Cauliflower tots are a delish alternative to regular tater tots and they’re packed with bacon-y, cheesy, veggie-filled goodness.

These are one of our fave side dishes and make for a great snack too!

plated Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots

Sides We Love

When planning dinner, I most often have a main dish in mind (like roast chicken or pork chops) but I am always looking for new side dish ideas. I’m also somewhat obsessed with cookbooks.

If you’re looking for some great side dish inspiration, you will LOVE The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Side Dishes by Rebecca Lindamood. This book is packed with over 100 side dish recipes! You might recognize Rebecca’s famous melting sweet potatoes recipe (MUST try) or the best ever candied jalapenos, and this collection will just add to your favorites!

cookbook beside a plate of Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots

This book has…

  • Easy to follow recipes with ingredients I usually have on hand (plus some new ingredients when I want to change it up)
  • Sorted by veggie for easy inspiration based on what is in your fridge
  • Hard to find recipes for veggies (too many radishes or green onions? Got leftover broccoli stems? Rebecca has recipes for those)!
  • Classics like pea salad and green beans & bacon but new twists on old favorites too (like Korean smashed potatoes)!

This book is jam-packed with lots of inspiration, ideas, and tips along with gorgeous photos. It’s a staple in my kitchen already.

a cookbook with a bowl of food


I knew we’d love this recipe since we love homemade tater tots so much!

CAULIFLOWER RICE Cauliflower is used in these tots. Rice your own or to make it quick, buy frozen riced cauliflower.

CORNMEAL & EGG Cornmeal and eggs help bind these little bites and the cornmeal adds crispiness and flavor.

FLAVOR Sharp cheddar cheese, bacon bits, need we say more? Yum!

ingredients to make Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots on a baking sheet

How to Make Cauliflower Tots

Cauliflower tots are a fun and tasty treat, perfect for game night or a great side next to chicken nuggets!

  1. Make cauliflower rice according to recipe instructions. Squeeze very dry (I do this in a tea towel).
  2. After the draining step, add remaining ingredients, combine thoroughly.

ingredients in bowls to make Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots


  1. Using a small cookie scoop (or measuring spoon) scoop onto a baking sheet.
  2. Bake tots until golden brown on the top and dark brown on the bottom.

making balls of Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots and putting on baking sheet

To Air Fry

Place tots in a single layer in the air fryer basket (cook in batches if needed). Air fry for 6 minutes flip them over, & cook another 6 minutes.


  • Kept leftover cauliflower tots in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will last up to 3 days. Re-crisp them in a toaster oven, air fryer or under the broiler.
  • Tots can be frozen in zippered bags with the date labeled on the outside for up to 2 months.

Delicious Dips

Cauliflower tots are made for dipping and dunking!

Did you love these Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

plated Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots
5 from 20 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots

These Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots are crispy on the outside, fluffy & flavorful on the inside!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4


  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (approx 2 cups)
  • 12 bacon strips cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Using a grater, grate the florets until they are the size of cooked rice grains. Put the cauliflower into a bowl that is lined with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cauliflower and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Fold the towel ends over the top of the bowl and microwave it for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the microwave and unfold the towel letting it cool down until it is comfortable to handle. Once cool, gather up the towel ends and twist while squeezing the cooked cauliflower to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • Empty any liquid that remains in the bowl and add the cooked cauliflower into it, add the remaining ingredients and stir vigorously until fully combined.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to portion the mixture and place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared pan to allow room for spreading. Gently pat the tots to flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top with a dark brown on the bottom.
  • Let the tots stand for 2 minutes on the pan before serving.


These can be cooked in an air fryer at 400°F for 12 minutes (flip after 6 minutes). 
Be sure to squeeze the cauliflower very dry.
Reprinted with permission. Lindamood, Rebecca. "Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots." The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Side Dishes. Page Streed Publishing Co.: 2020. 46. Print. 
5 from 20 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 635 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 1761mg | Potassium: 943mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 816IU | Vitamin C: 110mg | Calcium: 478mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots in the air fryer with writing
Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots in the air fryer with a title
cooked Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots in the air fryer with a title
Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots in the air fryer and plated with a title


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Just made these tonight. My husband says it’s the best way he’s ever eaten cauliflower. I agree. they are super crispy and flavorful.5 stars

    1. Hi Linda, you will want to prepare according to your package directions and then pick up in step 3 of the recipe. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi there! I have frozen cauliflower rice.. how many cups would I need for this recipe?

    Thank you


  3. Made this today and absolutely delicious!!
    I had a few questions regarding directions, but once I figured them out, they came out like the picture!
    Gave my neighbor some to try and she loves them!!5 stars

  4. I am going to try this recipe but for the sharp cheddar cheese, it says 8oz and in parentheses it says , approximately 2 cups.
    Is it 8oz which is one cup or is it 2 cups which is 16oz?5 stars

    1. 8 oz per cup is a fluid (liquid) measurement (fl. oz).

      This recipe uses 8oz, which is a weight measurement. For example if you filled a measuring cup with marshmallows and filled the same cup with uncooked rice, they would not both weigh 8 oz, the marshmallows would be much lighter. I hope that helps.