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Cheesy Zucchini Tots are a deliciously cheesy way to sneak extra veggies into a childhood favorite side dish. The kids will devour these healthy baked tater tots made with potato, cheddar cheese, and a hidden vegetable secret! Plus they are naturally gluten free.
Originally published February 26, 2013. Updated with new photos including process shots and more useful information.
Healthy Baked Tater Tots with Hidden Zucchini
I think it is SUPER important to continually introduce and reintroduce a wide variety of healthy foods to our kids. Oftentimes they don’t like things at first, but if you try over and over again in different ways, it starts to become familiar and maybe even it eventually becomes delicious to them.
With my oldest, one of my biggest struggles was zucchini. Sure, he would devour them in the form of Carrot Zucchini Muffins. And to this day he will still eat those and even the Gluten Free Veggie Muffins.
But add zucchini to a Sauteed Summer Vegetable Medley or Balsamic Roasted Vegetables, and he was not having it. So when my friend shared her recipe for Healthy Tater Tots that use potatoes and cheese to disguise some zucchini, I knew I’d have a hit.
What kid doesn’t love tater tots? And mine even love Cauliflower Tots.
With a few quick updated to her recipe and I ended up with a kid-friendly side that gets devoured every time!
Everyone’s favorite finger food side dish gets an extra dose of vegetables in this healthier recipe makeover. Plus it has cheddar cheese to help make them extra crisp and delicious. And all of the ingredients are gluten free!
- Potatoes: You are going to shred these with a box grater. You can peel the potatoes or leave the peel on. The peel does add additional fiber, but it is really your preference.
- Zucchini: This also gets shredded. If you are worried about your kids seeing the flecks of green, peel the zucchini too!
- Egg: Just one to help bind the tots.
- Cornmeal: This also helps bind them and gives them a bit of texture.
- Cheddar Cheese: You can use mild or shard, depending on what your kids prefer.
- Onion Powder: Just adds a bit of flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: Gotta season those veggies and taters.
How to Make Tater Zucchini Tots
Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
Shred the zucchini and potato and place both in an old kitchen towel or double layer of heavy-duty paper towels over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Place the potatoes and zucchini in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix everything together thoroughly. Scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and press them down a bit.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan. If they don’t slide right out, then just run the tip of a butter knife around the edge to pop them out.
Tips for Success
Unless you work crazy fast, the potato shreds will brown slightly. This is nothing to be concerned about.
You can use paper towels to squeeze the liquid out of the veggies, but they can tear once they absorb some of the moisture. So a kitchen towel is the safest bet. They may discolor the towels a little, so be sure to at least rinse or wash them right away to prevent staining.
You can use a fork or spoon to mix everything together, or get right in there with your hands.
Because this recipe uses cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs, it is naturally gluten free, However, ONE WORD OF CAUTION, some brands of cornmeal have a cross-contamination risk, so be sure to read the labels!
Avoiding grains? I would expect you could replace the cornmeal with 2 Tablespoons of almond meal and 1 Tablespoon of coconut flour. If you try this before I do, let me know!
What is Good With Tater Tots?
Zucchini tater tots are always more fun and tasty when dunk them in your favorite dip. And they go well with so many family-friendly dinners!
Dips for Zucchini Tater Tots
- Homemade Ketchup
- Balsamic Ketchup
- Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
- Healthy Honey Mustard Dip
- Burger Sauce
- Fry Sauce from Buns in My Oven
Make it a Meal
Serve your tater tots with one of these kid-favorite dinners!
- Skillet Cube Steaks
- Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- French Onion Stuffed Burgers
- Roasted Vegetable Balsamic Meatloaf
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
- Air Fryer Hamburgers
Things You’ll Need
- You’ll need a box grater to shred all of the ingredients.
- Flour sack towels are great for squeezing the liquid out of the veggies.
- I like to use a small cookie scoop to portion out the tot mixture.
- And, of course, you’ll be baking them in a mini muffin pan.
Zucchini Tater Tots
- 1 cup shredded potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
- 1 small zucchini, shredded
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Shred potatoes and zucchini using a box grater.
- Gather the shredded potatoes and zucchini into a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Place the potatoes and zucchini in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Your hands are probably the best tool for the job.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin pan (I used a small cookie scoop), and press them down a bit. You should get about 20 tots.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Making these for the third time. Delicious is the recipe above, but tonight I’m improvising some spice additions. We’ll see how it goes, but these are a great way to use some leftover squash in the summer months!
These are so happening tonight!
I made these tonight – but with yellow summer squash, so it was completely invisible — victory! I only had a large muffin tin. So I had a brainstorm and turned them into tater tot dinner cups. I filled mine with zucchini and onions, the kids put a little bit of bacon and sour cream in theirs and DEVOURED them. Thank you so much for the recipe!
Oooh, bacon! Sounds amazing!!
can you give me an idea how to make this without cheese. i can have dairy products, nor do i like them. i can eat eggs can they be used as a binder? thanks, angie
Have you tried the vegan cheese? Not sure how that would work, but an egg might also. I haven’t tried it.
Saw this recipe on Facebook last week and tried the recipe out today. As expected they were delicious. Thank you.
Oh great, glad you liked them!
Love these! I used a sweet potato and garlic powder because I didn’t have any regular potatoes or onion powder on hand. I made 2 batches with my shredded veg because my 3-year old daughter is gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. They turned out great with both regular cheese & egg AND great even with the vegan replacements: Daiya ‘cheddar’ shreds and Ener-G egg replacer.
Now I want to try with sweet potatoes! And thanks for the tip on the Ener-G. I had a reader with an egg allergy asking me about replacing it in my Cauli-Tots recipe.
It works as a binder really well.
I can’t wait to try these 🙂 They look yummy…..I figured out by accident that you can hide Zucchini in almost anything with shredded potatoes in it…..I made hashbrown casserole and replaced half of the hashbrown with shredded zucchini and my kids loved it, and I was happy about it being lower in carbs 🙂
Have you shredded zucchini into pasta sauce? If you shred it fine, it breaks down quite a bit.
Yes, kind of…..I didn’t shred it, but I used the immersion blender to puree it, my kids couldn’t even tell it was there, and it added a wonderful thickness to the sauce…..we all enjoyed it very much 🙂
I used to babysit for a young boy who probably wouldn’t eat these because of the green showing. I’m sure if I peeled the zucchini before making these, he would gobble them down. Just a suggestion to the moms who are mentioning that their kids won’t eat them, try peeling them, and see if that helps.
A lot of people think they don’t like zucchini, and without some flavor added to it, it really has no taste. I took a zucchini bundt cake to a potluck once. A colleague was inhaling a third piece of my cake when his wife asked me if it was a zucchini cake. When I said yes, her husband choked and threw away the rest of his 3rd piece, stating that he did not like zucchini. What a hoot. We all got a good laugh.
My little guy eats plenty of green, but not zucchini. Go figure! I think it is the texture. But he eats these.
Quick question – did you shred them by hand, or can you use the food processor? I know that with potato pancakes they say to shred only by hand so I wondered? Look yummy!
I actually used the shredder attachment for my food processor. Just putting them in the food processor might make them more watery, but if you squeeze it out, it should be ok. Using the muffin tins help them keep their shame versus free form pancakes.
Thanks! 🙂 I’ll try that.
Those look amazing! I my kids will LOVE these.
Definitely going to try them very soon!
Ang, Juggling Act Mama
These were great. I did use GF bread crumbs instead of cornmeal. As all the cornmeal ou stores had weren’t GF safe (packaged in a facility that produces wheat etc…). The kids threw a fit when they saw what I was doing BUT after trying my daughter has requested these at her birthday party. Oh boy that means 7 batches. So has anyone tried freezing these? Wondering if they freeze and reheat well? Thinking I might try them with sweet potatoes sometime too…
Glad to hear it turned out well with the breadcrumbs. I don’t have celiac, so don’t have to be 100% GF and worry about cross contamination, so using things like conrnmeal is easier and cheaper for me. I haven tried freezing them, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I have done something similar with cauliflower – so good! I’ll post that recipe eventually.
Wow. This is a pretty brilliant reinvention of tater tots! We’re celebrating childhood favorites this month on the Shine Supper Club and this would be a really great contribution. Hope you’ll join us!
WOWza! These look amazing!!! Thanks for kicking off a great party this week! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂
Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!
We have a giveaway this week! GFF will be live on Thursday night at 7:05 eastern! Let’s get this party started!!
Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com
Oh yay! Looking forward to the giveaway! Thanks for hosting!
These look great! I love tator tots and zucchini. What a great way to put them together. Definitely trying these soon.
Thanks! I love both too, so this was a great combo!
Could you substitute something for the cornmeal? We don’t usually buy cornmeal! But these sound great! My kids might actually eat zucchini this way!
The original recipe called for breadcrumbs. I just subbed cornmeal to make it gluten free. I bet ground oats would work, too. Enjoy!
Just clicked in through Thursday’s Treasures…love them and sharing on my Facebook page today!
Thanks Ann! Perfect for kids! (even big ones, like me)
I bet they would freeze well also. Can’t wait to try. Thank you.
Yes! Good idea to make a bigger batch to have on hand!
I love, love, love this recipe Brianne! SO yum!
Thanks Dorothy! Gotta make the tots healthier to save room for dessert! 🙂
My daughter hates zucchini too. She will devour it in meatloat though. I will be trying these on her soon. So funny she will eat sushi, brussels sprouts, etc but there is just something about the zucchini.
I like to shred it into pasta sauce, too. The Bug will eat broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, salmon, scallops, but forget zucchini and leafy greens, unless I chop them into eggs.
I love both zucchini and tater tots! I can’t wait to make these!
Enjoy! They are a great spin on the classic tot!
These looks so yummy. I know I’m going to use this recipe over and over again…especially this summer when the zucchini start taking over my garden!
Definitely a great way to use up some squash when it is coming out of our ears!
Thanks for the kind words Momma, you too sweet!! I’m so glad your little guy loved them! I never could get Miss Madison to eat them, your making me want to try again though!! Never give up right!! Congrats on the nomination and I’m headed over to vote now!! 🙂 Love the bowl too!!!
Hmm, maybe another try will get her to eat them. Someone also gave a god idea of trying parmesan in place of the cheddar. I want to give that a try!
Ok first of all. I LOVE this heart shaped bowl. It is so cute! I cannot wait to try these zucchini tots. I just made cauliflower tots over the weekend and loved them! I share a healthy lunch idea with my Facebook following every day. I am going to share this link with them today. I Love zucchini and I can’t wait to try these! I have been attempting to hide veggies into my 16 month old’s food. Letting them dip things in ketchup will always help our situations:)
Thanks! I love my Fiestaware! And thanks for sharing – these are a great little bite.