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.

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

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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.
4.90 from 99 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)
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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. (Or cook in an Air Fryer at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes on a greased tray.) 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.
  • Serve with a dip such as ketchup, salsa, Ranch, or guacamole.
  • 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.) Or, use a liquid egg replacer such as Just Egg.
  • Use fully cooked and soft brown rice. Cooked white rice also works if that’s what you have.
  • 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
    These are amazing! My 9 mo loves them, my 4 yo (who has basically never eaten broccoli–she knew these had broccoli in them) loves them, and I love them too! I’m going to make a double batch next time. I didn’t have breadcrumbs so just blitzed up a thick slice of sandwich bread and ended up using double the amount (1/2 cup).

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe for its versatility. I’ve made it as is and also used the ratios provided for various substitutions (quinoa for rice, spinach, carrots, zucchini, whatever veggies I need to use or my toddler won’t otherwise eat) and the end result is always good. I always have a stash of some version of these in the freezer to add to meals my toddler might not be very into and she always gobbles them up.

  3. Looking forward to making these for my little one. Could sweet potato be substituted for the broccoli? Or do half broccoli and half sweet potato? Just trying to this of other veggies to use so he doesn’t get tired of the broccoli.
    Thanks!

    1. I haven’t tried that and I’m not sure if adding sweet potato would change the texture. To use the same proportions, I might use grated raw sweet potato (not cooked mashed). Let me know how it goes!

  4. Mine was so sticky and loose no matter what. My guess is it was because my rice was hot. I tried adding extra breadcrumb, but to no avail. Will try again with cool rice and see if it works, but that might be a point of note for others.

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I added garlic powder for an extra kick. Made the whole house smell delicious.

  6. Can I make this recipe for my 8 month old? Is there anything I should do differently if so?

    1. Yes, it can be a baby led weaning food. You can omit the salt and leave the rest the same. Hope they enjoy it!

  7. 5 stars
    Made these tonight with frozen broccoli and used the small food processor attachment for my immersion blender mixing in batches. They came out fabulous and oh so tasty! My 2yo who won’t touch a vegetable ate 5!!!!

  8. 5 stars
    5 stars are not enough! ❤️❤️I was wondering if you could use things like pearl couscous instead of rice?

    1. 5 stars
      I just used regular couscous and they came out great! A great quick option if you don’t already have cooked rice on hand!

  9. 5 stars
    My 19 month old is devouring these! I only had Arborio rice and no Parmesan but they’re still so good! Next time I’ll make them as written and I’m sure he’ll love them just as much and get some extra nutrients to boot!

  10. 5 stars
    Made these twice today because the first batch disappeared so quickly! Worked very well, though second time around I added more salt and almost doubled the amount of breadcrumbs (was using GF panko). Great recipe, thanks for all you do to help us feed our families!

      1. 5 stars
        I made these with Panko crumbs and they were delicious 🙂 Thanks Amy for this quick but tasty recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      I found the panko breadcrumbs made them too crispy – regular bread crumbs worked great!!!