The Trick That Makes Tater Tot-Topped Burgers Even Better

We've entered the tater tot renaissance. Once the stuff of nostalgia, the crispy little potato pockets have nudged their way into just about every bar menu and recipe in the last couple of years. Aside from their sentimentality, tater tots are thriving due to their adaptability. Keep them plain or dress them up, layer them on a casserole or use them as a base for nachos — you can even top your burgers with tots, if you're a real tater diehard.

You might think the patty is the star of the show in a burger, but think again. While the beef should be fresh, have just the right amount of fat for optimal juiciness, and not be overwhelmingly thick, Burger Republic explains that a good ratio of condiments, toppings, and even bun choice can all make a difference when it comes to crafting a burger. A good hamburger should be balanced, which also means it shouldn't be messy enough that it requires a fistful of napkins to dine, notes Eater.

According to Taste, the best burgers should also consist of a variety of not only tastes (sweet, sour, savory, salty), but also textures. Cue: crunchy, crispy, and fried-to-perfection tater tots.

Smash burgers? No, smash tots!

Originally created as a waste product for unfit french fries, First We Feast explains that in the 1950s, Ore-Ida founder Francis Nephi Grigg began mixing leftover potato shards with flour and seasoning, and forming them into short and stout nuggets that could then be fried. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, tater tots were a success. Even today we just can't seem to stay away from the spuds, adding them to anything and everything — burgers included.

Hamburgers are tasty. Tater tots are also tasty. It only makes sense to combine the two and create the ultimate expression of Americana cuisine: the tater tot-topped burger. You can add some much needed texture and replace a messier layer of potato chips with the golden morsels. All you need is a bag of the frozen bites and one hack.

Whether you air fry or pan fry, America's Test Kitchen strongly recommends gently flattening tater tots with a dry measuring cup or spatula. This will create more surface area, allowing more of the tot to get crispy. Following in the footsteps of smash burgers, smash tots only seem like a fitting way to give your burger that extra bit of oomph.