I’ve also had the broccoli & cheese tots. I’m sure this recipe would work well with broccoli. Thank you for posting!
Oh my they are terrific. First, you cannot tell they are cauliflower, secondly I had to check my oil to make sure I used the correct one (I did use avocado oil). They are like any normal potato hash brown we use in the US full of bad fat and carbs. Thank you for this recipe!
I made these last week. Everybody, including the picky 6 year old loved them! They will be in the rotation for sure!
Oh so delightful and fun!
8 servings at 6 tots/serving ..so I’m supposed to get 48 of these from the “dough”? Oh boy.
It was delicious by the way. Closest thing to a tater tot I’ve tasted. Even better actually. I noticed if I waited to fry the rest they were a lot easier to handle once the cheese cooled down a bit.
Today was the first day I’ve made these. I had a couple fall apart before I realized I needed to let that first side brown well before flipping. Once they were browned well, they flipped well. I also found that using too much oil was counterproductive and they browned better in the middle of the pan where there was less oil. I fried them in a cast iron skillet and no sticking. I used that same pan to cook my frozen cauliflower and I cooked it longer than the directions say to ensure my cauliflower was “dry.” Love this recipe! It’s a keeper! My “tator tot” casserole is in the oven now. Smells so good! Love your website! Thanks for sharing!!!!
Disappointing. Very wet, didn’t form patties, no flavour.
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Geranium, I am sorry this recipe didn’t turn out as expected. If your tots didn’t stick together then the cheese and egg mixture wasn’t fully incorporated with the cauliflower. They need to be fully incorporated before forming tots and frying. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of garlic and salt to your personal tastes.
I loved tater tots not that long ago. I used to make them for my kids and of course, I’d sneak a few or more for myself. I was really excited to see this recipe as well as the sugar free ketchup recipe.
These turned out really well and very tasty. My kids (grown up now) really liked them too. Very easy to make. The only comment I would make for others is to make sure your fry pan is non stick!!!! My wok isn’t, so I transferred over the 1st batch when I saw what was happening, and they turned out well. I wonder if you’ve ever tried using an air fryer?
The ketchup tastes delicious, I am still slow cooking it though as I’d like it to be thicker. Thank you for your delicious recipes, I have incorporated many of them into my daily menus. I’m always interested in any of your recipes that are nut free as well!
How many tots to a serving?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Denise, 6 tots are a single serving.
OMGness!! As usual, I am NOT disappointed. Very satisfying side dish! Or just a snack! I only made a few of these and now the rest is in the fridge for tomorrow. I think I’ll add bacon and jalapeno to some and see how that is!
Do I use grated or shredded for the mozzarella cheese?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Joanne, Either will work fine for this recipe. Enjoy!
Ludona H. Smith0
I have tried many of your recipes and shared you with my daughter. They have turned out well every time. Thank you for your perfect creations. They make our meals something to look forward to.
They fell apart when I tried to turn them. I added another egg to the batter, spread the rest out on a parchment-paper-lined pan, and baked it at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Still kind of crumbly. We cut them into squares and spread guacamole on them. Some we could pick up, others crumbled and we ate with a fork.
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Ruth, I’m sorry these didn’t turn out as expected. If they were crumbly, then it is probably one of two possibilities. 1. There wasn’t enough moisture removed from the cauliflower before combining with cheese, or 2. The cheese and cauliflower weren’t fully combined before shaping into tots. I’m glad you were able to make it work by flattening into a cracker, but I do hope you give the recipe a try again with better results.
These are amazinnnng! Just made them this morning. They were a hit! Family loved them!
We love the Green Giant tots but would prefer to make them from scratch. Your recipe looks amazing but wondering if these can be baked and at what temperature and time do you recommend?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Lee Ann, These tots will hold together best when fried.
Should we use 1.5 cups of riced cauliflower for this? I can’t understand the conversion of lbs to cups
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Bharat, From a large head of cauliflower, you could yield roughly 3 cups of cauli rice. Please don’t worry about getting this exactly right, this recipe is very forgiving.
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