Easy Baked Broccoli Tots

from 3 votes

Easy Baked Broccoli Tots are the veggie-packed side dish of your dreams. (Or at least it’s mine!) They’re kid-friendly and truly excellent as a snack dipped in ketchup or ranch or as a side served with chicken tenders.

A platter of broccoli tots and a person dipping a baked broccoli tot into a small bowl of ketchup.

Step aside, tater tots. There’s a new family favorite in town and it’ll have you skipping the spuds in favor of a more figure-friendly alternative. Welcome to the potato-free party, Easy Baked Broccoli Tots! You’re lean, you’re green and you’re a veggie-packed machine.

So just how does one turn a cruciferous vegetable into a healthy snack worthy of dipping and dunking into a rainbow of condiments? It all starts with the good ol’ blanching of the broccoli, which contributes two key elements to tot production:

  • It brings out the bright green color of the veggie and ensures your resulting tots won’t be a shade of brown.
  • It tenderizes the broccoli just enough to ensure your tots will be pillowy rather than crunchy.

Green veggie pillows, you say? I’m in! These baked broccoli tots also skip the deep fryer, so you can enjoy them repeatedly without worry.

While you probably need no suggestions for what to serve these tots with, I highly recommend these Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders or Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork.

What’s to Love

  • Kid-friendly and adult-approved. If you have picky eaters at home, this is a creative and fun way to encourage them to eat more veggies. Check out my guide on creative food ideas for kids for even more inspiration for picky eaters.
  • Can be made gluten-free.
  • Nutrient-rich. Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamins C and K, fiber and antioxidants. Transforming it into tots provides a tasty way to sneak more greens into your diet.
  • Baked, not fried.
  • Freezer-friendly.

Ingredients

  • Broccoli: You’ll need two heads of broccoli for this recipe. You’ll blanch the broccoli (which tenderizes it), then process it in a food processor.
  • Onion: Make sure to finely dice the onion, so it will be evenly distributed amongst the tots. 
  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs give these baked broccoli tots structure. You’ll want to use fine breadcrumbs, not panko. 
  • Egg: A whole egg brinds and prevents the veggie bites from falling apart.
  • Parmesan: Making broccoli for picky eaters involves some creativity and just a little cheese. You’ll use finely grated Parmesan here.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Dietary Swaps and Substitutions

Make this snack friendly for the whole family with these dietary substitutions:

  • Dairy-free: Simply omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese.
  • Gluten-free: The breadcrumbs can be swapped for finely crushed gluten-free pretzels, cereal or dried bread.

How to Make Baked Broccoli Tots

  1. Preheat the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F and coat a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Blanch the broccoli. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes (until fork tender). Drain the florets and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the broccoli breaks down into small pieces.
Finely ground broccoli in the bowl of a food processor.
  1. Mix everything together. Add three cups of the broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Then, add the onion, breadcrumbs, egg and Parmesan. Mix until combined.
Finely chopped broccoli, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, onion, grated cheese and an egg in a large glass mixing bowl.
  1. Shape the tots. Shape 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a tot shape and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, spacing the healthy baked tots an inch apart.
Unbaked broccoli tots on a greased nonstick baking sheet.
  1. Bake. Bake the broccoli tots for 20 minutes, flip, then bake 10 to 15 more until they’re crispy.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

  • The onion should be cut small enough so that it’s not too chunky and can be easily mixed into the broccoli mixture.
  • After cooking the broccoli, make sure to drain any excess water. Excess moisture can lead to soggy tots.
  • Pulse the broccoli until it breaks down into tiny pieces, but don’t overprocess it! If you do, the broccoli will be too wet and you won’t be able to shape the tots.
  • If you don’t have a nonstick baking sheet, use a standard baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
  • Flip the tots halfway through the baking time to ensure they brown evenly on all sides.

Dipping Sauces

And when it comes to dipping, the options are endless. Ketchup, Ranch dressing and hummus all get approval in my book. But feel free to dress up your dip a bit with basil pesto or garlic aioli.

Make-Ahead and Freezing Tips

Store leftover broccoli tots in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. They can be reheated in a 350°F oven or toaster oven or in the air fryer. They make for nice make-ahead snacks!

Kid-friendly vegetable dishes aren’t always easy to find. You can (and should) make a double batch of these tots and freeze one of them. To freeze the tots, place them on a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet until frozen. Then, you can transfer the tots to a zipper-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. They can be cooked, directly from frozen, at 350°F until crispy.

Common Questions

Can I use frozen broccoli for this recipe?

I wouldn’t use frozen broccoli for this recipe. It may well be too mushy and wet and you wouldn’t be able to shape the mixture. 

What are some creative add-ins to enhance the flavor of broccoli tots?

To add even more flavor to the broccoli tots, you can add more cheese (yum!) or even a different kind of cheese such as mozzarella. Some other ideas include a pinch of chile flakes, a packet of ranch seasoning or fresh, minced herbs like parsley or basil.

Can I make these in an air fryer?

You can make these broccoli tots in an air fryer. However, because an air fryer basket is smaller, you may have to cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding. Air fryers also cook more efficiently than a standard oven, so the tots may be ready faster than the recipe states.

A platter of baked broccoli tots and a small bowl of ketchup.

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Side Dish

Easy Baked Broccoli Tots

Step aside, tater tots. There’s a new family favorite in town and it’ll have you skipping the spuds in favor of a more figure-friendly alternative. Welcome to the potato-free party, Baked Broccoli Tots! You’re lean, you’re green and you’re a veggie-packed machine.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 3 votes
Easy Baked Broccoli Tots Recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 35 tots

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup small diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ranch dressing or ketchup, for dipping

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets to the water and cook them just until fork tender, about 5 minutes. Thoroughly drain the florets and transfer them to a food processor. Pulse the broccoli for a few seconds just until the it breaks down into small pieces. (Do not overmix the broccoli or the mixture will be too wet to form into tots.)
  • Measure out 3 packed cups of the broccoli and add it to a large bowl. Add the diced onion, breadcrumbs, egg and Parmesan cheese and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Using your hands, portion out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and mold it into a tater tot shape. Arrange the tots on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake the tots for about 20 minutes then flip them once and bake them an additional 10 to 15 minutes until crisped. Remove the tots from the oven and serve them with ketchup, Ranch dressing or hummus for dipping.

Kelly’s Notes

  • The onion should be cut small enough so that it’s not too chunky and can be easily mixed into the broccoli mixture.
  • Pulse the broccoli until it breaks down into tiny pieces, but don’t overprocess it! If you do, the broccoli will be too wet and you won’t be able to shape the tots.
  • If you don’t have a nonstick baking sheet, use a standard baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 9kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 19mg, Potassium: 8mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 17IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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5 from 3 votes

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Comments

  1. The mixture did not stick together. I even made another batch and doubled the egg. I tried towel drying the broccoli after draining, so that it would not be too wet. I wanted this to work, but ended up just putting part of it in a casserole dish to cook on its own :(

    1. Hi Jessica – I’m sorry you didn’t have success with this recipe. It sounds like either the broccoli may have been overcooked or overmixed.

    1. Hi Colette – It could also be that the broccoli was pulsed too long in the food processor, which would cause the mixture to be too wet to form into tots.

    1. Hi there! I’ve never tried this replacement, but I have read you can mix together 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and use it as you would a normal egg. Would love to hear your results if you give it a shot!

  2. My husband and I love broccoli tots pizza crust. I am now going to use this recipe for our crust instead! It is perfect. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Just found this recipe and will try it tonight! My husband is on a highly restricted diet because he has a stomach stent. These should work perfectly to provide another way to give him some green in his diet. (Will also try the cauliflower tots, they also sound wonderful.

  4. Hello Kelly. I love your recipes! I bought some riced broccoli this weekend (had never seen it before) and I was looking for a recipe to use it in. Will this work with the riced broccoli if I quickly blanch it and then follow the directions outlined here? Thanks!

    1. Hi Carol! Yes that will work but you might have to adjust the baking time. And definitely make sure the muffin pan is greased well!

  5. Just made these yummy tots and they are wonderful and keeping it a bit more healthy… I love ranch but living in Europe u don’t find Ranch dressing no where, so I substituted Greek joghurt and seasoned it up abit was, so good Ty vm for the recipe.,

  6. Oh Kelly why on earth didn’t I find you 21 years ago when the first of my 3 children were born?? Do you know how many tantrums, tears and screaming you could have saved me?!?! Thankfully, all 3 love most vegetables/fruits now, but I so wish I’d found you sooner. On a serious note, I made these yesterday and they went down a treat – in fact they loved them so much I’m having to make them again tomorrow lol. We’re having your Asian Glazed Meatloaf today, so I’ll let you know how I get on. Your recipes are FIT (fun, informative and tasty lol) xx

  7. Haven’t had a chance to read through the comments so excuse me but im on low carb so instead of using breadcrumbs or whatnot, can i just double the parm? Thanks, Amanda :)

    1. Hi Amanda! I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure but let me know if you give it a shot!

      1. Hi Rebecca! You can freeze them after baking and then to reheat them, pop the tots back into the oven or even a microwave and cook them until warmed throughout.

  8. Hum… I love this recipe! They looks very flavourful and ultra-easy to make! Thanks for sharing that ;-)

  9. Can these be made with frozen broccoli? If thawed in a colander and not cooked first, maybe? We go a bit overboard with our frozen veggie buying at Costco :)