These zucchini tots are a delicious way to get picky eaters to eat their vegetables. These low-carb tots can be cooked in an air fryer or oven for a simple and versatile side dish.
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If you are responsible for feeding picky eaters, then you know the challenge is real. It can seem like every night you have to decide between feeding your family a healthy meal or having a battle of wills with a child.
When I first tried these zucchini tots on the pickiest eaters in my family, I was pleasantly surprised that they were so well received. All of my kids enjoyed them and I knew I had a winner!
Zucchini tots are a great side dish or snack that pairs well with a huge variety of main dishes. Try them with low-carb crispy chicken tenders or bacon cheeseburger dippers for the ultimate kid-friendly and healthy meal.
Ingredients and Substitutions
This recipe only requires 5 basic ingredients and can easily be customized to suit your preferences or your pantry 😊
- Zucchini - swap the zucchini for yellow summer squash or cooked and shredded spaghetti squash.
- Parmesan Cheese - Stick with the cheap, shelf-stable grated parmesan cheese.
- Cheddar Cheese - You can swap the cheddar for any shredded cheese that you like.
- Salt and pepper
Equipment for making zucchini tots
Having the proper tools makes quick work of this simple zucchini recipe. Here is what you will need:
- A vegetable grater or for a faster option a food processor with a shredding plate
- A large, clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth for squeezing excess liquid from the zucchini (I use flour sack towels)
- You can use your hands to form the zucchini into tater tot shapes, or for a faster option, you can also use a 1-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to scoop and drop perfectly portioned tots as long as you don't mind them being round.
- Air fryer - Using an air fryer makes super crispy zucchini tots. Any model will do, but I prefer models that have trays vs baskets for more versatility.
How to make Zucchini Tots
Start out by combining shredded zucchini with some salt. Allow the salted zucchini to sit for at least 5 minutes or up to several hours in the fridge. Then, place the zucchini in the center of a clean kitchen cloth. Wrap it up and squeeze the zucchini to remove as much liquid as possible.
Tip: Removing as much liquid as possible ensures that the tots hold their shape and also results in a crispier texture closer to regular tater tots.
Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F or your oven to 425 degrees F. Transfer the squeezed zucchini to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Gently stir all of the ingredients together.
Using clean hands, form the zucchini into small cylinders, using about 1 tablespoon of the zucchini mixture for each tot. Place the formed tots on a foil-lined baking sheet or air fryer tray.
Air fry the tots for 10-15 minutes, or bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and most of the liquid is gone from the center.
Be sure to check out this article on how to convert air fryer recipes for the oven!
These zucchini tots are completely gluten-free and would be suitable for anyone avoiding gluten or grains. Always be sure to check the label of each ingredient to ensure that it is gluten-free.
This recipe is quite versatile. You can add various spices, herbs, or grated vegetables like carrots or bell peppers to enhance the flavor. Feel free to experiment and customize the recipe according to your taste preferences.
YES!!! This might be the best thing about this recipe. With a few simple modifications to the cooking process, these tots are completely freezer friendly.
To freeze them, prepare them according to the instructions right up until baking or air frying. Instead of following the recipe, cut the cooking time in half, removing them from the oven before the tots have browned. Then, freeze the tots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen transfer them to a freezer-safe container.
To bake from frozen, preheat the oven to 425 degrees f and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are heated through and golden brown.
Be sure to also check out my garlic parmesan sauteed zucchini for another great way to serve zucchini!
Tips for making Zucchini Tots:
- If your kids are freaked out by anything green. you can peel the zucchini before grating it.
- I stick with the cheap, and super dry, parmesan cheese in the green container. Since it's so dry, it helps to hold the tots together without the use of any additional ingredients.
- I opted to keep the seasoning super basic with just salt and pepper. Feel free to add seasonings like garlic, Italian seasoning, ranch seasoning, or fresh herbs!
- I made each tot using about 1 tablespoon of the zucchini mixture and ended up with 6 tots per serving. This will vary based on the size of your zucchini and how much water you are able to remove.
- The smaller the tots the crispier they will get.
- If you don't feel like forming the tots, you can bake them in a mini muffin pan instead.
Zucchini Tots (Air Fryer or Oven)
- Air Fryer
- 3 Medium Zucchini Grated
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
- ¾ cup Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl combine the grated zucchini and salt. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, or up to several hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F or the air fryer to 400℉ and line a baking sheet or air fryer basket with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Place the zucchini in the center of a large, clean kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the zucchini and squeeze it to remove the excess liquid. The more liquid you can remove, the better the tots will hold together.
- Once you have removed the excess liquid, return the zucchini to the bowl and combine with the eggs, cheeses, and additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Form the zucchini mixture into small cylinders, using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per tot.
- Place the formed tots onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or air fry them for 10-15 minutes - or until the tots are golden brown.
- Allow them to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.