Spicy Cajun tater tots (fried OR baked), served with a seasoned Ranch/Sour Cream dipping sauce and BBQ sauce on the side, are the perfect appetizer to munch on at any dinner, get together or party!
My husband and I enjoy eating out at a Pacific Northwest well known restaurant called McMenamins. They have over 55 casual restaurant / brewhouses located in Oregon and Washington (including one about a mile from our home), and are a very popular hangout.
Our favorite appetizer to get (each time we go) is a basket of their Cajun Tater Tots! I love the dipping sauce they’re served with, and my husband loves his tots with BBQ sauce, so we each get our own little cup of sauce to dip the tots into! Perfect!
The deep fried tater tots, seasoned with Cajun-style spices are the perfect little treat to munch on while we wait for our order to be cooked! These little tots are so addictive… once you eat one, it is hard to stay out of them (trust me…I know what I’m talking about here)!
Scroll Down For A Printable Recipe Card At The Bottom Of The Page
Time To Try Making My Own Cajun Tater Tots!
I decided to try and make something similar at home, just for fun, and found a copycat recipe (for the tots only) online. That particular recipe baked the tater tots, so I adapted the recipe a bit, changed the recipe from baking to deep frying, then created my own sauce, and made them!
The Cajun tater tots turned out really good! NOTE: I am posting pictures of the “deep fried” version, but am including directions for baking them, for your convenience, in the printable recipe below.
Okay… So How Do I Make Them?
The first thing you need to do is make the dipping sauce. I made a sauce similar to what they serve at the restaurant. A small amount of Cajun spices are added to a simple mixture of Ranch dressing and sour cream.
Ingredients are mixed until smooth, covered, then refrigerated until ready to use. This cooling sauce is a great balance to the slightly spicy tots! It’s easy to make the sauce up early in the day for later use!
After you’ve made the dipping sauce, it’s time to make the seasoning for the tots. This is done by simply mixing up the dry ingredients in a small bowl, then setting it aside.
To Deep Fry Cajun Tater Tots:
Frozen tater tots are carefully deep fried in a basket in a pan half full of hot oil (375 degrees). They cook for 3-4 minutes until they become crispy and the color has changed to golden brown.
Once they are cooked to a golden brown color, the fryer basket and tots are removed from oil, drained slightly (over the pan), then tots are transferred to a large bowl.
Sprinkle Cajun spice mixture is immediately over hot tater tots, then toss them until the tots are covered with seasoning. The spices will stick to the oil remaining on the drained tots. I serve them hot in a parchment paper lined basket.
Serve The Cajun Tater Tots
Serve the hot spiced tater tots with two bowls of dipping sauces. Sauces are the perfect way to enjoy your tots! Dip away! Pictured on the left is the Ranch/Sour cream dipping sauce, and the dish on the right contains bottled BBQ sauce (my hubby’s preferred sauce, straight out of the bottle).
That’s it! It’s not too hard to make these delicious Cajun tots at home, if you can’t get to a McMenamins to taste the original! They are so good!
You can find ALL of my recipes in the Recipe Index, located at the top of the page. If you’re looking for more appetizers like this one, you might also enjoy Crunchy Homemade Onion Rings , Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries or Crispy Homemade French Fries. Each of them is a wonderful, yummy appetizer or side dish!
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Tot recipe adapted from Sandy, at: http://www.everydaysouthwest.com/recipes/cajun-spiced-tater-tots/
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper , or more if you like 'em spicy!
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon salt , + more to season at finish
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 16 ounces Ore Ida Tater Tots
- Enough oil to deep fry tater tots (Fill pan HALF full only)
- 1/3 cup bottled Ranch Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon (EACH) Cajun seasoning, cayenne, dried rosemary, salt, garlic and onion powder
- 1/2 cup bottled BBQ sauce
Make dipping sauce by mixing Ranch dressing with sour cream, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, rosemary, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir until fully combined. Cover, then refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the seasoning for the Cajun tater tots, by simply mixing up the dry ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
Fill a cooking pot half full of vegetable oil (no more than half full!). Preheat oil to 375° F. (uncovered). Carefully add frozen tater tots to fryer basket (only fill basket HALF full), and lower into hot oil. IMPORTANT: Be very careful-ice crystals on the frozen tots may splatter when they hit the hot oil. If this happens, immediately put a lid on pan and reduce heat till splattering stops, then uncover and return oil to cooking temp. Cook tater tots for 3-4 minutes at temperature, until they turn golden brown. Turn off heat, and carefully lift fryer basket out of oil, letting oil drain out of basket back into the pot. Once fairly well drained, pour 1/2 of hot tots into a medium mixing bowl. Immediately sprinkle with 1/2 of the Cajun seasoning mixture and lightly mix or toss to season. Repeat with other half until all tots are seasoned. Lightly season with additional salt (to taste), if desired, and serve while hot.
Preheat your oven to 425° F. Melt 3 Tablespoons butter with 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil. Combine the Cajun season mixture with the butter/oil mixture. Stir until combined. Pour 1/2 of the sauce into medium mixing bowl; swirl it around to coat sides of bowl. Add 1/2 of the tots. Place plastic wrap over the bowl, seal tightly, then toss the tater tots carefully (keeping bowl tightly sealed) until they are fairly well covered by the spice/butter mixture. Transfer the seasoned tots onto a 13x9 inch rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer. Repeat process until all tots are coated. Bake tots at 425° F. for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy and light golden brown. (Note: If doubling recipe, baking time will increase to between 25 and 35 minutes). When done, remove from oven. Lightly season with additional salt (to taste), if desired, and serve while hot.
To Serve: Place hot, seasoned tots in a parchment paper lined basket or bowl and serve, with little cups of dipping sauce(s) on the side. Enjoy!
Note: IF baking (Option #2), you will also need 3 Tablespoons butter, and 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil added to ingredient list.
Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!
I have been to McMemamins some time ago while vacationing in Portland with my girlfriends. We ordered the tater tots.. everyone loved them. I’m going to make these for 4th of July 2021… but we will be using my daughters air fryer !
This has become our very favorite tots recipe! Made it many times with wonderful results each time.
Thank you JB!
Awesome, Marva! I am so very glad you guys are enjoying them! We like ’em, too! YUM! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I appreciate it!