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Potato Puff Balls (Baked Homemade Tater Tots)

Potato Puff Balls (Baked Homemade Tater Tots)
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Total Time: 40

Yield: 72 pieces

We challenge you to eat only one of these Potato Puff Balls (Homemade Baked Tater Tots). Here's the original recipe from 1937: "Pare and boil 6 medium-size Maine potatoes. Drain. Mash very smooth and light. Add 2 large tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup hot milk, 1/4 cup mild grated cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Beat until fluffy. While hot, shape into little balls, then roll in egg and breadcrumbs. Place on a well-buttered pan and brown delicately in a hot oven. Serve immediately." Below is our updated version.

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Potato Puff Balls (Baked Homemade Tater Tots)
Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey


  • 6 medium-size Maine Russet potatoes
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup hot whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar (or blue cheese)
  • Pinch kosher or sea salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Heat oven to 400°.
Peel and cut potatoes into 2-inch chunks. Place in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
When cool enough to handle but still hot, pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a medium-size bowl. By hand, stir in hot milk and grated cheese. Add salt and pepper. Don't overmix.
Beat eggs and place in a shallow dish or pie tin. Place breadcrumbs in a separate shallow pie tin. Oil and butter a rimmed baking sheet.
Form potato mixture into golf-ball-size rounds. Roll in eggs, then breadcrumbs. Working quickly, place on baking sheet 1 inch apart from one another.
Bake 10 minutes and flip, until browned and crisp. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot.
Updated Monday, September 27th, 2010

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