Buffalo Potato Nuggets are a deliciously spicy snack. Serve them with non-dairy ranch dressing for the ultimate game day appetizer or moving night snack. This vegan recipe is a healthy take on tater tots, and it’s easy to make in the oven or air-fryer.
Have you noticed that tater tots are making a comeback? Or maybe they never went away, but they just haven’t been on my radar. I have been seeing them on the menu at some of my favorite vegan eateries lately, though. The Cinnamon Snail in New York City has a few different kinds of tots, including kimchi tots and cheesy tots. Here in New Jersey, Montclair Vegan has loaded tots, disco tots, and my personal favorite, buffalo tots.
While I do love tater tots, they’re usually deep fried, and I just don’t like all of that oil. The last time I had them while eating out, I didn’t feel so great afterward. Occasionally, I’ve picked up a package of frozen tots at the grocery store and cooked them in my air fryer, but they’re still loaded with oil, so they’re a very-once-in-a-while thing. (My favorites are Dr. Praeger’s Kale Puffs.)
Since I love to cook, I decided to try to make them myself with a mashed potato mixture. Of course, since they’re not deep fried and loaded with oil, they don’t taste quite like tater tots, but they’re still very yummy. Once they cook up, these potato puffs will be a little crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
These potato nuggets are baked rather than fried, and they can be cooked in an air fryer, if you have one. Be careful not to overcrowd your nuggets in the air fryer basket, though. If you’re air fryer is on the smaller side, you might need to cooke them in batches.
These Buffalo Potato Nuggets were inspired by the buffalo tater tots at Montclair Vegan. They’re made with cooked potatoes, a little non-dairy milk, spices, and a pinch of cayenne for some heat. They’re then drizzled with a vegan buffalo sauce to spice things up and a little Ranch Dressing to cool things down.
Traditional Buffalo sauce is made with hot sauce and butter. Sometimes a little vinegar and worcestershire sauce are mixed in, too. Frank’s usually the hot sauce of choice, but I prefer Cholula. In fact, we go through so much Cholula that I buy the restaurant sized half gallon bottle and use it to refill smaller bottles!
I’ve used Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter in this recipe, but you can use your favorite non-dairy butter. If you’re not a vegan butter kind of person, just skip it and drizzle your favorite hot sauce on your potato nuggets.
- First, you boil diced potatoes until their fork tender.
- Next, you mash the potatoes together with a little non-dairy milk and spices.
- Then, you roll the mixture into nuggets and bake them.
- Once they’re cooked, you drizzle them with vegan buffalo sauce and non-dairy ranch dressing.
- Serve and enjoy!
If you happen to have leftover cooked potatoes, you can skip the first step of the recipe and just go on to mashing the potatoes together with the spices. You’ll need about three cups of cooked potatoes. I made these puffs with the leftover potato filling from my Spinach Dip Potato Skins.
Buffalo Potato Nuggets are a terrific appetizer to serve at parties. They’re great for munching on while watching the big game or the Puppy Bowl. And they’re an excellent companion to sandwiches and veggie burgers.
Buffalo Potato Nuggets
- 3 cups diced potatoes any kind
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon potato starch or corn starch
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup hot sauce such as Frank’s or Cholula
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter melted, (I like Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter)
- 1/2 cup vegan Ranch Dressing
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley
- If you’re using your oven, preheat it to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover them plus an inch. Bring to a rolling boil and cook the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl with the non-dairy milk, potato starch or corn starch, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Mash everything together with a potato masher or large fork until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Roll the mixture into 1-inch nuggets. I like to use a small scoop to speed things up.
- If you’re using your oven, place the nuggets on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the nuggets are golden brown. If you’re using your air fryer, cook them for about 15 minutes on 400°. Whichever cooking method you use, be sure to flip the nuggets at the halfway point.
- While the nuggets are cooking, whisk together the hot sauce and vegan butter.
- Place the nuggets in a large bowl or on a serving dish platter, and drizzle with the hot sauce mixture. Then drizzle on the ranch dressing and top with the chopped chives or parsley. Serve with extra ranch dressing on the side for dipping.