These might only be half as tall as Tater Tots®, but personally I think they're twice as good! With just a handful of ingredients and no messy stovetop frying, get ready to enjoy these crispy, caramelized potato pancake poppers. Pipe sour cream on top and sprinkle with chives to serve, or arrange on a platter and serve alongside an amazing dip, like a garlicky pesto aioli. They also make for truly fantastic breakfast potatoes to serve with bacon and eggs.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
40 mins
10 mins
1 hr 10 mins
24 poppers

I think I've given up on trying to make amazing potato tots at home. I've tried a few different methods, and with a lot of effort and mess you can make a mediocre batch, but they're just not worth all the work, when you can just tear open a bag of frozen tots. However, as far as I know, they don't sell frozen Crispy Potato Pancake Poppers, which are amazing, and were "invented" during one of these failed tot attempts.  

Besides grating some potatoes and mixing a few ingredients in a bowl, there's not much work involved in creating these crispy, crusty beauties. Plus, we're cooking them in the oven, so not only are they pretty easy, there's very little mess. Beyond how simple, delicious, and texturally exciting these are, they're also very versatile.  

As you can see in the video, they're great simply dunked in your favorite potato-friendly dip and make a perfect base for all sorts of one-bite snacks. These also shine as a side dish next to anything that works with fries or tots and would make a fantastic change-of-pace alternative to your usual breakfast potato. But, no matter how you enjoy these, I really do hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!  


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Very generously brush melted butter into the bottom and sides of 24 mini muffin cups. Place the tin(s) on a baking sheet and set aside until needed.

  • Add cold water to a large bowl until 1/3 full. Grate potatoes into the cold water, then fill the bowl almost to the top with more cold water. Swish the potatoes around with your hands to rinse off the starch, then pour off most of the water and refill with more cold water. Continue this process until the water runs almost clear. Pour potatoes into a colander and let drain for a few minutes.

  • Transfer grated potatoes to a clean kitchen towel. Wrap potatoes in the towel and squeeze over a bowl until no more liquid comes out.

  • Transfer potatoes to a clean bowl and add garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and olive oil. Sprinkle flour over top, then add Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix and toss gently with your hands until thoroughly combined and mixture feels damp.

  • Grab potato mixture from the bottom of the bowl to get as much moisture as possible, and fill the prepared muffin cups. It's okay if the mixture comes up above the pan by 1/2 to 1 inch.

  • Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown on top, caramelized on the bottom, and crispy all over, 40 to 45 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping them over onto the baking sheet.

Chef's Notes:

You can use standard-sized muffin pans, but if you do, only fill them halfway so the potatoes cook all the way through.

Make sure you add the flour and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the potatoes in the order listed in the recipe so you don't get any clumping.

If some of the poppers are not as browned on the bottoms, you can put them back in the tins and bake for another 5 or 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

204 calories; fat 10g; cholesterol 21.1mg; sodium 629.2mg; carbohydrates 24.1g; protein 5.5g. Full Nutrition


Rating: 4 stars
The technique was very clever and we will make this again. However, I wonder if Chef John erred in typing the measurements. Should garlic powder be 1/2 teaspoon and not 1/2 tablespoon? And we found them very salty at 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (we used Morton’s). Possibly my potatoes were a tad tinier than yours though I did get 24 patties. Will def make again but with less salt and garlic, and possibly go for slightly fewer taller ones. I flipped them at about 30 minutes btw. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Another perfect recipe from Chef John. I only used half the amount of garlic he used and I am glad I did. If you also make Chef John’s Basil Garlic Mayonnaise to go with this as he recommended, I would leave the garlic out of the potatoes totally because the fresh garlic in the mayo is so much nicer. But if you top with sour cream, I would leave it in. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Looks delicious….going to try this for dinner tonight! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Excellent recipe, no changes. Would definitely make this again. Best thing is there is no greasy mess to clean up. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Made it. We loved it as all chef John recipes I tried. They were devoured in no time. Next time, I think I’ll try to grate some onion in them also. Yum. They didn’t last long enough for a photo. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
What happens if you don’t rinse off the starch? Isn’t starch desirable if you’re trying to bind the popper together? Read More
Rating: 3 stars
I wanted to love them, but they were just OK. I would make them again without cheese, and maybe parboil or bake the potatoes before shredding. They were too crunchy, but that could be due to my oven. Overall, not bad. I may make them with the addition of zucchini and carrots Read More