Baked Cauli-Tots


I don’t care if you tell your kids what’s in them or not, but you have to make these cheesy, crispy, so amazingly good Baked Cauli-Tots!  I’m ready to start calling them Awesome-Tots!

Baked Cauli-Tots | | #sidedish #vegetarian #cauliflower #tatertots

You guys!!!  These may just be my best kitchen creation ever.  They are seriously our favorite side dish!  All three of us just devour these perfectly crispy, cheesy, dare-I-say potato-ey little nuggets.

OK, now I know it is seriously starting to look like all I do is disguise cauliflower.  Mashed potato alternative?  Fried rice filler?  “Wings”?  Now TOTS?!?!  Believe it or not, we actually like cauliflower.  I’ll roast it with some salt and pepper, or maybe a little parmesan, cheddar, or blue cheese and we eat it up.  Even The Bug.  Nevermind that…  even The Hubby.  The man who must have meat.  But cauliflower just works so well as a alternative to heavier, carb-ier things, plus it’s semi-neutral flavor really takes on whatever you want to season it with.

So I’m gonna keep doing it, and you’re gonna get more cauli-faker recipes.  #sorrynotsorry

Baked Cauli-Tots | | #sidedish #vegetarian #cauliflower #tatertots

Anyways, Cauli-Tots.  This was inspired by the Zucchini Tater Tots I made, but while those are super-dee-licious, the addition of zucchini does affect the potato-ey texture. So I tried shredding cauliflower.  Lo and behold, it worked!  Even The Hubby says that you could fool someone with these babies.  The mixture of the shredded cauliflower with some cornmeal gives it the perfect tot texture.  They are baked, not fried, which keeps them lighter, and allows the edges to crisp up and get the cheese a little toasty.


They also freeze well.  Last time, I made a double batch and tossed some in the freezer to send to school with The Bug for lunch.

Baked Cauli-Tots | | #sidedish #vegetarian #cauliflower #tatertotsWhat is your family’s favorite side dish?

4.5 from 15 reviews
Baked Cauli-Tots
Cheesy, crispy, so amazingly good that they'll easily replace those other tots as your family's favorite side dish.
Recipe type: Side Dish, Veggie
Serves: Makes 24 tots
  • 3 c (about half of a head) shredded cauliflower (see Note)
  • 4 oz. (about 1 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot 50% Light Sharp Cheddar)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil or coking spray.
  2. Place the shredded cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together thoroughly. I like to use a fork.
  4. Using a spoon or scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cups.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
I use the shredding blade on my food processor to shred the cauliflower. You can use the stems as well, not just the florets, since it is all being shredded and mixed together.


Baked Cauli-Tots | | #sidedish #vegetarian #cauliflower #tatertots

Want some more fries and tots?  You got it!

Italian-Herb-Oven-Fries.jpg Herbes-de-Provence-Baked-Sweet-Potato-Fries-2-title-wm.jpg Tater-Zucchini-Tots-Title-1.jpg

And how about some from my friends…


Want to see lots more yummy food from me and my friends, and cute pictures of my kids? 

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  1. says

    I LOVE this idea. Thankfully I do not need to hide any food, but I do like lighter alternatives to potatoes. And thanks for including the info on freezing. I have been on a big freezer cooking kick and love to make extras of everything.

      • Gudrun says

        I’m like Linda, I cannot use cornmeal. In fact, I am on a grain free diet, so breadcrumbs or oats aren’t the answer, either. How about almond or coconut flour? Might either of those work?

        • says

          I haven’t tried either, but it is worth a shot. I’ve left the grains out altogether and they are a bit softer, but still yummy. The almond flour might still end up a but sorf, but would add that texture. I haven’t used coconut flour enough to make a guess. If you try it, let me know!

  2. Amanda says

    These look amazing! Would love to try dairy-free for a lactose-allergic brother.
    Understand need to replace with something to make it stick – anyone try with extra egg? Any suggestions? It’s a new transition for our family. Thanks!

    • says

      I haven’t tried anything else, but more egg may work, though it might end up more like mini quiches. I think Cabot cheddar is actually lactose free, though I suppose it depends on his level of sensitivity.

  3. says

    Hi! Brianne, Found your delicious tots at Marvelous Mondays and just had to come by for the recipe. They do look cheesy and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Excited! My oldest loves raw veggies but my younger one not so much, but the little guy will eat pretty much anything he can dip in “dippin sauce” (ketchup) I plan on using a mixture of asiago and parmesan and italian bread crumbs to sub for corn meal to give them a more italian feel.

  5. says

    G’day Brianne Love the creativity of your Baked Cauli-Tots, true!
    This might be shortly on my list to do! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of Nancy’s Your Best Recipes Oct 2013

  6. Trish says

    These look DELICIOUS!! I cannot wait to make them at home. Do you have any suggestions for an egg substitute as a binder? Cooking/baking without eggs is new for me & I’m still unsure of how to make it work in certain recipes.

    Speaking of things that are new to me… This post brought me to this blog for the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these great recipes!

    • says

      Welcome Trish! Honestly I have not done much with egg replacers, though I hear the “flax egg” works well. Basically just flax seed and water. I have a few vegan blogger friends I can ask for suggestions.

    • says

      I’ve got two suggestions for you – 3T of yogurt or the Ener-G egg replacer. I just got a comment on my Zucchini Tater Tots recipe fro someone whose daughter has egg and dairy allergies, and she used vegan cheese and the Ener-G egg.

  7. Debra says

    I’m definitely going to try this. In the past whenever a recipe calls for breadcrumbs, etc., I’ve used cooked red quinoa. It works amazingly well!!…

  8. Susan says

    I do not own a food processor, any suggestions on how to shred the cauliflower? I am a personal fan of cauliflower, but the hubby is not a veggie fan at all, but these look too good to resist trying. Thanks

    • says

      My husband eats cauliflower but doesn’t love it and he raves to everyone about these. He raved at work so much that his coworkers requested them for the holiday potluck.

  9. Gale says

    These are absolutely amazing! I followed the recipe exactly. This will be a favorite for years to come. Thank you so much!

  10. Debra says

    Hi there… I made these today for the 1st time. I made a double batch and followed the recipe exactly. The flavor and texture is fabulous but I had a problem and hope you can offer some suggestions. I placed the tots in a non-stick muffin pan and sprayed the pan. The first batch stuck to the pan so I cut out little circles of parchment paper and put those in the muffin pan. They stuck to the side even though I sprayed the bottom and sides before I put the parchment paper in. Have you had this problem with sticking?… Would love to hear from you as the recipe itself is delicious!!!

    • says

      I have one pan that it tends to stick a little more. I was actually thinking of using the mini cupcake liners. Other than that, I think just spraying them really well. I’m glad you liked them though.

  11. Kathy-Jo says

    I did a search for recipes using cauliflower and came up with about ten of them for the tots, they were all much different but I carefully chose this one because obviously your picture is eye candy! Well I am glad I did, because they are fabulous! I love cauliflower and this will now become a staple in my home too….. thank you so much for sharing it! And Cabot is the ONLY brand of cheese I ever buy….. I regularly use the “Seriously Sharp”, or the “Extra Sharp” and I begin to panic when it begins to run low, haha! I never post but had to give you credit for this, simply because its amazing! Thanks again!

  12. Stephanie says

    Could you re-place the cornmeal with parm. cheese? We don’t do much corn bc inflammation and auto immune disease.

    • says

      I freeze them after. They will heat stuff up at his school, but he doesn’t like his food too hot, so he may very well have had them cold at some point. He is not too forthcoming with those details :-)

  13. Grammy says

    I’m making these right now. I think perhaps you meant “grated” rather than “shredded”. When I used the shredding disc in my FP (the one I use for shredding cabbage for slaw), there were many “slices” of cauli-floret and stem. The picture (and common sense) tells me this . I had to used the regular processing blade to render the cauli into pieces small enough that they resemble the pic and would cook in the given time.

    They are in the oven so I can’t give them an actual rating, I don’t have a blog so can I not comment?

    • says

      Hmmm, we must have different types of blades because with my shredding/grating blade, it looks almost like shredded cheese (well except the florets make smaller pieces). I did get you comment and hope you enjoyed them.

  14. Crystal says

    I discovered this recipe through pinterest and have been hooked on it ever since! We’ve taken these as appetizers to holiday dinners, potlucks and today– Super Bowl. While they are great with an easy homemade ranch dip for kids — the adults usually polish them off with an even easier accompaniment of buffalo wing sauce (who’d have thought?). Delicious all around — just be sure to use freshly grated cheese, I used pre-shredded once for ease and they turned out too dry (I think it’s the coating they put on the shreds).

    • says

      Oh funny, good tip. I’ve never tried the preshredded kind. So glad you are enjoying them and maybe I’ll have to make a version with the buffalo baked right into them. Mmmm, I can taste it now!!

  15. Tiffany says

    Saw these on your Facebook post and immediately made them. I left out the corn meal because I didn’t have any and they were still amazing! The only problem is that I might eat the entire batch!

  16. Lanie says

    These are so yummy!! I’ve made them soooo many times now! I’ve even made them without the egg and didn’t use a subsititute and it stuck together really well!! Thanks so much for the recipe! :)

  17. Georgina Brown says

    I have been “going” to make this for weeks now, and I finally have decided it will be a great addition for my dinner tonight, but I am still confused about one thing. You say to squeeze all the water out of the cauliflower, now according to my cooking experience there shouldn’t really be any water there unless you have already slightly blanched it, and I do not see that mentioned anywhere in the recipe, I haven’t seen anyone else having any problem with this. Can someone please let me know, preferably before this evening, otherwise I am going to go with a short dunking for the cauli. Thank you everyone, especially you Brianne

    • says

      Georgina – I am so sorry to be replying so late. I was so sick for a few weeks and got very behind on my comments. The raw cauliflower retains some natural moister. When you squeeze it, it draws out some of the excees liquid so that the tots stay together better,

    • says

      I have not tried with frozen. I think they might be a little squishier, since the cauliflower is not pre-cooked before making the tots. But if you try it, let me know, and I’ll share if I try it.

  18. Donna says

    Made these to take to a party as an appetizer. They were a huge hit. When I make them again for just my husband and me, I think I’ll add some cayenne pepper for a little kick. Thanks for sharing.

  19. says

    I’ve made the Pizza crust before and will try these also. my question about this is about the cauliflower do you not cook it first and than squeeze out the water?

    • says

      No, I do not cook it first. Not a lot of water will come out, but squeezing it does get rid of some of the natural moisture and helps the tots hold together better.

  20. Kate says

    This recipe looks delicious and am going to make them this week! I am looking for a food processor or something to make the shredding quicker. What kind do you have?

  21. Supriya says

    I made these when some guests were arriving…Omitted the mustard, added a potato or two and v little cheese… They loved it! And the fact it was baked made it even more appealing! This is a hit and I am going to be making it again and again! Thank you so much!

  22. Melissa says

    Made these today, they were AMAZING! Added some onion powder also. They were a little crisp, a perfect tot! Dipped in ketchup-will definitely be making again. Thanks!!

  23. latoya says

    This looks delish..I love cauliflower and I love cheese, why have I never put them together before?! Pinned to make later!

  24. Sheila says

    I’m surprised nobody else commented on the saltiness of these tots. I thought half the amount the recipe called for would have been plenty. I didn’t have a mini muffin pan so used a regular one & other than the salty taste, they were quite good. I’ll try using a filler (coconut flour maybe) next time because it was difficult to get the mixture to stick together.

    • says

      Hmm, I guess people are used to tots being salty, but certainly go ahead and adjust to your preference. Also, sometimes different brands of cheese have different amounts of salt. The mixture does not stay together on its own, but if you press it down a little when you pit it in the pans, they stay together nicely once they are baked.

  25. Sara Miller says

    I am anxious to try these for a covered dish supper. I need to bring an appetizer. I don’t have a mini muffin tin. What do you think about forming “balls” and cooking them on a parchment covered cookie sheet?

  26. Johnna says

    I just made these, and they are awesome! I didn’t have corn meal so I used breadcrumbs, and they still had a good texture

  27. Kristen says

    We tried these tonight for dinner, exactly as written, and really liked them! The only problem I had…they stuck to my muffin tin badly and I had to use a spoon to scoop them out leaving all the good crunchy parts. I sprayed the heck out of it – I have a Wilton pan that has been used in the past but it is still in very good shape. Is there something else I need to do? I used Pam for grilling since they cook at a fairly high temp. I made sure I sprayed in all the muffin cups but that didn’t seem to matter. Do I need to let them sit after pulling from the oven for a few minutes to pull away from the sides? Thanks for any advice you can give me!

    • says

      Funny, my Wilton pan works the best. I get some sticking in other pas. I let them cool a couple minutes then slide a knife around the edges to pop them out. I also recently postd a cauli-tots casserole. Not as many crispy edges, but easier prep and cleanup. Pros and cons :-)

  28. Li says

    Love this recipe! I added some Asiago cheese in addition to the sharp cheddar, and a little onion powder, too. I also used a mini muffin pan and coated it all very well with oil, but I, too also had an issue with the “best” of the tots sticking! :-( Might have to resort to making it as a casserole, but then that will take away the fun of popping them in my mouth. Thanks for this great recipe!

  29. Valerie says

    These types of recipes with cauliflower have been popping up and some sound great. I found one in our Penny Saver that is a bit different from yours (trying your next week. We had this just tonight!) A few different ingredients and then rolled in panko. I spray them with a little bit of spray butter and they get so crispy in the oven. We have them once a week and I make enough for snacking. I don’t know how to post things but they’re really, really good. I like your recipe because they are baked in the cupcake pan instead of rolling them into “tots” so these are a must try! Thanks for sharing.

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