Are Tater Tots Gluten Free?

Whatever your age, tater tots are a great side dish alternative to french fries or potato chips. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you are aware that you must be mindful of every meal that you put into your body to prevent having a response due to food intolerances or food allergies.

Tater tots aren’t an exception to this generalization. Whenever you are eating a processed item, you can be sure the food will either contain gluten or will have come into touch with gluten at some point throughout the processing process.

To find out if they’re safe to consume on a gluten-free diet and what you should know and search for at the grocery store, we’re going to go into this issue today. This article aims to determine if tater tots are gluten-free, what to check for next time you’re in the frozen food section, and which brands to purchase.

Understanding What Tater Tots Are

A potato-based side dish, tater tots, is frequently served in place of French fries or baked into casseroles. They are cylindrical and produced with shredded potatoes, after which they are deep-fried till golden brown. If you want to make them at home, you can get them at various restaurants and in the frozen food area of your local grocery store.

Although the phrase “tater tot” is a registered trademark of the Ore-Ida company, most people still refer to these small potato pockets by that name. On the packaging of other brands, they are typically referred to as “tots.”

Tots are formed using shredded or grated potatoes and spices and then cooked in oil until crispy. To help bind tots together or create a crispy shell on the outside of tots, several recipes call for all-purpose flour, which can be found in most grocery stores.

Health Benefits to Eating Potatoes

There are various health benefits to eating potatoes, whether you believe it or not. They include beneficial nutrients and minerals, but they also contain substances that function as antioxidants, preventing free radicals from damaging the body’s cells.

When free radicals accumulate in the body, they can cause heart disease, diabetes, aging-related disorders, and other chronic illnesses. As a result, including antioxidants in your diet is essential for maintaining good health.

Potatoes include a variety of minerals, including vitamins B1, B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6. B2 aids in converting carbohydrates into glucose, which provides your body with the energy it requires to survive.

Aside from that, potatoes contain resistant starch that, when converted to the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, is beneficial to the gut flora and can assist digestion. This can assist in lessening the likelihood of colon inflammation occurring.

Are Tater Tots Considered Gluten-Free?

Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, making them a safe food to consume when following a gluten-free diet. Regardless of the variety, potatoes may be eaten while still gluten-free in their most fundamental form. Because potatoes are cultivated underground, any potential of cross-contamination in the field is almost eliminated.

With potatoes being a naturally gluten-free food, it leads us to the question as to whether tater tots are also gluten-free. The answer to this question is not so straightforward. Typically speaking, tater tots should be gluten-free as they are mainly made up of shredded potatoes, seasonings, and oil. Does this then lead to the question, are all brands of tater tots gluten free?

Tater tots are comparable to French fries in that if you purchase them from a restaurant, they may include gluten from a shared fryer. Some tater tots may include gluten if purchased frozen, as this helps them crisp up when baked. To assist you in selecting at the grocery store, look for ingredients that include hidden sources of gluten in their ingredient list or that have a gluten-free label on the box.

What to Look for When Choosing Gluten-Free Tater Tots?

Another question we want to answer is what ingredients in tater tots might not be gluten free. If you look online for homemade tater tot recipes, you will see that many calls for the use of all-purpose flour. We all know and understand this is a big source of gluten. 

Several tater tot brands use flour as a coating to help them crisp up more in the oven, which is beneficial. Gluten is present in this flour, and you should avoid any containers with flour or other concealed names for gluten in the ingredients list.

Your best chance is to seek a tater tot brand with a gluten-free label since this implies that the container has less than 20ppm of gluten. Brands may alter their recipes at any moment, so be sure to check the package each time you purchase something.

Buying Gluten-Free Tater Tots

Now that you understand that some brands of tater tots might contain gluten, you are probably wondering what’s the best brand of gluten free tater tots. Putting together a list of the best tater tot brands that don’t contain gluten is an impossible task. The reason why it’s so hard is that so many brands don’t use gluten-free labels. 

Some items include no gluten-containing components, but they do not declare that they are gluten-free. Others carry caution labels that they may have been produced in facilities that also handled gluten-containing products, which made me feel uncomfortable suggesting these products to you.

The only tater tot brand that displays gluten-free on their packaging is Ore-Ida. However, you always want to check the labels of Ore-Ida Tater Tots because recipes may change or manufacturing facilities might vary in location from one batch to another.

Tender and crisp, McCain’s Tasti Taters have no artificial colors or flavors. They are manufactured at a factory that produces both gluten-free and gluten-containing items, and as a result, they are not labeled certified gluten-free.

Alexia brand tater tots may be gluten-free if labeled as such, but their website advises that you check the packaging every time you go to the shop because they may have changed facilities. They didn’t clarify on their website that their tater tots are always gluten-free, which was disappointing.

The gluten-free labels on other brands, such as Bird’s Eye and Lamb Weston, did not indicate that the products included gluten-containing components. If you are fine with the concept of cross-contamination or trace quantities of gluten, you might want to give these a try.

Do your due diligence each time you shop, check ingredients lists for hidden gluten components, look for a gluten-free label, and read labels on packaged foods.

Homemade Tater Tot Recipe

Homemade ones are quite simple to prepare. The only part that requires time is the formation of the tots, which may be a pleasant chore to which the kids can contribute.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the potatoes, onion, and garlic together in a large mixing basin with the lard or oil. Using a big baking pan, spread the potato mixture out. 

2. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (but not mushy), stirring halfway through. Remove and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

3. Toss the potato mixture into a food processor and process for 7-8 seconds, or until the chopped bits are the size of tiny pebbles or chunky. Avoid pulsing for an excessive time; you don’t want mashed potatoes.

4. Pour the mixture back into the big mixing basin. Combine the Parmesan, arrowroot powder, salt, pepper, and paprika in a mixing bowl. Thoroughly combine the ingredients; use a spatula. Don’t crush the mixture any further.

5. Prepare a big baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Fill the baking pan to the brim with the entire mixture. The consistency of the mixture should be roughly 1 inch thick.

6. To firm up the mixture, place it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. Once frozen, take it out of the freezer and cut it into tot-sized shapes.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 ° Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. The tots should be spaced approximately 1 inch apart. Cook for 25 minutes.

Gluten-Free Alternative to Tater Tots

Take the zucchini tater tot train to get the crispness and texture of normal tots with the added benefit of healthier and more natural ingredients. Zucchini is a high-fiber vegetable that is also strong in vitamins. Potatoes, zucchini, salt, and olive oil are the only items you’ll need for this dish.

Directions:

  • Cook the potatoes until soft, then grate them; grate the zucchini and squeeze off any excess liquid with a cloth; season with a pinch of salt to taste.
  • Make small forms out of the tots with your hands by pressing them together.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rotating halfway through to ensure both sides are crispy and wonderful on both sides.

What to Pair with Tater Tots?

Tater tots are a flexible side dish that may be paired with various sauces or thrown into a variety of recipes. Tots are usually served with ketchup, which enhances the tastes of the tater tots by combining citrus and tomato. Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing is another choice for ranch fans. Whichever dipping sauce you select, you will not be disappointed.

Many dipping sauces contain a lot of sugar and a long list of ingredients with names you can’t pronounce, so when shopping for dips, search for companies that use organic and minimum ingredients and a low amount of sugar in their formulation.

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