With a handful of accessible, nutritious ingredients, you can bake Broccoli Tots that are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. They are SO good and easier than you might think. And…they taste like broccoli tater tots!

baked broccoli tots

Broccoli Tots

Broccoli tots are a staple of the freezer aisle, but making them at home is as simple as blending up ingredients and baking the tots. I do sometimes love paying for convenience, but I also love turning basic ingredients into this delish toddler meal.

This recipe comes together quickly in the food processor and quickly turns a handful of healthy ingredients into a tots batter. And once you use a tablespoon measuring spoon to portion out the tots, all that’s left is for them to bake up in the oven.

These are great warm and my kids like them dipped in ketchup, ranch, or sour cream. And I do too!

Ingredients You Need

To make these homemade tots you’ll need the following ingredients.

ingredients in broccoli tots on counter.
  • Fully cooked brown rice: This forms the base of the batter (and adds nutrients).
  • Fresh or frozen broccoli: Either option works here.
  •  Egg: This helps the tots hold together.
  • Cheese: Any shredded cheese you prefer will work well.
  • Breadcrumbs: You can use Italian-flavored breadcrumbs (my preference), plain, or even cornmeal. And gluten-free ones work too.

Step by Step Instructions

To make this recipe, here’s what you’ll need to do. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full info.

how to make broccoli tots step by step in grid.
  1. Chop the broccoli into small pieces. Pour hot water over and let sit to soften. Drain the broccoli well.
  2. Add the ingredients to a food processor and grind into a uniform batter.
  3. Portion out tots onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake and serve warm.

TIP: I like to use a tablespoon-size measuring spoon to portion out the tots.

homemade broccoli tots on baking sheet pan

Are these homemade broccoli tots healthy?

These broccoli tots have fiber from the rice and broccoli, a little protein from the eggs, and cheese, and are made with recognizable ingredients so you can be sure that your toddler is getting the good stuff. Plus, they are an excellent way to use up leftover rice and broccoli should you have some lingering in the fridge.

Frozen Broccoli Tots to Make-Ahead

You can make these veggie tots ahead of time and store them, once cooled, in the freezer. To serve straight from the freezer, simply warm in an oven briefly. They’ll crisp right up in no time at all for a quick toddler dinner.

homemade broccoli tots

Are there any tricks to making really good homemade broccoli tots?

The only trick to this recipe is to make sure your rice is very soft and fully cooked. This will ensure that the interior of the tots is soft and easy to chew, while the exterior gets a little crunchy. I like to use rice instead of potatoes since it’s a little easier to work with and it’s such a good use for leftover rice.

A short grain rice works best here, but you can use brown or white rice, depending on what you have and your preference. I like this short grain brown rice from Lundberg.

TIP: If your batter doesn’t seem to be holding together well, add another tablespoon (or two) of breadcrumbs.

Dairy-Free Broccoli Tots

To make these without cheese, simply omit the shredded cheese and the Parmesan and use just 1 egg instead of 2. (You will get a slightly smaller batch of 14 tots.) You can try adding a tablespoon of nutritional yeast if you want to add a little more savory flavor.

Gluten Free Broccoli Tots

To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use gluten-free breadcrumbs. I like the flavor and texture of Ian’s breadcrumbs and have used both the regular and Italian-flavors.

Egg-Free Broccoli Tots

To make this recipe egg-free, simply omit the egg, use 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. This creates a nice mixture that holds together really well without the need for an egg to bind it. Do be sure to grind everything well to help with the consistency. And know that these are a little softer in the center and need to be baked a smidge longer at closer to 30 minutes.

moving broccoli tots off baking sheet with spatula.

How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in a freezer bag, in a single layer, with as much air removed as possible for up to 6 months. To reheat from the freezer, place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and warm in a 375-degree F oven for 8-10 minutes. (Or in a 375 air fryer for 3-4 minutes.)

Best Tips for Success

  • Use fully cooked and soft brown rice.
  • Chop the broccoli before measuring it, using mostly the fluffy florets (rather than the stems).
  • You can use frozen broccoli if you prefer.
  • Be sure to dry the broccoli thoroughly.
  • You can use Italian-flavored breadcrumbs, plain, or cornmeal. If using plain or cornmeal, you may want to add a pinch of salt and/or Italian seasoning to the batter for additional flavor.
  • Expect the batter to be wet, but the tots should hold together when you put them onto the parchment paper.
  • If your batter seems very wet and the tots don’t hold together in little mounds on the parchment paper, stir in another tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs or cornmeal.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so please comment below to share!

homemade broccoli tots

Homemade Broccoli Tots (Better Than the Freezer Aisle!)

Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, these tots are a seriously fun way to serve broccoli. You can cook the rice up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake the tots.
4.80 from 49 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 84kcal
Servings 8 (Makes about 20)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli florets (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup fully cooked short grain brown rice
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup Italian-flavored or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning or cumin (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour over the broccoli in a heat-safe bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  • Add the broccoli, rice, cheese, Parmesan, eggs, and breadcrumbs to the bowl of a food processor. Add salt and either Italian seasoning or cumin to add a little additional flavor if desired.
  • Grind very well to make a uniform batter. (If your batter doesn’t seem to be holding together well, add another tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs.)
  • Portion into 1-tablespoon size ovals and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25-27 minutes or until firm to the touch and lightly golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Reheat in a 375-degree F oven for 6-8 minutes (or 3-4 minutes in a 375 air fryer) to get them warm and crunchy.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the cheese and use just 1 egg. Bake as directed. (Makes about 14 tots.)
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Egg-free: Omit the eggs. Use 1 cup shredded cheese and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Bake as directed, leaving them in the oven for 27-30 minutes. (Makes about 19 tots.)
  • Use fully cooked and soft brown rice.
  • Chop the broccoli before measuring it, using mostly the top of the florets (rather than the stems).
  • Be sure to dry the broccoli thoroughly.
  • You can use Italian-flavored breadcrumbs, plain, or cornmeal. If using plain or cornmeal, you may want to add a pinch of salt and/or Italian seasoning to the batter for additional flavor.
  • Expect the batter to be wet, but the tots should hold together when you put them onto the parchment paper.
  • If your batter seems very wet and the tots don’t hold together in little mounds on the parchment paper, stir in another tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs or cornmeal.

Nutrition

Calories: 84kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 98mg, Potassium: 83mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 183IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

 

This post was first published March 2018.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Very easy to make. My 14 yo couldn’t stomach them but my 3 yo seems to love them. Fine with me because this is “yummy toddler food”, and that’s what matters. Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    My three year old loves them. To mix it up I i added half cup of cooked ground chicken and ground it even further with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor. I had to sneak a few from her plate as they came out so yummy.

  3. I’m new to cooking and baking – only really started to bake and cook following recipes when my daughter started solids. So I’m a little out of my depth…
    The breadcrumbs- are they store baught or can you make your own with leftover brown bread? We always have extra bread in the fridge and it would be great if I could use it for something.

    1. You can use either. You can make your own, but look up a recipe to ensure they are dried out and ready to absorb the moisture in the recipe.

    1. Yes, freeze in a zip top freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. You can reheat them from frozen in a 375 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes

    1. I bet that would work well- maybe 400 F for 12-14 minutes and turn in the middle? I haven’t test it, but I bet something like that would work

    1. You night be able to if you cook the rice really well so it’s very soft and sticky and then mince the broccoli very, very finely.

  4. If I have leftover white jasmine rice in the fridge, would I be able to substitute that? Not sure how it would change the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Making these every week, they’re so easy to give to my 2 year old, either as a snack or part of a meal! The cauliflower and quinoa ones were just as successful!

    1. Yes, I think so, but make sure it’s cooked well and you grind it up thoroughly as it may be less starchy than short grain rice (which is helpful for holding these together).

      1. 5 stars
        I made these last night (the egg free version). I shaped them into tots but in the oven they flattened out like latkes. Still tasted great but I would love to have them hold their shape. I can’t think of what went wrong except that I used long grain brown rice?

      2. Short grain brown rice usually has more starch and is a little sturdier, so I bet that is the reason.

  6. 5 stars
    These were easy to make and really tasty. My toddler is so fussy so I’m always looking for different healthy things to make him to mix it up a bit. Thank you x

  7. 5 stars
    These are so good!! I made this for my toddler but everyone at my house loved it! There were no leftovers 😆

  8. 5 stars
    Love this recipe and so do my girls.

    To make this more efficiently, you can pipe the mixture (using a Ziploc bag with the corner cut out) onto the parchment/Silpat in long strips across the sheet pan. Bake according to the recipe and once they’ve cooled a bit, slice into 2-inch tots. It’s a lot easier and cleaner than trying to shape the unbaked mixture.

    The recipe is also easy to swap out the vegetable (kale, spinach, really any single or mixture of similarly-textured cooked veggies). I’m guessing beans/lentils could be traded for rice for added protein too. I plan to try that on my next batch.

    1. I think you can, but quinoa is usually moister so you may need additional breadcrumbs to make sure the batter isn’t too wet.

  9. 5 stars
    These are great! I rolled the breadcrumbs on the outside as well to keep them together a bit. Quick and easy and my little one loves her “nuggets”

    1. If the rice is super, super soft and you really mince everything well, you might be able to do it by hand. I might overcook the rice a bit to ensure it’s sticky and very soft.

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times, and it’s one of the only ways I can successfully get my kiddos eat broccoli. Most recently, I added a couple tablespoons of pesto to the mix (and a tad more breadcrumbs and Parmesan), and those seem to be a hit! Pesto is my go-to for sneaking in green veggies! ? Thanks for a great recipe that can be easily modified.

  11. Amy! I made these tonight and I loved them!!!! My kids, well they knew there was broccoli in them so they were biased against them from the start, however my husband (a self proclaimed broccoli hater) was shocked that he liked them!! Personally I don’t even care if anyone else likes them! I did and will be eating my fair share throughout the week!! What do you think about serving them to a 6 month old? She hasn’t really had dairy yet, I’m nursing but have started giving her cereal and fruits.

  12. 2 stars
    I tried the egg-free version of this recipe and the tots turned out completely flat. I double checked to make sure all the portions were correct and baked them for as long as suggested. Not sure what went wrong!

    1. They do not look exactly like the photos since the ones shown here are the regular ones. I hope they tasted okay!

      1. 5 stars
        This happened to me too. They didn’t “fluff” like a tot…what did I do wrong? I used an egg replacer. The batter was also extremely dry (not wet) so I added milk. Taste was good but I was hoping they’d fluff more. Any suggestions?

      2. Perhaps the egg replacer resulted in a different texture somewhat? You could add a smidge baking powder if you want to see if that helps

  13. 5 stars
    All your recipes are SO good!! I was making pizza rolls so often it was beginning to show on my waistline (lol) and I just made three broccoli fritters today, so easy and so good! Another winner in my house. Thanks for all you do!

  14. 5 stars
    Made these with cumin and without.
    My identical twin boys (20 months) liked the ones without cumin better.
    But these were definitely a hit!!
    I’ll be trying more of your recipes this week.
    Thank you!!

  15. I’m the meal planner and volunteer cook for a Christian school in my community. Ibe had some parents ask for more vegetable options. I’m thinking of making ahead and freezing to serve to our students.
    🙂
    Cant wait to see if it’s a hit !!

  16. Can you make these with long grain basmati rice? I just realized I’m out of brown rice and I’ve got everything else I would need.

    1. Yes, just be sure it’s cooked until very soft! It tends to be a little less sticky than short grain (at least in my experience) so you may need to blend it up a bit more.

  17. Can you use flax-eggs or some other egg type substitute rather than excluding altogether to make egg-free?

      1. 5 stars
        Made these today with flax-eggs (my 1 year old has an egg protein intolerance) and they turned out great! I added some extra seasonings (pepper, garlic powder, onion powder) with the cumin. The batter held together perfect. I’m sure my son will think these are as yummy as I do!

  18. 5 stars
    I love them!!! I made 3x the recipe so I can freeze them ahead! Best to go with the squash or cauliflower cheese sauce!

  19. 5 stars
    I’ve made these three times for my kids, and they consistently eat them without complaining! Therefore, I love this recipe! It is definitely my kids’ favorite way to eat broccoli!

  20. 4 stars
    So I don’t have a food processor so I blended them in my Vitamix (which made a sort of paste) and then squeezed them out of a bag with the tip cut off (made it pretty easy!). So the texture was a little weird but that’s not why I am rating a 4 stars. I think it needed a bit more salt or an additional herb. They were a little bland for my taste. I know my 16-month-old will love them though.

  21. 3 stars
    I tried. I added salt and pepper and some thyme. I prob wouldnt make again. Id prob want to try something more like a cheese and brocoli balls. More cheese let brocoli 😛

  22. Can you tell me what the cheese adds to the tots? Is it flavor, texture? I have a baby with dairy allergies so trying to think what I could substitute. Thanks!

    1. It adds flavor and it helps the batter hold together. There is a dairy-free option though: To make dairy-free Broccoli Tots, omit the cheese and use just 1 egg. Bake as directed. (Makes about 14 tots.)

      1. Of course now I see the dairy free instructions. I’m so sorry about that! Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Can’t wait to try these!

  23. 5 stars
    My 18 month old loved these. And so did I ?
    We ate with out ketchup at first, but ketchup brings them to the next level of yumminess haha!
    These will be a staple in my freezer. Going to double/triple batch next time and may try potato like a comment or said.
    Thank you!

  24. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe thanks. So easy to make. Used tasty chedder instead of mozarella/parmesan (because that’s what I had in the fridge). My 20month ate 2 immediately they had cooled enough, the cheese flavour did the trick, didn’t even need to add ketchup 😉 So pleased to be extending his diet. Fingers crossed he likes them even when they’re not as fresh. Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes. Thanks.

  25. Hello
    Thank you for the recipe. I am looking for meals to prep in advance so I can defrost and put her backpack for her lunch. The question is can this be eaten cold? I am not sure her in home childcare will use the oven to warm just few of them.

    I am trying to find few ideas meal packed with veggies so I can freeze and defrost for her lunch (she is 21months). Either to be warm up in microwave or hot water.
    I am Not sure how this broccoli tots taste cold…

  26. can i bake these in the grill section of the oven? but not using the grill setting but the normal over setting?
    also, are the bread crumbs dry or can i make breadcrumbs with fresh bread?
    tahnk you

    1. You may need to stop and scrap down the sides/move the mixture around to get it to blend well, so keep that in mind if you try it that way.

  27. 5 stars
    I used sharp cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella and my 2 year old loved them… with ketchup of course! Quick lunch to throw together with some fruit. Thank you for the recipe!

  28. I really liked this idea but they came out completely tasteless. I would use a sharp cheddar instead and add more herbs/onion/garlic/etc.

    1. You can totally add more flavoring if you think your kids would prefer them that way! (Many wouldn’t, which is why I let the flavor be more mellow.)

  29. So to make it egg free, will the total cheese be 1 cup: 1/2 cup mozarella and 1/2 cup cheddar. Will I also add 1 tbsp parmesan?

    1. Yup! You can make these veggie tots ahead of time and store them, once cooled, in the freezer. To serve straight from the freezer, simply warm in a 375-degree F oven for 8-10 minutes. They’ll crisp right up in no time at all for a quick toddler dinner.

  30. 2 stars
    I was really excited about this recipe, but unfortunately the inside of the tot was still wet after 27 minutes and 35 minutes… I’m not sure what went wrong… any advice?

    1. Hi Heather! I’m sorry to hear that you had this issue. Did you make them too large? Was the broccoli wet when you mixed it in? Either of those could cause the filling to be wetter than expected.

  31. 5 stars
    I did not have broccoli handy and I used cauliflower instead. Also, instead of rice I used quinoa. I really liked the result. Thanks for the great idea!!!

  32. Trying these for sure!! Our little guy is still egg-free and has been rejecting broccoli lately. Fingers crossed ?