Find out what tater tots are made of, if they are safe for a gluten-free diet, and what brands to look for at the grocery store.
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Whether you’ve got kids at home or are a kid at heart, tater tots are a delicious side dish alternative to potatoes, french fries, or potato chips.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that you need to be aware of each and every food that you put in your body to avoid having a reaction due to food intolerances or food allergies (celiac disease or wheat allergy).
Tater tots are no exception to this rule. If it’s a food that’s been processed, you know the chances of the food containing gluten or coming into cross contact with gluten are probable.
That’s why we’re going to dig into this topic today and find out if they’re safe to eat on a gluten-free diet, and what you need to know and look for at the store.
In this post, we’re going to find out if tater tots are gluten-free, what to look for next time you’re searching the frozen food aisle, and what brands to buy.
What are tater tots?
Tater tots are a potato-based side dish that are often served in place of French fries or baked into casseroles. They are cylindrical shaped and made with shredded potatoes, then deep fried.
You can find them at some restaurants, fast food places, as well as in the frozen food section of your grocery store to bake up at home.
Fun fact: The term “tater tot” is actually a registered trademark of Ore-Ida brand, but most people still call these little potato pockets by that name. From other brands, they are usually called “tots” on the packaging.
What are tater tots made of? Ingredients of tater tots
Tater tots are made from shredded or grated potatoes, seasonings, and are fried in oil. Some recipes include all-purpose flour to help bind the tots together or to create a crispy shell on the outside of the tots.
Are potatoes gluten-free?
Potatoes are naturally gluten-free and don’t contain gluten, as they are not a grain.
Better yet, potatoes are grown underground, making any possibility of cross contamination in the field practically impossible.
Read on: Are potatoes gluten-free?
Can you have potatoes on a gluten-free diet?
Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, and therefore safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. In their most basic form, in any variety, potatoes can be enjoyed while still avoiding gluten.
Are tater tots gluten-free?
The short answer is: yes and no. There are some brands that are gluten-free, while others contain flour and wheat ingredients.
Tater tots are similar to French fries, in that if you buy them at restaurants, they are likely to contain gluten from a shared fryer.
If you can be assured that they are cooked in a dedicated separate fryer, then you may consider ordering them but you need to know what ingredients are included first.
When you buy frozen tater tots, they may contain gluten in order to help them crisp up in the oven. Look for hidden sources of gluten in the ingredient list or a gluten-free label on the packaging to help you make a decision when at the grocery store.
Many homemade recipes for tater tots I’ve found online include all-purpose flour. If you were to make your own tater tots at home, I’d recommend swapping the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free all-purpose flour in its place.
Of course, if you’re making your own tater tots at home either in an oven or air fryer, be sure there’s no opportunity for cross contamination with gluten in your own kitchen as well.
Read on: Are French fries gluten-free?
Read on: Are hash browns gluten-free?
Are tater tots breaded?
Some brands of tater tots are breaded to create a crispy texture, while others use flour as a binder within the tater tots to create a potato pocket that holds its shape up to baking or frying.
Other brands and recipes call for no flour at all and rely on the starch from the potatoes to help the tater tots hold their shape.
It’s important to look through the ingredients list of every package of tater tots to be sure what you’re buying doesn’t contain any gluten ingredients.
What to look for in tater tots when you’re gluten-free
Many tater tot brands are made with flour as a coating, in order to make them crisp up more in the oven. This flour contains gluten, and you’ll want to avoid any packages that contain flour or other hidden names of gluten allergens.
One of my little secrets is that I carry around a copy of my GFDF Take Along Cards so that I always have a point of reference when I can sneak a peek at the ingredient list of a food.
Your best bet is to look for a tater tot brand that has a gluten-free label, as this indicates that less than 20ppm of gluten is present in the package. Check out the list below for some brands I was able to confirm their stance on gluten in their products.
Brands may change their recipes at any time, so look at packaging each and every time you purchase.
Gluten-free tater tots
I set out to make a list of brands of gluten-free tater tots that you could look for at the store. However, after doing research, I found that most brands don’t have gluten-free labels.
Some products contain no gluten-containing ingredients, but they also don’t state that they are gluten-free, and others have warnings that they may be processed in facilities with gluten, which made me feel uneasy recommending them to you.
I was only able to find gluten-free labels on Ore-Ida brand of tater tots.
Alexia brand may have gluten-free tater tots with labeling, but their website states that you should look at the package every time at the store, as they may change facilities. They didn’t indicate on their website that their tater tots are always gluten-free.
Other brands, like Bird’s Eye and Lamb Weston don’t have gluten-containing ingredients, but also didn’t have a gluten-free label. You may consider trying these out if you feel comfortable with the idea of cross contamination or trace amounts of gluten.
Do your due diligence each time you buy and check ingredients lists to look for hidden gluten ingredients and look for a gluten-free label.
These are the gluten-free options from Ore-Ida, but again, check packaging each time you buy in case the recipe or facility manufacturing procedures change.
- Ore-Ida Golden Tater Tots
- Ore-Ida Mini Tater Tots
- Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Tater Tots
- Ore-Ida Onion Tater Tots
- Ore-Ida Golden Crispy Crowns
- Ore-Ida Ready in 5 Microwaveable Extra Crispy Crowns
Are Ore Ida tater tots gluten-free?
According to the Ore-Ida website and their Golden Tater Tots page, these are the ingredients you’re going to find in this product:
“Potatoes, vegetable oil blend (soybean and cottonseed), salt, yellow corn flour, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to retain natural color), dehydrated onion, sodium sulfate, natural flavoring.”
This list doesn’t contain any obvious gluten-containing ingredients and are generally considered gluten-free by the gluten-free community.
Are Great Value tater tots gluten-free?
Great Value Taters from Walmart contain the following ingredients according to the package on their website:
“Potatoes, palm oil, salt, dextrose, onion powder, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, white pepper.”
While there are no obvious ingredients that contain gluten in this list, there is a note on the packaging that states “May contain traces of milk, eggs, and wheat.”
These tater tots likely have gluten from cross contamination, probably from being made on shared equipment as other foods that contain gluten.
Are Alexia tater tots gluten-free?
According to the Alexia website on their FAQ page, their tater tots may or may not contain gluten. Here’s what they have to say about gluten in their products:
“Our products may contain gluten, if they do, it will be called out on the packaging after the ingredient list. If you have an allergy or sensitivity, we’d suggest checking the packaging each time you purchase it for the most recent list of ingredients and information.
Are Sonic tater tots gluten-free?
According to the Sonic website, their tater tots are not gluten-free. While they do not contain wheat ingredients, they are prepared in a shared fryer with other gluten-containing foods.
Are Chick Fil A tater tots gluten-free?
Chick-fil-A includes their hash browns, also known as tater tots, in their gluten-free menu options. However, they also provide a cautionary note: “We cannot ensure that our restaurant environment or any menu item prepared in the restaurant will be completely free of gluten.”
If you decide to visit a Chick Fil A, be sure to ask the folks preparing the meal if they use a shared fryer with menu items like chicken nuggets or breaded chicken. If yes, this will be your note to avoid this brand’s potato products.
Are Buffalo Wild Wings tater tots gluten-free?
No, according to the Allergen & Preparation Guide from Buffalo Wild Wings, the tater tots available at these restaurants do not contain gluten ingredients, but they are cooked in a shared fryer with other gluten-containing ingredients. Keep this in mind before ordering this menu item.
Are Domino’s tater tots gluten-free?
According to the Domino’s Allergen Information page, there is no gluten in the plain tots themselves. However, the cheese sauce seems to contain gluten ingredients. It’s not clear from the website if they use a shared fryer with other gluten-containing foods.
It would be best to ask your local Domino’s location what foods they fry to help you determine if these will contain gluten from a shared fryer or not.
Make your own gluten-free tater tots
If you don’t feel great about the idea of buying frozen tater tots for your gluten-free diet, you may consider making your own at home. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
- Gluten-free Tater Tots Recipe
- Gluten-free Tater Tots
- Homemade Tater Tots (use gluten-free all-purpose flour in place of traditional all-purpose flour)
If you love tater tots and have been wondering if they are gluten-free, I hope you were able to get all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Many brands are not gluten-free, however Ore-Ida seems to be a good brand to stick with and enjoy as a delicious side dish to all your favorite burgers and barbecue, and in tater tot casseroles.