Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots


I learned something new about Babyface this past weekend. I found out that growing up, he never had school lunch as we know it. Neither of us are sure if it’s a typical Canadian thing or just a Thunder Bay thing or just the schools he went to, but he never experienced lunch ladies, pale green plastic trays or greasy, droopy pizza. Weird, right? They just brought their lunches from home. It’s such a crazy concept to me. School lunch is a serious rite of passage, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, this came up because I made tater tots!

I’m not sure there are many foods out there that are more synonymous with school lunch than tater tots. I actually think the vast majority of my lunches during my sophomore year of high school consisted of a bag of tater tots, a Mountain Dew, and an Oatmeal Cream Pie. Or maybe a Star Crunch, if I was feeling a little crazy.

Nowadays, my diet has expanded a bit past deep-fried potatoes and Little Debbies. But sometimes, it’s fun to step back in time and try to make a classic junk food into something that fits better into a healthy eating style. Instead of deep-frying potatoes, I baked up a flavorful sweet potato mixture. 

These guys were so incredibly good. I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but the Panko outside gets all crunchy and crispy and the inside is soft, fluffy and sweet. The parmesan adds a really nice contrast to the sweet, earthy potatoes. We are big fans of these tots.

Baked Parmesan Sweet Potato Tots

Baked Parmesan Sweet Potato Tots

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These guys were so incredibly good. I honestly wasn't expecting much, but the Panko outside gets all crunchy and crispy and the inside is soft, fluffy and sweet. The parmesan adds a really nice contrast to the sweet, earthy potatoes. We are big fans of these tots.


  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded finely
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded sweet potato, egg, 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumb, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. On a plate, spread out remaining Panko into a thin layer.
  4. Using clean hand, form the sweet potato mixture into small tater tot shapes. Roll in Panko and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with rest of sweet potato mixture.
  5. Spray tops of tots with cooking spray. Bake in preheat oven for 30-35 minutes or until browned and crunchy.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 380mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

What was your favorite food from school lunches? What about your least favorite?

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    1. Hahah! We didn’t do a CSA this year, but we did for a few years and it always seems like there is one thing you get WAY too much of every single week. Last year, it was arugula. I’m not a big arugula fan, but I can eat small amounts. I definitely can’t eat three pounds worth every week.

      1. Ha yeah, I had to tell mine to stop sending me lettuce. I am only one person, and getting through 3-4 heads of lettuce before they start to get nasty is darn near impossible. Lettuce is cheap and easy to find, so if I want it, I just buy it. I’m lucky that my CSA allows that kind of control!

  1. These looks great and a nice change from an old school tot.

    For us, like once a month, the cafeteria would make these GIANT cinnamon rolls and we would go nuts for them. Now, if I ate one of those I would nap for 3 hours.

    Erin –

  2. Two words: Sloppy. Joes. My all time favorite school lunch. I would get so excited on those days. Also, chocolate milk and chocolate cookies were a constant at my school

    1. OH MY GOSH. I totally forgot about school Sloppy Joes! We were also SO excited on Sloppy Joes day. I’m sure it was just commodity ground beef mixed with a giant can of off-brand Manwich, but SO GOOD.

  3. Star Crunch, I loved them!!! And the Oatmeal Creme Pie. I have to avoid them at the grocery store because one box would do me in. Your tater tots sound wonderful. 🙂

    1. Oatmeal Cream Pies are seriously the best. Although, for some reason, I only liked the big ones that they sold individually. I never liked the ones that were in the box.

      *shakes head* I can’t believe I ate that way everyday.

  4. Oooh la la! Those look delicious! And with autumn right around the corner sweet potatoes will be back on my mind! 🙂 Thanks!

  5. I’m agreeing with the other Canadians on here – grew up in Ontario (my husband did the school thing in Ontario and Saskatchewan), and neither my husband or I had school lunches. We always brought ours from home because if you didn’t, you went hungry!! In high school we had a VERY small cafeteria that had maybe 3-4 things? I ate one thing from there once and that was it. Mostly everyone I know brought lunches from home. 🙂

    1. It so crazy that it was such a different experience. The only time I ever packed a lunch was when we went on field trips. And even most of the time they took us to a fast food restaurant on those.

  6. Another Canadian here! I grew up in the central prairies, and finished my school years on the west coast. And no school lunches here! My husband is American (but we live in Canada) and we often have the conversations about how different/the same Canada and the US are. He also had school lunches growing up 😉

    1. I think the different/similar thing is such a mind trip! I mean, we’ve been together over six years and we’re still figuring out things that are different about our two countries. Just last night, I explained to him last night that the word “expiry” (as in, an expiration date) isn’t really used in America. People will know what it means, but I’ve never heard an American say, “The expiry on this milk is tomorrow.”

  7. Chiming in on the Canadian experience – I’m from Nova Scotia and my elementary school had a cafeteria, but most of the time I brought my lunch – we had a mix between people who brought lunch from home and people who bought their lunch. No tater tots though – I don’t think they existed back then ()1970s – early 80s). My high school did not have a cafeteria, though it had a canteen. My husband went to high school one county over and his school had a cafeteria.

  8. Oh, school lunch….We always qualified for free lunch, and I was never picky – I ate everything! Or at least before I went pescetarian from middle school to high school. Then I remember picking the turkey off the Jennie-O subs and looking forward to cheese pizza. Sometimes we even had veggie burgers in middle school!! My high school had amazing fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that everyone went crazy for. And mmmmm, bruschetta pizza! There was a downside to my diet restriction: I remember envying my friends when they ate gyouza in front of me. But I remember loving tater tots, and these look scrumptious!
    Sometimes the lunch ladies needed extra help and would pull kids out of classes fifteen minutes before lunch to help in the kitchen…this was in elementary. I always always wanted to be picked. But it only happened a handful of times. I wonder if other schools did/do that?

    1. Yeah, that definitely never happened at my school! And wow, you had some awesome food at your school! Bruschetta pizza!? Veggie burgers!? It wasn’t until I got to college that we actually started getting fed stuff like that.